Toilet Paper Alternatives

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PetraViolet's picture
PetraViolet
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Toilet Paper Alternatives

One thing that has had me puzzled in changing my lifestyle is the thought that the day may come when I cannot drive to the local store and buy as much toilet paper as I need. Or, that toilet paper itself may not be the best lonog-term sustainable solution in the first place.

So, I've been doing some research on the internet and found a few links discussing the same matter. I will provide the links, along with a brief "summary of best practices" I have gleaned from reading.

http://www.enviromom.com/2009/03/goodbye-toilet-paper-hello-reusable-wip...

http://www.bearridgeproject.com/2008/06/toilet-paper-alternative.html

http://www.re-nest.com/re-nest/at-on/green-alternative-to-toilet-paper-0...

http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/674904/cloth-toilet-pape...

http://www.fluther.com/9905/are-there-any-alternatives-to-toilet-paper-t...

So, from what I've read (have not tried anything yet, myself), the preferred non-toilet paper solution to cleaning oneself after using the bathroom is:

  • For #1, wipe with cloth and place cloth in a covered bucket containing a soapy solution, to pre-soak. Launder as you would any other soiled clothing and dry.
  • For #2, pre-clean yourself using a spray bottle of water, then dry with a cloth. Place used cloth in a covered bucket containing a soapy solution, to pre-soak. Launder as you would any other soiled clothing and dry.

For the cloth, terrycloth and recycled t-shirts seem to be the most popular. Inexpensive multi-packs of washcloths were also suggested.

I would love to hear other suggestion people may have. This is one thing I definitely want to be prepared for, should the need arise - and I do not have the room to store 40-50 years worth of toilet paper, anyway.

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

rodenticide: what i lay awake at night and worry will be missing from my post emergency repitoire.

robie(farmer)

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

I do remember hearing stories from the Depression---Sears and Roebuck catalogues, don't use the shiny pages.

Would newspaper work?  Telephone books?

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

'...the use of dry corn cobs was a fairly popular choice before the advent of toilet paper. It may not have been used by the Natives but it was apparently practiced by early settlers in North America. Once the kernels have been taken off and the cob allowed to dry, the remaining kernel husk, or what ever it's called, on the cob is fairly soft..."

...

'Heh, now this brought up memories that made me laugh! Although pretty much raised a city boy myself, my grandparents lived in the country and used kerosene lamps, a wood burning stove in the kitchen, outside water pump, and yes, the little shack out back for making water and steamers (did I get the turd, er, term, correct for that? ;^) There was never any toilet paper out there, but that's where I learned the meaning of "too hard and too slick", by personal experimentation with the occasional Sears and Roebuck catalog that was in there. It has to do with why the plain white pages were all getting ripped out and the glossy colored pages were left!
 
But, to the point, when the catalogs were all gone, there was always a couple of buckets of cobs. Most of the cobs were a reddish-brown color, but some were a creamy white. I asked my grandpa what the difference was and with a wink he told me, "First you use a brown one and then you use a white one to see if you need to use another brown one." I was mortified at the time, but have since seen packages of 2 brown and 1 white cob packaged with that saying, for sale in some cheesy tourist shops. Anyway, I'd pick an old cob over a pine cone any day!"

Troubled Times: Corn Cobs

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives
maceves wrote:

I do remember hearing stories from the Depression---Sears and Roebuck catalogues, don't use the shiny pages.

Would newspaper work?  Telephone books?

OMG, as a child in post war England we always used newspaper. Wasn't absorbent and tended to pull on those delicate structures but children are unlikely to develop hemorrhoids, so it was only later with the advent of the super absorbent tissue that I learned the horror of it all. While we had indoor plumbing the WC was in an outhouse and the pipes would sometimes freeze in winter.

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

As child in postwar germany we used to use: old cloth for the "yellow" and nicely cut newspaper/katalogs and so on vor the brown. Remember my grandfather sitting there and sort of meditatively cutting the newspapier into small pieces... First in the 60st we bought those scratchy rolls of toilet paper, not much better than newspaper.

My friends in Tunisia use water - and after that dry with a cloth.

Best

Regina

Deana Duke on www.thechrunchychicken.com has lots and lots of ideas for this topic

 

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives
xraymike79 quoted wrote:

"...the use of dry corn cobs was a fairly popular choice before the advent of toilet paper.

Now you know the origin of the expression, "He's a real hard ass."  My parents confirm the use of the Sears and Roebuck catalog and the corn cobs. My grandparents considered this use of the catalog as one of the great improvements of modern life.  If out in the woods they used leaves, but avoided the furry ones as they caused a burning itching sensation.  Smile

Travlin 

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

I have spent a great deal of time in India where just now Toilet paper is starting to replace some water and your left hand.  It can be done, and you learn quickly how to maintain cleanliness.  I actually felt cleaner in a way from using the water than the tp.  I would not go too crazy on the sudsy water, just wash the cloth quickly.  I use cloth diapers for my babies and wash them in the washer without soaking and they come out fine.  There are many many people who do not diaper their children at all, instead use some techniques to teach the babies when and where to do their business.  I employed a variety of these techniques along with the cloth diapers and my daughter stopped wearing diapers in the day time at 18mo. 

Also, for ladies with menstrual cycles there are many many new products coming out to manage that as well.  My favorite: Party In My Pants http://partypantspads.com/

 

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

  I am with Robie ... can't keep enough cats to get rid of the rodents ... The cats have been dumbed down too ..       For the TP issue ... go to your  farm store like orschelns  and get a 1-3 gallon pump sprayer and walla you have a hiney washing deluxe ... or emergency shower .  

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

If the Chinese were making toilet paper back in the 7th century, then I suspect this will be one of the best local small-scale industries/businesses to operate in the coming years...

For those who can't give up the Charmin', keep in mind that if 50 pounds is the average usage per person per year, then those who want to store Charmin' had better store several metric tons...

I poste this video link a while back. I think it's relevant to this thread:

Vanguard Films: The World's Toilet Crisis:
http://www.hulu.com/watch/146809/vanguard-worlds-toilet-crisis

Poet

 

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

 

Toilet paper alternatives? I thought that we were all just going to use FRN's.

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

robie robinson's picture
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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

FM,

The Great Pyrennes(sp) who guard our sheep allow no feline trespass. Now imagine all the grain around our farm with no natural predator.

robie,husband,father,farmer,optometrist

Damnthematrix's picture
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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

When we occasionally run out.....  I use Comfrey leaves.  They are great for activating the compost in the dry toilet!

We also have a bidet.  Particularly great for menstruating women, and must have for post coital activities...  :-)  And everything that goes down it feeds my mulch forest..

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

1st choice:  Snow.  Biodegradable, abundant, cleansing and oddly refreshing.  Use enough and you will get an ice cream headache.

2nd choice:  Lupine.  Biodegradable, scented, abundant, cleansing not very refreshing.

3rd choice:  Corncobs BUT NOT THE OLD ONES!  Freshly hulled ones.  Otherwise you will find out what the phrase "rides rougher than a cob." means.

4th choice:  Anything plant material.  Moss no worky - falls apart.  I have used rocks before - while climbing a peak - no other choices.  Make sure you wet the rock scrub them off with your hands and rinse them first..   Clean up more when you have better choices...

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives
aarondenal wrote:

I have spent a great deal of time in India where just now Toilet paper is starting to replace some water and your left hand.  It can be done, and you learn quickly how to maintain cleanliness.  I actually felt cleaner in a way from using the water than the tp. 

I'm a bit surprised there hasn't been more suggestion of this fine option. Perhaps it reflects an more affluent bias of the readership here. I reckon almost anyone who has spent time living IN south or southeast Asian cultures agrees w aarondenal. Tho it's awkward on a western style toilet, it's my preference in the great outdoors.

 

Full Moon's picture
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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

 I hear ya ,  there has not been a cat that  can move fast enough nor sneaky enough to get by our border collie .    But the minpin/ rat terrier  is heck on the pack rats , mice, moles, and voles .   We bring him in the house at night ... he can smell a mouse and get the job done .   He can definitely  hold his own against the big dogs too . 

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

I'm amused and informed by this topic since I was just considering this issue last week and, voila, here's a discussion.

robie robinson wrote:

FM,

The Great Pyrennes(sp) who guard our sheep allow no feline trespass. Now imagine all the grain around our farm with no natural predator.

robie,husband,father,farmer,optometrist

robie,

Not to hijack this thread but any particular reason you selected Great Pyrennes as your guard dogs as opposed to something like an Anatolian Shepherd?  Also, any possibility of using a rat or Jack Russell terrier for rodent control?  I'd think they might be a better match with your Great Pyrennes than a cat.

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives
aarondenal wrote:

Also, for ladies with menstrual cycles there are many many new products coming out to manage that as well.  My favorite: Party In My Pants http://partypantspads.com/

Thanks for the link. FYI - they offer a free sample of their product as well as free samples of eco-friendly detergent (you pay $3.99 shipping)!

robie robinson's picture
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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

AO,

Only recently became aware of what a hijacking,in an "E"sense was. They're called GP's by us. they're 50%GP,25%anatolian,25%Karakatan.

Dr.Sponanberg imported their originator from an unamed place outside the US. The Jack Russel we have has only three legs andif he doesn't quit jumping the garden fence after mice he'll only have two. The GSP is past 12yrs and sleeps.

Robie 

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

If it gets to the point of no TP, I'll be a finger, water, user. Left hand only, soap and water after. We'll hopefully not have to ask Nancy.Surprised

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

Here are my thoughts..........anyone who was a parent prior to disposable diapers used a diaper pail. Cloth diapers were rinsed in the toilet then placed in a diaper bucket with soapy water. Then you have to decide how you want to transfer the diapers from the pail to the washer. You still need to store soap and what about parts for the washer to keep it running?   As for newspaper........that may be hard to come by if more people have to turn to this and since more info is being published on the web there is less newspaper in circulation........however, the local library has a dumpster that collects newspaper for recycling......so maybe it is the recycling centers that will start to ration newspaper if the demand goes up?

But the old diaper pail is a good alternative.  If you are short on old t-shirts, etc. you could try local thrift stores. They sometimes sell clothes by the pound or bag.....sometimes you even get to choose the clothes. Growing up my parents had little money but were hard working. Going to the Goodwill was usually the first place my mother went shopping for clothes if she wasn't making them. When schooll started it was a trip to Sears or the Sears catalog and you got 5-dresses for the school year and hand-me-downs from my older sister were common even though we wore different sizes.  My mother and grandmother(s) canned vegtables and had a huge deep freezer.

Thinking back now growing up I never experienced a shortage of toilet paper. It was clothing.

ehood

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Re: Toilet Paper Alternatives

A friend of mine brought up this conversation around the camp fire last summer. The result of that conversation changed my perspective forever.

Me, "Did you bring any TP?"

Friend, "ya, I have some bio-wet wipes in my bag."

Me, "What?!" "Why the hell would you spend money on those?"

Friend, "You garden, right?"...Me,"Ya."....Friend,"You get visibly dirty, right?"...Me, "Ya."

Friend, "Do you hop in the shower, wipe yourself with a dry towel, and then feel refreshed and ready to face the world?"

Me,"......(silence)....., where are those wipes?"

I now wash myself, and dry, with toilet paper out of convienience. When the time comes I'll be a wash with rag, and clean the rag person. The same way people who use cloth diapers work and operate.

There is no way I can consciously go back to habitually "wiping with a dry towel, and feeling refreshed."

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TP

Back in their day, fur trappers used something called the Camp Rag.  It was a communal thing, stored in a bucket of water out along the fringe of the campsite.

 

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TP Alternatives

My mother, now 91, grew up on a farm with an outhouse.  She said she would get in trouble if she went to the index section before the slicks had been used up.  Have you seen the large recycle bins overflowing with old phone books? 

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T.P.C.T.
cowgap wrote:

My mother, now 91, grew up on a farm with an outhouse.  She said she would get in trouble if she went to the index section before the slicks had been used up.  Have you seen the large recycle bins overflowing with old phone books? 

Eureka! If TSHTF, the government will distribute free toilet paper or phone books... embedded with tranquilizing ink!

Better stock up on alternatives now, Now, NOW!!!

Poet

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Outhouse Rules

When I was a kid we used outhouses.  Sears Roebuck and Monkey Wards catalogs are what we used.  All the wood ashes from the stoves were dumped into an empty lard can.  After completing business in the outhouse it was proper etiquette to sprinkle ashes down the hole to help keep flies and smell in check. Thought you'd like to know...

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Bum Gun

We just use a "bum gun" .:)

In Thailand and many other Asian countries this is standard in every bathroom.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1877917/how_to_use_the_bum_gun_toilet_hose.html

My wifes parents even had one in their old house in a small village, just make sure your water container is high enough to provide pressure, or use a pump.

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