You might have your food, water and protection all planned out, but one modern luxury that will be sorely missed when the SHTF is the unsung hero: toilet paper. Toilet paper is something that we all use and rarely think about until it’s not there. You’re never as thankful for a new roll of toilet paper as when you think you’re out and find one emergency roll sitting behind you on the toilet.
Now, imagine a world where the core necessities are no longer being made, let a lone a luxury like toilet paper. Without some real alternatives, things can start to get pretty messy very quickly.
Thankfully, there are many alternatives to toilet paper, some of which come from history, while others are still in use today. Get yourself familiar with these alternatives now so when the time comes you’re not left holding the bag.
- Paper – This one seems pretty obvious, but some regular paper can be used in an emergency. If you’re looking to use this as a long-term replacement, softer paper like newspaper or phone book paper is a great solution.
- Water – This method is still used in many countries around the world today. Many European countries do not use toilet paper, relying solely on this method. A great way to do this is to fill a squirt bottle to spray water in a stream to keep things nice and clean.
- Sponge – This solution actually comes from Roman times and is still useful today. By having a sponge on a stick next to the toilet, you can effectively wipe yourself without the roughness of regular paper. The downside here is obviously the cleanliness of the sponge itself. While the Romans soaked their sponges in water and vinegar, you better keep yours rinsed in bleach to avoid some nasty side effects.
- Rock – Ok, this one might sound crazy, but hear me out. If you can find a smooth, flat rock that’s neither sharp nor too large, you can use a scraping motion to remove any debris after you take a #2. You can just rinse the rock in water, and it should continue to be useful for years. This is one of the more interesting methods, but with some practice it actually works very well.
- Cloth – Often used by eco-friendly households, small towels or scraps of fabric can be used in lieu of toilet paper and washed after use, giving them hundreds of uses. Keep a stack of fresh towels next to the toilet and a sealed bin for dirty ones; simply wash them in batches. Make sure to only use each towel once though, in case you were thinking about being extra eco-friendly.
- Maple Leaves – There are many leaves you can use for wiping, but using one that’s easy to pick out is extremely important. You don’t want to wipe with something that’s an irritant or else you’ll be in for quite a bad time. Snag a few green broadleaf maple leaves to keep next to your “toilet” for easy access. Please make sure you know what plant you’re wiping with before using it, or suffer the consequences.
- Corn Husks – As anyone that has grown corn will tell you, one thing that’s in abundance is corn husks wherever corn is grown. When green and fresh, they’re soft yet strong and when dried they can easily be rehydrated with some water. If you have even a small patch of corn growing, you should have enough of these to get you through the year.
Sure, the idea of wiping your posterior with a phone book, rock, or even a corn husk might not seem like the most glamorous thing to plan for, but keeping clean and sanitary is something that isn’t just done for the sake of the community, but for your health as well. Infection can spread easily and quickly in a survival environment, so plan ahead now and know how you’ll solve this essential, albeit untidy, problem far into the future.