(SurvivalDaily.com) – Toilet paper (TP) is a luxury many people take for granted. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were shown just how fragile our TP supply is as inventory ran dry across the country. Finding yourself facing a world without bathroom tissue is not a pleasant thought, as improper sanitation can lead to serious health issues.
Don’t worry though, there are plenty of alternatives.
A Brief History
Let’s talk about the history of toilet paper, or lack thereof, first. Toilet paper wasn’t actually invented until 1857, when Joseph Gayetty came up with the modern roll. Certainly, people before then still wiped, right? Eskimos used tundra moss in warm weather and snow when it was cold, which doesn’t sound like a good time. American Colonists used cobs of corn, that’s a little rough. They went on to use newspaper when it became popular and more common.
Some cultures used their hands by water sources, while more advanced civilizations used wool, linen or hemp. There have been recorded uses of leaves, sand, rags, and fruit skins. The French eventually invented the bidet, which is still used today.
Fast forward to 1973 — the first great toilet paper scare. Johnny Carson, a popular talk show host at the time, unintentionally caused a shortage of TP. He made a joke implying there was a toilet paper deficit in the United States, and by noon the next day shelves were empty. There wasn’t any I shortage of TP before his comment, but this provides an example of how fragile the supply is.
No TP? No Problem!
There are actually quite a few alternatives to toilet paper. If you’ve ever gone camping chances are pretty good that you’ve had to wipe with leaves (hopefully not poison ivy). This is only one example of how to get the job done when the roll is empty.
Flannel squares have become popular in the prepper community. These reusable wipes are soft, washable, and made of cotton. Drying them in the sun uses the disinfecting power of UV rays (though you should still use a disinfectant when washing them). You can buy these soft squares, or you can reuse old clothes by cutting them into squares. Upcycling old clothes is a good way to stock up on reusable TP, without breaking your bank.
As mentioned before, another viable option is the bidet. Similar to the sprayer on the kitchen sink, it sprays out water to clean away any fecal matter. Once the water has done its job, it’s simply a matter of drying yourself off.
If you find yourself short on toilet paper have no fear, old socks are here! Using old, holey, and worn out socks is a great alternative. They can still be washed and reused, making them ideal for any prepper. Upcycling for the win again!
Other things that can be used as an alternative to toilet paper are:
- Baby Wipes
Reusable TP and Sanitation
Okay, if you’re gonna use cloth and old clothes you’re gonna want to clean them. That doesn’t mean simply rinse them off. You need to sanitize these items — this will help you avoid becoming sick. Soap and water should be used at a minimum.
You should add some type of disinfectant to the wash, when cleaning these reusable TP’s. Bleach and vinegar are great disinfectants. Adding these and letting the items soak for about half an hour will kill bacteria and parasites. If no disinfectants are available, allowing the items to dry in the sun will provide UV disinfecting.
As is the case with many supplies, you can always stock up on toilet paper. How much do you need? The average amount a person uses in one year is 100 rolls, though this may be higher for women. It also depends on the ply of the roll as well. 1-ply is thinner than 2-ply and may in fact be able to have more on one roll.
Monitor your household’s TP usage for about three months, giving you a baseline to work off of. Many preppers recommend stocking up for at least one year. So if four people live in your house, you would want at least 400 rolls (more depending on the number of ladies in the home).
Consider stocking up on alternatives too, this way if you do run out of TP, you have back up. There are actually toilet paper tablets that can be placed into water and used. They also have rags that are compressed and dehydrated for easy storage. Keeping your stockpile in a cool, dry, and dark place is the best way to ensure they last.
Unless you want to try these alternatives out sooner rather than later, stock up on TP — but don’t panic buy though, as many have with the COVID-19 pandemic. This only makes it harder for others to get what they need. As many preppers have said recently, if you stock up before events like this happen, you won’t have to worry about the mad rush in stores. Stay safe, stay smart and always be prepared!
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