There are many basic comforts what we may take for granted once the SHTF. Simple pleasures like walking into the house and flipping on the lights or grabbing an ice cold drink from the refrigerator will all be things of the past, leaving us longing for the days when they existed at our fingertips. Losing these things are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creature comforts that will no longer exist after TEOTWAWKI, and though foraging on without them will be unpleasant, it is possible. There are other things that we may lose, however, that will further complicate our lives.
Photo: Pays to Live Green
Take toilet paper for instance. This is something we all use and that serves a practical purpose for anyone occupying a human body. There are plenty of varieties on the market, varying from coarse one-ply to quilted and extra soft brands. Which type you use is a personal preference, but regardless of the type you choose, what happens when the last of it is gone? Stockpiling toilet paper is important, but there very well could come a time when the supply is exhausted, much like everything else we are storing to ensure long term survival. Though there are many jokes about what to do when the TP is done, it very well may become necessary to find a real solution.
One of the better options for TP replacement solutions it to start using other paper products. While you might be thinking napkins and paper towels, think again, because surely those items will be long gone as well by the time the toilet paper is. Remember those phone books that got left on your front porch every year that you sat off to the side and forgot about? Well, now is the time to call upon them and other similar paper products such as newspapers and print ads. Although magazines can be used as well, the results from those with glossy pages is not likely to be as good as that with phonebook and newspaper pages which are more absorbent.
Photo: Jenn Strathman
We've all heard about using leaves as a toilet paper substitute but it is important to know your plants before doing this. If you accidentally wipe with something such as poison ivy or stinging nettles, for example, you may find yourself riddled with regret soon thereafter. Instead, stick to plants less likely to harm your sensitive skin, such as moss and mullein. Of course, depending on the climate and time of year, access to such foliage may not exist. In this case, look for large leaves off of trees and worst case scenario, you may have to take matters into your own hands, quite literally, by using them or perhaps even a rock, but be sure to thoroughly clean hands afterwards.
Also possible is using cloth, but cloth could be another scarcity after the SHTF. You do not necessarily want to exhaust your wardrobe by using it to wipe, especially when means of laundering clothing no longer exists. However, clothing or linen that is too worn or damage to use normally could very well do the job. Ripped shirts, holy socks, and towels past their prime are just a few examples. Cut these items down into smaller pieces with which you are comfortable wiping. Ideally these can ultimately be washed, disinfected, and reused, although keeping them separate from your daily wear is advised.
Photo: Prepared for That
If you have access to water, such as a stream, you can always use water for cleansing your nether regions. Since do you not want to pollute that water as it could also be doubling as your drinking water, hopping in for a good rinse isn't the best way to go. Instead, stockpile some squeeze bottles that can be used as a makeshift bidet to give yourself a good rinse. Fill with water, aim, and squeeze to rinse waste away, leaving you clean where it counts.
Photo: Dharma Trading
Though a life without toilet paper may lead to some discomfort, there are ways to still maintain a squeaky clean feeling down under. It is important to stay on top of personal hygiene, especially in a survival situation, because without modern comforts such as soap and running water it will become easier to spread illness and disease. It is because of this that all waste, human or otherwise, must be handled and disposed of in the safest manner possible in order to maintain good health moving forward, which makes planning for the absence of toilet paper just one more thing to put on the list.
What is your preferred method of wiping in the absence of TP? Are you content to use leaves or do you expect your t-shirts to get a few inches shorter as they are sacrificed for the good of your bottom? Let us know in the comments!