“Roughing It”…Overcoming Toilet Paper Shortages

Photo Credit: ColoredToiletPaper.net

A lesser focused on area of preparing for the end of the world/the apocalypse/zombie invasion often involve things that we as Americans take for granted such as having toilet paper to clean up after…ourselves. There are essentially two options, stock up on so much toilet paper that you never run out or come up with the best possible substitutes. This post will serve to highlight some of the best possible substitutes for T.P. that I was able to identify.

There is only one basic principle that applies (no pun intended) to toilet paper substitutes which is that you are essentially only limited to what you can stand to push up against your tush. Here are some ideas:

  1. Phonebooks (Cleaner backside from A to Z)
  2. Old Paperbacks – These can be found for free at yard sales, libraries, schools, universities, etc.
  3. Water – Take a squeezable water bottle and poke a few pin holes in the lid, fill with water, and squeeze. The light pressure will help wash away the mess.
  4. Cloth – Cloth scraps, rags, or ripped up old towels/clothing items are all great replacements for toilet paper and can be washed and reused. As a Soldier, when we were in the field we used to always joke around that you could always tell who wasn’t constipated because their shirts were always the shortest from tearing the bottoms off to clean up after themselves.
  5. Romans used to use a sponge attached to the end of a stick that they would soak in salt water to keep it clean. (My guess would be that it would only get to be “so” clean.)
  6. Natives in coastal areas and near bodies of water that contain mussels would used their shells to clean up “behind” them.
  7. The Cree’s weapon of choice was sphagnum moss to take care of business.

The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) recommends the following four options as the best alternatives to toilet paper:

  1. Pinecones
  2. Snow (Use in moderation. Environmental injury to the buttocks isn’t fun from what I have heard.)
  3. Sticks (Choose wisely, my son. I would avoid sticks with thorns myself.)
  4. Weathered Rocks (Emphasis on weathered here. If there are sharp edges there could be problems. Be especially careful in areas with lava flows/historic volcanic activity.)

While these four things are obviously found in the great outdoors, they are also items that can be found without too much difficulty in the suburban/urban environment should the need arise. The greatest difference being that in these environments, your available supply of second string T.P. in the suburban and urban environments will be far less than in the wilderness and rural areas.