In modern America, going without toilet paper for even a single day is unfathomable. The thought of it is cringe-worthy to most people. That’s why any time a major storm is about to hit, and everyone rushes to the store to buy up supplies, one of the first items to run out is toilet paper.
However, for any situation that results in the break down of society and lasts more than a couple of weeks, stocking up on toilet paper is not a viable option. The average family of four goes through about 240 rolls of toilet paper per year. So unless you have a large home, keeping anywhere near that much toilet paper is only going to take up precious space that would be better used for essential survival supplies.
As sacrilegious as it may sound, toilet paper is not essential to your survival. In fact, it’s only been in common usage around the developed world for over a century. Many of the alternatives that humans have been using for thousands of years are, shall we say, unpleasant. However, a few of these old school methods are bit more palatable, and much more sustainable, such as:
In the past, it was typical for the wealthy to use strips of wool, hemp, or cotton to clean up after a bathroom visit, while the poor were stuck using, hay, moss, or even stones. The most obvious advantage to using these fabrics, is that they can be cleaned and reused. But more than that, they’re also more comfortable and provide a thicker barrier for your hand.
From a prepping perspective though, there is one downside to this idea. Cleaning these reusable wipes would require a considerable amount of water. Unless you have a well on your property or live near a river or creek that flows year round, reusable wipes are not economical. If on the other hand you do live somewhere that has a natural source of water, you do have another viable alternative to toilet paper…
Another alternative would be to repurpose old bits of cloth that have been tattered or torn. This gives the cloth a new purpose and can help you conserve your preps. Many old-timers have been collecting these strips of cloth and saving them in their “rag bag.”
One of the most common methods of cleaning your rear throughout the world, is to simply rinse it with water. In India, the vast majority of the population will simply rely on a splash of water or a hose, while the Japanese and the Europeans use bidets. Since you’re preparing for a situation where running water may be out of the question, you’d have to rely on the Indian method of scooping water out of a bucket and repeatedly splashing it on your behind. Not exactly sophisticated, but it is somewhat effective. At the very least it could help prolong what toilet paper supplies you do have.
For thousands of years humans have been using leaves in lieu of toilet paper, and in most parts of the US, you’ll find leafy plants that can provide one of the best alternatives to toilet paper almost year round. Unless you live in the heart of a city where plants need to be constantly maintained and watered to survive, you won’t have any trouble finding trees and bushes that provide an abundance of leaves after any prolonged collapse.
That of course means that, unlike the other two toilet paper alternatives, this one won’t suck up your water supplies. Leaves are clean, abundant, disposable, and quite effective. The most common plants that are used as a toiletry include Mullein, Corn Lilly, Thimbleberry, Large Leaf Aster, and Wooly Lambs Ear. However, pretty much anything that doesn’t cause rashes and isn’t abrasive, will work. If you do happen to use the wrong leaf, here are 5 natural remedies to soothe rashes.
Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.
Joshua’s website is Strange Danger
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition