Nowadays, it’s funny to think about a friend not being able to wipe their bum properly when out in public – and anyone that’s been camping or to a festival before probably has a horror story to tell. However, in a disaster situation or living long-term without toilet paper it quickly turns into a serious
Nowadays, it’s funny to think about a friend not being able to wipe their bum properly when out in public – and anyone that’s been camping or to a festival before probably has a horror story to tell.
However, in a disaster situation or living long-term without toilet paper it quickly turns into a serious matter for a prepper due to infection or illness.
Toilet paper is specially designed to be soft and strong, and available in proper sections to allow you to get fully clean after going to the bathroom.
During the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic what was the first thing that disappeared from the shelves before food and water, not just in the UK, but around the world? So many people bought toilet paper in bulk that there wasn’t any left for others. Now imagine the rush when a much bigger disaster happens, like the financial system collapses or world war.
It’s almost as if people instinctively know how good they have it with toilet paper available every day, and when you consider the alternatives of how you’re going to wipe your bum wihtout toilet paper, you’ll quickly understand why – there really is no good substitute otherwise we’d be using that all the time instead.
Remember also that toilet paper wasn’t invented until the mid-1800s, so for thousands of years humans have had to use a range of alternatives. China also had a form of rice-based paper that was used from 1400 onwards.
The Greeks used small, smooth rounded pieces of pottery called pessoi, and other ceramic materials called ostraka which had their foes names engraved on!
Sanitation and hygiene are absolute essentials when civilised services and products like running water, toilet paper and antibacterial hand wash aren’t available.
Fortunately, the great outdoors is here to help and there are a huge number of safe things to use as an alternative to wipe your bum without toilet paper, so that when the SHTF you can be prepared for anything. Don’t view it as a last resort, view it as a knowledge advantage you hold over competitors.
Clean water may be scarce, but running water should be available, so visit a stream or river and use nature’s current to your advantage, especially in the summer months.
It’ll leave you feeling cleaner than alternative measures, and there’s no clean-up process to follow.
If you have a water bottle which has a spout, like a sports drink bottle, you can use this to pour and squirt fast flowing water, making the whole situation a lot more hygienic and manageable. Alternatively, use a special bidet squirter, or even just a bowl to pour it down your back.
Small, flat rocks can be found everywhere, ensuring a smooth process that’s perfect for handling your waste. Different shapes have different uses, and we recommend carrying a few rocks with you anyway for purposes including defence and fire lighting.
You can take a similar approach to bricks and other building materials, but be careful of sharp edges. The smoothest stones are often found beside a riverbank or on the beach where they have had their rough edges worn down.
In the verdant UK, there’s plants, bushes and trees almost everywhere you look – and a huge number of them provide what you need to clean up after yourself. There are very few which are harmful to the user, and the biggest risks tend to be personal allergies which frequently include plants like conifers.
Keep an eye out for undesirable ones like stinging nettles and thistles of course, although with the UK’s rich selection of natural materials, the risk of selecting the wrong one is relatively low. Also make sure to use enough of them in a single wipe so that you don’t rip through them.
Following the pandemic, some doctors stated at the time that using leaves may be a viable option to wipe your bum without toilet paper due to nationwide toilet paper shortages. Below is a selection of easily attainable alternatives that are perfect for the job.
- Mullein: often found in scrubland and hedgerows, preppers don’t have to travel far for this plant. Research has found it holds anti-bacterial properties to target ailments including E-coli.
- Woolly Lamb’s Ear: a common garden plant with a silver tinge and soft furry surface, these are perhaps the most luxurious natural leaves you can use.
- Willow: these leaves have a huge number of benefits that toilet paper companies strive to capture in their products. They’re non-toxic, gentle and soft, meaning minimal risk of reaction.
- Elm: this is not as smooth as other options, but has enough roughness to do the job properly and leave you feeling clean. What’s more, elms grow all of the UK and have a distinctive shape.
- Silver Maple: another great leaf due to its strong composition, as well as a huge surface area so you have plenty to work with, especially if you double them up when using.
- Silver Poplar: this distinctive leaf can be noted from its silver underside which is made of a soft and furry material which is excellent for wiping as well as holding on cuts.
- Dock leaves: every Brit knows what a dock leaf is, it’s the leaf you put on your skin when you’d been nettled. Large and flat with brownish tinges these are the ideal shape and thickness for wiping.
- Corn husks: whilst in times past corn was used as a wiper, by far a better material are the many husks that surround a corn on the cob as they’re large and durable.
Preppers can find grass anywhere if they’ve bugged out in the UK, so simply grab a handful and do what needs to be done. It’s one of our most recommended for those bugging out and if your home or alternative location has a garden, then those bugging in can take advantage too – just leave it to grow long.
Grab a handful, fold it over and use it to wipe your bum without toilet paper to hand. Probably gather a few handfuls first and have them ready for when you need them.
These are very common in the UK, although most you’ve seen will have opened up for their seeds or have dried and become sharp and unusable. However, a fresh unopened pinecone can work wonders, with its flat surfaces and smooth sides.
Although rarer than most items on this list, they come highly recommended, and you can gather a load when you come across them on your travels. Choose the biggest ones you can find, and the greener the better.
If you’re in an urban environment, you’ll be able to find books, newspapers, copy paper, and other pieces of paper you can use. This is arguably the best alternative, as it’s closest to the real thing.
If you scrunch regular copier paper up multiple times repeatedly, opening then scrunching again tightly, eventually you get a soft material just like toilet paper. Simply use, then dispose. What’s more, once you’ve taken your piece, use the rest of the product for reading material on those quiet nights.
A regular branch you snap off the tree or find on the ground isn’t the best option as it may be sharp, spiky, or have bacteria on it from the ground. However, if you take a stick of six to twelve inches long that has a diameter of around an inch and peel off all the bark you’ll be left with a relatively smooth surface.
Sticks can then simply be discarded away from the camp, or just pushed into the ground dirty end down so that it can decompose faster.
Taking advantage of your environment is the name of the game – and the UK’s weather almost guarantees snow especially in the hilly areas. Simply grab a handful, pack it tight and use.
It’s perfect for a morning clean, as the freezing cold temperature will wake you up for sure! Make sure the snow doesn’t hold any dangerous objects, or things that can lead to harm further down the line, like a poisonous plant or small twigs and pebbles.
If you see clothes lying around, like t-shirts and socks, these are much better to use than your own, which will prove valuable as time goes on. Make sure there isn’t any dirt or stains on the pieces you retrieve.
However, these can also be a sign of nearby life, so stay aware of any aggressors. Any old bits of cloth can be used, and you might even want to dedicate a specific flannel sized piece which can be washed out in running water and reused. To avoid contamination, they should also be boiled.
For preppers looking to clean up in style, finding wool is like striking gold. It’s soft, clean, and feels good. Unfortunately, it is often rare, and those who found the sheep before you will have likely used it for food, taking the wool along with them.
Keep your eyes peeled though in case, especially in remote areas like the Scottish Highlands, where many are likely to head in disaster situations. Do not use wool you find lying around though as it could be contaminated and make the situation worse.
Moss is very versatile, as it holds its form when wet and dry, and is often found in large quantities being both spongy and soft. It’s also simple to throw away and grows in most environments, both urban and rural.
This is one of the most accessible methods and most effective, having been used for centuries. Most moss will do the job but you’re likely to get a better result with reindeer moss, Spanish moss or sphagnum moss. Moss also contains a nominal amount of iodine which is a known anti-bacterial.
If you’ve been hunting small mammals then there’s a good chance you will have lots of furs. The best use of fur by far is to stitch it together for clothing or blankets, but if you have a lot left from everything you’re catching, why not cut it into small pieces and use that instead.
It’s likely to be soft but ensure that it is properly cleaned beforehand. You can even wash it out and use it again and again. Rabbits and squirrels are your best bet.
If you’re living by the seaside or have bugged out there, then there’s likely to be a huge number of seashells and other materials you can forage use to wipe your bum.
Shells have a natural curved shape that you can use in a scooping motion. Simply take a walk along the shoreline and you’re sure to encounter a wide variety of shell shapes, and it is probably going to be a case of trial and error to see which ones are best for you.
Sponges are a great idea when it comes to wiping as they are soft and absorbent, and can be cleaned out afterwards and reused. Washing up sponges will do the job, or if you are able to source a bath sponge or car washing sponge that will work too.
There are even a range of natural sponges you can use which wash up on beaches. In the Roman times, a sponge on a stick known as a tersorium was used in public toilets which could then be washed and reused.
Possibly the last choice on the list, but if all else fails using your hand is an option. Just make sure you have running water nearby to clean up immediately, and always aim to wash your hand with antibacterial soap or an antibacterial gel afterwards to prevent contamination.
Just make sure you don’t use your dominant hand and remember to clean your hand thoroughly, especially under your nails where bacteria can stay and grow afterwards, and affect the food you prepare and eat too.
Once you get to grips with the fact you’ll be using things you’re not used to, there’s a huge number of products that can be utilised when nature calls to wipe your bum without toilet paper. Preppers should be ready to survive the unthinkable, and that unfortunately includes the grimmer processes of the human body.
Even if you are just preparing for it mentally it’s a good start and be thankful for every sheet of toilet paper you use currently. If you’re bugging in, ensure that you buy toilet rolls in bulk and make it high on your priority list, and store them in the loft or under your bed.
To make them smaller if needed you can remove the inner cardboard tube and squash them down. For bugging out, wet wipes should be preferred because dry rolls could get wet and disintegrate.
How much toilet paper you actually need to stock depends on your family size, however a good rule of thumb is that one person will use one roll per week, so a family of 4 needs 200 rolls at least to last one year.
Why not give this toilet paper calculator a try to see how much your family would need?
Remember to tell your family to ration it during SHTF situations, especially the kids, and specify how many sheets can be used to avoid it being used up too quickly.