When society collapses and the grocery store shelves are empty for an extended period of time, people will still need to use the toilet and that means they will still need toilet paper.
Even if it isn’t an end-of-the-world type event, if it is simply a winter storm that halts the delivery of good for two weeks and you run out of toilet paper, you are going to need to use something to get you through. Fortunately, there are homemade substitutes for toilet paper that you can generally find around your home.
You might be out of toilet paper, but you might still have other materials around the house that would work well as a substitute for toilet paper. I’m talking about other store-bought materials, such as:
- Facial tissues (Kleenex)
- Paper towel
- Baby wipes
Just don’t flush these last two options, as they might clog up your toilet. But chances are, if you have run out of toilet paper, you are out of these, as well. For this reason, let’s take a look at other options you can find in and around the house.
Found Around the House
Other than the materials mentioned above that you can buy at the store and that can substitute for toilet paper, there are other materials that you might have laying around your home that would work as well. Here are some suggestions:
- Paper: This can be newspaper, printer paper, notebook paper, or any other paper you can find. It’s not as soft as toilet paper, but it certainly does the job. It is ideal to crumple the paper up a lot to soften it. The paper you use can be burned afterward for easy disposal.
- Sponge: A damp sponge can be used to wipe after using the toilet. This was common practice in ancient Rome, where they used to put a sponge of the end of a stick and clean themselves with that. Just know that if the sponge isn’t cleaned properly, it can easily harbor bacteria, so after each use, you should soak it in bleach water or boil it and then rinse it out.
- Water: Whether you have the water indoors or find it outside, water will rinse away anything you need to clean off yourself. You can use it in a spray bottle, get a portable bidet, use a hose, or get snow if it’s winter. A snowball works wonders! You can fill your left hand with water and wash yourself and then wash your hands very well when you are done. This is what is done in many countries where they simply don’t have the luxury of toilet paper.
- Cloth: You probably have all sorts of cloth lying around the house. Perhaps you have old nightgowns and PJs, old bedsheets, old towels, or any other old clothes or materials made out of fabric. The cloth is a great alternative when you are out of toilet paper and many self-sufficient folks choose to use cloth wipes despite having access to toilet paper. You can dampen it if you need to and wash and reuse, making it ideal for the whole family.
If you don’t have any materials in your home that would work as a substitute for toilet paper or you are caught away from home, then you need to start looking outside.
Fortunately, nature has supplied us with so many great natural butt wipes that you might be surprised how easy it is to get by without toilet paper. Check out these options:
- Leaves: Yes, this is the obvious option for apparent reasons. There are leaves everywhere out there. They are big, soft, and in abundant supply. Leaves you can use include:
- Large-leaved aster (aka. lumberjack toilet paper)
- Fuzzy lamb’s ear
Of course, there are plenty of other options. The most important thing to remember is to know your poisonous plants and avoid them. The last thing you want to do is wipe your sensitive parts with poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac! Stay away from plants that have leaves in groups of three.
- Pine needles: These are really a type of leaf, and yes, they can be used to effectively wipe after using the toilet. Granted, pine needles aren’t the softest alternative, but they do a good job.
- Moss: If you have access to moss, that is a great substitute for toilet paper. You can generally pick the moss up in a chunk and wipes with it. You just need to be careful that the moss doesn’t fall apart while you are using it.
- Pine cones: Pinecones don’t sound like they would be terribly comfortable, but they will do a good job of scraping off anything that needs to be cleaned away. Plus, there is no shortage of them, whether you are in the city or in a rural area.
- Hemp: If you have access to hemp plants, you will have plenty of alternative toilet paper. Hemp grows quickly and is sustainable.
- Corn husks and cobs: This was the classic cleansing item for farmhouses in the pioneer days simply because they grew so much corn. The husks would be saved and set aside and taken to the outhouse to use as wipes. They would simply be stored in the outhouse for use when needed. If they were needed in the winter, the corn husks would be dried. Even after toilet paper became available, many people still used corn husks. Corn cobs have also been used to clean after toilet use, but the husks would be far more comfortable.
- Stones: As odd as this sounds, a small- to a medium-sized stone that is flat and smooth (smooth is important!) can be used to clean after the use of the toilet. Many ancient societies used a stone such as this to clean up after toilet use.
How to Make Your Own Toilet Paper
Who knew there were so many alternatives when it comes to toilet paper? But what if you could actually make your own toilet paper? If you have paper lying around the house, then you can! Here is what you will need:
- Any paper, except for glossy magazine paper
- A pot
- Aloe, baby oil, or any type of unscented lotion (these act as softening agents)
- Witch hazel (optional; acts as an antibacterial agent)
- Grass and leaves
- Rolling pin
- Mallet or hammer
- Sheet or towel
- Ladle or spoon
- Large cutting board or other flat board
To make toilet paper, follow these steps:
- Soak the paper in water first to remove as much ink as you can, especially if you are using newspaper. Once at least ¾ of the ink has seeped out of the paper you can pull it from the soak water.
- After you soak the paper, place it in a pot with two handfuls of grass and leaves and cover with water. Bring this to a boil and allow it to simmer at a low temperature for one hour.
- Bring the water to a rolling boil for half an hour. You can add water as necessary and you will find foam forms on top that you will need to remove.
- After boiling, the paper becomes pulp. You will now remove the pot from the heat and remove the water from the pot without disturbing the pulp. The best method is to scoop out most of the hot water, leaving the pulp intact, and then let the rest cool. If you do need to remove the pulp from the pot, do not let it dry out. You will need to put it back into the pot when the water is gone.
- Once the pulp has been put back into the pot, mix in 4 tablespoons of oil or lotion, which will soften the paper, and just a few drops of witch hazel, if you are using it.
- Spread the pulp mixture on a towel or sheet spread on a hard flat surface. You can roll it out with the rolling pin, getting it as thin as possible. If there are lumps, you can hammer these down with the mallet.
- Lay the board on top of the rolled out pulp and weight down with heavy objects.
- After 30 minutes, remove the weights and the board. You can then turn the towel or sheet over and pull it off of the toilet paper.
- Put the toilet paper out in the sun to dry.
- Once dry, you can cut it into strips.
Whether you have the time, the ingredients, and to equipment to make your own toilet paper or you want to find a substitute, the fact is that when society collapses or there is an event that disrupts life for a period of time, you will need something to wipe yourself after using the toilet. After all, when the SHTF you just never know if or when you will see store-bought toilet paper again, so you really need to learn how to make your own or find alternatives that work.
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