In these uncertain times, people have begun stocking up on toilet paper, creating a shortage of this staple product. But what if you don’t have a stockpile of toilet paper? What do you do when it runs out? Luckily, we can take lessons from our ancestors. They had many toilet paper alternatives available, including corncobs and wood shavings. These 21 toilet paper alternatives will keep you clean when the real stuff runs out.
The History of Toilet Paper
The earliest known example of toilet paper as we know it today comes from China, about 1400 years ago. Experts debate the exact date, but there are records of Chinese Emperors and other wealthy individuals using paper to clean themselves in the 6th century. Unfortunately, it would take the rest of the world over 1000 years to follow the Chinese example.
In 1857, Joseph Gayetty developed the “Toilet Tissue” in New York. This medicated paper was made of hemp and aloe, and the first example of modern-day toilet paper.
Toilet Paper on a Roll
By 1890, toilet paper was put on a roll, and the 20th century saw many improvements to the softness and quality of the product. One of the main concerns of early toilet paper was the occasional splinter found in the rolls, causing quite a painful surprise to many!
Thankfully, by the 1930s, the manufacturing process was fine-tuned to ensure there were no splinters in the paper. Fast forward to 2020, and there are dozens of varieties with different ply’s and designs to choose from.
What Cultures Do Not Use Toilet Paper?
Interestingly, toilet paper is mainly a western product. And many countries around the world do not use toilet paper for a variety of reasons. Majority-Muslim countries mainly use water due to the Islamic teachings of using water for cleaning. They will have jugs filled with water, bidets installed on toilets, or shower.
India uses the same idea of a jug of water next to the toilet, rather than toilet paper. In fact, it’s safe to say more than half of the world uses water for cleaning instead of a paper product. This might seem bizarre to Westerners, but many people believe using water is cleaner and safer than abrasive paper products. And if you think about it, they do have a good point.
What Can I Use Instead of Toilet Paper?
You will be surprised at how many toilet paper alternatives you can find around the house. Since you will need a paper alternative more than once, you want to find something that you either have a large stockpile of or something that can be reused. These 21 toilet paper alternatives will keep you clean when you don’t have access to TP.
Is it Safe to Flush Cloth Toilet Paper?
No! Don’t flush cloth toilet paper - especially if you have a composting or other type of off grid toilet. It will clog up your piping and be a nightmare to fix. Besides, you should be reusing your cloth toilet paper. Have a disposal bin near the toilet to collect soiled cloth toilet paper, and wash them all at once.
How Do I Sanitize Cloth Toilet Paper?
To clean your cloth toilet paper, simply put it in your washing machine on a small hot cycle. Dry on a hot cycle as well to kill any extra germs. You can also add vinegar as an added rinse agent.
How Do I Store Used Toilet Cloths?
Use a diaper pail for your used toilet cloths. These pails are specially made to be easily cleanable and many have storage spots for clean cloths as well.
During these toilet-paper hoarding times, it can be difficult to find some TP. Luckily, there are many toilet paper alternatives for your family to use. Modern-day toilet paper has only been available for about 150 years, so our ancestors' alternatives give us some interesting insight into what they used to use. Take some lessons from them, and get creative. You will find many ways to solve problems caused by world shortages.
This post is part of the Homestead Blog Hop #286!
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