What to Use Instead of Toilet Paper (Hint: Not Your Hand)

Toilet paper
living without toilet paper

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

I don’t know about you but not having toilet paper when you have finished doing business would truly be a serious problem. So what happens when you are outside especially in the forest or wilderness and you forgot it or your roll fell into the creek?  It starts to go through your mind, “hmm…what to use instead of toilet paper…”  Just like in The Godfather movie, you don’t want to come out of the stall with your **** in your hand! So to respond to this predicament, I offer the following alternatives to toilet paper from experts that may (or may not) get the job done.

The Consequences of Not Wiping Your Derriere

The main question that came to my mind was, “what if you just allowed your fecal matter to collect on the buttock, what is the worst that would happen?” Evidently, I am not alone in this thought.  In an article interview with gastroenterology Dr Austin Chang, was asked exactly what would be the consequences. Dr. Chang responded by saying that fecal matter is loaded with moisture and bacteria.

Eventually, not cleaning yourself will lead to irritation. Once irritated, you risk the chance of itchiness to occur. Your natural response to the itching is to scratch the area (and you know what gets into the scratch tears). This Chang says could lead to a more serious issue; an abscess. An abscess is a tender mass that turns red and tender or painful to the touch. If left untreated, an abscess can cause infection, blood poisoning, gangrene or even loss of life.

It goes without saying, it is essential to keep your bottom half clean as possible. Besides, who wants to keep a load that smells like heck! Especially in a grid down scenario, keeping up with ones personal hygiene is a matter of life or death. So you want to make contingencies and redundancies to keep everything down there Kosher at all costs.

Toilet Paper Alternatives in Your Bag or Person

Because the likelihood that you will not be naked will in the forest, wilderness or outdoors, you have the ability to prepare ahead of time the items you might need to use to clean up just in case the need to go occurs. Even if you do not carry extraordinary or supplemental supplies, what you carry or wear on a daily basis would be adequate to use if the need arises. Items to consider are;

Cloth Fabric

  1. Socks
    You might want to use a key or handy pocket knife to cut up into pieces lengthwise. This allows you to be more thorough if you made a more of a mess for yourself. Because you have shoes your feet will be relatively clean and most importantly protected.
  2. T-shirt
    If you wear an undershirt, you will have enough material to tear and have multiple pieces of garment to use immediately and to carry for any future need as you continue on your journey.
  3. Handkerchief
    So this is why the older generation carried one!  But really it is a good idea to routinely begin to carry one in your pockets or bag/purse.  Again, depending on the size your single hanky can provide you with numerous strips to use in an emergency.

Supplies Carried (or to Carry) in Your Everyday Bag or Purse

  1.  Tissue paper
    Although you use them when you have the sniffles, these little packets can come in handy if you need to use it to clean yourself up. The
    downside is, they are small in size so you might need to use a few at a time.
    2. Writing paper
    Not exactly the best (because of its smooth texture) but it works. Multiple pages might be needed to do the trick. My belief is you will
    be needing supplemental wipes to get your underside clean.
    3. Money Bills
    May seem crazy but bills are made of cotton fabric (at least here in the US). It will work just hope you have small currency bills! You do
    however, know bills are not the most hygienic according to an NPR aticle. Is it worth the risk of exposure to thousands of bacteria or
    traces of illicit drugs? You have to be the judge.
    4. Sanitizer
    This is a plus to have. You can smear some on a dollar bill, tissue or cloth to further disinfect your bottom. You will definitely smell
    fresher. There is no definitive answer on the effects of using sanitizer.  Therefore, I would suggest using as minimal as possible.
    5. Wipes
    There are many who exclusively use toilet wipes in place of toilet paper.  Wipes are made to provide the user a refreshing way to clean
    oneself thoroughly. One folded wipe cleans up as well as any toilet paper brand hands down. I know, I use them daily. Putting wipes in
    a small baggie will keep moist for a long time.

Cleaning Oneself Using Outdoors Items

There are things in your environment that give you alternatives if you have no personally carried items to use. From my research the following are some options (in order of preference);

  1. Snow/Water
    According to my research, the best of the bunch. If you are lucky to have a creek or layer of snow, they not only serve to clean you up completely but can be refreshing as well.
  2. Rock
    Finding the right rock(s) is essential. Suggested are rocks that are egg shape and size they can get the job done.
  3. Sticks
    Look for a bunch of one-inch diameter sticks. Use the smoothest side for wiping. Discard after use.
  4. Brush/Bush Bunch/Grass
    Clump some leafy brush or bushes. Try to use the smoothest side. You may want more than a few clumps for the best results. The ideal is using finding a clear area of medium size grass. You can bunch up some and shape it like a shaving brush. If you need to go in a hurry, rub you tush over the top of the grass until you feel clean. It would be best to do your duty in the morning when dew forms on top of the stocks.
  5. Leaves
    Preferred is to tear off leaves straight off a tree branch. These are less likely to crumble into small pieces as you use them to rub over your rear end. Leaves are less effective than the others mentioned above. But leaves will provide you with something to use instead of your hand.

As you review the list, you may say to yourself many of the ideas I presented above should be obvious but I do not take it for granted everyone knows what to do. One who is an emergency prepper or survivalist knows not everyone considers the “what ifs.” You always need to think of options and contingencies no matter the situation. I humbly mention this to those who think I may be insulting their intelligence. I am not.

Final Thoughts

It is advisable to always go to relieve yourself before you need to go outside for any long period of time.  You want to do all possible efforts to keep your butt and hands clean. If you ingest fecal matter, you have the chance of getting contaminated resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea. If you take precautions and prepare a plan, you will come out of this predicament smelling like a rose!