Toilet paper shortage? Use these high tech & low tech alternatives


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Erin Lawrence

Are you seeing all the stories everywhere about folks buying up toilet paper like the world is about to end?

How to deal with toilet paper shortage?

While Coronavirus shortages are a very real thing right now, if you can’t find toilet paper on your local store shelves, you don’t need to worry.

What to use instead of toilet paper?

About about four billion people, or more than 70% of the world’s population – don’t use TP. So what do they do to keep it so fresh and so clean, clean? well, a lot of things. There are alternatives from the natural, to the more tech-enabled.

Toilet paper shortage? Use a bidet

Over at Continental Drifters there’s a full write up on the bidet. We’re talking more about the built-in ones you see when you travel in this case, but there are alternatives to that too.. Stay with me…

While the bidet looks like a toilet, it’s not. At all. There’s debate culturally about exactly what the bidet can and can’t be used for, but never is it appropriate to use if for your bodily excretions. Put it this way: what you wouldn’t do in a sink or basin, don’t do in the bidet. The bidet is commonly found in the bathroom in most European homes and hotels. you use it for washing up after you go to the bathroom.

If there’s no toilet paper at the store, you can get aftermarket bidets, smart bidet attachments and other water-focused devices to help you clean up without the need for toilet paper.

No toilet paper? Try a bidet shower

Also called (snicker) a bum gun, a bidet shower is a hand-held nozzle with a trigger switch that you can install near your the toilet. Expect a steady spray of water that you can guide over your tush while you’re still seated.

That’s a bit easier and cheaper to install than a full-blown bidet.

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Bidet toilet seats

Not into the plumbing required for the spray arms? You may not like this either then, but you can replace your toilet seat with a bidet toilet seat easily enough. These custom tush cushions will help you get clean where the sun don’t shine, and they don’t involve keeping buckets and scoops laying around.

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toilet paper alternatives, what to do, no toilet paperToilet paper shortage? Smart bidet arms & portable bidets

You can find all kinds of smart and easy to install mini bidets on Amazon. These usually affix to your toilet, and let you achieve a cleansing spray with minimal effort.

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Tabo cups or ‘dippers’ & bucket

Back before we had technology, we took the simple route. We just poured water over our backsides, splashed a little on the undercarriage and went off on our merry way. Tabo cups are a Filippino creation but this type of bum wash is used all over the world. You keep a bucket of water near the toilet and use the tabo (pronounced TAH-boh) to apply the water.

Reusable toilet paper? Yes!

If there’s a shortage of toilet paper at the store, you can always use something else; washcloths or reusable towels. Back in the day there were washable diapers (!) that were put into a bin and sent to the laundry. The same is true of toilet paper. You can use washcloths, or baby washcloths for extra softness, and just provide a place for your family to stash them in; a bucket with a lid is nice. Then make sure to launder frequently and use the sanitary setting on your washer (read some tips on washing cloth diapers and wipes here).

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toilet paper alternatives, what to do, no toilet paperWhile you might not need these devices yet, it might not be a bad idea to consider the alternatives.

Let’s not forget that we should all be thoroughly washing our hands after whichever non-TP method we’re using. If you want a refresher on how to properly wash your hands, the CDC has handwashing guides here.

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