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raven860's avatar

Are there any alternatives to Toilet paper?

Asked by raven860 (2174points) October 15th, 2011

Are there any alternatives to Toilet paper?
-What do people around the world use?
-What did we use or do before Toilet paper was invented?

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34 Answers

XD's avatar

Many sort of third world-ish cultures use their hand. Generally, one hand (the left) is for cleaning up and the other is for eating and handshakes. People used corn cobs and/or leaves in the olden days. A bidet is another option.

zenvelo's avatar

Water. In those countries in which one uses the left hand, it is usually used with water to di the hand in before and after.

This is why criminals would have their right hand cut off- it made them outcasts because they ate with the same hand they wiped themselves.

raven860's avatar

@zenvelo They don’t use soap?

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Paradox1's avatar

In regards to what did people do before toilet paper:
The mullein plant’s leaves can be used as buttwipes as they are described as being “velvety soft,” though I have not personally experienced this. But Bear Grylls has supposedly used it in his show Man vs. Wild though of course they never show him using it (gross). It is no surprise this plant is also colloquially known as Cowboy Toilet Paper in the Western hemisphere. Perhaps you might try planting some in your backyard.

Nullo's avatar

In the United States, corn cobs have seen latrine duty, as have leaves of plants, the Sears Roebuck catalog, old newspapers, and, occasionally, books that you didn’t really enjoy

john65pennington's avatar

Some people in the country used corn cobs….ouch!

But, most used pages from a Sears Catalogue.

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snowberry's avatar

I’ve heard of people who made washable butt wipes. The trouble would be that I’d want to toss it in the toilet because that’s my habit with TP. But really It’s not as bad as using cloth diapers.

gailcalled's avatar

The other miracle plant was the cattail. In addition to being used as toilet paper, the fluffy heads were used to staunch menstrual flow.

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Blackberry's avatar

I use paper towels or napkins if I run out.

bobbinhood's avatar

When I was a kid, my grandma always talked about using newspapers and catalogs. I’ve used leaves while backpacking. Some people now are switching to cloth wipes.

Buttonstc's avatar

I give an enthusiastic thumbs up for Laureth’s suggestion.

Around a year ago, someone on Fluther posted a similar link for “family cloth”. I dont know why that possibility never occured to me

When I saw a 12 pack of washcloths on sale for a few bucks, I grabbed them. I use these (obviously) for wiping liquids and regular TP for the rest. I toss them in the wash once a week.

I have saved so much money on TP. It’s incredible.

Judi's avatar

You can get just the washlet for less money. :-)

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JLeslie's avatar

I had a washlet back several years ago. I think it cost me around $500?

trailsillustrated's avatar

A Leaf. Just hope your finger doesn’t poke through

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mattbrowne's avatar

Thousands of years ago people also used moss.

gailcalled's avatar

@Buttonstc: What about the smell of ammonia? And do you use a washcloth more than once? And is it more eco-friendly to do extra laundry or use paper?

I use wash cloths daily in order not to use the shower since it’s the bits and bobs that need attention.

Buttonstc's avatar

With that many washcloths, I don’t need to use one more than once.

I haven’t noticed any ammonia smell.

It’s not as if I do extra loads of laundry due to this. They just go in with the rest of the bunch.

It works for me and many others but if it’s not everybody’s solution, that’s understandable. With all the excessive germophobia currently all the rage (propelled more by marketing than medicine) here in America, it doesn’t surprise me that it’s a weird idea for some :)

raven860's avatar

@JLeslie, @Judi would you recommend the washlet? What would you say are the Pros and Cons of it? I went to Costco yesterday and saw one for $99. I am thinking I might try it out.

Judi's avatar

The only “con” I can think of is that you need an electrical outlet. My hubby is a contractor so that was no problem for us. We replumbed and re wired our whole house. It is a wonderful thing. :-)

JLeslie's avatar

I would recommend it. It freaked me out a little because it sprays water from the toilett, and me being a little of a germaphobe, I cleaned the sprayer quite often. But the sprayer is actually protected while you are going to the bathroom, it is more my own paranoia that I have in general. I would definitely purchase another one, just haven’t bothered to.

raven860's avatar

@Judi, @JLeslie, Thank you for the feedback.

Judi, Hmm, re-wiring is an issue. Having it plugged into the wall socket will look somewhat odd in my bathroom.
JLeslie, I was wondering about the sprayer too haha.

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