During any pandemic, there are certain things that we will often not necessarily think about and having enough Toilet Paper may not have been one of them.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit us in early 2020, many people were faced with a very strange phenomenon where toilet paper (affectionately known as ‘loo roll’ in the UK) seems to be the first thing that people were panic buying.
It almost boggles the mind as to how a respiratory illness from China can cause the stores in the US to sell out all their toilet paper in hours. Panic can make people illogical and selfish.
On an interesting note, there’s a website online that online that will calculate how long your existing supply of toilet paper will last. You can see it here: https://howmuchtoiletpaper.com/
The only possible explanation for all the hoarding is that people are afraid that the pandemic will be a protracted situation, and they’ll be left without any more toilet paper. It may sound crazy and it’s not as if you can really eat toilet paper, but that’s what has been happening recently.
Whilst being left without any paper is hardly likely to happen because there are no production hiccups and supply chains are still strong, you may encounter a situation where you can’t buy toilet paper because the store shelves are empty.
You may be running low or have completely run out, and now you’re really in a sticky situation.
So, what do you do?
The most difficult hurdle to overcome will be to shift your mindset. It’s also the easiest way to deal with the toilet paper shortage.
Millions of people in Europe, Asia, etc. use bidets to clean up after defecation.
A spray of water is delivered directly to the anus and cleans the area pristinely. It’s more hygienic than toilet paper and its hassle-free.
You’ll not need any toilet paper when water is your friend.
Americans who are not used to this practice and can’t even fathom the idea of using a ‘bum gun’ to clean themselves will be hesitant to try it out.
Do give it a try and you may never look back. Tough times call for improvisation and adaptation.
Rather than spending hours in queues or jostling with other people just to get toilet paper, you could easily purchase a bidet from Amazon and install it in your house. Problem solved.
• Wet wipes
This is another alternative to toilet paper. There are two problems here. Firstly, these may be sold out too. Secondly, flushing wet wipes down your toilet may clog the plumbing.
If your toilet gets clogged, you’ll need to find a plumber to fix the problem and during these times of self-isolation, that will be a bigger chore than usual.
Some people may hoard baby wipes as toilet paper substitute. This is not recommended because babies NEED those wipes too, since their skin is softer and more sensitive. Be thoughtful even when times are tough.
• Fast food napkins
Sometimes you just have to think out of the box. Fast food outlets usually provide paper napkins with their meals. Buy a Happy Meal and voila! You’re now the proud owner of some McToiletpaper. Whilst many fast food chains have closed during the current CV-19 pandemic, but you can still get napkins when you order a pizza from say the likes of Domino’s Pizza or Papa John’s.
• Washable towels/cloth rags
This one is nasty and should only be undertaken by those with a strong constitution. All levity aside, the cloth towels/rags will be used just like toilet paper, but when you’re done using the towels, you’ll need to wash them in hot water so they can be reused later.
If the idea of doing this makes you balk, you’re better off just getting a bidet and calling it a day.
• Paper products
There are many other types of paper that you could repurpose as toilet paper. You could use old newspapers or you could yank out the A4 paper from your printer and use those too.
CVS receipts are another option.
The problem here is that you’ll need to soften the paper with water first. The last thing you want are paper cuts on your behind.
Then there’s also the issue of safety. You don’t know if the inks on the paper or the receipts will have any negative effect on your health, if absorbed by your skin.
You’ll also need to discard the used ‘toilet paper’ in the trash and not flush it down because your plumbing will get clogged.
• Sanitary pads and/or sponges
Feminine hygiene products may be sold out, but if all you can get your hands on are sanitary pads, those can be used as toilet paper too.
Dishwashing sponges are another alternative. But just like the washable towels, you’ll need to reuse them which means washing them and enduring the ordeal.
Once again, none of these products should be flushed down your toilet because they do NOT break down like toilet paper, and will clog the sewer lines.
Besides the options mentioned above, hardcore survivalists will recommend toilet paper alternatives such as leaves, rocks, corn husks, etc.
These are extreme measures, and we’ve not reached a situation where you’re living off-grid or in the wilderness. The store shelves will be restocked and many supermarkets have instituted quotas on the essential items to prevent hoarding.
Your best bet during this time will be to use a bidet and get through the shortage until the situation returns to a relative state of normalcy. Rest assured that it will happen soon.