Even not considering the recent Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020, we need to get used to not using toilet paper.
There is absolutely no reason to be cutting down trees and polluting the environment to wipe our bums. And then there are the harmful effects of wiping like irritation and even a UTI.
To protect the environment and your bum and genitals, it is a terrible idea to use toilet paper and we have to find a way to live without it.
So, in this article, I will go over several ways that you can live a toilet paper free life and still have a squeaky clean bum.
Read on for some of the best toilet paper alternatives that will have you forget that TP was ever invented.
Use water instead of toilet paper
The best way to not have to ever use toilet paper again is to use water. What I mean by that is a bidet, of course.
Bidets in many different forms are used all over the world. They are efficient, easy to use and reduce your toilet paper waste to zero. You probably have some questions about bidets, like the proper way to use one and if a bidet is sanitary. (Click those links to read the full articles that will ease your mind when it comes to using a bidet!)
There are several kinds so you can easily find the right match for you and your family. With some you needn’t ever touch anything with your hands and there are even some that will dry your bum, too.
Here are the kinds that you can choose from.
Bum Gun aka shattaf, or handheld bidet
This type of bidet is very popular in Asia and the Middle East. It looks literally like a garden hose sprayer nozzle and rests beside the toilet. To use it, you simply point the nozzle towards the bum and spray away. Then to dry off you can use a cloth dryer that is dedicated to just this function. Drop it into a covered bin once you are dry and wash it to be reused next time.
They only usually spray cold water, however and you have to be careful to not spray it around the bathroom if you don’t aim it well. They are very effective and you don’t have to use your hand to wash. Just when you are using a cloth to dry off.
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Bidet seat attachment
This is the most popular type of bidet for North Americans and Brits as you don’t have to add a stand alone bidet to your bathroom, or replace it with an expensive toilet bidet combo. One type is electric and needs to be plugged in but has a wide variety of features. You can control the temperature of the water for maximum comfort, the angle and pressure of the water, use the dryer feature for a dry bum and even have the seat heated for you. There are loads of features that depend on the type and model so check out the comparison chart below to see what kind of features they have.
Then there are non electric that are easier to install and cost a fraction of what the electric version costs. These are simpler and have less features but still give you a mostly hands free experience. You are able to control the water pressure and even the angle of the wand with many of these toilet seat bidets and some have some other nice features too. Again check the chart below to see how the different brands compare.
Bidet toilet combo aka smart toilet
If you really want to elevate your bathroom into your favorite room in the house, then you may want to use a bidet toilet combo. These are the top of the line in hygiene as so much is totally automatic. These are self contained with the bidet hidden nicely in the toilet and also very stylish.
They are so high tech that you never have to use your hand for literally anything. The toilet seat opens as you approach since they have motion detectors. The toilet itself even flushes as you stand up and can decide how strong a flush is needed based on how long you were sitting!
As far as the bidet, they usually have many functions so you can choose the angle, the water pressure and even the type of spray (such as pulsating or jet) as well as the temperature and angle of the wand.
There is a lot to write about these so instead check out the full article with all the details so you can get a better picture of how they work and if you should use one. Plus there is a list of the best ones you can buy.
Stand alone bidet
This is the classic bidet that you see all over Europe, especially in Italy. They are separate from your toilet and are much simpler than the previous versions I just mentioned.
They look like sinks and essentially that is what they are, except you don’t wash your hands in them. You simply turn on the water and get it to your preferred temperature and fill up the bowl. Then dab some soap on your hand and wash. Then you rinse with clean water and use a cloth to dry. It is much more labor intensive and some people object to using one since you have to use your hand. Of course, you should wash your hands well after using and there is nothing unhygienic about it if you do so.
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Portable bidet bottle
This is a handheld bidet that looks like a squirt bottle. That is essentially what it is. Some are battery operated so you can adjust the pressure and things like that. Others have a variety of nozzles so you can decide which type of spray you like. You can set it next to the toilet and use it after going to the bathroom and not use your hands or toilet paper to clean up. The best part is that you can travel with one or take it anywhere you need to use it so you literally never have to use toilet paper again even if you are on the road or out to eat somewhere.
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Toilet paper alternatives
Besides using water, i.e. a bidet, there are other ways to wipe your bum with a toilet paper alternative. Although I think that using a bidet is the best way to go, you may not want one or may have to use something while you wait to get one. In which case, check out the best ways to go without toilet paper below.
Reusable bamboo toilet paper
Ok I admit that this sounds gross, but you have to understand what it actually is. It doesn’t mean you use the same piece of TP over and over. It simply means you aren’t using paper exactly.
The way it works is that a sort of paper like fabric is made with bamboo fibers instead of wood. It feels like a stronger type of paper than regular toilet paper. You use it and then throw it in the laundry to be washed again. And you can get a year’s worth of use out of a roll.
Here are some of the benefits of using bamboo reusable toilet paper:
Now, the downside is that the toilet paper is not exactly soft. It can be a bit rough. And the other downside is that you will need to drop it into a covered bin to prevent any smells. You’ll likely end up doing laundry more often. I think it is best when used with a non electric bidet toilet seat so you can dry off with it, but it doesn’t get soiled so you can toss it right into a laundry basket to wash whenever.
If you want a regular toilet paper experience then you should go with regular toilet paper but made out of bamboo. It isn’t reusable, you actually flush it. But since it is made with bamboo you get the chemical free and eco friendly benefits over traditional TP.
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You can actually make your own toilet paper or use some ready made little towels which are called family cloth. Although the name makes it sound like everybody shares the same towel, that is not the case.
You just have a stack of small squares cut out of cloth that are used and then thrown in a covered bin. You aren’t reusing the same cloth until it is washed.
It’s best to also have a plastic bag that you can put them in when you throw them into the basket. What if they are really soiled? Then you may want to give it a rinse off in the tub first before putting them into the bin.
The benefit of a family cloth is that you can repurpose old clothes for this. The other benefit is that they are really soft. And, of course it is very sustainable to reuse old clothes that would end up in a landfill otherwise.
If you don’t have old clothes to cut up, you can use baby wash cloths that you may still have if you’ve had a baby, or you can buy some cheap on Amazon and have a stack of them next to your toilet.
If you are looking to buy some then I recommend bamboo since it is sustainable and they are also very soft and comfortable to use.
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Lots of people are turning to baby wipes to replace their toilet paper these days. And it makes sense in a certain way. They are soft and comfortable to use. Since they are moistened, they don’t irritate like dry toilet paper. Not only that, but they also clean better since they are damp.
The problem is the disposal. Even if you get flushable wipes, they aren’t actually flushable.
What flushable means in this sense is that they will go down into the pipe through the bowl. Notice the wording. They aren’t called uncloggable. So they go down your toilet bowl but they don’t ever dissolve. Which means that things will eventually get trapped and build up until you need a plumber to come and bail you out.
You can certainly use these wipes if you would rather not use toilet paper. Just make sure that you are not flushing them down the toilet. Just like with the other toilet paper free systems, you should be throwing them into a bin.
Here’s the problem, though. They are very wasteful. Not only can they clog your toilet, but when you throw them away in the trash they also end up clogging landfills. And they take a long time to break down.
I really don’t recommend using flushable wipes at all.
Just use less
If you still are not ready to go for a bidet, or to go toilet paper free then the next best thing is to just use less. The most obvious way to start is to use single ply. Won’t it tear? I hear you already. Well, how much force do you use to wipe your butt? Wiping too hard is why many people end up with things like pruritus ani, or itchy bum. It can also cause irritation on your bum and genitals. So you can use single ply and not use too much pressure which you shouldn’t anyway.
If you really don’t want to change your type of toilet paper then here are two more options:
Recycled toilet paper
You can use 100% post consumer recycled toilet paper and do your part to help keep the environment cleaner. Though you still have the other problems associated with using toilet paper, at least you aren’t cutting down more trees to wipe up after using the toilet.
You may have to hunt down some brands as they are not common in your average supermarket or big box store. Below is a link to some on Amazon which is the best way to stock up. Notice that it is not cheap, but that is the price to pay for using TP, I think.
- 1 ply bathroom tissue designed for softness and strength
- Made with 100 percent recycled paper*, no added dyes, inks, or fragrances
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Toilet paper spray
Another possibility for using less toilet paper is to make it into your own DIY flushable wipe that is actually flushable.
There is a spray that you squirt onto your TP before wiping that moistens it to help wipe better.
All the benefits of using wipes are there: no itchy bum, easier to clean up, feels fresher than using regular toilet paper. And the best part is that you won’t be clogging your toilet as the toilet paper is the same that you always use. Since it is damp, it cleans you much better and leaves your skin soft down there.
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FAQ About Toilet Paper
Most frequent questions and answers
Ignore the expiration date on your toilet paper packaging. It can last a lot longer than they say. Years longer potentially. However, that isn’t to say that it will never expire. If the bag is left open it can get musty and mildew develops. If it is closed well, it will still eventually expire in the sense that it will lose its strength and be worthless. This takes many years though so unless you are a prepper that has a stockpile for the next decade, you don’t have to worry about your toilet paper expiring if you keep it closed tightly.
Yes and no. If you are using it to wipe urine, then it is fine to throw it into the compost heap. If you are wiping your butt, then it needs to be flushed or thrown into the trash bin. If it has fecal matter in it then pests may be attracted to your compost heap. Not only that, but it is going to grow exactly the type of bacteria that you don’t want in your compost. The tube can be recycled, however.
Many toilet paper brands use chlorine to bleach their toilet paper. This can create dioxin which is toxic and bad for your skin. You need to read the label carefully to make sure that it isn’t treated with chlorine or other bleaching agents.
Luckily there are plenty of all natural and unbleached toilet paper brands on the market to choose from.
If you’ve read all of that then I hope your takeaway from this article is as obvious as I think it is. That to live a toilet paper free life you really need to use a bidet. The other methods I outlined in this article will also do some good, but the best way forward is if the rest of the Western world will finally ditch toilet paper and just use water.
If you have any questions about bidets let me know and I will answer any questions that you have ASAP!