Letter Re: Washable Cloth Toilet Wipes

Hugh,

Regarding the person who wondered “Why go to all the trouble to cut and sew toilet wipes when you can simply use mass-produced bathroom washcloths”:

  1. By making them, each family member has their own as I used a different fabric pattern for me and my husband; this removes the “ick” factor
  2. Also, I plan to make and sell these both pre- and post-SHTF, and the fabric was free to me.

There are other issues that must be considered as well:

  1. Last year with a UTI, I used a full 1,000 sheet roll of Scott toilet paper in only six hours,
  2. If someone in the home becomes ill, say with the stomach flu of some other illness, you would want a large stock of washable toilet paper so they could just be placed in the pail until wash day; a person who is sick cannot “self-regulate their bowel voiding patterns”. – S.T.

HJL Comments: The question of what to do when the toilet paper runs out is always on the mind of preppers, and I have seen some very ingenious solutions to the problem. However, the easiest and most reliable method is just to use water. Americans seem to have an aversion to this method due to the fact that you have one hand that touches your nether regions, but the vast majority of the world uses this method in various forms with very satisfactory results. You might consider what would happen if you were camping and you sat down on the ground and accidentally placed your hand in a pile of poo. Would you just take a roll of toilet paper and wipe your hand until it looked clean and then call it good at this point? Most of us would not. You would spend some time with soap and water and thoroughly clean the hand. Why do we then consider wiping our bums with toilet paper as an adequate sanitation procedure?

This concept was hammered home when I had to have a colonoscopy a couple of years ago. Before the procedure, I was required to drink a gallon of solution that cleaned me out. During that time, ready access to a bathroom was mandatory and my bum became so sore that it was literally bleeding. Using toilet paper was out of the question. Thankfully, the toilet was next to the tub/shower, which had a hand wand on the shower head. Using water on low pressure provided an easy, sanitary and painless way of cleaning up. This experience prompted a search on how third world countries with no access to toilet paper deal with the situation.

In many countries, access to soap is limited and you end up with the concept of a “clean” hand (usually the right hand) and a “dirty” hand (usually the left hand). Cleaning up is relegated to the “dirty” hand, while greeting people is done with the “clean” hand. Don’t get those two mixed up or you will thoroughly insult the person by offering them the “dirty” hand. If you have access to soap, there is no need to dedicate a “dirty” hand because cleaning the hand is as simple as washing with soap and water afterwards.

The procedure is simple:

  1. Bring a cup of water (or better yet, a peri bottle) to the toilet with you.
  2. While still seated on the toilet (or crouching over the latrine), wet the fingers of the “dirty” hand so the poo doesn’t stick readily to the skin.
  3. Holding the cup of water in your “clean” hand, dribble it down into the nether region while rubbing the affected area with the fingers of the “dirty” hand. Men generally have to dribble the water down their backside; women can dribble it from the front or the rear. For women, the front is preferred, as it flushes the waste away from sensitive areas.
  4. After cleaning the nether regions, use the remaining water to rinse off your fingers from the “dirty” hand.

If done right, it takes less than a cup of water to thoroughly clean the nether regions and the fingers, and you will be surprised how much cleaner you feel afterwards compared to using just regular toilet paper. When you have completed the job, wash your hands as normal with soap and water. If TEOTWAWKI occurs and access to soap is limited, the society will simply revert back to the concept of only using the right hand for public, reserving the left hand for private. While the concept is simple, some practice is required. Cleaning the area is simple, but keeping the water from dribbling down your legs or making a mess in your bathroom can be challenging at first.

There are those among us who are totally averse to touching the nether regions with the bare skin of your fingers. Leaving aside the question of how you perform bathing or showering, this video may be for you. It contains instructions on how to build a portable bidet kit with nitrile gloves along with instructions on using it replete with a demonstration on a small stuffed animal. I think it’s overkill, but each to his own. A word of caution is in order here. Please be careful in searching YouTube for instructional videos on this procedure. Most are highly offensive.

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