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alternatives to toilet paper

 
                        
Posts: 8
Location: South Arkansas
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I had a friend once that said he used 1 square when he went when done poke finger into middle of said square and wipe use square to clean finger
 
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This is also why in some cultures it is considered very rude to eat/serve with your left hand.
 
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Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
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We've been using "family cloth" for urine for about a year now. I find it much more comfortable than TP.

It actually started when we wanted to conserve water and instituted a "If it's yellow, let it mellow" plan. This only worked if we used cloth b/c after a few people had gone pee and wiped there was too much TP and it would clog.

For bowel movements I admit to being addicted to my kids' flushable wet wipes. Except we don't flush them b/c they aren't as biodegradable as you'd think. They clogged up our trailer pretty good and now we're on septic. So they go in the waste. I need to find an alternative however since they are probably more resource-intensive than TP and cost more. It's just that after several years of cloth diapering I was really done with handling feces!
 
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What is family cloth ?  I find reusable lightweight cotton washable feminine pads are good but I still use TP too.
 
Mariah Wallener
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Family cloth is the name for cloth toilet paper. Ours are two-ply squares of cotton cloth, serged together at the edges, about 5 x 5 inches. I made a bunch myself from some old men's flannel shirts I bought at a thrift store. I also had a seamstress do up a bunch for us with fun fabrics for the kids (moocowmomma over at Etsy.com). We have an old wet bag (a bag used for cloth diapers) hanging in the bathroom and the used wipes go there.

 
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L8Bloomer wrote:
We've been using "family cloth" for urine for about a year now. I find it much more comfortable than TP.

It actually started when we wanted to conserve water and instituted a "If it's yellow, let it mellow" plan. This only worked if we used cloth b/c after a few people had gone pee and wiped there was too much TP and it would clog.

For bowel movements I admit to being addicted to my kids' flushable wet wipes. Except we don't flush them b/c they aren't as biodegradable as you'd think. They clogged up our trailer pretty good and now we're on septic. So they go in the waste. I need to find an alternative however since they are probably more resource-intensive than TP and cost more. It's just that after several years of cloth diapering I was really done with handling feces!



I checked out her ETSY site but she doesn't have anything currently listed. I sew anyhow so I'll just whip some up myself but I'm wondering about the recipe she sends along with her wipes, did you get it along with your order and would you care to tell me what's in it? I don't need an exact recipe just ingredients. I used to make my own baby wipes with glycerin, witch hazel, aloe, tea tree oil, vit e and a few essential oils. It worked great!
 
Mariah Wallener
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Oh that's too bad she's not selling anymore I guess. I didn't keep the recipe for wipe solution but you can use the same recipes as those for cloth diaper wipes (which are basically the exact same thing as family cloth but tend to be larger in size). When my kids were in diapers my homemade solution was water containing a few drops of baby oil (like Burt's Bees Apricot Baby Oil) and a few drops of essential oil for fragrance (be careful to use one that is for topical use and gentle on skin: I think I used mandarin oil). You can also add a few drops of a gentle soap such as Dr. Bronners. http://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/homemade-baby-wipes-recipes.html has a few recipes; they are for cloth baby (diaper) wipes but the idea is the same.
 
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Talking about the untalkable!  I almost can't believe it, but it is a reality.  I find it funny as I have been working around this change for about a year.  Here is my solution:

I use a very frugal bidet -a squeeze bottle with water.  It works great and then I just dry off with old cut up cotton cloth disposed of in a bucket by the toilet and washed at the end of the day.  I actually feel less clean when using TP now. 

You will probably want to have a personal bidet bottle for each member of the household, however.  The cloths are really not smelly or very dirty as they are essentially only drying you off at the point of use.  A little practice and it is easy to get the hang of it.  Experiment with a cheap bottle, but if you think it is a keeper the soap refill bottles with a squirt top at a local coop store are squeezable, allow more water to come out and hold up better than some of the cheaper plastic bottles some food or soaps are packaged in.
 
                                
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Greetings,
I came here on a google search for "permaculture bidet," and since shi**ing in the woods is near and dear to my heart, as are the plant people, I had to register, and this is a first time post. A rant, some advice, and a question.

I must speak for the plants against the idea of using revered, living plants like mullein on a regular basis. It sounds like a metaphor for all the wrong ways humans have been treating our home for too long. Kill it, wipe our ass, and... well, at least we'd compost it, right? But I suppose there's nothing really wrong with culling dying leaves or using overabundant plants. Caution though: I have heard of people overusing mullein to the point that they developed allergies to the plant. Then they could no longer use it as medicine. So there.

On NOLS, we used only rocks and dead vegetation, at least, we were supposed to. I've haven't used tp in the backcountry in maybe 15 years. I prefer a good squat with a good view to a bathroom stall, so I consider myself a connoisseur. My commonly available preferences, from better to best: take a finger width (or more), dry stick and break it, and if you get a good break, it's workable and pretty clean; not so smooth-and-rounded small rocks; smooth and rounded small rocks; and, the crown jewel, the aged, soft pine cone, believe it or not. Get the right taper, one wipe, like new. All of these take less wipes and smear less than tp, at least for me. When I'm hiking, I look for good wipe material well before I have to go, as stream beds are good for pebbles, but bad for da' poop. Dead and live leaves are actually more problematic, in general. And outdoors, NOLS recommends the drip and dry for women, though as a man, I admit I still don't always get it right. What am I supposed to wipe with, a pipe cleaner?

For indoor situations, I like the idea of the cloth wipes and/or a bidet. I love the personal bidet idea above.

I'm building an outdoor privy for humanure (in 5 gal. buckets), and after reading this forum, was thinking about an adjacent bidet, gravity-fed by a hose from a water tank, that drains into grey water. Could I then just add the gray water to my long-term humanure pile? Or what would be a safe way to use it? What about a living filter downhill from the privy? Good resources, links?

Thanks, and blessings to all, even the plant-wipers

Jeremy
 
                              
Posts: 24
Location: Central Florida
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Here is the bidet I have. It took a few minutes to install. I use very little water as I can control the flow to super strong if the job is tough. But I try to use as little water as possible. And a small wash cloth to blot. Done deal. And we seem to need TP every other week before this. Now it is three weeks or more. During the monthly curse this is a blessing. Now to try the daisy cup to further my go green plan!

http://www.amazon.com/Mini-Shower-Bidet-Multi-Use-Hand-Sprayer/dp/B001OIVDE4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1304716582&sr=1-2-catcorr
 
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Just found this useful article yesterday 
==============================
[size=10pt]An Alternative to Toilet Tissue[/size]

(Note: The following information about an alternative to toilet tissue is being presented for educational purposes only.)

During a long-term hard times event, what will you do if you completely run out of toilet tissue?

If your family should find yourself in this situation then the following information may be of use to you.

Prior to a hard times event it would be advisable for a family to invest in the following items in addition to toilet tissue:
1. Latex gloves one size larger than each member of you family would normally wear. Write each family member's name (or initial) on his or her own set of special latex gloves at the wrist area using a black permanent marking pen. Or each family member could have his or her own unique color of latex gloves.
2. At least four soft sponges for each member of your family. Each family member should have his or her own special color sponges.
3. A plastic spray bottle, such as an empty window cleaner spray bottle that has been thoroughly washed and cleaned. Fill the spray bottle with clean water.
4. One small plastic tote container or bucket that is at least 6-inches wide and at least 3-inches deep. Put several ounces of soapy water in this container.

When your toilet tissue is all gone and no more tissue is available:
1. Put on your own special pair of latex gloves that have your name (or initial) written on the wrist area.
2. Spray some clean water from the plastic spray bottle onto one of your special sponges and use the slightly damp sponge to clean your rear end. If necessary, moisten another one of your special sponges and use it to finish cleaning your rear end.
3. Immediately dip your dirty sponges into the special bucket that contains a few ounces of soapy water. Clean the sponges while you are still wearing your latex gloves. When your sponges are clean, rinse the soapy water out of your sponges with some clean water, squeeze the clean water out of the sponges, and then put your sponges on the special sponge drying tray that sits on top of the rear tank of the toilet stool. Pour the dirty soapy water from the sponge cleaning bucket into the toilet stool. Rinse out the sponge cleaning bucket with a little clean water and pour that water into the toilet stool. Then flush the toilet stool. Be considerate. Put some clean soapy water into the sponge cleaning bucket for the next person.
4. Wash your gloves while you are still wearing them the same way you would normally wash your hands with soap and water. You should have one bar of soap that is only used for this one purpose and that bar of soap should always be returned to its own special soap dish.
5. Remove your gloves and hang them on the glove drying rack beside the toilet stool. The glove drying rack could be an 18-inch long plastic towel bar that you install on the wall beside your toilet stool. (Do not use a wood towel bar because wood will absorb stuff that plastic will not absorb.)

If you don't have any sponges then you could use old scraps of cloth instead. Just wash the cloths between uses the same way you would wash a dirty cloth baby diaper.

If you don't have sponges or cloth then you could simply use lots and lots of water and your latex gloves. Wash your latex gloves carefully after each use.
==============================
Source: http://grandpappy.info/htissue.htm
 
                        
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Great thread, imo!  I can sympathize with the poster who said wiping our asses with live (or very recently alive!) leaves seems like a metaphor for how we're treating our planet.  At the same time, I figured I was using a resource that was renewing at a quicker rate than whole trees.  Last year I used nothing but burdock for a period of approximately three months.  It only works well in a composting toilet... no plumbing toilets.  This year I'm shamefully using a plumbing toilet most of the time, with the occasional field use of burdock.  A forum member was going to mail some mullein seeds but maybe this fell by the wayside... it is a busy season after all.  I agree that it takes some forethought... need to look before or as you are on your way!

I loved that one poster was lining the path to their outhouse with hollyhock.  I'd never heard of hollyhock for this purpose, but my ideal plants around a future composting toilet will be burdock and mullein!  Now I'll have a third to add to the list.  I'd say all I need are a few fragrant flowers to grace the inside of the stall with every few days and it'll be a complete set-up.

I respect people who (re)use cloths... we all do what we can.  Because I choose to live in a rural setting for now, I aspire to some day make a less temporary habit of not defecating in water.


edit:  In addition, a few weeks in a desert also taught me that sandstone will do a fine job.
I love the snow tip!  I was wondering what to do during the winter season when plants would be less available!  I'll have to collect pine cones too as snow is not always available.  Thank you for the great tips!
 
Posts: 38
Location: Sweden, Stockholm
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This thread is the bomb!
I will definitely get to using the personal bottle bidé in conjunction with the reusable cloth! I'm sad to say I live in an appartment and I'm therefore reduced to using a regular toilet. We all do what we can!
I thought of two things I could contribute to this thread, the first is hair removal! In my experience it makes for a lot easier cleaning process. Shaving, waxing and permanent laser removal (I'm seriously considering the last one. Seems like a really good investment to me) should all work fine, just choose your pick!
The second is this; Squatting! It was briefly mentioned, but I would like to stress how much this reduces need for wiping and is overall the best position in wich to relieve yourself. I think I picked this link up somewhere on this forum.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4Cdrdc0TSA
This guy is from eastern Europe somewhere and my guess is his english isn't perfect, so don't be afraid. He's not actually trying to eliminate himself, my guess is "aleviate" is the word he is looking for. If you decide squatting is for you, i have some pointers there aswell. Aim is important to reduce splashing if you, like me, use a regular water toilet. Aim for the side of the bowl so the poop kind of gently slides down. And also this is kind of hard if you are wearing pants or the like.
Sorry for the graphic description but, all is fair in the battle for sustainability.
I would really like to see an extensive guide on sustainable and healthy toilet use! Maybe it is one for Paul to take on. *hint*
 
pollinator
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cdevidal wrote:
Just found this useful article yesterday 
==============================
[size=10pt]An Alternative to Toilet Tissue[/size]

(Note: The following information about an alternative to toilet tissue is being presented for educational purposes only.)

During a long-term hard times event, what will you do if you completely run out of toilet tissue?
... Most removed...
Source: http://grandpappy.info/htissue.htm



Ok, I guess that would work.... the part that kinda doesn't make sense is the "During a long-term hard times event" It seems that a lot of the things taken as being available during this event (running water?) may be scarcer than TP. I've cleaned lots of babies butts (or is that babies butts lots of times?) without gloves... I wash in the shower without gloves. Latex gloves last a few months, but rodents seem to like to chew on them... better keep them in a safe. A pile of cotton rags beside the bucket with sawdust (or whatever you can find instead of sawdust) Either wash them or toss them in if they are too far gone. Build it so you can squat proper. when the rags are gone.... you will be wearing skins by then.... which will work just as good as cotton I suspect.... might even handle a few more washings. Personally, I think this one will not be the top of the list of problems.
 
Andreas Brevitz
Posts: 38
Location: Sweden, Stockholm
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Len wrote:
Ok, I guess that would work.... the part that kinda doesn't make sense is the "During a long-term hard times event" It seems that a lot of the things taken as being available during this event (running water?) may be scarcer than TP... Personally, I think this one will not be the top of the list of problems.


This thread is not about listing what is most important in "hard times", just simply to figure out a good alternative to TP. If you find yourself in hard times and you don't have water, personal hygien won't be an issue.
 
Len Ovens
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AndreasBrevitz wrote:
This thread is not about listing what is most important in "hard times", just simply to figure out a good alternative to TP. If you find yourself in hard times and you don't have water, personal hygien won't be an issue.



That was my point, you say it much better and with less space. Look at the post I answered.... which was talking hard times.... but still talking flush toilets.
 
Andreas Brevitz
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Len wrote:
That was my point, you say it much better and with less space. Look at the post I answered.... which was talking hard times.... but still talking flush toilets.


Oh, ok. Now I see.
 
T. Joy
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I finally finished sewing up our cloth "tp", here it is. Scraps of flannel from other projects backed by organic bamboo fleece (that I never made cloth diapers out of lol)


We'll be using the squirt water rinse method so these will really just be for drying off. Not for poop though, paper for that followed by a rinse and drying off. I wouldn't soak these in water before washing, just like fabric diapers it's best to use the dry pail method for storing them until wash time. Then they can go in with the towels and get washed in hot water and hung to dry. I'll have to make more of these unless I want to wash them every other day or so, the towels are a weekly thing so I'd like to have enough to last that long.
 
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I have used for years a diaper rinser/bidet it is very inexpensive, easy to install, no plumbing, fits on a regular toilet, cuts tp use to about 75% (more for boys), it works great. I have been thinking I wanted to buy another to have one on hand in case mine breaks. You do need a flush toilet though. I like it better than tp, cleaner. nuf said. Here is a link to one on amazon http://www.amazon.com/Mini-Shower-Bidet-Multi-Use-Hand-Sprayer/dp/B001OIVDE4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308602494&sr=8-1
 
                                          
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I Love this website and the folks that share it! Practical info plus good chuckles.  Too cool.
 
                                    
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...I spent some extended time where there wasn't any toilet paper and water was only for drinking.

-I used fine sand/soil to wipe and sand with white ashes afterwards....  must've worked 'cause I ate with my hands and didn't get sick (for about eight months).

(oh, it did rain once or twice so I did get "water clean" once or twice)

-somehow I don't think this is going to work with a septic tank though, so I'd have to vote for a bidet like the Japanese have installed on their toilets.
 
                                
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Like the rest of the word
Left hand + water

and if you think toilet paper is more hygienic
do this experience wipe with TP then use a wet white cloth and see how much is still there
 
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I've never used toilet paper while living in India - water is their choice, I'm trying to bring that back home
 
Len Ovens
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KosmikLate wrote:
I've never used toilet paper while living in India - water is their choice, I'm trying to bring that back home



Ok, just wondering if you were in a dry part of India and how much water was used. That is, how well would that translate to drought? The sand mentioned above didn't really appeal to me. I have seen sprayers(direct from city water) next to toilets, but that doesn't work well with composting/sawdust. A window wash type bottle? I guess I asking how much water does it take?
 
Kosmik Late
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I was in a dry part of India, in South - it was not drinkable water, but good enough for toilet use it's not something new,  it's always used for that in India for ages..
 
                                
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Len wrote:
Ok, just wondering if you were in a dry part of India and how much water was used. That is, how well would that translate to drought? The sand mentioned above didn't really appeal to me. I have seen sprayers(direct from city water) next to toilets, but that doesn't work well with composting/sawdust. A window wash type bottle? I guess I asking how much water does it take?



Just a regular bottle of water or any kind of container will do.
Form a cup with your left hand put some water in it and wash repeat.
500ml bottle water will do.
When trekking that is the amount of water I usually use.
 
Len Ovens
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EL31415 wrote:
Just a regular bottle of water or any kind of container will do.
Form a cup with your left hand put some water in it and wash repeat.
500ml bottle water will do.
When trekking that is the amount of water I usually use.



A sawdust setup could handle that... Even if you were separating urine this water would go with the solids.
 
master steward
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I think this may very well be the best movie ever about mullein:



 
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    If you've ever wondered why they invented toilet paper just go out into the forest and look for any vining plant which has shiny leaves in groups of three. Wipe your butt with this and see what happens
 
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Most of the world use bare fingers to wipe and water or dirt to clean hands. Even in hotels in the middle east in the seventies there was just  a rectangular hole in the floor and foot prints to help with alignment. I'm suprised permies that can wallow all day in animal shit would have a probelm with this ancient and effective method. I was told it was custom to use the left hand and warned never offer a left hand as a handshake. Locals would be extremely insulted.
 
                              
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We've been using cloth wipes for ages because I cloth diaper my son.  If I'm going to wash a load of diapers, I figure I might as well through in a bunch of wipes at the same time.  We use cloth for everything in the kitchen too - I can't remember the last time we used a paper towel.

For those who don't sew, try picking up a stack of the cheapest baby wash clothes you can find.  They're a stupid idea, babies don't need their own special wash clothes, but they make great toilet wipes.  You can even cut them in half to double your stack.  And because they're terry, they're a lot more absorbant than flannel wipes, and they really get you clean.
 
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Dogs love to eat shit. A dog would be more than happy to clean up your anus for you! Dog smells the protein in your feces, and will gobble it up, and love it.
 
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I must say I am intrigued. My housemates and I have recently noticed that we go through a lot of toilet paper. And that it's sillyness. We've already switched over to using rags instead of kleenex, so its really just one more step to go for it for TP too... I wonder if I can convince them.
 
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I think that thimble berry leaves are excellent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_parviflorus)

They are good fresh but also *dry* into good toilet paper, as soon as the berries are gathered the plant is pretty well done with it's leaves anyway. Much nicer than nasty old mullen
 
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We are working on asteroid mining over on another site, and i have been contemplating this a bit.
since we can't really store paper, we either have to burn it (thats what the Mars missions are going to do) or recycle it. Cellulose takes a while to break down too.

What i ended up deciding on was mushrooms. think we could grow sheet mushrooms that would work, and would help break down the wastes faster too. Can't afford to throw nitrogen and carbon out, so prob try and figure out a type of Mane to use as TP and kitchen breakdown tool.

Would be pretty cool to have a bag column of shaggy Turkey Tail and Enokaitake growing around the head!!!
 
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Dale Hodgins wrote:    If you've ever wondered why they invented toilet paper just go out into the forest and look for any vining plant which has shiny leaves in groups of three. Wipe your butt with this and see what happens :-)



We moved down to Florida when I was a kid, and thought that Spanish moss was a huge improvement over the fragile leaves to which we were accustomed. The chiggers disabused us of that opinion in short order. It was torture.
 
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In the interest of not messing drinking water any longer we have switched to composting our waste with saw dust and have become quiet efficient at using a squirt bottle and scraps of old clothing to get dry. I have gotten so used to it that I feel dirty when in public and have to use toilet paper.

____________________________________________________________________________________

 
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solomon martin wrote:Yeah its kind of pervy maybe, I brought it up only because I read some ethnological accounts of Native Alaskans having to club dogs away to relieve themselves in peace.  The huskies would try to get at it before it froze.


I buried a lawyer in a shallow grave in the bush ,a friend with her german sheperd arrived soon after and the dog dug the feaces ate them and licked her face!
one more reason why you dont let dogs lick you!
 
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Toilet paper...Everyone has a red line,boundaries that are different...Toilet paper is not something I'm going to do without. I'm also not going to do away with wearing factory made shoes just because they aren't natural or don't compost very well. As for washing a particular area with water and your fingers or a rag..I pass. There are few enough pleasures in life, they should not be ignored. Be it a setting sun or taking a dump the moment should be enjoyed to it's fullest..For me it should end with a wipe,,,I'll take the Charmin....
 
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