by Laura Cullen
Toilet Paper Apocalypse
Americans are deep into the toilet paper Apocolypse of 2020. Lots of people woke up to the surges of people panic buying the TP. Most are horribly aware that their current toilet paper supplies are dwindling and are looking for other options. Panic buyers and opportunists are always going to come out and do their thing in a crisis. It is precisely the panic buying that results in an interruption of supply.
Avoid Panic Buying
Government emergency agencies like FEMA suggest that Americans take precautionary measures against lack of supplies for both environmental, economic and pandemic crises. If Americans wait until the crisis happens that’s when we see the interrupted supplies. Americans are expected to supply themselves for a minimum of 2 weeks for weather-related crisis and up to 6-8 weeks for a pandemic crisis. Most preparedness experts recommend a minimum of 1 year of supplies in case of any crisis.
*Remember that people panic buy more than they need since they don’t have any idea what they need to buy for a set period of time. Scarcity is what we fear. It’s important for us to keep a tally on our own product usage and keep several months on hand.
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Toilet Paper Options
It’s ugly, the thought of a world without toilet paper. No one wants to think outside the toilet paper roll. Not yet anyway. Due to the current state of events some of us are left standing in the wind. Not a toilet paper roll in view. Let’s explore our options.
If you already thought about this one and ordered off Amazon. High five! If you didn’t bidets actually went out of stock before the toilet paper. So close but not fast enough. You can, however, use a makeshift bidet if you get a plastic ketchup bottle and clean it out and fill with warm water each time you go to the toilet. They sell similar containers at the dollar store. Moms who have had vaginal births might still have their peri-bottles on hand. Plastic bottles that you can fill with water are sometimes available at a Dollar store.
Unpaper Toilet Cloth (Family Cloth)
Family cloth or unpaper toilet cloth is the cloth equivalent of toilet paper. If you spend time in cloth diaper groups you may know people who take their family cloth as serious as their cloth diapers.
These are thin squares of cloth made from any variety of fabrics on hand, cut to a diaper wipe size and used in place of convenience toilet paper. It is not flushed but placed after wiping in a PUL wet/dry bag or cloth diaper pail or another type of sealed container and washed every other day.
In an emergency, you can use a bedsheet, flannel or cotton shirts from the store cut into washrag size and if you are fancy you can sew a zig-zag stitch around the outside edge of the fabric to help with fraying. Super fancy family cloth is serged around the outside edge and is available in 1 or 2 ply cloth options. You can also just buy a 36 pack of cotton terry wash clothes from the store which are already sewn.
*Currently home sewers are backlogged up to 8-9 weeks with orders for family cloth products. You can find these paper alternatives on Etsy and eBay.
Where Does the Used Cloth TP Go?
You will want to order a wet/dry bag made from PUL fabric with a zipper closure or use a diaper pail also lined with a PUL diaper pail fabric liner or sealed container bucket to hold your used cloth TP, washcloths or homemade wipes. I have always washed my tp cloths every day but at the most every other day. You will be growing some funky germs if you don’t which can stain your fabric.
On a side note, I have a different wet/dry bag for my menstrual pads and the unpaper towels in the kitchen.
I wash each load of wipes twice. One hot wash no detergent, one hot heavy wash with an extra rinse, detergent and NO FABRIC Softener. You do NOT want your wipes loaded with the chemicals that coat the fabric. All those do is hold in odor. Use a small amount of vinegar in the final rinse as a softening agent. NO dryer sheets either. Purchase some wool dryer balls with essential oils if you need a nice smell to your fabric. I place a few drops of Young Living’s Purification essential oil blend after I place the first use wipes in the bag.
Unpaper towels can get washed with other dish towels and bath towels and my cloth menstrual pads get an overnight soak in a 3-gallon pail and washed in the morning.
Interesting But Uncomfortable TP Options
Let’s sit down with Great Grandpa and talk about the things people use back in the day to wipe with. You know the good ole days of outhouses and not paper.
Corn cob husks, Catalog paper, newspaper, leaves, and a hand are all viable options for wiping. I try not to visualize this. I enjoy having something other than the above options to wipe with, if you know what I mean. Who knows you might become a cloth tp convert. Cloth is a wonderful experience.