Homesteading and living off grid have their perks, but every now and then you may run out of an essential item – such as toilet paper – when your backup supplies are empty.
It’s a delicate subject, sure, but poor sanitation can have a disastrous effect. For example, in the Middle Ages, Europeans believed that warm water would open pores throughout the body and allow diseases to enter. As a result, cleaning habits that we take for granted today were considered taboo back then. In some cases, bathing and keeping yourself clean was even prohibited. Diseases then spread like wildfire. People rarely removed all of their clothes and never bathed, let alone wash their face or their hands. A simple handshake or contact of the skin would be enough to transmit diseases between two people and could result in death.
If you truly do find yourself with no “TP” one day in the homestead or in the wilderness, here are some options:
1. Soaked Sponges
Many of the ancient peoples would take sponges, soak them in clean (or unclean) water, and then impale it on a stick to use. So if you have any sponges on standby that you aren’t planning to use for anything else, they could be a toilet paper substitute.
If you’re like most people, you hopefully have a few old books you don’t read stored away.
Or maybe you have some old telephone books. If so, the pages will make a good enough toilet paper alternative. It’s a method that was commonly used in colonial America well into the late 1800s.
Any discarded wool that you have on standby will work well enough as a substitute for toilet paper. The upper class of Ancient Rome in particular would commonly use wool in contrast to the wet sponges that the lower class would use.
4. Coconut Husks
Obviously this method will only work in a region where you have palm trees and coconuts around, but many Pacific Islander people historically used coconut husks as their version of toilet paper. Corncobs were used by early Americans, but this method obviously has its downside.
5. Green Leaves
We’ve all heard of using leaves as a toilet paper alternative before, including those of us who have been forced to do it ourselves. Nonetheless, it’s EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you don’t just pick any leaf on the nearest tree or plant. For one, it could be poisonous. Secondly, the texture could be quire course. If you know which plants and trees are safe, you should be fine.
6. Water. Yes, that’s all. In North Africa, the Middle East and most of Asia, they consider water to be superior to toilet paper – and they consider Westerners dirty for not using water. Don’t believe me. Read this.
7. Birch Bark
Finally, you can always use the birch bark from trees if it’s thin enough. It’s a little more scratchy than the other choices on this list, but if you’re desperate without any other choices, it will certainly work better than nothing.
What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below: