Wiping your butt after TSHTF……

Yup….you read that right. Wiping your butt after TSHTF.

I don’t think I have every really seen it discussed – but guess what: The bombs can fall, the EMP can burst, and the economy can crash – and people will still have to….err….umm……”go?”.

This is going to be tough to write.

Here in the United States toilet paper (TP from now on) is the typical method of choice for cleansing one-self after…..uh….yeah. All over the world practices differ from spraying jets of water, to pouring water, to wiping with the bare left hand. No doubt other methods exist – some of which I am sure I do not want to know about. Regardless – in a disaster or survival situation wiping the…..excess….will still need to be done.

As we are all preppers we must consider not just the “What if?” but the “How we gonna do that?”  I recently had posted about stockpiling toilet paper and actually received some negative responses that TP should not be a priority. Depending upon the situation at hand – having TP would certainly lessen the impact of a major lifestyle change. Think about your children and how they may have to adapt to life without power, hot showers, or a local drive-thru. I think stocking up on TP to ease that transition is not a waste. Of course – you can only stock so much TP.

A like-minded friend – we’ll call him Steve – mentioned to me that he really likes to use the flushable wet wipes to….. uh….you know. I really am not sure how in the world we got on the subject of his wiping preferences (disturbing I know). I am not too proud to admit that based on his advice I gave them a shot and it was positive. They do a better job than TP. His theory is that less can be used “per event” and due to the small storage footprint a lot can be stocked up on.

Long-term methods for….here we go again…..”cleaning”…..can vary. “Flushing” the targeted area with water certainly can help. The old adage of using leaves can work. Regarding leaves – use green leaves that are very much alive. The use of dried up dead leaves may make the “situation” much worse. Of course….watch out for poison ivy.


Worse come to worse…..grab a squirrel.



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  1. You do not use squirels, you use rabbits! just ask the bear. The bear and the rabbit were sitting next to each other doing what comes naturally and the bear asks the rabbit if he ever has trouble with it sticking to his fur, the rabbit replies it never sticks, so the bear finishes and picks up the rabbit and wipes. on second thought stock more tp…..

  2. Rourke: Tough topic to discuss, but it’s an issue that ain’t goin away! During the first Gulf War, soldiers on the front line and elsewhere in the box were in some cases literally disabled by “Swamp A–.” They were not able to properly clean themselves after going #2, and combined with the dry conditions and the lack of water, the results left them chapped, red,raw and rubbing, and frequently barely able to walk. This is something all preppers need to consider. While storing a shipping container of TP would be ideal, it’s not really feasible. The solution is to do the best job you can with what you have at hand(pun intended) and then follow up with with a baby wipe or something similar. A soapy rag is not a good option, because soap can dry and irritate, and water will probably be too valuable to use. And lots of the little gas station wet wipes have alcohol or antiseptics that will dry you out in a flash. Dry isn’t necessarily what we’re after! Use untreated creek and pond water only as a very last resort. And keep diaper rash creams, vaseline, powder and corn starch around as part of your kit. IF bad comes to worse, you will at least be able to treat the “end” result. While wet ones are probably a great option, I have a feeling that they might be a little expensive for the budget minded as opposed to TP. This could be a real problem with diarrhea or other stomach disorders. An option might be to keep a few of them around and use them infrequently, as a preventive measure, rather than constantly. Just some random thoughts on an unpleasant subject that will affect everyone!

    Gray Fox 114

  3. Back in the days before toilet paper which happens to be a fairly recent invention they used to use a cloth that was rinsed out in a pot of water that sat next to the toilet. Hence the term” The Family Cloth” came about. It was used several times each time after a very rigorous rinsing. Then each night they were cleaned very well with soap and water. I know this is not something that most of us would think of but it was used for many centuries as the go to process. It would be a lot more sanitary if you were to put a little bit of bleach in the water and then had a fresh water rinse right next to it. I am glad you brought this up Rourke. It is not a subject that most of us think about. You can only store so much TP and wet wipes and when they run out you have to have a back up plan.

  4. Family cloth… google it. Also check into the lovable loo and humanure handbook by Jenkins. This will be the way we poop and wipe after the collapse.

  5. Ummmmmm…..I see some real negative impacts if said squirrel is alive and a serious odor issues if said squirrel is dead! If it comes down to it, I will take my chances with the leaves.

  6. Good post Rourke, a laugh on Friday morning is always welcome.

    Three things I am really going to miss if the store shelves are empty – Dr. Pepper, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (can’t buy them for Halloween – I eat them before the kiddos hit the door), and TP.

    When we built our house my wife asked me to have a bidet put in. I wonder if I am going to regret not listening to the redhead? Won’t be the first time!

    Don’t forget cloth diapers as a possible wiper – soft, easy to clean and reuse (that’s the intent), cheap, and take up less room than 400 rolls of TP.

    We raise rabbits – the babies are about the right size and easier to catch than squirrels. Plus they don’t have fleas.

  7. Ah toliet paper… Wet wipes, proper diet.. An absolute priority.

    One can and will be incapacitated by mistakes in this area.

    Toliet paper of all things… expires? What? Well perhaps not in the traditional sense but believe me if you put up your TP for more than a year and put it to “work” you will discover it will have begun to break down..

    Also the usage rates… a dozen POM cases from Sam’s is a years worth for our crew and $250 from the budget.. We cycle it having learned the hard way..

    Oh, TP absorbs mosture (which of course aids in it’s breakdown) So you need a cool dry place to store it and if your BOT/BOV (Bug Out Trailer..vehicle) whatever is packed (it is packed isn’t it?.. Best Pack the TP in sealed Plastic Trash bags at minimum to protect from mosture.

    Baby Butt Wipes… The GI’s friend for at least 25 years… Better than TP more compact.. more uses.. Just be sure try out different brands as the cheapest is not always the best. You may want perfume free (or not) depending upon your social calendar.. LOL Two packs a week per person is about right… Oh and again .. They do expire so you have to keep that in mind and figure it into your plans..

    Diet… Just like a computer Garbage In Garbage Out.. So you need to examine and then try your survivial diets to see the real effects.. A lot ,,,,lot, lot of money has been spent on developing “low waste” Military Rations.. If you want something like an MRE to process properly.. 1 quart of water.. 1 MRE eat and drink everything in the MRE and Drink that Quart of water in addition to your regular hydration routine. If you do you can possibly make do with the the three cigarrete papers included in the MRE..Living on MREs for an extended period.. Really a bad idea..

    All of which logically brings forth questions about “Field Sanitation” Something everyone needs to study and comprehend the seriousness of such business.. It used to be in some overseas locations an Officer was required to be present and witness the “Shit burning”… Certainly every unit had an officer assigned to oversee Field Sanitation and Vector control.. Laying out a camp facility requires thought.

    Vecto Control….Vector What? Vermin, Bugs. Flying insects… these are “Vectors” which carry and transmit desease… Selected Officers and NCOs were specifically trained to understand and deal with those things to reduce and prevent desease..

    Field Sanitation and Vector Control are part of your TEOTWAWKI planning already right? And you have a Vector Control and Field Sanitation Kit in a foot locker right?

    I bet you thought this was just about boring toliet paper.


  8. Rourke,

    I ’bout damn near spit my coffee all over my desk laughing when I read the end of this article! The thuoght of some half naked idot chasing a squirrel just made me laugh out loud. It is very true that you almost never hear this subject spoken of or written about and in all due honesty is should be. The last thing anyone would want in a SHTF situation is disease to set in from poor hygene. I have heard some talk of using sea sponges, dried corn cobs and wet wipes. I think people need to remember that water may be scare and it may not be as easy to wash your hands after doing your business. Using sanitizer for your hands and wet wipes for…..well you know, just might be the best way to stock up and handle an everyday item we all have to deal with.

    p.s. had a friend in VA use leaves once and it turned out to be poison ivy. To this day we still laugh about it.

    John Taylor
    Surprise, AZ

  9. LOL re the squirrel ideal, I adding it to my plan. I’m doing both, stockpiling the TP and have just started acquiring the wipes as well. I also have a 3rd option going that consists of rubber gloves, vinegar and sponge on a stick like the Romans used to do. Plus vinegar is one of those mulit-use items.

  10. Funny article. I have stored a good year’s worth of TP. But beyond that, and in case of really dire circumstances, I do have a backup plan. I used cloth diapers on my baby and it wasn’t too bad. I have purchased diaper material, cut down to twelve inch squares and sewed the edges. A diaper pail, bleach, a washtub and a clothes line will be used to clean the cloths. I just really hope this doesn’t become necessary. : )

  11. Important topic this!
    I lived for two years in Indonesia and ppl there use water, soap and their left hand. I always thought it to be very disgusting. But as it is, I once forgot to take my tp with me and I had to “do as the Romans do” and use my hand, water and soap…lots of it 🙂
    From that time on till I left Indonesia I kept doing it that way and I was fine with it.
    Think about it, it is like taking a shower (for your rear part) each time after doing No.2.
    I would argue that it is a lot cleaner then using dry tp.
    I doubt though that in a shtf situation that would be good alternative because of the overall lack of proper hygiene (eventhough living there in the villages was kinda just like that).
    Wet tp, like the one mentioned, would propably be the best alternative.

  12. As a boy (in the 40’s) I used newspaper, Sears catalog, and other discarded paper and it worked fine. You crumple each sheet up before use. In fact we would sometimes get tissue paper at Christmas and I would horde it for myself. When I lived in Europe 40 years ago there was a toilet paper available called elephant paper. It was grey in color, thick more like the roll our TP is wrapped on and it came pre-crinkled. It had a picture of an elephant on the wrapper. However the wrapper made a better butt wipe then the elephant TP did.

  13. There is a plant that grows in the southern Rockies in northeast New Mexico. The leaves are rounded and about eight inches long and three to four wide, strong, supple, and covered with a blanket of velvety-vine hairs. They grow in a rosette bunch. I do not know the name of this plant, but if the poo ever hits the air circulator or you happen to be hiking and need to answer the call of the wild, I will assure you that you will never clean up with anything so luxuriously friendly to your backside.

  14. Well, we have filled a bucket with cheap soft washcloths to use in that situation. We have the capability to make our own laundry soap and have all the equipment to do laundry without electricity. So the washcloths would just be washed like cloth diapers would.

  15. Obviously, the TP won’t last forever. Les Stroud, my favorite survival tv-personality, recommended “take the leaves you might use, crush ’em and rub ’em on your arm” and watch for adverse reactions well-before you use on them your butt.

    The posted ‘wipes’ do work very well for the intended purpose, as Rouke has stated. Generic ‘baby wipes’ can also be used for many hygienic-purposes when water is in short supply. An offline acquaintance has recommended sun-drying the used ones as tinder. I’m REALLY not so sure about that particular use…… Maybe it’s just me…. I’d rather not hear “man.. dinner tastes like crap..”

    For TP storage, what I have been doing (YMMV) is to get cases of a cheap generic brand (because it is not wrapped as tightly as name-brands), pull out the cardboard core with a pair of needlenose pliers, squash them flat and store in one of those large ‘vacuum-cleaner-evacuatable’ zip bags you see advertised if you stay up too late at night. Clean, dry and bug and rodent-free.

    Don’t toss the cores. The cardboard tubes can be filled with potting mix to start seedlings, or filled with dryer lint and paraffin as fire starters.

    I also have kept a ‘squished’ roll inside an empty, resealable metal coffee can in the back of my vehicles for many years. This has, quite literally, “saved my butt” more times than I like to think about.

  16. What a uuhhh…, you know…, post.

    Just kidding. TP rules. I store extra in the bathrooms, in the basement, the attic, the bob, the glovebox, and sometimes even a few sheets hanging out of the back of my trousers.

    TP’s unappreciated and unloved, even after all it does for us. Kinda sad really… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9nGoei88I0

  17. Good topic, have never used this type of product but have wondered it’s effectiveness.
    I ave used and stocked the wt ones for hand cleaning etc. The wet ones
    Did not store well, after a couple months they dried up so storing them long
    Term didnt work. I will experiment with these.


    • Even if they dry out, you can use them dry. If you can spare a little water, put just a drizzle on the top and it will sink through to the bottom, remoistening them.

  18. I’m happy that some people mentioned using cloth diapers or wipes because that’s our plan. I make my own laundry detergent and my kids can do a serious number on those diapers. We’ll be saving the old diapers and wipes for after we finish having children for a “just in case” scenario. I highly recommend it though I know that there are people who just love toilet paper. It would still be good to have it for say bartering or transitioning from it when TSHTF.

  19. Make your own cloth diaper wipes. Read an article a year or two ago about a medium size survival group that decided to make about 15,000 hemmed wipes out of bulk diaper material. As I remember they decided on making them 5″ x 10″. They confirmed the obvious during testing: unhemmed wipes come apart very quickly during the cleaning/sterilization process. Been looking for the article since you posted but haven’t found it yet. Here is a website I found after reading that article: http://www.diaperjungle.com/index.html It talks about making your own cloth diaper wipes, homemade wipe solution for the wipes, etc. Also, there seems to be a wide variety of cloth diaper materials available and a number of websites selling those materials in bulk. Like everyone else I have some TP and wipes stored away but know full well they aren’t the whole long term solution for my tender backside!

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