Okay. So, frequent followers of TOP know I usually post articles about marksmanship or other related items, air rifles, OPSEC in a big city, and water use.
But today, let’s talk about something we all do, and that is poo.
Do you recall the great toilet paper panic grab of 2021 when the COVID lockdowns were first enacted? A woman at a big box store purchasing an entire pallet of TP? Even fights breaking out over a four-pack of TP? If it were not for the fact it was actually happening, you would have thought it was toilet humor or an odd episode of The Twilight Zone.
But have you ever actually considered how much TP you use on a daily basis for that basic bodily function?
Pre-COVID lockdowns, my parents were enjoying retirement by traveling the world. While in Europe, they stayed at a hotel that had something rather unique by American terms, a bidet. Without going into gross details, they were sold. So much they installed two in their own home.
I went to visit them last year and, after some trial and error (more trial than error, thankfully) I, too, was sold.
What are the advantages of a bidet, you ask?
Well, a real reduction in TP usage. Depending on the type of bidet you get, you could actually eliminate the need for TP at all. No kidding, some have warm air driers.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking,
“1stMarineJarHead, what if the grid fails?”
From my research, most bidets’ basic function of nozzle spray is dependent on water pressure. Other features will cease to function as they are dependent on the grid.
The one I have currently installed is non-dependent on the grid. Just water pressure. If you get your water from a well, you can still get water pressure from your well with a few water checks and PVC or PEX pipe (YouTube has a number of videos on the topic).
On city water? Okay, you might be up S**T Creek without a paddle. The grid is down, and nothing in coming out of the faucet, let alone the toilet flush mechanism. (I can tell you this from experience, one 5-gallon bucket of water is good for about two flushes of a toilet). Yeah, after a week or two, imagine the smell. Then will people resort to dumping their waste into the streets?
The one I have replaces the original toilet seat. It is non-electric, non-heated water. Goes right off the cold water line. Is that a bit shocking (whoooo!) initially? Yes. But once you get used to it, it is not that bad at all. Quiet frankly, it is more sanitary and is less taxing on your septic system for those who have one. It also has a “female” nozzle. According to my wife, it leaves her feeling “cleaner,” namely during that time of the month.
At first, it may seem a bit odd but think about it. What is the difference between a bidet and when you shower? With the bidet, you are basically showering that body part every time you need to with a lot less water consumption. I still use a few sheets of TP, but only to dry.
The bidet I got was $120. It was installed in about 30 minutes and only required an adjustable wrench and a flat head screw driver.
I have seen other non-electric ones that cost even less. If you go for the electric and hot water connected, they can run from the low hundreds to $500 or more. Those models have more features like warm/hot water, adjustable nozzles, heated seats, remotes, LED night lights and air driers.
A bidet alternative for those who can’t install one
If, for some reason, you can’t install a bidet, there’s still an option.
A previous article gives the following suggestion: a squirt bottle bidet.
You can also DIY a less powerful bidet by using squirt bottles. These don’t require that you have running water and they’re a very inexpensive alternative. The ones made for hair dye are angled and easy to direct where you need the water to go.
At only about $4, it’s a simple addition to your preps that could make life a lot more pleasant. And anyone can do it!
Having different options for each situation is incredibly important as a prepper. A bidet, whether a real one or a squirt bottle one, provides you with one more choice. Obviously we think that the real one is far superior. But the other will do if you are in a pinch.
How can you become less dependent on toilet paper?
Have you considered what measures you could take to make yourself less dependent on toilet paper? Do you have other tips for improved hygiene and sanitation?
Let’s talk about them in the comments section.
1stMarineJarHead is not only a former Marine, but also a former EMT-B, Wilderness EMT (courtesy of NOLS), and volunteer firefighter.
He currently resides in the great white (i.e. snowy) Northeast with his wife and dogs. He raises chickens, rabbits, goats, occasionally hogs, cows and sometimes ducks. He grows various veggies and has a weird fondness for rutabagas. He enjoys reading, writing, cooking from scratch, making charcuterie, target shooting, and is currently expanding his woodworking skills.
I have a friend who came from the middle east. She always has a squirt bottle for bathroom use. During the TP crisis, she was still sitting pretty! She explained that they keep a pail near the toilet and dry with washcloths which go into the pail for washing.
This is what I have been doing since 2020! Except I use one washcloth for a day, or if it gets too stinky, wash it by hand and use a clean one. I squirt and use only 3 or 4 squares of TP for #2 job and a roll lasts for a looooong time.
Me too! A roll of tp lasts a week.
Was laughing when I saw this article.
We just came back from a trip to South Florida and some friends we spent a couple of nights with had a bidet. They encouraged us to give it a try and we were sold!
The next items on the “buy soon” list. Just so odd to see this article advocating bidets so soon after actually experiencing them!
Thanks for this.
AK Johnny 1,
Well isnt that funny!
You are welcome!
Your article answered a few questions my hubs had. He was concerned about how you would “dry” your booty when you used a bidet.
I also am sharing how we flush if the electric is out and don’t want to hook up the genny if it is just a short outage. We keep jugs of water around the commode and if we need to flush, we fill the tank and flush. It is more efficient and uses less water. No splashing out of the bowl. No airlock. Just like a normal flush and maximizes the amount of water needed for the flush.
Try pouring the water into the bowl. It will flush by its self. My husband use to keep a 5 gallon bucket in the shower over the drain and saved shower water to flush toilet. Saves money. You have to shower anyway.
Alright my friend, I’ll say it if no one else will, “Real men use grass and leaves….maybe even twigs if we’re feeling really macho that day!” LOL.
Actually 1srMJ, a really good, common sense article about a solution to a problem that many of us preppers tend to downplay a little bit. I guess my only question would be; when a wash my hands a lot (especially without drying them) I often find that my skin tends to dry out and even crack? Let’s face it, I’ve already got one crack down there – don’t need another one.
The Lone Canadian,
How about pine cones? Ash from the wood stove (cooled of course, or if you are feeling extra manly right out of the ash tray!)? Sand!
Thanks for the laugh, glad you liked it.
I try to share personal experiences when I can.
You could create a bidet for free if you recycle a dish detergent squeeze bottle.
Thanks for a cool and unusual article on an important but often ignored topic! Well done.
Thank you Amy!
My wife said no two years ago.
Washcloths can be used in an emergency. Every person has their own (perhaps each person has a different color or print). Simply wet the cloth and wring it out before sitting down. If that doesn’t suffice, you may need to rinse out the washcloth and wring it out again, then wash some more. When you are done, give your washcloth a final rinse and wring it out again, then hang it flat (not in a wad) to dry…perhaps on the edge of the tub. Depending on how many washcloths you have, each person may get a new washcloth every time, or once a day, or every couple days, or once a week. If you have enough washcloths to get a new one every time, then used ones can be tossed right in a bucket or hamper, rather than hanging flat to dry.
Kitchen sponges work fine, wet and squeeze water out before you pee, then rinse out for next use. I stocked up on Charmin when on sale to use for B.M.
A very long time ago when I used to do mountain backpacking with the Boy Scouts … I learned that they had an alternate name for TP which was AP paper. AP was short for “All Purpose” paper because TP was used for all kinds of other cleaning and scrubbing purposes than mere bathroom use — which worked best for the 2-ply version, not the more flimsy 1-ply stuff.
I also remember when Johnny Carson started a fake TP panic and alleged shortage that spooked a nation of shoppers … just as we regularly see happen with all kinds of other products.
For anyone who uses TP for AP’s variety of purposes … a bidet is designed for just one of those purposes. [Just a few days ago I saw an ad for a portable rechargeable battery powered bidet that was advertised to even be of use for travelers. That deal was for about $70.]
A final thought: short term shortages are often easy to compensate for …whether real or fake panic. Long term shortages are different … and may require some permanent change in strategy or behavior.
Being a care provider, I could not live without a bidet. And you do use a lot less TP. My G-parents lived through the great depression and never changed their habits. I thought it gross as a kid to see a stack of cut up sheets for TP and a bucket with a lid. They saved tons of money on TP. So stop worrying and just make sure you have plenty of buckets with lids. Everyone has a sheet they can sacrifice for the job. But in a SHTF buckets are gold. 1 for washing, another with holes drilled in the bottom for spinning the water out before drying. So think harder, they are more than just for toting water. I use wheeled garbage cans for my firewood and ax when camping. Keeps everything dry. Having a few extra to catch rainwater if real needs be. A hack saw to cut your down spouts so they will fit under the pipe. Etc. If you need a cleaning product you can save pee and keep the bucket outdoors until it turns into ammonia. Also, a replacement for some fertilizers in the garden. And do you know how to make soap? Being unsanitary has always been the biggest killer in SHTF! Can you make Lye from wood ash when the stores have none? Knowledge is everything and you will need buckets!
I am a full time care giver for my 87 yr old father. My handy husband installed a kitchen sprayer on a braided hose, to the bottom of the toilet tank. After spraying, I dry him with wash cloths used only for that purpose. It has helped greatly to rid him of bedsores, much less wiping on tender skin.
Also a pump-up garden sprayer can be used. A 3 gallon one will give a very nice shower as well as being used for a bidet…..or dish washing, or even watering your vegetable starts. We used on for showering for several years, mixing cold water from the spring with a kettle of hot from the woodstove.
A 1 gallon orchard sprayer works great! It also gives you pressurized water for washing hands and/ or showering. ( a separate one for each). Been using them in camping for years. 3 people can get clean with 2 gallons of water!
We have your bidet alternative…squeeze bottles. I would love a bidet, but there are more urgent needs to fill before we get to that.
Good article about a subject many try to ignore. I bought several yards of flannel and cut squares, folded them over and sewed them double. We call them “tinkle rags” and saves TP in our septic tank. We put them in a covered pail and wash later. My husband says worse comes to worse he’ll use newspaper. Not me.
Sorry, but bidets require water. Where I live, water is in shorter supply than toilet paper, and I can stock up on toilet paper. And then there is the issue of the availability of electric power…
I too chuckled, but not because of the subject, but the subject many feel uncomfortable discussing. I’ve long used and appreciate bidets. Why they’ve never really caught on in the US, I’ve no clue, but bidets have been popular in Europe and other regions of the globe for a decades.
For those that suffer from hemorrhoids (I include myself in that group), a bidet is a must have. Keeping your perianal area clean, significantly reduces the problems associated with hemorrhoids.
1st Marine, you did good Sir. This is a subject few think about, and really should, and when it comes to Prepping, no subject should be a societal taboo, just because no one likes to talk about Poo (pun intended).
Hemorrhoids can occur in men and women both, and are a major source of pain and discomfort for millions.
When SHTF, Proctologists will be a rarity, so we’d best discuss proactive solutions now rather than later.
Several friends and hubby had one day (in and out) surgery for hemorroids, no bleeding when done, using cauterization.
I guess the choice will come down to saving water or saving toilet paper. I don’t think I’d hook up a bidet if using grey water in the water line to the toilet.
I installed two after the tp bs, I will woop anyone ass who trys to remove any of them from my house.
Another choice: Buttler Bidet Toilet Seat Attachment, by Clear Rear. 40-50 bucks or so… Colder than the moon at midnight in the winter, but worth every penny. Less money spent on TP. Less skid-marks could also be a benefit.
Great idea, 1stMarineJarHead!
My husband loves our bidet. But I have a problem with poo water going into places it shouldn’t. How many women use bidets and how do you get around this problem?
Bulk fiber supplements/powder will also cut down on TP usage, along with the other benefits.