How to cope without toilet paper in case there's a coronavirus-related shortage

Lots of people are freaking out about toilet paper right now. In the wake of coronavirus panic buying, there are fears some shops have run out or could start rationing loo roll.

I’m here to tell you toilet paper is not the hill you have to die on.

Most of the world does just fine without loo roll.

Don’t get me wrong, loo roll is most definitely one of life’s comforts.

But after countless family holidays in India, I know it’s possible to go without.

Toilet paper isn’t even a norm in many countries like it is in the west.

Alternatives to loo roll

There have been a butt load of jokes about using newspaper instead of toilet paper, but don’t do this! Newspaper isn’t designed to be flushed. Neither are wet wipes.

The cheapest and safest alternative is plain old water.

The sewage or plumbing system in many Asian countries isn’t designed to cope with paper, plus loo roll isn’t always affordable or accessible.

The number one reason many people skip the toilet paper in favour of water, however, is that most of the planet thinks it’s more hygienic to wash.

It may have come about because of climate and evenreligious belief. But, in the same way you wouldn’t flick your body with a drytowel instead showering, washing leaves you cleaner than wiping (it’s alsogentler on your skin).

You don’t need a bidet

Bidets may be the more acceptable way to wash in the westbut, again, they’re more about comfort than necessity.

It’s common to find a ‘lota’ or washing jug in the bathroom in some Asian homes and restaurants, even in the UK. These are like teapots, with a long spout to direct water where it needs to go.

Otherwise, you can use a clean bottle or something similar.

You might see an adapted shower head next to the toilet orbidet in some Asian bathrooms. It works like a mini garden hose, and makesclean-ups fast and hands-free. It’s not the same as a regular showerattachment, which can end up soaking the whole bathroom.

How to wash after using the loo

If you’re worried about touching poop, the combination of water and how our bodies work means this doesn’t happen.

You can add soap or soapy water if you want, but it’s not essential (you might want to rinse afterwards if you do).

You’ll probably make a mess the first few times but, withpractice, you can do it discretely anywhere, even at work. In fact, lots ofpeople do.

You don’t have to swear off toilet paper. But if shortages and stockpiling are adding to your stress, remember the rest of the world gets on just fine without it. We’re not facing wipe-out just yet.

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