Toilet Paper Alternatives and Bidets

reaching out for toilet paper

Who would have guessed that something as important—and normally easy-to-come-by as toilet paper— would become so impossible to find?

Did you ever wonder what people used before toilet paper? Or what people in other cultures use?

Whether you are desperately looking for alternatives during the pandemic and all of the panic buying or you are thinking about a more environmentally long-term solution for personal hygiene, we’ve got all the info you need right here to save the day.

Pros and cons of each method

Washable cloths are cheap. But they can be messy—and potentially smelly as they accumulate before they are washed. They may have to be rinsed somewhere if they won’t be washed right away. There can be a huge “yuck” factor (that can cause illness and infections) with using washable cloths unless you truly can sanitize them with hot water and bleach. 

Water cleansing is often much more sanitary than any kind of toilet paper, wipes, or cloth method of cleaning. And there are many affordable ways to do this. These methods also significantly reduce your toilet paper expenses. So that’s an important aspect of the cost to consider long-term, as well.

Using squeeze bottles, dipping cups, or portable sprayers with water works well and these methods are very inexpensive. 

Using a built-in bidet spray of some type provides great hygiene, comfort, and convenience. This method can take a bit of getting used to for those who were raised on using toilet paper. And it is possible to spend well over $1000 on a new seat or fixture. But there are some attachments and seats that are quite reasonably priced. 

If you do get desperate, catalog pages, newspaper, and leaves aren’t necessarily great at doing a thorough job. They can also create abrasions from the extra friction or rashes if they don’t clean well. But they are inexpensive and often readily available in an emergency.

Now you are ready to face an indefinite toilet paper shortage, if necessary, and still feel civilized, hygienic, and clean.

What is a bidet?

This bathroom facility is almost like a sink that looks similar to a toilet and is used for cleansing sensitive areas with water rather than using toilet paper. Bidets are very popular in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world and have been used for centuries.

There are many versions of bidets available that suit a wide variety of budgets. You can use a portable bidet sprayer. There are also attachments or seats that can be used with your existing toilet. You can use a combination toilet/bidet that is designed to function as both. 

Or you can install a floor mount bidet that is a separate unit from the toilet. Of course, this requires extra water and sewer pipes and would involve hiring a professional plumber for installation.

Bidet and toilet in a bathroom with white/black patterned tile wall and floor

Toilet paper alternatives

When toilet paper is not available or if you are ready to try a more eco-friendly method, here are some options:

  1. Cloth (These need to be sanitized in a hot water cycle preferably with bleach)
  2. Baby Wipes (please don’t flush them)
  3. Water Cleansing Methods
  4. Desperation: Please don’t try to flush these things!
    • Certain types of leaves (make sure it’s not poison ivy or poison sumac!)
    • Newspaper, catalog paper

** Note – Local store prices may vary from those discussed in this post. Prices are from March 30, 2020, in the Columbia, SC area. Inventory levels cannot be guaranteed. Please check with the company or store of your choice to verify pricing and stock levels.

Need help with bidet installation?

If you decide to go for a more long-term solution to the toilet paper issue, some type of bidet is the way to go. It is a very sanitary, hygienic, and environmentally friendly method of personal cleansing. 

Installation is not necessarily difficult, but if you don’t want to do it yourself, a trusted handyman near you should be able to help you tackle this problem quickly.

Handyman work generally includes minor plumbing installation jobs or minor electrical installation jobs. 

Looking for a handyman service in Columbia, SC?

If you need help with an installation project, give us a call! 

We are a handyman business that can help you with lots of little jobs around your home to help you get ready for guests, keep your home safe, keep it organized, and keep it looking its best. We can also help you prepare your house to sell when the time comes.

We’d love to save you time, frustration, and stress by helping you knock out your honey-do list and your repair list. The handyman business is our thing!

We pride ourselves in providing great customer service for our clients on all the repair and maintenance jobs we do!

Contact us today!

Our service area includes:

Lexington, Irmo, Columbia, Forest Acres, Cayce, and West Columbia.


How to Use a Bidet – by Home Depot

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