When There Is No Toilet Paper

Hello, Frank here.

I need to talk to you about something a little touchy. Okay, you’re

out in the woods, or at your retreat. You left your fiber pills at home, you haven’t gone in days, you’re all backed up, and you had chili with beans for supper. And it’s time. Then you discover that you did not pack any toilet paper. The closest convenience store is 10.8 miles away and it’s 2:00 am. Decision time. Here’s what I would recommend. Get yourself some……….

Okay, Frank has left the building, and the rest of this article has been left to me, Fern. He is a really funny guy isn’t he? We have been married over 30 years and I still laugh every day. I am a blessed woman. Now, back to our topic.

On the last post about reusable panty liners, Kymber, from Framboise Manor, had a very interesting comment asking what our practices or plans are for what she calls “family cloths” if there comes a time that the SHTF and we run out of toilet paper. So, here is a follow up to our conversation.

Buckland, Alaska

Back in 1990, Frank and I lived in a remote village on the coast of western Alaska, about 75 miles south of the arctic circle for nine months (the length of a school year, we were teachers) without running water. We had a school provided, very nice three bedroom, two bath mobile home with a dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. Just no water. The school and the washateria were the only sources of water in the village. Frank hauled

our water from the school in two collapsible five gallon containers. We kept our water supply in a 30 gallon Rubbermaid trash can in the kitchen. We used this to drink, cook, clean and wash dishes, and luckily, we were able to shower at the school. The dish water was heated on the stove and used in the regular sinks. The sinks were drained into a five gallon bucket under the sink that had to be emptied outside. Before freeze up we allowed the sink water to drain straight down the drain pipes onto the ground under the house, but once winter set in with 30 degrees below zero for several months, we switched over to the five gallon bucket. We learned very quickly to remember to check how full the bucket was before we drained the sink. That was one of those experiences where we learned the hard way by flooding the floor and cabinet under the sink.

We hauled our laundry over to the washateria in a duffel bag to wash. But since the mobile home had a dryer, we were able to dry them at home. The only time we had to make other arrangements for water was when the temperatures dropped to 60 below and all of the water sources at the washateria and school froze. Luckily there was a natural hot spring a couple of miles up river where we could dip up the water into our trashcans and haul them back with the snow machine and sled. Now that was an adventure.

So, how did we take care of our toileting needs at home with no running water? After some trial and error, we decided to use the bathroom farthest from the main living area for solid waste, while the bathroom in the master bedroom where we slept was used for liquid waste. We lined the toilets with trash bags and used them in the normal fashion. We put a little Pinesol in each one to help with the odor and kept the bathroom doors closed.

Most of the houses in the village did not have bathroom fixtures since there was no running water. Instead, their toilets consisted of a five gallon bucket with a toilet seat on it, like the ones you can get from Emergency Essentials like we have in our storm cellar. This system in the village was called honey buckets. Once your bucket, or in our case trash bag, was full, there were small

I actually found a picture of one.

dumpster type containers that were specifically used for this waste, placed all around the village. These containers were gathered up and taken a few miles out of town to the dump and emptied periodically. I guess one of the nice things about having 30 below temperatures is the lack of odor from the honey buckets. We decided early on that we liked the insurance of a double layer of trash bags. One of them was semi permanent and stayed in the toilet, just in case the primary bag leaked. We were always very careful when taking these trash bags out to the honey bucket.

We also found out quickly that women use a lot of toilet paper and the bathroom with the liquid waste tended to fill up with paper more than liquid. This was my first experience with using something other than toilet paper when I urinated. I tried not using anything, but that didn’t work. I developed something similar to diaper rash. Then I started using a dry washcloth. That worked fine. Fortunately, we had plenty of toilet paper, and continued to use it in the solid waste bathroom.

I give you all of these details to let you know there are many different ways to deal with life when their is no toilet paper or running water. We think there will come a time when we have no more toilet paper. Period. In preparation for that time we have stocked up on some thin, simple washcloths. There are even folks that make their own cloths to use in this situation. The difference this time is that we will need to deal with the solid waste issue, which will entail something besides washing the cloths like all the other laundry. Hygiene can either keep you alive, or kill you.

There is a lot of good information out on the web about how to handle cloth baby diapers, which would be very similar to how you would handle toileting cloths. Here are a couple of the sources I found.

Washing Cloth Diapers by Hand
How to Wash Your Cloth Diapers by Hand

A couple of things mentioned in these sources are to use soap, use hot water from the tap, and use your bath tub. Well, if it is an SHTF situation, what soap are you going to use? You won’t have hot water from the tap, so how are you going to heat it? And you probably won’t be using your bathtub, but I guess you could. The important information these articles give us is to pre-soak, or have a specific bucket or container for your soiled toileting cloths. Even if it’s only water, it keeps them from drying out when they are soiled making them harder to clean. It also contains the urine and feces in a safe place, decreasing the likelihood of contamination and illness due to poor hygiene. Diseases like dysentery are caused by poor hygiene and once started can spread to everyone in your family or group with devastating results.

Some of the projects and plans Frank and I have on our list include a covered outside kitchen/clothes washing area. We have not begun to put it together, it is only in the planning stage, so I cannot show you any of our progress, but we have acquired some of the needed items. This area will include a deep basin sink that can be used for dishes, washing produce

from the garden, and probably many other things. We have some galvanized washtubs and a wringer that will become our clothes washing station. We have a variety of buckets with lids that can hold and soak soiled toileting cloths until it is time to wash them. There will be a clothes line installed. We have a means of heating the water on a cast iron wood stove that we got for covered outdoor use. We have large stock pots. We also have a small supply of rubber gloves that will last for a while, but they too, will run out, just like the toilet paper. Soap? Another goal is to be able to make soap from our goat milk, lard from the pigs, and lye made from wood ashes. All of these things are part of one small task. Washing toileting cloths. Sound like a lot of work? I’m sure it will be. And don’t forget the outhouse. It is also waiting in the wings to be built. Seriously. It is on our list of things to do and has been for a while.

Personal hygiene when the SHTF happens will be important. Will it be given the attention and priority it is now, in this day and age? I doubt it. But the mental preparation to deal with something as simple as keeping your body fairly clean and free of toileting contaminants, will increase your health and well being when all else about you has changed. There are 

many, many conversations going around the internet covering a variety of things we need to prepare in the event a collapse or disaster occurs. This is one of those things that is seldom discussed or covered. It’s so much cooler to talk about the latest gun, or paracord, or ramming vehicle. But knowledge of and preparation for adequate, not sparkling spic and span clean, but adequate hygiene can save your life and the lives of your family. It’s something to think about and prepare for. So, please share your ideas and plans. Like Frank says, we’re all in this together, and two heads, or many web-wide heads, are better than one. We are grateful for the many experiences we have been blessed with in our lives. There is no doubt that they have come together to prepare us for the unbelievable future that is just around the corner. Are you ready?

Until next time – Fern

45 thoughts on “When There Is No Toilet Paper

  1. Hello, all! Pat R here. Just joining the conversation. A friend (a GOOD friend!) shared your site with me. You can get these \”potty chairs\” fairly inexpensively at second hand shops, yard sales, and flea markets; they're not that hard to come by. I got one for $2.00! That's all they wanted for it. It sits in my attack, awaiting the day it is needed. About those antique chamber pots…as an antique dealer, that is probably NOT your best solution. Porcelain, like glass (and most things) DOES deteriorate over time. It may not last long when you try to press it into service. Even a newer one, which you can find, will be subject to breakage – and, then what? The porcelain chamber pots are still available if you keep an eye out – your local hardware store, perhaps? It is my opinion that these are probably a better option. Better still? Just get the plastic buckets and the seat made for them from your favorite online supplier. I know Emergency Essentials sells them (beprepared.com), but probably so do a lot of other sellers.And, then, there's the mountain system. Yes, you can just put in a standard outhouse, and most people will probably need to do that. But, you can also be ready to install a mountain septic system. Get 3-4 of the 55-gallon heavy plastic drums; they're available from craigslist sellers just about everywhere, it seems; Use a round drill bit to drill holes, 2 in each, directly across from each other, near the top. I'm talking about a circle big enough to accommodate your PVC pipe. But you also need a couple of small hole at bottom of each, and place screening over them. This is to drain liquids, so only solids collect. Have the plumbing/PVC pipe you need ready in advance, and the right kind of plumbers adhesive. Post-IHTF, dig a large rectangular hole in your ground, place these, connect your pvc pipes with plumbers adhesive, and connect it to your sewer system. Should provide sufficient septic collection for some time. DO NOT PLACE ANYWHERE NEAR YOUR WATER SUPPLY. If your water supply runs \”down\” before collecting, make it sure it doesn't run close to the septic system.Or, just use an outhouse. Yes, it will stink sometimes, unlike the septic system, but it is definitely \”easier\” and cheaper.

  2. I have been looking at that site, Tewshooz. Thanks for the tips on storage, I am new to the world of lye. Interesting thought about squatting in the middle of the night. I'm going to have to think on that one.Fern

  3. I didn't know this was a practice anywhere, so thank you for sharing. The more alternative methods we can learn about now, even if we don't practice them, the better off we will be in the long run. Good sanitation can make all the difference in our long-term health. Thank you for the comment.Fern

  4. It sounds like you have a variety of different options available to you now, Mare. Good for you. Your old wringer washers sound like a great find, even if only for the wringers and the tubs. I guess when the water supply shuts down and we have to provide our own, one less worry will be busted water lines. But, in the grand scheme of things, I think I would rather try to deal with keeping the water dripping, or fixing busted water lines than having to haul water. Thank you for sharing your experiences.Fern

  5. Thank you for pointing out the need to compost human manure before it is safe to use, Steve, and for sharing the resource of the book you used to learn about it. There are many people that haven't come to grips with the small details of their lives that will change in a collapsed society and world. Learning and putting things into practice ahead of time, like you are, will make a big difference in being able to deal with a life of survival and hard work. Thank you again for sharing.Fern

  6. Your spray bottle idea is a very good one, Just Me. Instead of shampoo, try mixing a quart of water with 2 teaspoons of baking powder in your spray bottle, then rinse. If you want a conditioner/rinse use a quart of water with 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar (in another spray bottle), then rinse. That's all I've used on my hair in the shower for about 10 months now and it works great. (There are some posts about it.) If you only use the baking soda, after a while your hair will get dry, but if it's only temporary, it shouldn't be a problem.I think using the spray bottles to assist with toileting clean up would work as well. Thank you very much for sharing.Fern

  7. Yes, many countries do use their hand, but not by itself. They use a jug of water as well, and basically wash every time. If you wash your hands thoroughly afterward, there are no other clean up issues. As distasteful as this method sounds, you are actually much cleaner than mere dry wiping, which those cultures find disgusting as not really clean.I figure if you wash your hands twice, with a thorough rise both times, you will be quite clean.

  8. We have an outhouse (although it would be quite a trip in this morning's -6 temp). We've also purchased a bedside commode when my father was ill. It will work quite well when needed. We've saved our old wash clothes for years. When they get kind of thin and very soft, we put them back for possible use as a toilet paper substitute. We've also collected multiple 5 & 7 gallon buckets and lids from our local grocery store deli's. One of these could be used to collect the daily cloths in a bleach or other antiseptic solution.Not sure whether we'll be able to use a bucket of water to flush our toilets if things get bad but we have about the same plan as you used in Alaska. We also have 2 old wringer washers on the property that we need to evaluate to see if they are still are useful and whether they can be used without electricity. We've been thinking for a long time but have only had our property for 2 years. Though we had water freezing issues solved last summer but with our -6 temps this morning, we had more frozen & busted pipes (although in a different area than last year). We're learning as we go and are better prepared every month. Thanks for all your good insights and help. God Bless.

  9. Ah yes, sanitation. A couple years ago, my brothers and I were talking about what we would miss if TSHTF truly happened. They mentioned things like internet, favorite shows, or even things like chocolate, but when I said toilet paper, I think it kind of brought things home about how far down things could go.To add to the others that have mentioned the Humanure handbook. I've built and been using the lovable loo for three years now, and while I am still using toilet paper, have definitely thought about the need for alternatives. Any stocking up strategy is too short term. right now, I plan to try inner corn shucks, as I've heard they aren't too bad. ( even cotton cloth won't last as you look even further down the road)I recommend reading the humanure handbook, because he goes in to great detail about how to do it safely, and the added point is that composted human manure is excellent fertilizer for the garden. I have three compost bins, set up on a three year rotation, which along with the steps he describes,makes the resultant compost safe to use.

  10. I'm a little confused by the comment thing, too…hope this works this time…I have a number of spray bottles to use as \”mini-showers\” when there is no power. Several years ago we lost our power for 2-3 days – a long time in these parts. We're very lucky so far. I used a spray bottle full of soapy water to bathe, and one full of plain water to rinse. Worked like a charm and didn't use a ton of water. I felt fresh and clean to crawl into bed. The power came back on before I had to wash my hair – but I would have done the same thing with shampoo.In a grid-down, I'm planning on using yet another spray bottle as a make-shift bidet. It might at least cut down on what has to be washed off the cloths….Just Me

  11. You can make laundry soap by the 5 gallon bucket for only 4 or 5 dollars. Just use a bar of Naptha soap, Borax and washing soda. Lots of instructions on you tube. I go to Linda's Pantry….

  12. I happened upon a website called The history of toilet paper. Boy, that was a real eye opener. The Romans used a sponge tied to a stick and stored in a bucket of salt water. Europeans and Middle Eastern peoples (to this day) use their hand. Amazing

  13. Check out Bulkapothecary.com for lye purchases. Remember that lye will attract water so must be sealed up for long term storage. I have been thinking about those little chair chamber pots that are used in hospitals. They are light weight and have a little plastic bowels. Easy to clean and sanitize. Lightweight, too. Sure beats squatting in the middle of the night when half asleep. Am going to check out medical supply places online.

  14. Listerine and Odoban sound like good options, M.E., as long as they last. I would recommend having another option in place or in mind for when they run out. I do have a stash of rubber gloves, but eventually, they would run out as well.We have many pine cones around here, but using them never even crossed my mind! Thanks for the comment and the humor. Remember, humor is the essence of survival.Fern

  15. Thank you for providing another resource. The Loo sounds more comfortable than just a bucket with the toilet seat. It would probably add some stability as well. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  16. Mtn Man and I have discussed this very issue. Some dont know but Listerine works as a great clean up agent for the nether region. use a little on a cloth, will sting for 30 secs but you will not be getting diseased. Another cleaner to keep around is Odoban. Kills all nastiness and can be used in laundry. Another mention I would recommend is Rubber Gloves for washing soiled items , cuts down on disease! Great post!Mtn Man says one recommendation do not use pine cones!!

  17. The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure led me to make the Lovable Loo which is a wooden box with a 5 gal bucket and toilet seat attached. There is a whole composting system proposed in the book along with the plans for the loo. Well worth the read.

  18. humanure handbook.used thunderjug on farm in canada but knees worked without pain 40 years ago.got two potty chairs at med supply store.got one at walmart- quality not so good. i advise extra buckets for them as they will break around the edges.if you want a nifty potty chair that is a piece of real furniture that can be used as a chair get an amish carpenter to make one for you. expensive but worth it, although heavier to move than a med supply potty chair.just rrem3ember cholera and its buddies.

  19. Thank you for sharing chamber pot resources, C.M. You know, that sounds funny. I never thought I would be saying something like that! But, really, I do appreciate it.There are just some gross things in life that in our cushy, spoiled lives we haven't had to deal with. And if it comes down to using and washing out toileting cloths, then I would rather have to deal with them than not. I'm sorry to hear about your medication problems, C.M. I'm sure you have looked into herbal or any other alternatives there may be out there. That has to be a tough thing to face. I wish you all the best. May the Lord bless and keep you.Fern

  20. Fern, I hope you don't mind me answering one of your questions. I bought an old, if not antique, porcelain chamber pot with lid a couple of years ago on Ebay. It was very pretty and I bought it for decorative purposes, but it could certainly be pressed into service if the SHTF happens. It wasn't very expensive. Also, I've seen vintage enamel chamber pots with lids on Ebay. They were just simple white pots with enamel like the water bath pots for canning. I guess any old pot with a lid that fits would work. If you could find a chair you didn't mind altering, I think it wouldn't be too hard to remove the chair seat, cut a square of plywood or something similar to replace the original seat, cut a hole in the middle, nail the plywood to the chair, and prop the pot under the chair at the appropriate height. I'd much rather do that than go to an outhouse at night. I'd also think it would be nice for everyone in the house to have their own chamber pot.The idea of using \”family cloths\” really grosses me out, rather, the thought of laundering them does. That's one reason we've been really stocking up on toilet paper. We figure we won't last long after our medications run out, so it's not like we have to have a seven year supply. I have thought that it would probably be good to buy some used sheets and towels at a thrift store or Good Will type store to cut up and use for \”family cloths\” if the time comes.Hope to be raptured before it comes to this, but it's always good to be prepared.

  21. When I thought about the slick paper in today's catalogs, I came up with, \”That won't work.\” I hadn't thought of phone books or newspapers, though. But I still prefer cloth.I use old washcloths or rags for washing udders, and right now I am still using a commercial udder wash concentrate that we dilute with water. We hope to start making soap before long, but like you, we have also stocked up on laundry detergent since it can be used anywhere we may need soap.It decreases concern, and increases a sense of security and readiness when we feel there are some areas of our preparations that are in order. Thank you for sharing how you have prepared to take care of your family.Fern

  22. Well, Betty, I hope I don't run out of wash cloths and have to use newspaper or catalogs. I think I would definitely prefer the absorbancy of cloth. Keeping a chamber pot handy during the night is a very good idea. I will be looking into what I can use for one. Thank you very much for sharing.Fern

  23. I hadn't heard of adding urine to compost, Shifro, but that sounds logical. Using human waste for fertilizer can lead to dysentery if you don't know what you are doing. There may be ways to do that safely, but I don't know what steps would have to be followed to insure that safety. So, it is one area that I would caution, if you don't know the precise steps to follow, don't do it. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  24. This is a great tutorial, Vickie, with lots of details. Thank you for sharing it with us. The more realistic the picture we can form in our minds of how to do things, the easier it will be when we are in need of doing it. Thank you again.Fern

  25. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Fiona. It's nice to know there are still folks around that have used some alternative methods of taking care of toileting needs. I have some bottles of dry bleach tablets that will last a while, but when they run out, I will have to see if I can make up some herbal remedies that have some antiseptic or antibacterial properties for the soaking bucket. Hanging the wipes on the clothes line in the sun will be great for disinfecting, but keeping things sanitary before then, will be very important. Thanks again for sharing.Fern

  26. Hi Tewshooz. Great information, thank you.When Frank was a child, his grandmother had a chamber pot under the bed, as well as a straight backed chair with a chamber pot in it for sitting purposes. She also had an outhouse. Her house consisted of one room, with two double beds on one end, a table and chairs in the middle, and a kitchen at the opposite end. There was a pitcher pump in the kitchen sink. Come bath time, it was in a large metal wash tub. One single light bulb in the middle of the room, with a string pull. Guessing, the house was approximately 20 feet by 30 feet. His Grandma stored the jelly she made on the horizontal slats in the two seater outhouse. Frank still has problems with jelly. The area where she lived, which used to be way out in the country, is now covered with anthill type apartment houses. That's the way it is.We have read a lot about extracting lye from wood ashes. It would definitely not be my first choice. I have been researching what kind of bulk lye I can stock up on. Do you have a recommendation? And, now that I think about it, I should look into something for a chamber pot. Something with a lid. Hmmm…do you have any recommendations for that as well? I would hate to run into a snake in the dark on the way to the outhouse.And I'm glad I don't need to knit panty liners. I think the flannel ones would be more comfortable.Thanks again for some great information, Tewshooz.Fern

  27. The Sears catalog used in bygone years was not printed on slick paper. Closest thing in todays world is an old phone book. I collect them when the new ones come out each year. Remember that such paper will clog toilet lines and septic tanks – so put that paper into a covered trash can and burn daily rather than put it down your toilet.I've been stocking up on 15×13 inch All Purpose Shop Towels every time Harbor Freight has them on sale. They are sold in bundles of 50. I presently use them for udder wash rags when goat milking with a touch of bleach in the water. After several uses they turn from pink to a natural cotton shade. They last several years in routine use. My plan is to put a diaper pail in the bathroom for disposition until laundered. We are on a septic tank and have backup power for our well so I do not anticipate any problems in waste disposal. The septic tank has operated for almost 20 years without a hiccup. I do intend to have the sludge pumped out of the tank this year. My backup power supply will carry the washing machine but we will use the clothes line for drying. I am presently stocking laundry detergent in bulk since I have not learned soap making yet. I also stockpile dry pool shock hypochlorite for a bleach supply as disinfectant. Think this is one area I have reasonably well covered.

  28. Some of the old timers are probably right about separating where you sleep, eat and take care of needs. I have never read good reviews of a composting toilet. Either too wet, or too dry, or it still uses an external source of energy. But, I do know that honey buckets are still in use. It's hard to improve on some techniques. I sure miss Alaska. Thanks for the comment.Frank

  29. Barebones, some very good points. Good advice about the keys and the wallet. There are some things you just don't want to drop at the wrong time. We'll look into the salt idea. Most people think that 5 lbs. is a lot of salt, but when you really think about it, you can't use iodized salt for canning, even though it's an essential nutrient. We use regular salt on the occasional patch of ice we have. We also use it in the garden, very lightly to help deter slugs. And salt is a handy way to help preserve hides. And if your irritating neighbor ever gets cut, it's also a sick form of humor to apply it to a wound. You get the idea.We store our salt in the big Rubbermaid trash cans. You don't have to worry about keeping it airtight and nothing bothers it. Just make sure wherever you put 300 to 400 pounds of salt is where you want it to be for a while. It also comes in handy for fried potatoes.We use the Neosporin trick on cracked fingers, and buy the Wal-Mart version of it. It works well on livestock as well. You have lots of good ideas here. Thank you for sharing.Frank

  30. Shannon, I don't think any of us can be totally ready, but half the battle is getting our minds ready. Because most people don't have a clue. Do the best you can with what you've got. Thank you for reading and thank you for your honest comment.Frank

  31. Hi Mike, Frank here. I honestly know very little about a bidet. Actually, I know nothing except the basic concept about how they work. Now I have something new to look into. So, please excuse my ignorance while I do some research. Thank you for reading and thank you for the comment.Frank

  32. We used sears catalog and newpaper most of my life. we had a 2 seater over the hill. I'm saving all our old tees, dish towels, wash cloth and towels. I was married before my parents had indoor running (cold only) water. Mom kept a pot in the girls bedroom to use at night.She didn't want us going out by our selves. we even had newspaper in the out house at school. Betty

  33. Well urine makes a great compost additive. Just add it to your compost bin with vegetable and fruit peelings etc with layers of soil every 6 inches. Also human waste can be used as fertiliser cant it?

  34. I read a really great blog about a year ago (long since gone) and they used cloths as toilet paper. Each person in the family had their own – no sharing allowed. Each person also had their own bucket to keep the soiled ones in. When one started to run short of cloths, they were responsible for washing their own. To wash, they had a 5 gallon bucket with a lid and a hole cut in the center of the lid – big enough for the handle of a toilet plunger. The rubber part of the plunger had several holes cut into it. So, the cloths got dumped into the 5 gallon bucket along with hot water and detergent. The plunger would be put in and the lid fit over the top and sealed tight. Then, all they had to do was plunge up and down. The plunger, having holes in it, did a nice job of moving the cloths around in the soap and water. Once enough plunging had been done, the water was drained in a specific area, and fresh rinse water was poured in, and then the plunging started again. Careful observation of the rinse water let the person know if another rinse was necessary. Apparently the most critical part of the whole process, however, was drying the cloths in the sun! The sun kills most bacteria and viruses and will bleach out a lot of stains. This sounds very do-able to me! Since each person is taking care of their own cloths, it doesn't sound so icky. Oh, yeah – they were also supposed to let the bucket and plunger dry completely before another person could wash their cloths – which makes since because some bacteria could have been left behind in the rinse water.

  35. Ralph was complaining the last toilet paper was harsh…I reminder him about the Sear's catalog's back in the day. My mother made Bum wipes as she called them from old flannel sheets and if we couldn't get to town in winter she would break them out. I did not see or use a flush toilet until 1966 when we got power to our farm. My mother kept a good quality galvanized bucket that had a tight lid for these bum wipes and she added a bleach solution to water in it when it was in use [washed and cleaned daily] then washed them out of doors, no where near any other laundry. We never had issues but we had not been spoiled with TP either. These last two posts are great…some thing are hardly ever addressed by the Survivalist community…you can;t shoot anyone if your down with dysentery of some other hygiene issue!

  36. I wanted to add a thought from yesterday's post. My mother told me that in her time, women knitted or crocheted cloths for their period because cloth was too costly for that. They would make their own sanitary belts, too. When my kids were little we had a diaper pail. A diaper service was too expensive and disposable ones were really expensive and were just coming on the market. Kids in those days were potty trained at or before 2 years….none of this 3 year toddles running around with a diaper. Anyway, about the question of toilet paper: When out in the woods, you grab a handful of grass or leaves. In the outhouse, which we are going to build soon, there was always an old Sears catalog handy for wiping…pages were torn in half or quarters for wiping. Always had some quick lime handy, too. So, you should probably start saving all that junk mail and tons of catalogs you are getting. As far as making soap from wood ashes, you will wind up with soft soap. In the old days, making soap was an art. Saving all the old fats all year made for a really stinky soap and, yes, it was used for laundry soap, cause you could not use it on your skin cause it would take the hide right off. It was cooked in a big kettle outside as the fumes from the fat and lye would choke you if made inside. Usually this was done in the fall after slaughter and enough was made to last all year. I have been stocking up on lye (sodium hydroxide as opposed to potassium hydroxide) from a soapmaking website as I do make my own soap, both for personal and laundry use. If you don't know what you are doing when working with wood ash lye (or any lye) you can really burn yourself as it is caustic. Soap made from fresh rendered pig fat is wonderful….from rancid stuff, not so much. If you start with old rancid fat, you will get rancid soap. In cold country, there was always a chamber pot under the bed so you would not have to brave the cold to the outhouse during the night. Yep, the good old days

  37. I have lived in Alaska for 30 some years and understand what you mean by honey buckets. The times are changing seeing more composting toilets being used indoors and the outhouse of course still popular. Many old timers still do not like bathrooms where they sleep or cook, rather have a bath house separate from the home.

  38. Good post! Something most people avoid discussing. I started collecting packs of those wash clothes from Walmart a couple of years ago. A good temporary solution is to buy commercial toilet paper (and a dispenser @ $20). They come packed 12/1150ft@ in a $50 carton on Amazon. Two cartons (5.2mi) should last two people about a year.I have an outhouse in progress along with a Chicken Coop and a Rabbit Hutch. I'm too damn old for larger critters. Using an outhouse is great but leave your wallet and keys in a secure place.A good place for commodious vats is your local farm supply. Get the petroleum based containers, they'll survive weather and incredible abuse. Farm supply is a good place for salt. 50lbs/$5. It has no additives so is good for canning and meat preservation.An important issue is the need for Imodium or equivalent to avoid dehydration. Another debilitation is split fingertips due to cold or whatever. With damaged fingertips, it's almost impossible to even dress oneself! I get the cheap Bandaids brand (60/$2) and Neosporin from Walmart. Best to apply at night and wrap with 3M brand paper tape. If applied at bedtime, usually effectively healed by AM.

  39. Dear Fern, no we are not ready. But we are aware and working diligently toward becoming ready. Information like yours is important and we thank you for bringing it up and getting us, and others, to think about it.

  40. Hi, I too have worried about what to do after the toilet paper is gone. A few years ago we bought a bidet seat for our toilet, which has really spoiled me. The other day I got worried about what I'd do without running water, so I ordered a 1 liter pump sprayer with a directional nozzle from Amazon. I used it last week at deer camp and it works great! The nozzle stayed sanitary, I got clean, and I only had to dry off a bit. This sprayer and some reusable wash cloths will be our solution when there is no toilet paper/ running water. Mike

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