Toilet paper, food and personal hygiene items are just some of the items that flew off supermarket shelves in Singapore when the Singapore Government raised the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition or Dorscon alert to code orange on February 7, 2020. Just recently, panic-buying happened again when it was announced that Malaysia, where we get our supplies from, will be in a nationwide lockdown for two weeks from 18 March.
Although the government assured us that supermarkets have enough supplies to last us for the next three months, some people are still resorting to hoarding and sweeping supermarket shelves clean, leaving people who really need these items unable to purchase them.
Here are 10 toilet paper alternatives that serve their purpose and clean as well, too, so you can be better prepared in case toilet paper runs out again.
Some have found a way out of using toilet paper entirely by turning to the bidet – an bottom-rinsing invention that has been around since the early 1700s and originated in France. In French, bidet means “horse”.
There is always good, ol’ water to the rescue. They’re cleaner and more environmentally friendly than toilet paper, too.
Using water to wash yourself can lead to less cases of rashes, hemorrhoids, urinary tract infections, and other health issues as it effectively cleans better than plain toilet paper.
In most instances, you don’t even need to replace your throne, simply attach the bidet to your existing seat and you’re good to go.
The RealWash Bidet, $70 (pictured), is a non-electric set that is one of the cheapest out there. It fits most toilet bowls and it comes with all accessories and a simple self installation manual. Just follow the instructions to install and you are ready to go.
More bidet options:
The non-electric EzyClean Bidet from Panasonic boasts of their “Crystal AntiBacterial technology” which is marketed as effective against bacteria E. coli and S. aureus that cause urinary tract infections. The nozzle has a self-cleaning function and there are two spray functions – Feminine Use (with five nozzle holes) and Family Use (with a single nozzle hole).
We also found another non-electric bidet, the Neo 320 from Luxe Bidet. It is a hot and cold water bidet featuring a feminine nozzle designed to aim lower and spray softer.
You can control the temperature however you want. When the bidet is activated, the nozzle drops below the guard gate and retracts for storage when not in use. It also has a self-cleaning nozzle that rinses the nozzles with fresh water to keep them clean.
For a more luxe option, the electric Biobidet Bliss comes with the options of posterior, feminine, and vortex washes and an adjustable heated seat. If you want your butt to feel warm and nice in the morning, you should go for an electric option.
It is also eco friendly with an energy-saving mode, which reduces use of electricity.
We also added in this portable version, that you can bring anywhere with you and you can use it at home or outside, however you like. This “travel bidet” comes in the form of a 450ml soft squeeze bottle, its capacity large enough for you to take a wash at one time. It is useful for pregnant women, patients or elderly, baby diapers changing, hemorrhoids patients etc.
Flushing a wet wipe down a toilet is never a good idea (but there are still inconsiderate people who do that, aplenty) because it can choke up the plumbing system.
Traditional wet wipes do not break down in water, and they can block the waste management systems.
Get flushable wet wipes that easily break apart after flushing, reducing the chance for blockages in waste management systems. They supposedly clean better than dry toilet tissue, too. Cottonelle GentlePlus Flushable Wet Wipes are made from fibres that are 100 per cent biodegradable and Solimo Flushable Adult Toilet Wipes are made from 100 per cent plant-based materials.
Flushable wet wipes such as the Kleenex Ultra Soft Moist Toilet Tissue are supposedly safe to flush too.
Another alternative is bamboo wet wipes such as the Cloversoft Bamboo 99% Pure Water Baby Wipes or Cloversoft Bamboo Unbleached Wipes that are biodegradable and free from harmful chemicals. Bamboo baby wipes are biodegradable because bamboo as a material is able to decompose rapidly.
These Washable Cotton Terry Cloth Baby Wipes, £7.50 ($12.60 for 10 pieces) from Cheeky Wipes are brilliant for poo and perfect for cleaning mucky babies (if you can use it on babies, you can use it on yourself too!) They are made from Oeko-tex certified material and dyes, so they are safe for anyone. Just machine wash with your normal wash, up to 60 degrees, to clean.
They also sell a Washable Cloth Natural Bamboo Velour Baby Wipes, £8.95 ($15 for 10 pieces) version which are anti-bacterial and are super absorbent and soft for any bum.
If you do not want to invest a few hundreds in a bidet, the water jet next to your toilet bowl is much less complicated. You can adjust the pressure and let water gently run from top to bottom of your behind and wash the pieces of poo down the toilet.
Water runs from “top to bottom” at a 10–20 degree angle and gently washes stuff away rather than shooting at your butt at a 90 degree angle. Instead of relying on complicated electronics, you adjust the water pressure with a mechanical valve.
One option is this Showy Pure Brass Chrome Streamlined Rinser Set, $34.24 or you can also purchase a water spray jet from hardware stores in your neighbourhood.
Kitchen towels are the next best thing to toilet paper that you can find in your house. Since you are just using them to clean your bum, you may just want to get a cheaper option like the Budget Kitchen Towels, $3.05 (six rolls per pack) and do the job.
But we have to give a heads up that these may feel a bit rough for your delicate bum so you may want to pay a bit more for a premium option such as the FairPrice Premium Kitchen Towel Rolls, $4.15 (six rolls per pack).
Bamboo dry baby wipes are great for babies (if they are great for babies, they are great for you) and the environment such as Careboree 100% Bamboo Dry Baby Wipes, $35.11 and Eco Beginnings 100% Bamboo Dry Baby Wipes, $24.84 (for 80 pieces). They are made from natural 100 per cent bamboo fibres, unbleached, non-toxic, biodegradable, eco-friendly and friendly to our skins.
They are smoother, stronger and more absorbent than cotton, rayon and any other materials. They are clean and hygienic and would not breed bacteria. You can use it either dry or wet – add some essential oil or water, and it becomes a wet wipe.
Finally, we can give those old tops and rags one last use before we toss them out. To make them into a toilet paper alternative, cut squares or strips and you can reuse them by washing or you can just toss them if you have enough to get you through. Wetting the wipes with water first before you wipe as usual after your big business.
Here’s a video we found on how to make them. Sewing cloth wipes is very easy. You just use squares of flannel. You can use “two ply” or two layers and serge/sew them together. If you can’t sew, wash cloths do the same job!
Shower heads work similarly to a bidet if your shower head is not stuck to the wall. One wallet-friendly option is the 3-Gear shower head, $13.40. You can also check out Grohe for quality showerheads with more pressure options, although they are slightly pricier. Point the shower head towards your bum and let the water stream flow down your cheeks.
Squatting in the shower would help too, so more water can get in.
Anyway, it is a no-brainer – we should be washing our bums in the shower even after using toilet paper.
Everyone should have one of these in your bathroom but you can also purchase it from hardware stores in your neighbourhood.
Cloth-like wipes are designed to be absorbent and they clean liquids, oil, spills and grease like a dream, so they will soak up urine and poo as well, such as these Scott Disposable Cloth-like Wipes, $6.25 (63 pieces).
They supposedly do the job better than regular kitchen paper towels and they are disposable for better hygiene than cloth, if you are not into reusing cloth after wiping your hiney.
As the last resort… cotton pads.
They work well for removal of makeup and nail polish so they would work well for removal of poop residue as well.
These Bellacotton Large Cotton Square Pads 3.5″ x 4″, $8.30 (50 pieces) fit perfectly in your hand to cleanse your skin (or bum) more easily. They are also soft and absorbent and effective for cleansing. They are 100 per cent biodegradable and hypoallergenic – good for your skin and bum.
With these possible toilet paper alternatives to the rescue, you wouldn’t have to worry as much. Since we are already living in anxiety and fear with the situation right now, it helps to be well-prepared to face the days ahead until the situation alleviates.
Text: Sheila Chiang