If I may offer some suggestions in the absence of toilet paper …

Some of us are going to have to be creative if we run out of toilet paper in these trying times. For the sake of our collective water systems, please remember that only three things go in the toilet: pee, poop and toilet paper.

For wiping alternatives, remember that humans have a long history of pre-industrial bum-wiping. As we get down to bare basics in this modern age, consider these alternatives. Remember that any and all of these items must either be thrown into trash bins, or in some case, laundered for reuse.

• Paper: The trick is to wet it first so it doesn’t scrape your hiney away. Use newspaper, notebook paper, phone books, catalog pages. Then, in the bin it goes!

• Wipes (baby/wet wipes) or facial tissues – then, in the bin it goes!

• Cloth: Make rags of old flannel nightgowns, T-shirts or towels. Trim them with pinking shears to prevent fraying, if you can. We used cloth diapers on babies for years. For poop, we’d shake them out in the toilet, then put them into the covered bucket for later washing and disinfection – separate from other laundry.

• Sanitary napkins, panty liners, cotton balls or damp sponges – then, in the bin they go!

• Leaves – in the bin they go! You don’t want E. coli in your compost pile.

We’ll be talking about this for years to come. Make the stories good.

Allison Barker

Portland

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