Do you have enough toilet paper stored?
It seems as preppers, our main focus is on storing water and food; making sure we have enough should we encounter a time of crisis or an emergency situation. But, have you thought about toilet paper? How much you would need to store? Where would you store it? Would a warehouse be large enough to store enough toilet paper for your familiy? There are just so many things to consider, and because of that, most of us will put this one off for as long as we can. But, we really shouldn't be putting it off, should we? Because hygeine is highly important in our every day lives, and would be so much more important in a grid down situation.
First of all, we need to decide what we are preparing for. Is it for a 72 hour (3 days) emergency? A month? Six months? A year? Longer? That may make a difference in what you decide to do about procuring and storing toilet paper, or its alternatives. Undoubtedly, it is going to take a lot of room to store up enough toilet paper for a family to last any reasonable length of time.
Well, if you are like me, and I know some of you are, you may not have a lot of space to pile up big packs of toilet paper rolls. In that case, we need to think about and come up with some alternatives. And, that's what I want to do today. I want to share with you some alternatives to storing a massive amount of toilet paper that I have found.
Don't get me wrong, I do have a few packs of toilet paper put away in my storage area. But, it isn't enough to get us through a long term emergency or SHTF situation. Thus my search to find one or more good alternatives.
I also have to consider what would work best if we had to bug out and hang out in the woods for any amount of time. What would we use for toilet paper or as an alternative then? I haven't seen too many photos of preppers' bug out bags with toilet paper in them. Come to think of it, I don't really remember seeing any with toilet paper or alternatives in them. Including mine. Well at least in our bug out bags we have a paper towel in each of our MRE packs; yes, I just remembered that, lol. But, knowing we need some type of toilet paper for our bug out bags as well as for our storage area is what got me looking into the alternatives.
Reusable cloth wipes
I've heard some preppers talking about making and using reusable cloth, or washcloths, for their toilet paper needs. I'm not sure the reasoning behind this. Some could be environmental, which may somewhat make sense in our normal everyday lives, but I'm not so sure about in a SHTF situation. I'm thinking most of them are thinking about cost and space when they consider such a thing as a prepper. Either way, I have yet to be convinced that it's a good idea. I don't know about you, but I'm not too crazy about the idea of washing washcloths used as toilet paper by hand. Not only is it not sanitary or healthy, but eeewwww...gross!
Most of you who have children probably used disposable diapers for your babies. But myself, have had the non-pleasure of using cloth diapers for three of my four children. My oldest was born before disposable diapers were widely known about or available, so I had to use cloth diapers on him. By the time my twins came along, two years later, I was so excited to know that disposable diapers had been invented! I loved the idea of not having to wash cloth diapers for the two of them!! That is, until it was discovered that BOTH of my twin babies were allergic to the disposable diapers! Ugh. Thankfully, my fourth child was not allergic to them and I was finally able to enjoy the convenience thereof!
Anyway, after using cloth diapers for three babies, I have a pretty good idea of what it would be like to use washcloths for toilet paper. At least I had a washer and dryer that I used to wash the diapers with. However, when I think about using said cloths during a time when water and power might not be available to run a washer and dryer...well, that takes it to a whole new level. If there were no water or electricity one would have to wash those washcloths in a tub of some kind using their bare hands. I'd also imagine it would take a LOT of water just to wash a few cloths. Even then, I'm not sure I would trust that they would be completely clean and sanitary to use. I suppose you could stock up on tons of liquid bleach, but that would end up taking up as much storage space as the toilet paper would. And, using too much bleach on the cloths could cause irritation to certain body parts.
Well, at least that's what I think of when I think of using cloth washcloths as an alternative to toilet paper. I just don't see where the pros would outweigh the cons. It would probably be my most last choice.
Something I've considered as an alternative to stocking toilet paper in my preps is disposable wipes.
The photo on the left shows multiple packs of Cottonelle Flushable Wipes available on Amazon for $14.30 at the time of this writing. That's 336 wipes for $14.30. (DISCLAIMER: Please note that I am not an Amazon Affiliate and receive no compensation of any kind if you click on the links provided in this article.)
I compared the price of these wipes to a 12-pack of Cottonelle Ultra ComfortCare Toilet Paper also available on Amazon for $6.00 And this is what I found:
12 rolls toilet paper for $6.00.
Each roll has 121 sheets.
That's 1452 sheets total.
Divided total sheets by 4 (sheets per single use) = 363
336 flushable wipes for $14.30.
If I calculated the costs correctly, the disposable wipes cost a tad more than double the cost of the toilet paper, for close to the same amount. Which really isn't too bad when you think about it.
I was trying to find the "shelf life" of the wipes and as I wasn't finding anything I realized that even if they did go dry you would probably still be able to use them. One of those "duh!" moments, lol.
I did check the packaging dimensions and weight of the toilet paper rolls vs. the wipes in the product details section of the listings and this is what I found:
12.2 x 9.2 x 7.9 inches ; 1.61 pounds
12.4 x 7.8 x 4.2 inches; 4.8 pounds
Size wise you're not saving a whole heck of a lot of room; but yet some. Maybe enough to make a difference? For me, one who is trying to save room, it would not be worth the extra cost for the wipes. Still a problem for me and our bug out bags because of the weight of the wet wipes. Although, for short term, one package would probably be okay in the bug out bag; not taking up a whole lot of room and weighing only 0.6 ounces. But, if you keep reading you will see that I may have found a better solution for our bug out bags.
WYSI Wipes are hypoallergenic reusable wipes. According to their website at wysiwipe.com, Wysi® is an acronym for what you see is- a wipe. It's pronounced "whiz-zee". From what I could tell (from their website) you can only buy WYSI Wipes from Amazon's website. I found a pack of 100 on Amazon for $9.99. You can also find a box of 500 at the same link for $39.95.
WYSI Wipes are different from toilet paper and the disposable wipes above in that they need water in order to work. But, only a few drops of water is needed; about as much as a tablespoon. They come in small tablets, about the size of a nickel. Does anyone even see a knickel anymore? Anyway, you might remember how big (or small) a nickel is. And, with just a few drops of water these wipes expand to a whopping 9 by 12 inches!
Not only do these wipes work great as toilet paper, but oh so much more! Check out this commercial (from 2009) for the WYSI Wipes. Note, they do not show these wipes as a use for toilet paper, but it gives you an idea of how they actually work and the many uses for them.
These wipes have two good things going for them! One, they are small, a bag of 100 being only 6 x 1 x 8.5 inches. So, you could store lots of these in a small amount of space. Two, they are lightweight. One hundred tablets weigh only 7.2 ounces. Which would make them great for putting into our bug out bags! The one not so good thing going for them? The price. They are quite pricey when you think about it. In fact, they are the most expensive of any of the options mentioned here. In fact, to even be comparable in the amount of uses you would get compared to the toilet paper or the disposable wipes above, you would need to spend roughly $35. But, is this something I would consider buying for my preps? Even on my extremely low budget? You bet I would! In fact, as soon as I sign off from posting this article, I'm heading straight over to Amazon and placing an order for a pack. Sure, I can only buy the pack of 100, but I figure if I buy one pack a month I'm that much further ahead in my prepping than I was.
As you can see, there are a few alternatives to stocking toilet paper available to us. I'm one of those preppers who believes that we need to rely upon more than one absolute source. I have decided to stock up on as much toilet paper as I can fit in my storage area, but I will also stock up on some disposable/flushable wipes as well as a boat load of WYSI Wipes. These options would each be available to use in whatever situation were to arise. The toilet paper would be for at-home use. The disposable/flushable wipes for backups: if we run out of toilet paper at home and one pack in each of our bug out bags as backup for when no water available for the WYSI Wipes. The WYSI Wipes for at home (to use when water is available, thus saving the toilet paper) and in our bug out bags. I hope that made sense because it made sense in my mind, lol.
So, if you are like me and don't have a lot of space for stocking up on toilet paper, I hope I have helped you in providing some alternatives. And, if storing toilet paper isn't something you've thought much about, I do hope you will begin to make plans to stock up on some. Some may say that back in the pioneer days they used catalogs and corn cobs in place of toilet paper. And, they think that they can get away without having toilet paper on hand. Think about that for a moment. How many catalogs or corn cobs have you seen laying around where you live lately? Exactly! Those items were more available to the average households back then.
Until next time...happy prepping, and God bless!