How much toilet paper to stockpile…? None!

Letter from Thisall H

How much toilet paper to stockpile…? None!

I’ll explain I’m currently working in Africa it just stuck me while making a trip to the bathroom. Use a spray hose as they do.

African/Middle Eastern public toilets are notoriously bad places to visit, I’ve found that when used within the home they seem to be a lot more accurate and not messy at all. I’m even working with a fellow Brit that lives in Thailand that has been converted over to the hose system as they use it there, so much so that he brought a new one back with him after his last leave, to replace the one that had come pre-fitted in our current accommodation.

For the people that don’t know what I’m are talking about a picture helps or this one – this will only work Post SHTF is you still have a pressurised water system at your bug out location.

So for those off-grid use something similar to a Garden hand sprayer of any size would work as long as it had a trigger – this might work.

I think that most people would be happier if they each had personal towels and possibly flannels, but to me this does seem to be a way around the toilet paper question.

I’m sure the creative people on this site can take the basic Idea and improve on it.


  1. I wish I could remember the formula I used for stocking TP. But I am at goal for the 2 of up. It does take a lot of space.

    I will admit that this is an interesting idea, although I hope it attaches to warm water, not ice cold.

  2. patientmomma says:

    When I lived in Thailand, India, and Philippines, those countries used a similar system. It worked well for the locals as at that time, many did not wear underwear under their native dress.

    If you are at home and have the time you can spray and shake, but when your working or on the go, wet or damp underwear causes fungus problems, especially for women. If you don’t want to use disposable TP, then make some reuseable and washable cloths for drying and cleansing.

    • When I was bumming around (pun strictly intentional) North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, most of the toilets had a small can and a water faucet. You were supposed to pour the water onto your left hand and splash clean.

      Toilet paper was strictly forbidden because the systems weren’t designed for it and would clog up.

      And that is why people there eat from the communal pot only with their right hands.

      And why cutting off the hand of a three time convicted thief not only maims him but makes him a social outcast: he is not allowed to reach into the pot with his left hand.

    • I found some flannel on the sale table and bought up what I could get. I can make my own TP, kitchen washcloths and towels, etc. With this system, the flannel TP would be perfect for drying. They can then be treated to a “diaper pail.” and washed with other laundry.

      BTW: I also bought some fabric for hankies. Again, need a “diaper pail” to maintain cleanliness. Would not put them in with regular wash if something contagious was happening in the home.

      • patientmomma says:

        Last summer I found a bunch of used flannel sheets at yard sales; they are perfect for reusable TP and other items. Cheaper than TP. But, since we still have TP for a while, I still use it!

        • I came across some inexpensive flannel receiving blankets in the baby section of a local ‘dollar’ store. They came in a package of 2, and you can probably get a dozen good-sized wipes out of them.

  3. Why not just cut up 5″ by 5″ squares of flannel and have them handy with a diaper pail and clorox water in it?
    We USE to wash pissy/shitty diapers back in the day. 🙂

    • S'wt Tater says:

      remember they will shrink…be generous with the measure or they may be too small for your designated use.

  4. I’ve been stocking old towels I get from thrift stores for about $3 a bag. These are ones they will not try to sell because the are a bit frayed, or discolored.

    I’ve lived off grid for awhile when my daughter (turning 39 this coming September – where did the time go?) was a baby, and I washed diapers every day in buckets on a wash board and hung them on the line. ‘Toilet paper’ made from towels will be the same thing, only a lot softer, and a lot less space to store than years worth of toilet paper.

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      Ma-am, ya give me pause to harken back to colder and dirty-er days. In the heavy construction industry you can always find the rag box. Nearly every electrical wholesale house sells these. Old clothing, sheets etc. that don’t make the Good Will cut. Each one has about 4 cubic feet of packed rags???

      Dangy… the things that come up in here……….

  5. Great! That’s just what I need to add to my already disadvantaged nether region,,,,,COLD WATER!!! We all know what cold water does to men!!! I think I’ll just buy a 24 x12 foot storage building and fill it with TP. All kidding aside,this is a thought provoking idea to consider should TP be unavailable.

  6. When the Sears & Roebuck catalog ruled the rural part of the country about 100 years ago, it served a secondary place n the out house, as reading material and for clean up. I don’t know about you, but I get a tremendous amount of junk mail every week, it now goes in the recycling bin, but I could save it for kindling and tp use without question, so problem solved!

    • Don’t overlook those old phone books .

    • rjarena,
      The old Sears and Roebuck catalog in the outhouse is legendary, but the legend needs to go back many years, perhaps into the 1930’s, because back then, the catalog had simple black and white printed paper sheets. Starting somewhere in the 1940’s or 50′, they went to the colored pages on the slick paper. Don’t ask me how I know, but that paper doesn’t work well for the purpose being discussed. Several layers of an old telephone book might however.

  7. I live far from the nearest town and without owning a car it takes an all day trip to get supplies, can’t easily stock up on TP (except in warm summer months when a bike and trailer can be used). last January I ran out and didn’t get more until may, in that time I used pages from old books and newspaper (glad I use an outhouse). it works and are easy to get (pennypincher newspapers are free in a lot of places and you can get large stacks free, I also use them as tinder in the stove and for making folded cups to start seedling indoors with). TP is not an essential product to stockpile but it sure is worth stocking as a luxury.

  8. There seems to be a bit of leaking problem with some of those hand held units. A simple solution is a large (plastic) glass of warm water. Pour from the front, use other hand to splash it about, and a little square of flannel to dry.

  9. Mystery Guest says:

    Thisall H
    All well and good if the water supply is flowing.

  10. For right now TP is fairly inexpensive so I stock up. The spray system kind of depends on a good supply of water. I have used (experimented) with the wipe cloths method and it seemed to use less water.
    I would be able to use alternate methods and a few weeks into shtf I think some of my TP storage will be used to barter with!!! No telling what a desperate person may trade for a roll of TP..

    • TP as barter material – George, I think u may be onto something there. But it’d be good to trade only if ppl are too grossed out by the things mentioned here.

  11. Unfortunately DH is not THAT on board with the preps. He thinks I’m bonkers wanting to can what stuff we do have. His biggest concern is another power outage…..

    We even got into a row the other night when I told him “I’m tired of following your lead and ending up having out a$$ flapping in the wind.” Granted this WAS after he came home with the car so low on gas I ran out in the middle of the road (with NO gas can in the car) on my way to get some. This is after I’ve been on his case about not letting the car get below a 12 to 1/4 tank….

    So you guys out there who do not have the spouse 100% on board, how do you stave off the arguments.

    • If my wife wasn’t on board,she probably would have left me. I’ve spent many thousands of dollars on preps and thousands more on armament and ammo. We can’t leave for more than an occasional overnight because of the animals. I’ve turned a manicured and sculptured lawn into hen house/run and garden. I’ve taken an entire bedroom and turned it into pantry gun safe prep room. Yep,no doubt about it,if she wasn’t on board, I’d be single.

      • I’m in the BC park–I have spent thousands and can’t think of one thing(except solar) that I need.
        It took patience, watching for sales, saving for things, but I did it.
        Gene was a BIG supporter of all I did and without him it would have been impossible.
        I know of one neighbor that hid TP and Paper Towels under the bed, and when her a**hole husband found them, he took PT and TP off the grocery list that day!!!
        She also put canned goods in the attic inside a tote–not a good idea.

      • bc,
        A manicured and sculptured lawn is a waste of good garfen space. So is a golf course.

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      Guy needs a significant emotional event………. We wish you luck.

      • I wish it would register. I started really thinking about emergencies after the big April tornados in Alabama a couple of years ago. We really were fought with our pants down then. We didn’t even have enough fuel in the van to make it 45 minuets north out of the power outage zone. Thanks to our neighbors who had ten gallons of gas we traded the contents of our freezer for it. We stayed the week or so in TN with friends.

        As soon as I got back I began little things like gathering documents and keeping at least 200 in cash. (Which I told him not to keep in my jewelry box. Sure enough we had a break in) I didn’t really start prepping until around Thanksgiving when I discovered couponning. I didn’t see how we could afford it. Now on the other hand he loves I’m saving money but thinks I’m getting overboard LOL

        • Tactical G-Ma says:

          Okiebama, Just finished the SkyWarn class given by the B’ham NWS. Our one of two major tornado seasons starts March 1st. It’s time for drills and preps. Cannot stress it enough for the southern states. If you prep for anything, it should include tornados. Where ya gonna go…and it ain’t outside to rubber-neck. And the second worst dangers are floods. Do not drive through or walk through water. It’s stupid and deadly! Good luck.

          • Tactical G-Ma,
            Good point on the Skywarn classes. I’ve taken them numerous times over the years, and although they are typically aimed at anateur radio operators (Hams), anyone can become a spotter, and learn what to look for, what to ignore, and how to report. The classes are free, and are well worth a few hours every few years to attend.

      • Oh, the idiot from Ca. worked for the water district for 20 years and told me my water in the 30 gallon drums would ….R.O.T.
        Oh, yes, he did and I have a Berkey and pool shock and he says it still won’t be drinkable!!

        • The neighbors’ pools & hot tub are on my life of emergency water. We may not be able to drink it, but can use it for flushing, washing clothes, bathing, & save the storage water for drinking & cooking.

          • RedC,
            You should let your neighbors know that it cannot be used for drinking, of course leaving out the part where it can with a proper filter. Any number of filter systems from a life straw, to a Katadyn or Seychelle bottle, to a Berkey will do what you need to make it potable.

    • I don’t think you can stave off the arguments. But you may be able to figure out some way to modify the behavior over time. As far as running out of gas in the manner you did? That was just plain thoughtlessness or laziness on his part.

    • Bragging a bit here. Met my DH on the survivalist dating.

      Our biggest problem at the moment is space. We’re stuck in a little 1900’s farm house, and he says no prepping because we have no more room. I insist on continuing preps, because I think TS will hit the fan in the next year or so.

      And, I’m meaner than him!

  12. A person would still need to dry off, so either TP or some sort of toweling is necessary. It might be one thing in a summer climate to “drip-dry,” but not in cold climates! 🙂

  13. I buy toilet paper from the same people that supply businesses, they come in huge wheels I bought a case ( 6 rolls ) the beginning of last year and still have 3 left. you can literally store years of TP easily when it comes this way.

  14. My farm is fed off of a gravity powered spring/cistern than even in the summer time is cold enough to give a polar bear pause!

    This time of year it would be closer to bead blasting or freeze drying depending on how things played out.

    I suppose this option will be on the list, but forgive me if it tends to live at the bottom of the list for the foreseeable future!


  15. ladyhawthorne says:
  16. chicken little says:

    Save your holy socks and the ones you cant find the match to for T.P.
    I have a 5 gal pail full of them. I too get the rag bags at the thrift shop they sell for 2.99 a bag. I wait for senior discount day and get 20 percent off that price. Sometimes the towels in them are better than my own.

  17. Thomas The Tinker says:

    Sheepdog… your vivid analogy … well Crappolla .. words fail .. you have poisoned my dreams with pain and … well…. pain.

  18. Be careful where you store your paper supplies. We lost some to a mouse invasion in the shop. When found, it was quickly cured by locking the cats up in the shop at night for about two weeks………end of problem. We thought we had the pests all cleaned out, and dropped our guard. Toilet paper has one use for us, but builds a heck of a nest for mice.

  19. Mountain girl says:

    As others said, we use cloth TP for pee and throw it in with the cloth diapers. I still ask everyone to use TP for number two. I don’t see the bidet thing working well for us – (1) no electricity= no water, (2) not wanting to be wet after using the bathroom, and (3) six kids with a hose in the bathroom = not a pretty sight.

    • Mountain girl, omg I am rolling…. 6 kids in the bathroom without a hose is scary enough. I dont know about in your house but if one of my kids is in the bathroom longer then a few moments I go investigate. My youngest, not even 2 yet, managed to climb on the counter, block the sink of then flood the bathroom.
      Oh and then of course there would be the “MOOOOOMMMMM, she/he sprayed me with toilet water…..”

  20. Tactical G-Ma says:

    I recall using catalog. Newsprint leaves ink stains. While wiping w/ catalog pages is similar to using wax paper and not good for thorough cleaning additional cleaning is required to prevent a sore bum. We always kept water on the stove during the winter because the stove dried out the air so much. It always gave us a ready supply of hot water. I preferred a chamber pot and a basin for lavage immediately following. The used water went into the pot, covered and then carried out. Since i have a well maintained sceptic system which means i will use my toilet with or without tp so long as I can carry water for washing and flushing.

  21. I have over 6 years of TP–been buying Angel Soft from Dollar General for 5 years.
    It’s in the attic. I have been here for 6 years and so far, not one mouse.
    Now, watch the mice join our family.

  22. I realized early on in prepping that there is no way I can stock up enough toilet paper for my family. I try to keep a months supply of tp on hand but even that is difficult. We have a household of 9 people, 7 of which are girls.
    One day I found my girls using a roll for their barbies, making blankets, pillows and whatever else- mind you I have made them countless barbie items and they get my fabric scraps to make stuff too. Then theres the baby, who is starting to be interested in the bathroom. I havent fished entire roles out of the toilet…. lol.

    I get old t-shirts, cut them up and use them for pretty much most of the stuff around the house that would require paper products. With my last baby I even started using them in place of wipes. I color code them, anything within one range of colors gets used in the kitchen, others for the bathroom, ect.
    I even make sanitary pads (new material as I am weird enough that I cant use old material for that). I do keep store bought on hand, but they are used on the go or if a friend happens to be over and needs one.
    So for my family, I dont think it will be a stretch to go from using tp to using old rags. Note to self, stock up on more washing soda….

  23. A hand pumped garden sprayer will work just fine, can also be used as a shower too in a pinch. We stock two in our preps.

  24. A small dish soap bottle or reused ketchup bottle works well. Think of it as a perineal irrigation bottle. Followed with a cloth for drying. Using the bottle to rinse off leaves less fecal matter to contend with when washing the rags. Which reduces chances for infection from dealing with the laundry. Of course it won’t reduce the kids water fights….lol

    And you can always warm the water before using it. When I experimented with this system I left several bottles on the windowsill by the toilet and they warmed enough in the sunlight that there was no screaming or frost damage to sensitive parts. I’ve since changed the plan (and added the parts to the stockpile) for my outdoor toilet to include a window for this purpose.

  25. I put a date on the TP package with Magic Marker on the date it was opened. I wrote it down on the calendar. I did it through 3 more packages and got an average of the amount used in a month.
    Then I started buying TP as often as I could afford an extra package. I will of course never have 5 years of TP. I don’t have room to store it.
    But I do have enough for us to go 3 years without buying more if we
    have to.
    I think the old towels cut into squares a good idea. We used to wash diapers why not TP squares? Because we washed diapers our kids got
    potty trained earlier too. Who wanted to wash a 2year olds messy diaper?

  26. k. fields says:

    Good article Thisall, thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.

    Today, with bidet toilet seats or add-on bidet devices available at most any home improvement store, I’m always amassed to read of people still being concerned with storing / using toilet paper.

    Water use really isn’t an additional concern if you’re washing instead of using paper, the amount of water necessary to flush a toilet has more to do with getting wads of toilet paper through the pipes than it does with getting your wastes through – so the amount of water needed to wash either by add-on bidet or basin, is simply used to flush. Even the latest high efficiency toilets use over a gallon of water in addition to what’s already in the bowl to flush – and most of the time you have to flush them a couple of times to clear everything.

    The added benefit of not using toilet paper is that your septic system will be much happier and will be able to go a lot longer between pumpings. Excess toilet paper really is the bane of septic systems.

    So you say that after SHTF, you’ll be using an outhouse and not a flush toilet. But won’t you still be washing your hands afterwards anyway? Is using a basin to wash your backside AND your hands really a problem?

    Concerns of having a wet back-side? Well, what do you do after you wash your hands? You do wash your hands after using the toilet don’t you? Obviously, you use a towel to dry yourself just like you do every time after you wash your backside in the shower or bath.

    Concerns of cold water? A lot of modern bidet attachments allow you to regulate the water temperature but if yours doesn’t, it’s really no worse than using that same temperature water to wash your hands after you’ve completed your business. I know it seems strange but your fingertips are much more sensitive to heat and cold than your backside is.

    I’ve used this analogy here before – if you were walking barefoot and accidentally stepped in a pile of sh*t, would you simply wipe your foot off with a piece of paper before you put your socks on? Or would you wash. If you would only use paper to clean up, I’m certainly glad I’m not the one who has to do your laundry.

  27. PGCPrepper says:

    Very interesting thread. I’ve only stocked enough TP for me. My DW has always insisted that women don’t fart or poop. You learn something new every day.

    • Tactical G-Ma says:


    • Babycatcher says:

      Would she be willing to take an anatomy class to be corrected? 😉 you might also remind her that plumbing gets looser as she gets older…just the way it is…

      • Amen, babycatcher—I go a lot since my organs dropped since the hysterectomy. That pressure makes us older ladies go more.

  28. Personally, can’t see utilizing this system, especially when the thermometer is reading twenty below.
    As for TP, a package of 12 double ply rolls lasts me nearly a year- 10 1/2 months as a norm (I know ‘cuz I do that kind of counting… like Kleenex: three boxes a year with a cold, otherwise, hankies are cheap, easy to clean, hang around a neck or in a pocket easily accesible outdoors… you get the idea).
    Phone books make passable TP, especially if you’ve ever used the European version of TP. Much easier on the bum. Reuseable cloths seem to be the better idea, like a cloth diaper, though I’d hate to be the one who has to clean them. Leaves might work better, then. The problem with leaves or grass is those little critters that live on them.
    A ‘SHTF bidet’? No thanx.

    • A 12 double roll lasts me 6 weeks; 1 roll every 3 1/2 days. 🙁
      I go a lot…age 63.

      • “I go a lot…”
        LOL, JayJay.
        Only 63? Heck, you’re still a kid. (I can say that ‘cuz I make mud look young.)

  29. Big Steve says:

    Homemade bidet? Far out!

  30. Tactical G-Ma says:

    All kidding aside, I guess this is where cleanliness really becomes important. My hubby has had Ecoli twice and my neighbor’s elderly father has had MRSA. How well we clean ourselves and how we handle our waste really is life and death. The drug resistant strains are not anything our parents ever dealt with. And then there is Staff and Necrotizing Fasciitis. If cloth is used, probably a good soak in chlorine bleach water or boiling will be required.

  31. Hunker-Down says:

    After TSHTF we will only have grey water to pour in the toilet. If we used it to clean our self we would probably be smearing bad bacteria all over our private parts. Not good.

    We have been saving old cotton socks that have a hole in the toe for the last couple of years. We cut them lengthwise, which makes a cloth about the right size for both boys and girls. They will be deposited in a covered plastic box, then washed with a hand plunger using homemade soap and homemade bleach. Each person will have their own used cloth plastic box, and the cloths will remain segregated before and after they are washed and dried.

    Another advantage to this approach is that we recovered the storage space we used to store TP for more important ‘stuff”.

    • Tactical G-Ma says:

      The reason for boiling diapers was that chemicals cause diaper rash. 1. Rinse out solids 2. Wash with detergent 3. Rinse out detergent 4. Boil for ten minutes in fresh water 5.wring when cool enough. 6. Hang to dry.

      • Hunker-Down says:

        Tactical G-Ma,

        Thank you. I will print the steps and add to our survival manual. (I don’t have any “mom” skills).

    • **After TSHTF we will only have grey water to pour in the toilet**

      You mean the 5 gallon bucket lined with trash bags we will be using and pouring in the predug hole every few days??

      No one speaks of this here. We will be forced to do this; start buying kitty litter every chance you get. I have 11 bags.
      $1 at Dollar General.

      • Hunker-Down says:

        We have a septic system, a utility company cant screw it up.
        Gravity fed grey water through the toilet should work fine.

  32. I think I’ll stick to Charmin! Well…. at least while the stockpiile holds out.

  33. I’ve been saving my old washcloths, the ones that start to look real dingy and frayed. Mean while, I’ve bought boxes and boxes of baby wipes. Toilet paper is only to dry after #1. Baby wipes for #2. LOL Lots of soap and water for hands. I know, I’m wasting a lot of room and money with the TP and baby wipes. There will just have to be a lot of washing and boiling washcloths in the future.

  34. Oops too late :P says:

    99 cent store was selling awesome Virtue 12-packs of toilet paper for $2.99 per 12-pack so I bought 40 of them. Couldn’t help myself. That was last month. Got them all on a plank above my refrigerator. $130-worth of toilet paper should last me about 10 years.

  35. mindyinds says:

    I was in India about 30 years ago and had to adapt to lack of Western-type toileting facilities immediately. But I have to say that even the little out-of-the way roadhouses had clean water, either running or in a large container, and often there was soap. I learned to “pat dry” with my bandana, then wash the bandana out at night in the hotel room. I noticed that I felt much fresher at the end of the day using this method of splashing. I think Tommy2rs has a neat idea of using squeezable bottles – warmed by the sun!

  36. How about a Sitz bath? Squatting over a shallow pan with water in it & rinsing clean. I know,sounds nasty but in some parts of the world….
    I sometimes get DIAPER RASH/Jock itch in my crack & when I am thru with my biz I use a paper towel with some witch hazel on it to finish up. Burns a little but WAY better than the accompanying itch from the other.

    • hi. i must wear diapers. think of the size of diaper pail i may need if things go bad.
      for rash use tinactin. also, if something is very painful- August may be a painful time– use chiggerex. it has clove oil and deadens pain, sometimes after stinging a bit. in summer i sometimes go to bed diaperless but i use those big underpads for invalids to protect the bed just in case. this gives the diapered bottom a few hours to take the air. if you can modestly place the rash in sunlight, say from a second storey window with a sunbeam hitting your bed, that is very helpful.
      i have extra tinactin and chiggerex as backups.

  37. A lot of great ideas for personal hygiene here. Flushable moist wipes (hypoallergenic) are very useful to store to save on toilet paper.
    One thing to consider is the consistency of the bowel motion.
    Pasty poo takes more paper / t-shirts / towels / water / whatever to clean up. Too much information?
    Assess yourself against the Bristol Stool Form Chart (check Google for numerous links and images!)
    IMHO you want aim for a 3 and a half on the scale. I reckon that’s the easiest to clean up after and hence a saving on the clean up equipment!
    Many of us need a bit more fibre in our diet. Fibre can firm up bowel motions and help them to pop out cleaner (oh dear).
    Caution though – you can block yourself up with too much fibre added too quickly so go slow and monitor the effects (using the good old Bristol chart of course!).
    Bodies change over time (as many here have mentioned) so monitoring bowel function is an ongoing process.
    Any unexplained changes in bowel habits need to be checked out medically.
    In relation to preps? Add fibre!
    Some go rancid quickly (like flax / linseed).
    Others last much longer in storage (like psyllium, which is very cheap).
    Happy prepping and pooping!

    • thanks for the info. i have flaxseed but never thought of rancidity. however,, i am not the brightest bulb. i also have chia seed and when i can, get it on sale or t places where it is being discontinued.

  38. Sticking with storing TP in the garage rafters for now. I also have a stack of old phone books in case. I try and weigh the good and bad of it and regular TP still comes out on top for our family. If the SHTF, I’d rather have lots of TP to go through at the beginning rather than worry about washing the toilet cloth wipes on top of getting everything else sorted and working correctly. If anything, I’d go with the empty squeeze bottle (warmed in the sun) method.

  39. mindyinds says:

    Glad I am not the only (ahem) older woman on this blog. BTW, Desitin works great on rashes or chafing on the nether regions. Not sure how well it stores – I think it is mostly zinc oxide and fish oil.

  40. After we had our first child (19+ years ago), the hospital “gave” (charged an exorbitant amount of money) me these “Lavette Bottles” (see Amazon, search for “Lavette-Bottle-Perineal-Irrigation”) for use because of various complications I’d had. Several years later, I bought more at a medical supply co., after DH had his large intestine removed (ulcerative colitis gone way bad). Still have them around the house. Will contemplate such if need arises. I’ve no qualms about using cloths, if needed, so long as a water source, heat source, and maybe bleach is available. And speaking of “chafing or rashes,” Balmex multi-purpose healing ointment is great (with a family missing a large intestine… well, TMI, but you can figure it out).

  41. Tooldusty says:

    Having a cat or two in the house can possibly be used as for TP. they will be clean themselves before you need to use them again. they come in variety of colors and are generaly soft, furry, and warm! 🙂

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