I haven’t bought toilet paper in two years, and no I have not just mooched on someone else. Here are 10 ways to wipe your butt for free.
- Grow your own. There are multiple soft plants out there that grow perfect leaves to be used as toilet paper. Plants with soft, wide leaves are ideal. UPDATE: 10/21/2018. It is now been over five years since I purchased toilet paper. Currently I grow my own. The plant I grow is Plectranthus barbatus (common name: Blue Spur Flower). Here’s a photo of it growing at my place, where I use it with my outdoor compost toilet. You can see the plants and me talking about them in this video. From what I’ve read, this plant grows well in hardiness zones 8-10 or 9-11. I am in zone 9b in Orlando, Florida. You can read more about this plant on wikipedia, on this site, and by simply doing a web search for “Plectranthus barbatus” I do not know if it grows from seed. I started mine from cutting. I do not ship and don’t have a source for where you can purchase. If you are in the Orlando area, you could join Orlando Permaculture and get some from a local permaculturist. (Many people think this is Plectranthus amboinicus, which we commonly call Cuban oregano in Florida. However this is Plecranthus barbatus, which we commonly call Blue Spur Flower in Florida. They do look similar but Plectranthus amboinicus would absolutely not make an ideal toilet paper, whereas Plecranthus barbatus is a toilet paper gift from Earth beyond what I could ever have hoped for.)
- Leaves. This is easy if you’re in the woods taking a squat, but you could also grab a bunch of your favorite leaves and bring them home with you. You’ll want to compost them using a compost toilet. Check out my compost toilet to learn about this.
- Dumpster dive at pharmacies for perfectly good toilet paper. I’ve often found unopened twelve and twenty-four packs of toilet paper. This can be due to a torn or squished package or because someone stole a roll so the package was incomplete. It is in no way contaminated or dirty.
- Smooth stones. I’ve done this quite a few times while out in the woods and found this to be pretty great!
- Go to fast food restaurants and pick up the dozens of unused napkins that people leave on their table. People often take a stack of napkins just to throw half away. (I’m not saying to mooch off the restaurant. I am saying to take napkins that would have gone into the garbage unused.)
- Cloth wipes. Make nice little wipes out of old t-shirts and then wash them just as you would washable diapers. Here’s a guide if to want to do it.
- Newspaper. Grab it out of the recycling bin or trash can and put it to good use. Don’t flush newspaper or anything else more tough than toilet paper as it can clog the toilet. Compost it. In many countries they have a garbage can for used toilet paper and you could do that as well. It’s no more gross than throwing away used diapers for all you parents out there.
- Use a bidet. (Ok, I guess this isn’t quite free since you have to pay for the water, but it’s far cheaper than toilet paper).
- Use a bum gun. This is a little spray nozzle next to the toilet to spray your butt clean with water.
- Even simpler than installing a bidet or bum gun is to put a little kettle by the toilet and pour water onto your bum area. I had a roommate from India and he taught me how to do this. It was awesome.
Note: Some of these options will involve a compost toilet. You don’t want to flush things down the toilet that would clog the toilet or the system. You can also use a normal flush toilet but instead of flushing the “toilet paper”, have a separate bin and compost it, or just put it in the garbage. In many countries they have a garbage can for used toilet paper.
25,000 trees are dumped into the landfill each day from our toilet paper usage. It also takes a lot of water and energy to create toilet paper. Then it’s got to be shipped which burns fossil fuels of course. Trees chopped down, water wasted, and fossil fuels burned just to wipe your butt? Toilet paper is a huge environmental nuisance and a complete waste of money. Maybe it’s time you stop wiping your butt with your money?