Toilet paper & Kleenex: the little things of life

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Toilet paper & Kleenex: the little things of life)

 A.  When The Toilet Paper Runs Out
October 30, 2011, NC Preppers, by
Pasted from: http://ncpreppers.com/2011/10/30/when-the-toilet-paper-runs-out/in

tp-kleenix1[The last roll of TP]

I have a prepper friend who admits that if TSHTF, “I will share my stored food and supplies with family members who make fun of me for prepping. But I WON’T SHARE MY TOILET PAPER!”

Most of us have stored food, water, and supplies with plans for sustainable replacement. For example, we are planting gardens, raising chickens and rabbits, have rainwater barrels, and manual pumps for our wells.

But what happens when the toilet paper runs out?
If we are planning for a long term event, we need to face the scary fact that toilet paper is not a renewable resource and will eventually run out. I know some people who have a panic attack at the thought of that. What are our options?

What did people do before toilet paper was available? Everyone has heard about dried corncobs (ouch). When I was a child visiting my grandparents in the Appalachian mountains, I had to use their outhouse. Everyone in that area used old Sears’ catalogs. I would tear out a page and rub the page together as my cousins taught me to soften it a bit. Slick paper doesn’t work so well. I have read that Indians and pioneers used leaves. Some cultures use just their hand. For obvious reasons, none of these alternatives seem very attractive to me.

Almost two years ago someone started an entertaining thread on the American Preppers Network about the use of “family cloths.” I will admit that the idea of using cloth toilet wipes to be be washed and reused pretty well grossed me out. I thought, “These people are nuts!” Then about a year ago I decided to make some “for emergencies.” Once I made them and started using family cloths, I found I prefer them to toilet paper and miss them when I travel away from home.

tp-kleenix2

I found a website that sells them as baby wipes and bought a dozen to try. I liked the way they were made and bought the fabric to make my own. They are two layers, one terry cloth, the other flannel. I zigzag the edges in a very close stitch to keep them from unraveling. They are approximately 5″ X 7″. I made some smaller ones for those times when just a little blotting is needed. I made 40 cloths out of one yard of terry and one yard of flannel.

They are thick, soft, and substantial. I bought white fabric because I use bleach. After being used for a year, they still look like new. I am the only one in our household who uses them. Some people make them in different colors, one color for each person in the family. Many people save money by making them from old linens, t-shirts, or washcloths.

I am not 100% toilet paper free. I use a few sheets of TP initially followed up with the cloth. I wet the cloth with water and a little soap on one end of the cloth on the terry side. A dry cloth works for other times.

Following use, I fold the used cloth in half and place it in a large plastic container of water with a little laundry soap and Oxiclean and cover with a lid. There is no odor and nothing gross about draining most of the water off of them and just dumping the cloths into the washer. I wash them with homemade laundry detergent and bleach. They come out perfectly clean and white.

I have gone from using one roll of toilet paper a week to one roll a month. When the toilet paper runs out, I won’t be using corn cobs or a Sears catalog.

As I posted above, the key to avoiding stains is to put used cloths in a bucket (I use a plastic coffee can) of water with a bit of detergent and Oxiclean to soak until they are washed. I use the lid of the bucket to drain the water off them into the toilet before washing. I wash mine about once a week whenever I do laundry. If there were more people using them, I would wash them more frequently. I do not use bleach to soak them which would shorten the life of the fabric.

I wash them in the washer by themselves with laundry detergent, Oxiclean, and bleach. (I don’t measure.) Since it is a “small” load, I use less than a cup of bleach.

It has now been over two years since I started using the cloths daily. They still look like new with no stains just like in the blog pictures. The material and stitching have held up well with no mending needed. It is not unlike what you would do with white cloth diapers.

I keep cloths and a container for soaking in my master bath and the half-bath I use on the first floor. Because I use a few sheets of toilet paper for a first wipe when I do more than pee, the cloths are not really gross. If I ever don’t have access to TP, I will be fine using the cloths exclusively.

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B.  Several types of alternate cloth wipes
__1) Green Mountain Diapers
Pasted from: http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/other.htm
I bought the ones that are 5″ X 8″, two-sided terry and flannel, 12 for $9.95.
Cloth-eez® Two-Sided Wipestp-kleenix3
Cotton terry on one side, soft flannel on the other side. Terry is great for the main job, and the nice, smooth, gentle flannel is great for the final touch-up details. White cotton is the best color for wipes, so you can see what you are doing. 5×8 inches, approximate measurements before washing, and they will shrink somewhat. I love this size, the feel, and the practicality of the 2 different sides. May fit in your wipes warmer without folding. This wipe is Karen’s favorite, because I find it easiest to use several wipes per poopy change, grabbing a fresh wipe as needed, rather than folding a larger wipe over and over. These wipes are a less overwhelming size for a young baby’s small bottom, yet still fine as baby grows. To me, flannel on one side and terry on the other has the best “feel” for the job. An inexpensive wipe in the perfect size. Fits in many wipes containers. Suggested amount: 4 packs for a young baby, 3 packs for an older baby. 100% cotton. Made in China. Pack of 12 for $10.95 + about $6.95 S&H

tp-kleenix4
__
2) GroVia Cotton Cloth Wipes, 12 count
Amazon.com, $11.50+$4.99 S&H
> 88% Polyester and 12% cotton, ultra soft baby terry
> 12 cloth wipes per pack
> 8″H x 8″W
> Easy to use and washable
> Our ultra soft baby terry wipes are gentle enough for baby’s face yet perfect for cleaning the messiest bums.
.

C.  Using Handkerchiefs Instead of Facial Tissue
diyNatural, by Betsy Jabs
Excerpt pasted from: http://www.diynatural.com/using-handkerchiefs-instead-of-facial-tissue/

Five reasons to use a handkerchief:
1. It saves money. I used to love coordinating all the cute tissue boxes with my bathrooms (wow, that’s marketing at its finest), but I estimate we probably spent $20-$40 per year just on facial tissue. Not a huge savings, but I can certainly think of other things I could use that money for. We have not purchased a box of tissue in almost a year, and the tissues we purchased before that were to keep available for guests.
2. It produces less waste/saves resources. I have been so thankful for handkerchiefs as we strive to go paperless in our house. They take up very little space in the laundry and prevent our trash from filling up so quickly. Keep a stack of hankies in an easily accessible drawer in the house so family members aren’t tempted to use the paper alternative.
3. Hankies are more comfortable to use. Tissues used to make my nose raw after prolonged use. My 100% cotton hankies feel very nice on my face. As far as the moisture in the hanky goes… without going into graphic detail, I’ll just say that it all works out somehow and hasn’t been an issue for me. After using a hanky, it can be folded up, tucked away, and it’s usually dry the next time you pull it out. (And if this grosses you out, you can always grab a fresh hanky!)

tp-kleenix5

 4. Hankies create less of a mess. Hankies don’t leave any particles
behind, and never rip as I’m using them. The white fuzz left on Matt’s face after using facial tissues is a thing of the past. (I kind of miss being able to laugh at this.) Hankies won’t create trouble in a load of laundry if accidentally left in a pocket–and we’ve all had this laundry mis-hap with tissues. Picking a gazillion of those little white tissue remnants off clothes coming out of the washer? Ugh! Never again! In fact, you’ll just end up with a clean hanky if one is left in a pocket.
5. Hankies are more sustainable. Handkerchiefs are a much more sustainable replacement for facial tissues AND many other things. Think about replacing other things in your home with hankies…paper napkins, paper towel, toilet paper, tissue paper, or other things around the house that might currently be disposable. We no longer have to worry about running out of tissues. In the past, when the last tissue had been used, we would grab for toilet paper and frantically run to add tissues to the grocery list. With hankies, you can grab a fresh one whenever your current one is getting icky, and you can forget about a trip to the store.

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D.  How to Wash Handkerchiefs
ehow.com, S.F. Heron, eHow Contributor
Pasted from: http://www.ehow.com/how_5047316_wash-handkerchiefs.html

Washing handkerchiefs is relatively easy. The hard part lies in making sure the stains and nasal fluids have been completely removed from the fabric before sterilizing it for future use. Handkerchiefs come in many styles, including lace edged and monogrammed. Test any cleaning method on an inconspicuous spot before attempting to clean your handkerchiefs whether you are laundering basic cotton handkerchiefs in the clothes washer or by hand.

Things You’ll Need
•  Color safe bleach (if colored hankies)
•  Bleach
•  Shout or OxyClean
•  Detergent

Instructions
Washing Handkerchiefs in the Washing Machine
1. Address any stains or spots on the handkerchief fabric first. Spray spot remover on the handkerchief as soon as possible after the stain occurs to help prevent setting the stain. Allow the cleaner to work for some time before laundering. Don’t let the stain remover completely dry or it might enhance the existing stain or create another one.
2.  Fill the sink basin with hot water and 1/8 cup of bleach (or color safe bleach for colored fabric handkerchiefs).
Immerse the handkerchiefs into the water and allow to soak for some time. This step helps sterilize the fabric to remove germs.
3.  Place the handkerchiefs into the clothes washer and set the dial for a delicate cycle. Use hot water to help sterilize the fabric. Include the appropriate amount of laundry detergent for the load.
4.  Either air dry or tumble-dry the fabric handkerchiefs, removing the items from the drier while still slightly damp to help release the wrinkles.

Washing Handkerchiefs by Hand
5.  Soak the handkerchiefs in a sink basin filled with a small amount of chlorine bleach and water to remove germs and bacteria after testing to make sure to the fabric can handle the harsh affects of bleach.
6.  Fill the sink basin with hot water and a tablespoon of laundry detergent.
7.  Immerse the handkerchiefs completely into the water, squeezing the fabric to make sure it absorbs the water. Wring the fabric to make sure detergent gets into the fabric as well.
8.  Allow the handkerchiefs to soak for 30 minutes.
9.  Run clear, cool water over the fabric until all bubbles are removed. Be careful not to wring the fabric too much as this will create wrinkles. Hang the handkerchiefs up to dry.
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E.  Why a Handkerchief  Should Be In Your Survival Kit
November 17, 2011, PreppingToSurvive.com, by Joe
Pasted from: http://preppingtosurvive.com/2011/11/17/why-a-handkerchief-should-be-in-your-survival-kit/

tp-kleenix6

Sir Baden-Powell founded the original Boy Scouts in England following his defense of the town of Mafeking in the Second Boer War in South Africa. The original uniform for the Boy Scouts included a Handkerchief folded in half and worn conveniently around the neck. His decision to include this accessory was not merely one of fashion. The handkerchief offers someone in the wild many varied uses.

Uses in First Aid
A handkerchief can be of great value when it comes to wilderness first aid. Few items are so flexible as a handkerchief. It can be used to put a sling around an injured arm, split a sprained ankle, and bandage an exposed wound. Handkerchiefs can be used to clean a cut with soap and water or cool someone who is suffering from heat exhaustion. Yes, when it comes to applying emergency aid to a victim in the wild, handkerchiefs come in handy.

Uses with Food and Water
Handkerchiefs offer a number of uses around the impromptu kitchen when effecting survival. You can place a handkerchief over the mouth of a container to strain muddy water from a pond or puddle. The water must still be purified but at least the handkerchief will prevent some of the larger items from making it into your drinking water.

As you purify your drinking water, the handkerchief can be used as a potholder to prevent you from burning yourself when removing a container from the fire. You can place handkerchiefs over your food to protect it from flies while tending to other survival activities. And you can use a handkerchief to aid in washing and cleaning your cooking utensils.

When water is in short supply, you can tie a handkerchief around your leg as you walk through a field of high grass and use it to collect water from the morning dew. Periodically take the handkerchief off, hold it above your head, and squeeze the refreshing liquid into your mouth.

Uses in Survival
By attaching a brightly colored handkerchief to the end of a long stick, a makeshift signal flag can be created to help alert distant rescuers of your presence.
In hotter climates, a handkerchief can be soaked in water and worn around the neck or over the head to help cool your blood and thus lower your overall body temperature. In cold weather, a handkerchief can offer additional insulation under your hat to help keep body heat from escaping through your head.

Handkerchiefs are lightweight, easily carried, and incredibly useful. Boy Scout uniforms are still adorned with the standard neckerchief for many of the same reasons listed here. Shouldn’t one or more be in your survival kit?

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