Society: Toilet Paper and Personal Hygiene

andersxman

Senior Member
Denmark/danish
I don't know what to believe about this:

I can't remember where, but I believe that I've heard someone say that if the Chinese were to start using toiletpaper disastrous consequences for the environment would ensue. (Ostensibly because of the enourmous amount of timber required to produce all that toiletpaper)

Is this a ridicoulous statement? Do the Chinese use toiletpaper? if not, what do they do? How about the Indians?
 
  • In mmany countries, people use soap and water to clean themselves after going to the bathroom. In Turkey, for example, a small water nozzle is integrated into most toilet seats for cleansing, or if there is not, then you will find a pitcher of water next to the toilet for that purpose (asin India). Even as a Westerner, I find these systems quite workable.

    It is a much cleaner and more economic system than toilet paper, and indeed, should the Chinese all begin using TP, that's a lot of paper down the can...
     

    southerngal

    Senior Member
    American English
    badgrammar said:
    In mmany countries, people use soap and water to clean themselves after going to the bathroom. In Turkey, for example, a small water nozzle is integrated into most toilet seats for cleansing, or if there is not, then you will find a pitcher of water next to the toilet for that purpose (asin India). Even as a Westerner, I find these systems quite workable.
    I agree that it does sound cleaner. However, one slightly embarrassing question: how does one dry the, um, area after washing?
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    I have read that there are records of the number and size of paper delivered to each emperor in ancient China for use as toilet paper.

    I think the concept of wiping myself clean with a dry piece of tissue to be very incomplete and generally wash with water.

    A bidet is a very clever idea.

    .,,
     

    saturnian

    New Member
    Saturn - English
    This may well be a horrible urban myth, but I've heard that people from the Indian subcontinent traditionally wipe "that area" with their left hand (toilet paper-less (and environmentally friendly, of course)) and so only shake hands with their right hand... True?
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    Oh Saturnian...you opened a can of worms...well a small one actually! When I was younger, I would eat my traditional Indian food in New York with both hands...to the dismay of everyone in my family. I would repeatedly argue that all my hamburger-eating friends used two hands, and then my parents would remark that I am not them, nor should I be raised that way. It made no sense to me!

    Anyway, I later grew up to discover (and I was only eating with my right hand mind you) that in India, you eat with your right and clean with your left. A lot of places in the village do not have soap! So there's your answer!

    I have been to India twice, and the first time I went I was 7. I had to squat at use the bathroom, in both the cities and villages. There was a water pump or a little bucket of water to finish the dirty deed. I do not remember how I dried myself honestly, and frankly, I was miserable with stomach problems so I don't really want to recall that time. In 2003, 11 years later, I went again. A lot had changed...there were proper toilets everywhere...even in the village. I used toilet paper...Im almost positive of it.

    Cleaning with water is better though...you get that nice CLEAN feeling!
     

    Suane

    Senior Member
    Slovakia
    I seriously never heard about that!:eek: (I don't know how that could happen:confused: ) But it's a good idea, but you have to probably get used to it, when you have used toilett paper since you remembered. It's very ecological and probably cleaner. Maybe not so practical, but maybe that's only my feeling, since I always use a toilett paper.
    My question is (as someone other has asked): How do people then dry themselves and also if it is in form of bidet or hand shower?
     

    andersxman

    Senior Member
    Denmark/danish
    So it wuold appear that the chinese and indians may not even be, after all, interested in beginning to use toilet paper? They have their own way of going about it, and consider our way of handling it less clean, maybe?
     
    Well, no actually... I think that as countries become more westernized, they tend to aspire towards occidental conventions, shunning their "old-fashioned" habits, which may actually be superior to ours.

    I assure you, you will find toilet paper in most wc's in India that are for tourist use (I'm not talking about wc's meant for locals), there will atleast be an attendant who will hand you a piece before you enter the wc, expecting a small tip in return. In Turkey, most places for tourists also have toilet paper (being generally more modern than Indian facilities). I don't know about China though.

    I found it interesting that in Turkey, public restrooms are generally very clean, although occasionally quite old constructions.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Perhaps we should try to keep as many people as possible illiterate.:D

    The average Westerner consumes more trees in newspapers than she does in toilet paper. And that is not counting magazines, advertising flyers, &c, &c.
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    And let me tell you, people must have some strong calf muscles to squat and go! My 91 year old great grandmother couldn't go upstairs or walk far from her house but she was fine at using the bathroom, and it wasn't the sitting kind either!
     
    In the coastal villages of Iran, back in the late 60s/early 70s, the Persian Gulf was used as a lavatory for depositing your "biggies". Men, women and children would squat at the water's edge and "let go". Afterwards they washed themselves clean with sea water and dried themselves on their baggy-gussetted trousers.

    We had the luxury of our own lavs with proper, soft toilet tissue; this, however, was strictly rationed and handed out by the quarter-master two sheets at a time. Personal shopping lists for the weekly trip to Bushire (the nearest largish town) always had "Kleenex" tissues at the top. Four of us would shop for 36 people, plus buying in enough fruit and veg to feed us all for a week.

    The lavs (three) were just holes, below which was a very deep communal pit. Privacy was at a premium - the noises were something which had to be heard to be believed! :eek: The occasional sack of powdered chemical was shovelled in to damp down the odour. Gigantic cockroaches (as big as your hand) used to lurk under the rim of the holes and, if you were unlucky, their feelers would tickle your bum. :D No wonder our site photographer (a squeamish female) went, quite literally, insane and had to be jetted home to a psychiatric unit in England.

    By the by, the ducks which we were raising for Christmas dinner arrived one evening in the chef's landrover. He foolishly released them in the courtyard; it was pitch dark and, you've guessed it, they made a bolt for the lavs and disappeared into the murky depths. Three of us bravely volunteered to rescue them using very long poles and nets - it took us several hours. They (and we) were immersed in the waters of the Gulf for cleansing, such as it was.

    Before swimming in the Gulf we had to sign an insurance document saying that we swam "at our own risk" because there was a great danger of being eaten by sharks. :eek: To be honest, sharks were the least of our problems (although we spotted many). The things which bobbed along on the surface ensured that we always kept our mouths well and truly shut!

    Now, revealing an intimate secret, I always keep a supply of baby wipes in my bathroom for personal cleansing. They are wonderful. Visitors to my home always comment on them saying "What a good idea."

    If I am "out of stock" then I perch on the edge of the bath and use one of my two shower hoses and soap.

    "Cleanliness is next to Godliness".





    LRV
     

    Chaska Ñawi

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Brioche said:
    Perhaps we should try to keep as many people as possible illiterate.:D

    The average Westerner consumes more trees in newspapers than she does in toilet paper. And that is not counting magazines, advertising flyers, &c, &c.
    When I was growing up, many of our neighbours still used outhouses. They never, ever bought toilet paper .... who needed it when there was the Saturday newspaper and the Eaton's catalogue? I was fine with the newspaper, but still remember the uncomfortable scratchy feeling of the Eaton's catalogues.

    In the South Pacific, people did their business in the sea. In many other parts of the developing world, pigs provide a cleanup service after the event. You try to keep them away from your behind and do the job yourself with a smooth stone or stick, but they are quite eager to assist you in this job too. This has been a tragedy for many little boys - a few in China have had reconstructive surgery, but I suspect that they're the tip of the iceberg.

    Moderation Note: I've changed the title of this thread, rather than inviting people to stay on topic. This is an interesting discussion, and I don't think that we need to or should stay strictly within the parameters of China and India .... but please stay within the idea of personal hygiene here.
     
    Your mention of pigs doing the cleaning up, Chaska, reminds me of African tribes. You never see their babies' bottoms swathed in diapers/nappies. Instead, the dogs come along and lick them clean!

    I well remember, as a child in post-war London, our outhouse. It was lit with a small paraffin lamp and the chill was taken off the air in winter by means of a small oil-stove.

    Squares of newspaper were pierced at a corner, string was threaded through and the whole lot hung on a nail on the wall. This provided oddments of reading matter as one sat there "trying one's best". My mother sent us there whether we needed to go or not. Every Friday we had to report (truthfully) on the number of times we'd "been". If the required standard hadn't been reached then we were dosed with syrup of figs. Severe cases got the castor oil treatment. Yuk! :eek:

    Occasionally my mother would find a lavatory paper called "San Izal" - it was impregnated with a horrible disinfectant which smelled like tarmacadum. Unless you gave it a good scrunch and rub before use, to soften it, you risked severe lacerations to your tender bits. It was so crisp and semi-transparent that I used it for tracing maps for my geography homework!

    The best paper of all was that in which oranges used to be wrapped. A visit to the local fruit and vegetable market was very entertaining as people almost came to blows in their efforts to scavenge this tissue paper. It was a true luxury.




    LRV
     

    timebomb

    Senior Member
    Singapore, English
    I'm Chinese and for as long as I can remember, I've always used toilet paper. Heck, I thought we invented it. I remember the characters in the book, "Shogun" by James Clavell mentioned that people in the East were already using toilet paper to clean themselves when the barbarians in the West don't even clean at all. I could be wrong though. My memory isn't what it used to be.

    Anyway, these days, I use both paper and water. It's far more hygienic. I paper first and wash afterwards. You should try it. It's so refreshing. Drying isn't a problem at all when you're at home as there are always towels around in the bathroom. Just don't use the one you wash your face with :D

    Loh K L
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    imithe
    la reine victoria said:
    "Cleanliness is next to Godliness".
    Not in any of the dictionaries I own!

    I still remember (usually with a shudder!) the toilet-paper of my youth. Shiny on one side and cheese-graterish on the other. Uuuuuuugggghhh! :(
     

    fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    In Mexico and other Central and South American countries, many people dispose of toilet paper not in the toilet, but in the garbage can (related thread). Pleurrrgh!

    Nobody has answered the question to my satisfaction: if you wash with water, how do you dry? :confused: Air dry? A cloth towel dedicated to that purpose?
     

    Bilma

    Senior Member
    USA
    Spanish Mexico
    fenixpollo said:
    In Mexico and other Central and South American countries, toilet paper is not disposed of in the toilet, but in the garbage can (related thread). Pleurrrgh!

    Nobody has answered the question: if you wash with water, how do you dry? :confused:

    I have never disposed of the toilet paper in a garbage can always in the toilet! Maybe it is just my family and friends.....
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    This thread is fascinating. I was born with manufactured soft toilet tissue, I feel I know nothing of life!
    fenixpollo said:
    Nobody has answered the question: if you wash with water, how do you dry? :confused:
    Actually there have been two answers: towel in post #16, baggy-gussetted trousers in post #13 - it probably doesn't cover all situations though!

    I have seen toilet paper being disposed of in garbage cans in other countries (I can't remember where, but it was not in South or Central America) It might not be a country feature, I would think it depends on how the evacuation system works...
     
    Hi Geve, ma chère!

    I have had to put toilet-paper into bins in Greece, Sardinia and . . . . . wait for it . . . . . a café-bar in Brittany! :eek: It was a long time ago when they had an outdoor squat lavatory with a cesspit. Now they have all mod cons with a lovely throne for the royal posterior. :D Bliss! And very soft paper too. ;)




    Regards,
    LRV
     

    fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    geve said:
    Actually there have been two answers: towel in post #16, baggy-gussetted trousers in post #13 - it probably doesn't cover all situations though!

    I have seen toilet paper being disposed of in garbage cans in other countries (I can't remember where, but it was not in South or Central America) It might not be a country feature, I would think it depends on how the evacuation system works...
    I think it also depends on custom, and popular belief (now outmoded) that the evacuation system can't handle the paper.

    As far as answering the "how to dry" question, I only saw one person post about a towel, and another person mention loose-fitting garments. Must....not....vomit....

    Just to remind myself that my way is not superior, I have to remember that no matter how well one wipes or with what method, and no matter how well one washes out their underwear, even clean underwear can contain between .1g and 10g of fecal residue. (source: the Hypochondriac's Handbook)

    Another factoid: the maximum flush radius of a commercial toilet in the US is 13 feet.

    Do we have an emoticon for "nasty"? ;)
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    fenixpollo said:
    In Mexico and other Central and South American countries, many people dispose of toilet paper not in the toilet, but in the garbage can (related thread). Pleurrrgh!

    Nobody has answered the question to my satisfaction: if you wash with water, how do you dry? :confused: Air dry? A cloth towel dedicated to that purpose?
    I just asked my father just for you!!! He said that it depended upon where we was. If he is in the city, and he had to use a squat type toilet, then he would use water to splash himself clean. I asked him how we would dry himself. He smiled and laughed at me. There is no drying! You run around with a wet but!
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    How do the proponents of "water-washing" cope with the phenomenon of the tug-nut - the occasional little bit left behind?
     

    danielfranco

    Senior Member
    Thinking about using water and soap to clean oneself after defecating instead of toilet paper, I am amazed that no one has talked about the advantage/difficulty of long fingernails.
    My lurid imagination makes me think that long fingernails must be of great help in those instances of "hesitant turds" that kind of just linger. However, any false or sudden moves are to be feared, I must say...

    Supposedly, the Romans had running water in their WC's and sponges on a stick to serve the purpose of TP. I wonder how many uses they got out of the sponges before the public demanded a new one...
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    danielfranco said:
    Supposedly, the Romans had running water in their WC's and sponges on a stick to serve the purpose of TP. I wonder how many uses they got out of the sponges before the public demanded a new one...
    Excavations along Hadrian's Wall revealed that Roman soldiers had personal washing sticks and I imagine that the general populace also possessed their own.

    .,,
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    What a topic you have here! :D Guess that with the summer heat we all flip out a little bit in out heads...

    Talking about toilet paper... As far as I know, Muslims do that with water. I heard many times from our men after serving military service (in good old Yugoslavia), that there was always a bottle of water in WC because of Albanians...

    . said:
    Excavations along Hadrian's Wall revealed that Roman soldiers had personal washing sticks and I imagine that the general populace also possessed their own.

    .,,
    Can you explain this a little bit? How can one possibly clean oneself with a STICK????:eek:

    Daniel, long nails are only impediment to good wipping off whatever has to be wipped off...:D

    On the other hand, I wonder how all those kings and queens cleaned themselves after "doing it" while paper was too expensive to be wasted on such things...
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    danielfranco said:
    Thinking about using water and soap to clean oneself after defecating instead of toilet paper, I am amazed that no one has talked about the advantage/difficulty of long fingernails.
    My lurid imagination makes me think that long fingernails must be of great help in those instances of "hesitant turds" that kind of just linger. However, any false or sudden moves are to be feared, I must say...
    Isn't it the point of those Asian people (Chinese?) who are really rich and allow their nails to grow and grow until they curl round etc that they are "saying I am so rich I have someone to do everything for me - and I mean everything!".
     

    Seana

    Senior Member
    Polish
    natasha2000 said:
    ...the summer heat we all flip out a little bit in out heads... (...)
    Oh, yes I am afraid you are right.

    STICK????:eek:
    I am curious were they one-time or multiple use.:D

    I also learnt something very strange- the Islamic way Apostle of God used to clean himself after defecation using only odd number of stones. That is the sunna (examples set by Muhammad).
    So, Muslims living in U.S. can go to Home Depot and buy a bag of gravel for this purpose.

    In James Clavell novel "King Rat" I have read about using water to clean oneself after defecating by British, Australian and American prisoners of war WWII in Singapore notorious Changi Prison camp.
    Although it was very strange for me I have appreciated their ingeniousness in keeping hygiene and the health in extreme conditions survival.
     
    danielfranco said:
    Cool, then. I wonder how many uses each person got out of a sponge before it smeared more than it wiped.

    I believe it was a case of wipe, wipe, rinse in the running water, squeeze and wipe again. Repeat until the sponge is clean.

    Archaeological evidence from Coppergate, York, shows that mediaeval people used mosses for wiping. A sensible choice. :)

    For the most humorous description of this topic nothing beats Rabelais' "Gargantua and Pantagruel". The chapter headed -

    "How Grandgousier realized Gargantua's marvellous intelligence, by his invention of an Arse-wipe."

    Gargantua tried an enormous variety of things and concluded that nothing was better than a live goose. :eek: Honk honk!




    LRV
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    imithe
    Is this a place to ask a question which has flitted across my mind from time to time?
    How do blind people know when they have wiped fully?
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    Well, I am not blind, but I have a gut feeling when things aren't quite right. But unless you examine the paper/spunge/muddy water or use a mirror you'll never know if you ever fully clean.
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    maxiogee said:
    Is this a place to ask a question which has flitted across my mind from time to time?
    How do blind people know when they have wiped fully?
    by smell, I guess....

    It is well known that blind pople develop in an extraordinary way other senses.
     

    meltem

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    I never get why people in the modern world where there's the possibility of water systems still insist on using just toilet paper after doing their big thing/dirt (don't know the appropriate word). When I was in europe, I found it so disturbing to have to use just tissue to clean because you have to use really a lot of tissue in order to feel clean and still I didn't feel very clean. My eyes always searched for a pipe but there was no.
    But I don't like the idea of using my hands sas well so what I do if you let me explain is opening the water pipe and letting the water clean me by itself, then I just use a little bit of tissue to dry, and this way I feel both my hands and that place clean.
     

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    meltem said:
    I never get why people in the modern world where there's the possibility of water systems still insist on using just toilet paper after doing their big thing/dirt (don't know the appropriate word).
    I guess because the only comfortable way to clean oneself with water would be using bidet. And unfortunatelly, I think that very few houses in general have bidet, and half of those who have it, don't use it. If I had it in my little bathroom, I assure you I would use it. :p

    On the other hand, I don't think it would be so viable to put bidets in all WC, in each restaurant, bar, bank, or whereever there are WC.
     

    Seana

    Senior Member
    Polish
    meltem said:
    My eyes always searched for a pipe but there was no.
    I see it is common thing
    in place where you live. I have never seen this intallations. Is it alike bidet appliance? If you don't mind would you find a picture of it.
    maxiogee said:
    How do blind people know when they have wiped fully?
    I am sure none is able to see it even if is eagle-eyed.
     
    The system where Meltem is from is quite ingenious and cheap to install. There is a small metal pipe under the rim of the toilet (no, you don't risk scratching yourself on it, it is short). On the wall next to the toilet is where you turn the faucet on, and the water shoots out in just the right spot.

    It is so easy to put one on a toilet, anyone who cn do basic plumbing could install it. SO you don't need a seperate bidet, which is costly, takes up a lot of room, and isn't even nearly as practical, as you have to change locations to use it.

    I've been wanting to install one on our toilets for years, just aven't gotten around to it.

    I can see why Meltem would think it strange that such a simple system isn't available in such "modern" European countries.
     

    meltem

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    But I don't understand why it's difficult? What do you mean by bidet?
    It's not very difficult to have water system in your toilet. You just insert the water pipe in the closet. Have you ever seen one?

    natasha2000 said:
    I guess because the only comfortable way to clean oneself with water would be using bidet. And unfortunatelly, I think that very few houses in general have bidet, and half of those who have it, don't use it. If I had it in my little bathroom, I assure you I would use it. :p

    On the other hand, I don't think it would be so viable to put bidets in all WC, in each restaurant, bar, bank, or whereever there are WC.

     

    Attachments

    natasha2000

    Senior Member
    Ok, I see...

    Meltem, this is bidet.

    I didn't know about this tap, Badgrammar. It is a quite invention. I would like to have one in my house. Until now I only heard about bottles of water in bathrooms. It is a quite uncomfortabe way of doing it, don¡t you agree?

    Maybe this is the same thing. I found it on the same page when googlin for bidet, but this one I think can be used both as bidet and WC.
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Seana said:
    I see it is common thing in place where you live. I have never seen this intallations. Is it alike bidet appliance? If you don't mind would you find a picture of it.
    There are some on the link provided by Suane in post #8: here's an example and the main page.
    The ones I had seen (it might have been in Egypt... is it really bad that I can't remember countries by their toilet features??) were rather flexible pipes that you could orientate to the strategic place.
    Natasha, the picture you found seems to be a perfectly fine system that wouldn't deteriorate the landscape of a modern bathroom...
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    natasha2000 said:
    Can you explain this a little bit? How can one possibly clean oneself with a STICK????:eek:
    The stick had a sponge at the end and a bucket of water to clean the sponge.
    The stick was to ensure that the sponge did not come into contact with the hand.

    .,,
     
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