The bottom line

The TP shortage continues unabated.

I’m down to 13 rolls. Small ones. This is not a scary number if you know that next week you can go and buy your usual 24-pack. But I can’t. I’m also not prepared to stand in a queue of potentially lethal bogans on the offchance of snaffling a single twin-pack. There is another way.

(In the interests of full disclosure, these links are unaffiliated and I don’t get anything for posting them. I’m just showing you what I’ve been looking at.)

I can’t afford to install a fabulous all-singing, all-dancing bidet toilet. The Husband secretly lusts after one, with multiple programs and sensors, adjustable water temperature, a variety of spray intensities, warm-air drying and a heated seat. For a couple of hundred, you can buy a bidet attachment to retrofit to your toilet. But it doesn’t heat the water or dry you after. I can afford a shattaf hand spray which can be installed by a reasonably competent DIYer. Which I am. That’s what I’m after, ideally. The Husband, tropical-climate princess that he is, feels that the cold-water-only spray may be a bit chilly in the winter. Or what they call winter here in the tropics, which is a balmy spring day to the rest of us. So we’ve agreed to try an intermediate stage before we agree on a long-term solution.

I’ve ordered a ‘portable bidet‘ from amazon.com. Squeezy bottle, long stem with right-angled spray head on the end. There’s an amazing selection of these devices out there, so I read all the user reviews and picked the one that gave the strongest spray for the smallest size. Sadly, the vast majority of these items are now out of stock, as it seems the toilet tissue issue has bitten deep. Got in just in time!

To accompany this device, I have made a selection of dry-off cloths and a pump bottle of lavender water. Do your business, spray with water till clean, dampen cloth with lavender water (still a work in progress), and wipe. There should be nothing visible to worry about. If there is, you haven’t sprayed enough. I’ve seen a YouTube video demonstrating these things in action and she was able to dislodge a large lump of very sticky peanut butter from an apple. Very tastefully done, but enough to show it worked. I’ve seen another, demonstrating another device, using Nutella and the top of a clenched fist. Much less tasteful, especially when he licked off the Nutella afterwards…. The device is effective but initially a little challenging to use if you’re new to the concept. The used cloth goes into a lidded container. No, it’s not smelly, except if you count lavender water. It’s just water, remember?  You could get in there with soap if there’s a lot of clean up to do.

For small jobs, my cloths are 6 inches square and made of flannel with serged edges. For the bigger jobs, I halved old face washers and serged the raw edges. These are 12 x 6 inches. I have a spray pump bottle filled with water and about 5 drops of lavender oil. I’m looking at adding some glycerine, aloe vera gel, etc, to see if that increases long term bum-comfort.

While I wait for the portable bidet to arrive (mid-April, eek!), I’ve had to resort to a temporary solution. Voilà. The bottle formerly known as Toilet Duck or other local variation, henceforth to be known as Bottom Buddy. Wash it out well. Fill it fresh for each use – unsurprisingly, the Husband likes warm water, the great big girl’s blouse. It works surprisingly well. Scoot forward on the seat and lean forward for rear cleansing and aim the nozzle at the, er, bullseye… In other words, hold the bottle as you would for toilet cleaning, but pointing at yourself. For front cleansing, scoot back and lean backwards. Simples, peoples… Squeeze, gently at first and then to the pressure that works for you. Release and repeat. Use all the water. Take a cloth, give it a couple of squirts of lavender water. Wipe and dry. Put the cloth in a lidded container till it’s time to launder them.

I repeat, this is not stinky or chunky. There are no Klingons,  dags or dingleberries. However, wash the cloths hot, as you would with terrycloth nappies/diapers. This is no grosser than pullng your underwear back over a bottom that hasn’t been washed at all after doing your business. Hot water and soap takes care of it all. If it works in the shower when you wash yourself, it’ll work in the washing machine.

If you can, wash the bottle and nozzle after use. It shouldn’t touch the body, but a little back spray is possible.

I know how much damage ‘foreign materials’ flushed away can do. I’m not ever going there. To one raised on the paper scrub-clean, this takes a little getting used to. To most of the Asian world, it’s normal. If you’ve been using a ‘wet wipe’ after anyway, as I have for years, it’s not so weird. The big downside about this? Forgetting what you’re doing and dropping the cloth in the toilet. Yup, you’ll have to get in there after it. So don’t forget.

I’ll let you know how it goes. So far, I’m really pleased with the result, but I think the purpose made bottle will be a bit more user friendly than the Bottom Buddy. I may also need to make more cloths, or change the spray formulation. This is simple, cheap, and easy, and you know what?  It feels good!

I’m also working on a small travel-sized kit with a small squeezy bottle you can fill from a tap, a small spray pump of lavender water and a couple of cloths, in a zippered waterproof bag .

And yes, visitors will remain untraumatised. I’ve kept my remaining TP rolls for them.