No TP? No Problem!

Among First World Problems, there can be few worse than running out of toilet paper. The horror! If you’re not able to do as we did yesterday and borrow a pack until more can be bought, then you’re not without options. A handy copy of the Daily Mail could be cut into squares and hung up in your Smallest Room, or you can even make your own with the help of this handy instructional video from [whoisandrewfahmy]. It appears from a casual search to be one of many such guides that appeared during the pandemic when the bog roll supply was seen as endangered, but it’s still interesting simply as a diversion into how something is made.

The process is surprisingly straightforward, starting with scrap paper, which is shredded and soaked before being boiled to break down to pulp. The pulp is then emulsified, and some body oil is added to remove the sandpaper-on-the-butt experience before being spread between a sheet and a piece of window screen to be ironed dry. It’s an energy-intensive process, so the Daily Mail is likely to be an easier stopgap if no friends can lend you a few rolls, but it’s left us here curious about papermaking. The butts of Hackaday may be safe from homemade TP, but that’s not to say that it wouldn’t be interesting to make other paper products. Check out the video below.

Of course, back in April 2020 we had our own solution to the pandemic toilet paper shortage. After you make your bespoke dunny roll, how can you wind it into a nice roll? Don’t worry. We got you.

42 thoughts on “No TP? No Problem!

  1. pft! look at those peasants making their own TP, I the great baron of bathroom accoutrements am still sitting on the strategic tactical supply of butt napkins, people said I was merely placating fears but I have had the last laugh selling a single roll to my neighbor for 20 bucks! id like to thank costco in my pursuit of newfound wealth and asshat giggling

  2. “A handy copy of the Daily Mail could be cut into squares and hung up in your Smallest Room”

    But that would involve buying a copy, or knowing someone who reads it, and since you’d probably want a shower after that anyway, why not cut out the middle man?

  3. This is a great hack, but what if things go past the stage where you can find paper, what plants could provide good fiber? Also the process seems rather energy intensive, are their other methods that use less?

  4. Modern toilet paper has not existed for long and yet society got by just fine. With many creative solutions to the problem. It also doesn’t exist in many developing nations currently. And also, to this very day, cloth baby diapers still exist and are, arguably, “better” than the planet-destroying variety and in some ways are doing a much more difficult job than TP.
    I’m not giving up on the modern variety any time soon, mind you, but this is a very solved problem historically.

    1. I remember reading somewhere that, in the 18th century, one piece of advice given to young gentlemen, was to always have a small, inexpensive, book of poetry on your person, not for reading but for, well “personal hygiene”. I’d like to see someone do that with a kindle!

  5. If you have water and soap, doing the job by hand is always an option. Some parts of the world get by without the soap. Don’t shake left hands those places.

    If past times, corncobs were highly regarded. You take a whole corn ear; remove the shucks *and kernels*, and use the soft bristly cob as a cleaning utensil. Pictorial guides are probably available if truly needed… if the situation arises tho i suspect most people can manage to work it out experimentally. Whole, pre-shucked corncobs are commonly commercial available for bird / squirrel feeding, even in urban areas.

    The “tech folks” archetype would advocate some heated, powered, perfumed, powdered, AI assisted bidet. The techno pagan redneck might have a pressurized sprayer jug beside the toilet with the nozzle duck taped to the underside of the seat. Either are valid options, economical but requiring some maintenance and possibly acclimatization.

    1. Bidet showers are a thing. Just don’t hook them to the cold water line only, like they do it in many countries that don’t have a clue about what they’re for.

      When the toilet paper hoarding panic hit, in our house we just used the little hand shower and personal towels to save on TP.

    2. “The techno pagan redneck….”

      I thought this was going to be followed with a description of a home made corncob cannon that mounts in the bowl and shoots cobs at your ass.

    1. A bear and a rabbit were pooping in the woods. The bear asked the rabbit, “Do you have trouble with poo sticking to your fur?” and the perplexed rabbit answered that he did not have that problem. Then the bear wiped his arse with the rabbit.
      I learned that joke from Readers Digest in 1977.

    2. I’m trying to think of any animal, aside from humans, where the gluteal cleft (aka butt crack) entirely envelops the (ahem) exit (most often) orifice. That may be why humans are more comfortable wiping/cleansing than just letting poop hang out.

  6. Be careful what you flush down the toilet. Here in .au there are standards for toilet paper. Newspapers don’t make the standard (and not just because most of them are owned by Rupert Murdoch) Definitely no condoms, tampons etc. This might sound fussy but I see a lot fewer blocked toilets in Australia than the USA, for example.

    I heard on QI that a British toilet is supposed be able to handle half of their Telegraph newspaper, can anyone verify?

    Of course, the British have their own problems because many of their sewers are linked with stormwater drainage and there is overflow every time it rains. Yuck!

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