Toilet paper shortage? Learn how to hygienically clean your butt without it

Iwan Gulenko
11 min readMar 15, 2020


Why this article?

The toilet paper shortage made me write this post how you can hygienically clean your butt with water and your hand only. After reading this educational post, you won’t need to buy paper anymore, so you can avoid supermarkets. So, the likelihood of you being trampled to death for toilet paper drops. This is my contribution to fight the Corona crisis. Also, it will teach toilet paper users something new: How to be clean.

Toilet paper doesn’t clean you properly

If you get dog-poo on your hand, would you just wipe it off with paper and continue your day? NO. You would use at least water remove it. Why don’t you do this with other parts of your body? The situation is even worse: The area around your butt is not flat like your hand. It has lumps of skin and hair. Toilet paper merely smears feces around your butt and doesn’t remove it well. Your behind doesn’t get clean if you just use dry paper, yet most people in “civilised countries” use it. Later in this post, I will tell you how we got here.

Especially straight men never learn how to clean themselves “down there” properly. I was like this for a long time, until I got itching problems in that region. I thought, it is from squatting too heavy weights in the gym or sitting too much in front of the computer but it turned out that the problem was dry toilet paper. When I switched to a water-based cleaning method, my problems went away instantly.

Most humans on earth use water, not toilet paper

The majority of people on earth use water to clean themselves. This includes “modern” countries such as Japan, Italy, France and others.

The Japanese method

The famous Japanese toilets. Most cost more than $500

While Japanese toilets may be preheated, play music to distract from loud farts, clean your butt with rotating water movements, and even dry you with warm air, I don’t like them. I find it weird that water is hitting your butt from a 90° angle. Also, the small mechanical parts are within the pooping region and will need extra effort to clean.

Also, these things will make you dependent on tech. I want to be able to clean myself even without $500 worth of tech, like e.g., when I am in the forest. If you don’t learn a low tech way, you will be helpless at some point. If there is one situation in life, where I want to be in control, it is pooping.

The complexity and price is not worth the purchase because other methods are better and cheaper.

The Italian method

Bidets that can be found in Italy or France

“Bidet” is a French word. If you go to a hotel in Paris you will find one. I hear, French houses don’t have them anymore because they are built tiny and with space in mind. Napoleon had a silver bidet that he took it everywhere with him. Silver has antimicrobial properties so it was no brainer. He gave it to his son in his will.

In Italy, bidets are required by law: “The installment of at least a single bidet per house became compulsory starting from July 5th 1975, with a hygiene law stating that every house must have at least one bidet” (Quora)

I asked many Italians how they use that thing. Some say, you go on the bidet right after business and you use it to “pre-clean”. (My problem with that is that bigger poo pieces may stuck the bidet.) Others say you pre-clean with toilet paper and then switch over to the bidet to “fine clean”.

If you are Italian, please let me know, how you do it.

None of us is as rich as Napoleon was and the extra space-need of a bidet makes this not practical for most, especially if you’re renting.

Japanese vs Italian toilets

With both models water shoots from a lower point to a higher point (your butt). If you relax, water might even enter your butt. You don’t want that and it is unhealthy, because the flora inside your rectum shouldn’t be changed. Anyway, I am not an expert on this and this article is about regular cleaning after pooping. The biggest downside of the Italian method is that you need another “toilet like” thing in your house which isn’t practical for most.

Now, I will show you low-tech methods how to clean yourself hygienically. 👇

More practical: The Asian method

Photo taken in an Indonesian hotel

In most toilets in the region of Indonesia, India, Nepal, you will find a small shower like this which is sometimes referred to as “Muslim shower”. You can adjust the pressure and let water gently run from top to bottom of your behind and wash the pieces of poo down the toilet. This is much less complicated than the Italian method, because you don’t need to move to another toilet-like thing during your session and you don’t need extra space for a toilet-like construction. It is better than the Japanese method because water runs from “top to bottom” at a 10–20° angle and gently washes stuff away rather than shooting at your butt at a 90° angle. Instead of relying on complicated electronics, you adjust the water pressure with a mechanical valve. The price is very good: ~$20 USD.

Muslim showers are forbidden in here

Although you can buy “Muslim showers”, a sanitary technician in Switzerland, where I live, won’t sell it to you before asking you for what you will use it. If you say, you use it to clean your pet, they will sell it to you. If you say, you need it for cleaning your butt, they won’t sell it to you. Why? Here it is forbidden to install an additional shower next to the toilet for the purpose of washing your butt. Yes, that is really a law here. The reason is that theoretically feces could go back to the clean water supply and contaminate it. One toilet technician told me that this is kind of dumb because some people use their normal shower heads to clean their behinds, so it anyway could happen anytime.

The Asian, low-cost method

I took this photo in Blue Bay on Mauritius, Africa

The simplest way is people discovered to clean their butts is to just use a water bottle to let water run over their butts. A 500 ml bottle usually suffices for a cleaning, if you practiced a bit. One uses a little bit of pressure from the non-dominant hand to ensure that no feces are stuck in skin lumps or hair. Afterwards, hands are washed with water and lots of soap. For extra safety, you can practice the habit to not touch food with your non-dominant hand, like it is common practice in Asia.

The great thing is that you can use this method even when using public toilets because water bottles are readily available. You can always carry one with you. But when you use it on your butt, please don’t re-use it for anything else.

The Squat toilet

Typical Indian toilet. A healthy squat position is enforced.

This is a variation of the water bottle method, the difference is just that you have more water available. The squat position that is enforced by this toilet straightens the rectum, so it is emptied more easily. Additionally, the butt cheeks are pulled apart naturally, and you become less dirty because outgoing feces smear the butt less compared to sitting on a Western toilet. You are more likely to finish business much faster because of muscle relaxation in that region. Your skeleton muscles, those in your legs, are tightend but the muscles around around your rectum are way more relaxed than on a Western toilet. Also, it requires effort to squat like this, so you finish quicker. Smart phone use possible only for the very sporty!

Humans have been pooping in squat positions for hundreds of thousands of years and it is the healthiest method. The modern Western toilet is a very recent invention and, albeit ubiquitous, very questionable. This blogpost is partly dedicated to make it disappear.

Western abominations of the Squat toilet

While a Western toilet enable you to sit on it for hours and browse social media on your phone, it doesn’t help to finish business fast and clean. Actually, it does the opposite and is the main reason proctologists have so much to do these days.

The same way Westerners feed themselves processed food, as a result get stomach pain and then go to the doctor to swallow pills to remove the pain, they “invented” special stools to go back to sitting more naturally on modern toilets.

Squatty Potty Stool

“Invention” to get a more natural sitting angle on Western toilets.

The marketing material of this product show, why it works:

With a lower angle in the hips, the rectum muscle is relaxed, allowing the rectum to fully empty.

(Advert: If this blogpost is amusing or interesting, and you want to buy a Squatty Potty anyway, consider using my referral link on or on to support me.)

There are even more “interesting inventions” to counterbalance the crippling effects of Western toilets:

Another way to turn a Western toilet into a Squat toilet

Health benefits of using water and squatting

Did you know that very few people in India have haemorrhoids? That is because they clean their butts with water and do big business in a squatting position.

Most people in the West have problems with their butts at some point in their life. Sometimes it comes from too much sitting in the office, or on the toilet or very often from a too rough treatment of their butts with dry paper.

“But if I use water, I will be wet”

Yes, that is why you need a cloth at home which you use to dry your butt after you cleaned with water and your hand. If you use the right technique, there will be neither poo on your hand nor on the cloth.

“What if I am not at home?”

You can carry a 500ml water bottle. Fill it with warm water and let it rinse over your butt and use your non-dominant hand to remove pieces of feces. Than, you can use toilet paper to dry your butt. Note that cheap toilet paper might rip and pieces of it might stay on your butt. That is why you should shower at home and wash yourself later.

“This is disgusting. I neither want to touch my butt nor feces”

Some say the West’s obsession with toilet paper lies in our Christian roots. Same as with masturbation, every kind of “self touch” is considered bad, so people invented toilet paper to abstract away that sensitive area. That is maybe the whole dumb reason why it exists in the first place.

When using water and a little bit of touch of your hand, you won’t get any feces on your hand because there is always a layer of water between your butt and your hand. Initially, this can be weird to “feel yourself” but you will also feel where the dirt is and push it out. Like with everything, once you start it, you will get the hang of it. You will feel a lot cleaner and never be able to get back to paper.

“But I can just use wet wipes”

I won’t even start with the fact that most wet wipes have chemicals in them that will irritate your butt, and guarantee that you have to visit a proctologist (“butt doctor”). I have a friend who started an organic wet wipe business for luxury hotels here in Switzerland. These wipes wouldn’t have any chemicals in them. He failed because it turned out, people in luxury hotels prefer dry toilet paper.

“Ok, ok I will try this. Tell me the right technique”

In times of Corona, or if they are dirty, maybe wash your hands before going to the bathroom, as well.

Let water rinse on your butt, e.g., with a water bottle. At the same time you use your non-dominant hand to remove pieces of feces. You need the “skin on skin” feel of your hand to probe where the dirt is to push it out, without damaging your butt. This takes maybe a few seconds and you are clean. Then, wash your hands really well with soap. If you are unsure, get used to not touch food with this hand. That is common in Asia.

Here a “tutorial” on movements how to clean. The video uses paper but I advice that you should use your hand and running water:

Use water and your hand, not toiletpaper like in the video.

The area around your butt is not flat. It has lumps of skin and hair. That is why you have to wipe “bidirectionally”. Wiping only in one direction want get you clean. Albeit the video uses toilet paper, which I oppose, it demonstrates the most efficient movement pattern well:

Bidirectional is the proper way to clean. There is a layer of water between your hand and your butt. (Pic taken from the video.)

An attentive reader told me I should add: Women should be taught to wipe only backwards (towards the butt) and less towards the front. This is to avoid that the poo is drawn across the vaginal region, with the possibility of contamination and subsequent infection (or whatever).


Not having to flush down toilet paper saves you and society lots of water, and helps save the planet. When we talk about the West, we say it is “modern and civilised”. Yet, any poor peasant in India is actually more aware of this and has a cleaner butt than most bankers walking down Wall Street. People know that water-based cleaning methods are superior. Due to Coronavirus, newspapers write “people are screaming to bring back bidets “, but e-commerce data shows us they actually don’t.

Masturbation is accepted in our society by now, so maybe touching your butt should be fine, too? I hope this article is helpful to learn a cheaper, simpler and better way to clean yourself.

But I am not a proctologist, I am working in tech actually. My other articles are on tech or on — kind of — also dirty topics, like tech recruitment. So, if you like my writing style, you might also enjoy:

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Originally published at on March 15, 2020.