Butt Sanitation: Water or Paper Rolls?

Published by in Humor
15th Sep 2010

It is not a topic that finds place in a polite conversation, but figures in every civilized person’s everyday life. It affects you the moment you step out of familiar environs of your home and particularly, your country. I am talking of cleaning your butts after defecation. An icky, yucky job indeed, but it’s still yours; so you better brace yourself.

Hindus have always considered water the best purificator and used it for personal hygiene. Lavatories in my mother’s native village in those days were located away from the house and consisted of sanitary pits near which would be kept a pile of earth and dry leaves. Every body was expected to carry a small bucket of water inside to clean oneself and cover their tracks with mud and dry leaves after they used the pit.

Once the pits were full, the makeshift roof and door would shift to the next newly dug pit. The old pit would be left as-is for some weeks, after which the village farmers would remove the earth and use it to fertilize their fields.

More pertinent to the topic, how did people clean themselves after the elimination act? They would wash their private parts in the privacy of the lavatories with water, and later wash their feet and hands with soap near the well before entering the main house.

Nowadays most villages have underground sewer lines; many have western toilet and commode. Most still use the plain old water bucket and a plastic mug, but toilet paper rolls have entered the toilets in private and multinational work places in addition to the “health faucets”.

Source: Proper Use of Indian Toilet


Health Faucets; Source: Wikipedia

My old parents accompanied me the first time I came to USA, and they secretly brought a small plastic mug along, having been warned about the paper rolls and the unavailability of plastic mugs. This is how a typical bucket and mug looks like:

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Luckily, my parents coped very well with using toilet rolls; it was me who had the maximum (unspoken) reservations with the paper rolls. The rolls at most public places were thin; I had to repeatedly pull out long strips of paper to make sure no excrement was left behind. What I found disgusting was that minute, almost invisible, bits of paper stuck on to the body. I started carrying and using wet wipes wherever I went.

I have this habit of googling any thought/concern that worries me. I found scores of research that said the germs were found on the wash bowls, taps, hand driers, door knobs et al, but no research done on the germs left on the body through incomplete cleaning of the butts.

Not only that, I thought of the amount of paper rolls that were used in a normal home, and the number of trees that had to be cut to make this possible. I thought to myself wryly there wouldn’t be a single tree left on the planet if every body converted to using paper rolls. Talk of sustainability of a process. Heck.

Fortunately, many countries in Europe, Asia and Africa use water to clean their butts. Here’s a bidet that has been used in France since centuries in various forms and designs.

Here’s a more common design:

Sit facing the tap and nozzle for washing the genitalia and turn the back for butts; Source: Wikipedia

Japan has perfected this art by combining aesthetics, technology and user-friendly interface.

Japan, as well as other East Asians also use squat type toilets. Check out.

Think of the advantages of squatting for s**tting. You are actually doing a Yoga exercise!!

  • Kaye TM

    very good topic! =p nice one

  • GodsGrace

    Good Work

  • achilles2010

    Well written and well presented.

  • Rana Sinha

    Very interesting and thanks for addressing an important but not talked about topic.

  • MarcoPaolo

    Useful information! Thanks my friend for sharing!

  • JK Kristie

    Very good discussion.

  • Christine Ramsay

    Wow! That is a interesting read. I tremember the old and rather dirty squat toilets in the camps in Europe when wwe went camping with our parents as children.


  • drelayaraja

    Very sensitive issue… Very well presented.

  • vijayanths

    Uma, you are bold and practical to have given such a extensive research on a delicate subject, your writing always impress me.

  • valli

    Good discussion on a sensitive topic.

  • CVSivaprakashan

    Again serious work on a very relevant topic.

  • Starpisces

    very impressive and unique post! Though these are squat toilets but they are quite clean. I have travelled to very dirty toilets country, some even no doors, no flushing etc…

  • giftarist

    Interesting topic for discussion. Really agree that this is not really being talked about.

  • Monica Sappleton

    This is a lot of food for thought. Thanks for the share.

  • Athlyn Green

    Interesting topic. I would think the squat toilets would be difficult for people with mobility problems but the water idea makes sense and would save trees. Bookmarked.

  • Noeal V

    Nice Share.

  • adeluv69

    Good share with beautiful illustrating pictures.

  • Ramalingam

    Nice share.Thanks for sharing.

  • phoenix2010

    good one.with good video as well

  • Rehoboth

    $- hey really nice, because most of the diseases spread to the toilet -$
    $- good & very useful think-$
    $-thanks for sharing-$