Let’s go a bit back to history. Toilet paper was in use, dating back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China, a nation which invented paper in 105CE.
Even during early 14th century, a huge quantity of toilet paper used to be produced for use in the Emperor’s court. The commoners used to defecate in the rivers.
In Roman times, they used what was called a ‘gompf stick’ – a sponge on the end of a stick, which was kept in a container, containing salt water, in the privy.
All those who used the toilet would share the gompf. The wealthy Romans would use wool and scented water.
Ancient Greeks too are said to have used stones called ‘pessoi’ and pieces of clay to wipe down too.
In North America, toilet paper is used to clean up in the restroom in almost all parts of the continent.
Most countries in Europe also use toilet paper. In Finland for instance, ‘bidet showers’ can also be very often seen in use.
Most parts of Russia use tissue paper to wipe, and it is flushed down the toilet afterwards.
However, in some parts of Russia, where the plumbing may not be that good, people using the toilets are asked not to flush the tissue paper down the toilet, but to place the soiled paper in a waste bin provided in the stall.
People in Arab world and in parts of Muslim world, in South Asian countries like India and Pakistan, and in South-East Asian countries like Indonesia and Singapore use water and the left hand to wash.
Almost all the toilets have a water source with a ‘bidet shower’ or a ‘health faucet’ in the toilet.
If not, they have a bucket and/or a mug of water inside the room. Those who can afford it also use toilet paper to dry the area before pulling on the pants.
Compost toilets are found in some Arab countries. Some use water, and some others use toilet paper as well.
Many parts of African like Nigeria use toilet paper (majorly the Christians while the Muslims use water to wipe down), newspaper or other paper products to wipe down.
Where squat toilets are in use, water is usually used to wash especially in the Northern part.
With that said, is tissue paper or water more hygienic after using the toilet? In the year 2017, I went to serve in Katsina state (NYSC), majorly Muslims.
Over there, they prefer the use of water from the kettle over the use of tissue paper to wide down.
For the fact that I’m a Christian from Imo State, I found it hard to adjust to the use of water to wipe down. Though time took its cause on me, but which practice is more hygienic?
Well, those who use water to wash swear by it and those who use only toilet paper also seem to think that their practice is the best.
Now let us compare them, the use of water and the use toilet tissue.
Water is more hygienic if I’m to consider, since all the urine and poop gets washed off, leaving a clean bottom.
There is no poop-y smell left in the underwear. No matter how much you scrub with a toilet paper, a residual smell is always left behind.
With water, there is less friction against the skin. No matter how soft the toilet paper is, you still have to scrub it against your skin. Water is best suited for people who are sensitive to toilet paper.
If clean water is used, it reduces the inherent chances of infection that toilet paper causes when one forgets to wipe from FRONT to BACK.
It’s economical to use water. You don’t need to spend money or a fortune on buying toilet paper every month.
Too much toilet paper in the bowl can clog it, but water will not.
Toilets that use water often have wet floors. And so, they also have a drain on the floor, so that the entire toilet and floor can be washed clean regularly.
The hems of pants and skirts are liable to get wet in a wet bathroom, and it takes a lot of careful planning and contortions to ensure that the clothes stay dry.
After a hard day of dusty labour, one would not feel really clean by just wiping down with a dry paper towel. A shower would do the job. Just like that, wiping poop with a dry toilet paper is not going to actually clean the area well. Washing with water would.
When a woman has given birth to a baby, especially by vaginal delivery, the doctors insist that she wash her private parts with warm water to help heal better and prevent infection. If water can keep a woman safe during the most vulnerable period of her life, then why can’t it be used at all times in daily life?
When women have their monthly cycle, washing with water is recommended as most hygienic and best-practice by DOCTORS.
People use wet wipes to clean babies’ bottoms and private areas. Wet, not dry. Best practices for newborn baby care recommends washing the private areas with water, since their skin might be too sensitive for even wet-wipes. The water actually cleans the messiest of messes. If that is the case, then why do people stop using water when they become older, and use dry toilet paper instead?
Doctors recommend washing the genital area with water under the following circumstances, for hygiene and also to reduce the chances of infection:
Injury from foreign body insertion
Candidiasis & Balanitis
Sexually transmitted infection
Various genital infections in men and women
The list is much more extensive, I just listed only a few conditions above.
One doesn’t have to actually touch the poop when using a toilet paper.
Toilet paper is easy to carry anywhere you go.
The toilet floors are not wet, making it easy to keep it clean.
The underwear of a person who wipes, not washes, smells awfully bad after a trip to the bathroom. For those with pubic hair, the smell is particularly strong.
The farts of people who wipe with toilet paper are a lot more noxious than of those that use water. The smell of farts of the toilet paper users have been described as ‘garbage left out in the sun’, ‘rotting meat’ and ‘unflushed toilet’. HUgh!! If you can, kindly confirm or deny this piece of information.
If a man with a thick mustache and/or beard, gets sticky gravy or chocolate syrup on it, he can never clean it properly without washing it with water. For adults who have light to thick genital hair, wiping with toilet paper does not remove all the poop and urine. This leads to various rectal and genital infections.
Pain associated with various rectal infections can be reduced, if not eliminated by practicing good hygiene. All of the below problems get aggravated by use of toilet paper instead of water.
Rectal itching (Pruritus)
Itching caused due to use of scented toilet paper, scented soaps and ointments (like some that contain benzocaine)
Infection caused by some viruses, bacteria, fungus, yeast, etc.
I honestly cannot think why anyone would want to use toilet paper to wipe, instead of using WATER except for other purposes.
Is tissue paper or water more hygienic after using the toilet?