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What do other cultures use if they don't use toilet paper?

What do other cultures use if they don't use toilet paper?

Not all countries or cultures use toilet paper to wipe their bums. This can be because of cultures that have traditionally used alternatives to toilet paper and therefore never really used it or lack of access to toilet paper.

We thought we’d round up some of the different alternatives to toilet paper other countries or cultures use.

Toilet paper alternatives from around the world

Alternatives to toilet paper - bidet


France, Portugal, Italy, Japan, Argentina, Venezuela, and Spain all use bidets, they’ll often have toilet paper available in public spaces for tourists, but homes would all have bidets installed. Japan is the one Asian stand-out in that they adopted bidets rather than other ways of washing the bum.

You’ll find in most European countries on this list that public restrooms are actually something you have to pay for due to the need to keep them stocked and clean. Bidets will be installed in all homes, with some bidets separate from the toilet while others have a toilet and bidet in one.

Toilet Showers

Alternatives to toilet paper - Toilet shower

Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and other countries will use a small shower for rinsing off after you do your business. Most of these cultures believe that you can get your bum cleaner with water than you can with toilet paper which is why they chose that option.


Alternatives to toilet paper - Lota

For some other countries that prefer the water alternative to toilet paper, there is a lota, a teapot type object that you fill with water. You hold onto the handle and point it towards your bum after you’ve done your business and tip the lota so water will come out and clean your bum.


Alternatives to toilet paper - Tabo

The other alternative to toilet paper for the countries and cultures that believe that water gets your bum cleaner than paper is the tabo. Most commonly used in the Philippines, the tabo is a cup used in conjunction with a bucket of water. You use the tabo to scoop water out of the bucket and pour it on your bum to clean it.

This was also a quite eco-friendly option as a tabo was originally made from bamboo or coconut. Now, however, it’s more likely to be made of plastic.

Why do people use alternatives to toilet paper?

There are a couple of reasons other countries or cultures may choose to use water rather than toilet paper.

  • Lack of access to toilet paper - There are still many countries worldwide that have minimal or no access to toilet paper, so they have to rely on alternatives such as water in a bucket.
  • Cultural differences - Many countries have never really used toilet paper and therefore never adopted it.
  • Wiping is not enough - Many countries that use water as the alternative to toilet paper believe that you can’t get your bum clean enough with toilet paper so instead, use water.

It’s fascinating to hear how other countries or cultures wipe their bum without toilet paper. But we’ll stick to using an eco-friendly, quick-to-dissolve option like our 100% bamboo toilet paper.

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