Our toilet paper has a particular relationship with us, especially in Germany. During the pandemic the first thing that was missing in a German supermarket was toilet paper. Other countries had a shortage of wine, water, or medicine. Where is toilet paper coming from and which alternatives are available?
Toilet paper was invented by the Chinese in the 14th century. Before that and in other cultures at that time, leaves, wool, or rags were used. The commercial use started at the end of the 19th century in the US as a luxury good. In Germany, Mister toilet paper was Hans Klenk who started his company in 1928 as the first toilet paper producer. Due to the war, the big commercial breakthrough happened later: during the economic miracle of the 1960s. More high-tech versions of toilet paper were introduced over time with more layers, with printed designs or in color as well as those, that would dissolve quickly in the sewers.
But toilet papers are not used everywhere around the world. They are used in several countries and are probably the most common thing to clean our behinds after a big business. But depending on where we are on the globe, we will find toilet paper or not. The second most common way to clean up is a bidet. A bidet is a water-based solution which comes in different forms: sometimes the toilet is constructed to have a water jet from underneath, sometimes a water hose is next to the toilet to hold and direct the water jet and sometimes it’s a separate element next to the toilet. Bidets are especially found in those parts of the world where people are not allowed to get their hands dirty by cleaning up their behind. All these countries of course also had less problems with a shortage of toilet paper as they don’t use it or don’t use it that often.
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