This is kind of a shitty subject to write about but one that seriously needs to be addressed. I cannot count the times that I’ve been walking through the woods and happened upon a white blur on the trail only to find it’s a sock sticking up out of someone’s pile of shit. I mean, who does that? Apparently a lot of people do because I see it quite often. Well you won’t have to use your socks after reading this article because I’m going to show you the top 10 things to wipe your ass with in the woods. A lot of the things on this list are seasonal and regional. For instance, if you are in Florida, snow is going be hard to find. Likewise, if you are in Colorado, you will not have Spanish moss at your disposal. Anyway, here is my list in no specific order.
Most leaves do not work well as toilet paper. A lot of leaves crumble when friction is applied and other leaves are just too smooth to remove any grime. Mullein leaves are one of the exceptions, if they are fresh. They are covered with fine cottony hairs that lift and carry away debris. They are soft and strong especially when doubled up Trust me, do not use dried mullein leaves or those soft cottony hairs will become little itchy prickles that are hard to remove. Imagine itching powder applied directly to the sphincter. It’s not pleasant. I learned this the hard way.
Slippery Elm leaves are quite different than mullein leaves. Elm leaves are not soft, in fact, they could be described as sand papery. They do, however, get you clean. The hairs that cover elm leaves are full of silica crystals and that can and will smooth textured skin, if you know what I mean. Be gentle if you are using elm leaves as toilet paper. It will get you clean but it can get you raw too.
Moss makes one of the best butt wipes ever. Not only is it soft and absorbant but it also contains iodine. Iodine is a germ killer. So moss cleans and dissinfects. Moss can be found near water and on the north side of trees in most of the northern hemisphere.
Spanish moss is not a moss. It’s actually a Tillandsia, in the Bromeliad family, that grows in the tropics of America. If you live in the south you are probably very familiar with this air plant. And although it’s not a true moss it’s still a great ass cleaner. It does not contain iodine like true mosses but it does the job well anyway. Be sure to get rid of any bugs that may make the moss its home, they can tear your ass up.
Reindeer moss is not a moss either. It is an amazing lichen and although it doesn’t contain iodine like true mosses, it does contain many active germ killing acids. It can even wipe out staph. It is very absorbent and a little rough textured but all around does a great job scrubbing the bum. Its also a carbohydrate rich food that can scrub your insides if you can scarf it down but that’s another article.
This one seems silly but it actually works well if conditions are right. Osages oranges, also called hedge apples, are large fruit. They are, in fact, too large to wedge into the crevice for a proper wiping, if they are full grown. But if they are half grown they work wonderfully. The small bumps and channels on the surface of the fruit do a great job of carrying away matter. The fruit does contain a sticky resin that exudes out when the fruit is damaged, so only use undamaged fruits. The resin is not poisonous but it could cause an allergic reaction in some people, though this is very rare.
If you can find the perfect rock, you are golden. Certain rocks do a better job cleaning than most of the things on this list. They naturally scrub you dry as they remove material. The problem is that a good rock is hard to find. The rock must be free of sharp edges with a texture like chalk. It should be roundish and flattish and should fit in the hand comfortably. My favorite stone is Dolomite but cotton rock is a close second.
Now I know when I say pinecones make good toilet paper most of you will think I’m full of it, but they actually do work. The key is to find the right pinecone. You want a fresh one right from the tree before it has opened to drop its seeds. You also want to make sure it’s not covered in resin and has no sharp points on it. If you find one like the one in this picture you will have no problem removing sludge from the rear sector, and deodorize as well.
Snow does a fantastic job of scrubbing the starfish but it does have some serious drawbacks. For one, it is cold, so pucker up. Two, its wet, and it gets wetter when applied. This can cause drips. As you can imagine those drips are not very clean so be careful where your water falls. Also having a wet bum in cold weather is not such a great idea so you are going to want to dry the area. I’m not a big fan of tushy mush so I only use snow in emergencies.
When all else fails you can use a practice, common in the Middle East, called the double wipe. Basically you wipe with your left hand and then you wipe your hand onto something else. This should only be done if there is nothing else available and you have a way to wash your hands immediately. Otherwise you are nasty and no one will shake your hand ever again.
I hope this list is useful to you. If there is one less sock topping a pile of poo in the woods, it was all worth it. Thanks for reading and thanks for not littering dooky socks.