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Toilet Paper causes Blocked Toilets

Blocked toilets and toilet hygiene

toilet jetwasher or sprinkler

In the more developed parts of the world most people enjoy the luxury of "sit down" toilets, many of these people will use toilet paper.

But how many realise that some people fold their toilet paper before they use it while others scrunch it up into a ball?

Scrunching the paper uses more paper but it is also a major cause of blocked toilets, drains and sewers.

A blocked sewer can result in a lot of dirty, smelly work which can be a major problem in places such as restaurants or hotels.

In some of the more sophisticated parts of the world people don't use toilet paper, they use a sprinkler or jetwasher to clean themselves.

Jetwashers are far more hygienic, there is no physical contact, and they avoid the possibility of blocking the drains.

See also:

Are You A Scruncher Or A Folder?

"I say, are you a scruncher of a folder?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"You know, a scruncher or a folder?"
"Sorry I don't know what you're talking about."
"A scruncher or a folder, It's the question of the moment."
"Whose moment?"
"Well I don't know, everyone's moment. It's the question everyone's asking."
"Asking what?"
"The question of course."
"Question, what question?"
"Do you fold it or do you scrunch it?"
"Fold it? Scrunch it? What on earth are you talking about?"
"Your toilet paper of course."
"Toilet paper?"
"Yes your toilet paper, do you fold it or do you scrunch it?"
"That's a very personal question and none of your business."
"But it's very important."
"Important, why is it important?"
"Well I don't know but it must be important, surveys are being done you know."
"Surveys? Gee whizz, here we are facing global environmental disaster, terrorists bombing people all over the place, half the world is starving, millions of people have lost their jobs and their life savings, Tiger Woods was unfaithful to his wife and all people can think about is how we present a nice piece of 4 ply to our posteriors."
"But the surveys are very interesting."
"I didn't even know people scrunched."
"I know and the scrunchers never realised that some people fold! It's looking like 40% scrunchers though it does vary from country to country."
"40%! But scrunching must use twice or three times as much paper as folding. Just a minute, what am I saying? Why am I joining this ridiculous conversation?"
"This isn't ridiculous."
"Yes it is."
"No it isn't"
"Yes it is, now if you were to talk of personal hygiene now that's a different matter. Animalcules can be a real problem."
"Remember, it's only a few short years ago that a small scratch could easily give you a very nasty infection that simply couldn't be cured. The discovery of antibiotics has given us some breathing space but those little meanies are catching up fast. Staphylococcus, tuberculosis, they're getting much harder to cure."
"Yes but what have animalcules or whatever you call them got to do with folding and scrunching?"
"I once knew a microbiologist who worked in public hygiene, he always said that if people realised how fast any self respecting microbe could get through a piece of toilet paper no one would ever bother using the stuff."
"No toilet paper, how would we ever manage without it."
"We can always do what the locals do."
"What do the locals do?"
"Until fairly recently local people used their left hand and water."
"Left hand, Yuk!"
"Yes left hand. Right hand for eating, left hand for wiping. That is why in this country it is very bad form to give anybody anything with your left hand. At times you may note a sort of leper like friendliness in the use of the left hand."
"Talking of lepers, I am not sure I fancy the water and direct physical contact."
"No need to, thanks to that wonderful invention - the water pump."
"Since jetwashers (or sprinklers) were introduced things have got a lot easier. A quick squirt, very clean, no physical contact and no chopping down trees or using nasty chemicals to bleach the paper white. It's a good idea to make sure toilets have jetwashers for any of our hygiene conscious Indonesian friends that might come to call. Not good form for the Kepalla Desa's wife to visit the little room after dinner and not come back for half an hour while she climbs the walls trying to avoid using that revolting toilet paper stuff."
"But don't you end up all wet."
"Oh don't be such a wuss, a few drops of water soon dries off in this climate."
"I think I'll stick to my paper."
"That's a distinct possibility but there is, of course, a far more sensible reason to avoid scrunching."
"Oh yes and what might that be?"
"Few people realise that many a restaurant and bar has fallen foul of the Super Scruncher."
"The what?"
"The Super Scruncher."
"The Super Scruncher?"

A Super Scruncher is a person who has such an aversion to the task in hand (so to speak) that they use half a roll at a time, a wad of scrunch so large that, when swelled up with water, it blocks the first bend it comes to. Anything that follows adds to the blockage.

This is particularly problematical to those in the hospitality industry. It is very difficult maintaining your hospitable demeanour when a Super Scruncher has blocked your bog.

Unblocking it might not be easy either, here in Indonesia our ever so considerate 'plumbers' tend to use right angle bends and plastic pipes. Trying to get rods or coils down a pipe to unblock it can be impossible if a right angle bend is reached, worse the rod or coil can tear straight through the wall of the pipe where it bends making the problem even worse (it is a very good idea to persuade plumbers to keep pipe straight where possible and, if they have to, use 45 degree bends in toilet pipework). Once blocked very often the only solution is to dig it out.

Many restaurants and bars need every skerrick of floorspace they have for the serious business of separating people from their hard earned cash, you can't go wasting space on such unimportant items as septic tanks and so the depository for all that is foul and smelly is an afterthought, it might be anywhere, maybe under the kitchen, behind the bar or could well be under that lush, well vegetated verandah.

To make matters worse the restaurant will probably have been renovated fifteen times in the past couple of years as yet another hopeful takes over the place and renovates it in the belief he is going to make a small fortune. Incidentally, for those would be hopefuls, it is well said that it is very easy to make a small fortune in Bali, all you need to do is to start with a large one.

By the time the fifteenth floor has been laid down the septic tank has vanished into the bowels of the earth and finding the blessed thing involves an archaeological dig that makes Tutankhamun's tomb a mere walk in the desert. Gives a whole new meaning to "finding the throne room" doesn't it?

As many a frustrated restaurateur can attest, running a busy cafe or bar gets very difficult when Lord Carnarvon and half a dozen lackies arrive with their picks and shovels and set about excavating in search of the lost Tut.

"I say you fellows, would you mind being jolly good chaps and moving to that table outside, we've an excavation under way here."

...and of course, the place will empty very fast when they find it!

As a result of all this scrunchers can be the bane of restaurateurs so if you want to be considerate and you do have to scrunch only use half the roll at a time. If you really care about hygiene do yourself and everyone else a favour, forget the scrunchers and folders, use a Jetwasher.

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Copyright © Phil Wilson April 2010
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