Aunt Vadge: can I use a snotty tissue to wipe after a wee?

Dear Aunt Vadge,

Sometimes I blow my nose in the toilet, then, to be environmentally friendly, I then use my snotty toilet paper to wipe myself. I don’t wipe the snot onto myself, I use the other side.

Is this safe?

Yours sincerely,

Age 27

Dear J,

Your nose is a bug and debris-catching facility. The mucous your respiratory system makes is partially expelled via your nose when you blow your nose. Thus, bacteria and other junk from the air will come out onto your toilet paper or tissue when you blow your nose.

You don’t want this junk on your vulva, as it could – in theory – contribute to an infection of some kind. The microbes that love your respiratory tract aren’t usually the same as those that love your vagina, but it is not impossible to cross-contaminate. Germs love to get around however they can.

But, seeing as you use the other side of the tissue, you aren’t likely to be introducing any untowards into your vulva directly.

In saying that, it may be safest to use a fresh tissue or toilet paper to wipe yourself and flush the snotty tissue away, especially if you are sick or there is a lot of snot. A couple of harder boogers are easy to wrap into the opposite side of the paper, but stringy snot, not so much.

While we should all be monitoring and adjusting our wasteful activities, it’s important to choose your battles. Western countries have excellent wastewater facilities, so it is possibly savvier to avoid buying plastic bottles of spring water instead.

Aunt Vadge

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