More important than what you wipe with (remember, until toilet paper was invented in the 19th century, people used newspaper, clay, leaves, and even corncobs, which couldn’t have felt good) is how you wipe. You’ve heard a million times to do it from front to back to prevent the germs present in feces from getting near your urethra and causing a urinary tract infection—but it’s still smart advice, says Phillips. You also want to wipe firmly but not press or rub hard, which can lead to small abrasions in your anal area. And don’t leave the bathroom until you’re all cleaned off if you can help it. Leaving a little poop behind can lead to itching and irritation—not to mention a surprise on your thong.
Finally, even though adult wipes are supposed to be flushable, sewer and waste officials can tell you that it isn’t true, and wipes are clogging up pipes and sewers, causing major damage. “Just toss them in the trash or diaper disposal,” says Phillips.