Family Cloths the Toilet Paper Alternative
We all go to the bathroom, this is a fact of life. So really the only question is how you want to clean yourself after. Every culture and country has their own take on how this is done, but here in North America, we tend to use toilet paper. There is however, a small group switching over to Family Cloths. It’s a cost-effective, environmentally friendly way to clean yourself.
I have Crohn’s Disease (sometimes referred to as the “shitting disease”), so going to the bathroom is something I do a lot of. During a flare up, I can easily go through a couple of rolls a day. And the worse part was that I never really felt “clean” after. Regular toilet paper is just not that sturdy. So when I first read about Family Cloths, I became very interested. Everything I read claimed they were cleaner, softer, and more substantial. They were an environmentally friendly alternative, that wouldn’t cost me anything to make, and I’d get a better clean. I was more than happy to try.
- I used an old Bath Robe to make the cloths, so they where free
- Wouldn’t be flushing my money down the toilet
- Never run out of TP
- Not using a disposable item
- Can reuse the same item multiple times (washing between each use)
- No trees would be cut down to make the cloths
* For more information on the environmental aspects of using TP, please check out this article called “Flushing Forests” *
- There isverylittledifferencebetweenclothdiapering and using family cloths, in the sanitary sense
- You wipe, wash, and reuse
- They’re sturdierandmoresubstantial
- They don’t leave bits and pieces behind
- They don’t rip
- You’re more likely to touch poo with TP than cloth
- They give a more effective clean
- They’re softer and feel nicer on your behind
I’ve now been using family cloths exclusively for over a month now, and can honestly say I won’t be going back anytime soon. They’re cost effective, environmentally friendly, and when I’m finished, I feel clean.
Making the Cloths
* I used a Bath Robe to make my cloths, others have used flannel sheets, old shirts, whatever they had on hand. Others have purchased the fabric to make their cloths. Use what you feel is best for your family. *
- If up-cycling something from the house, remove all the seams so that you just have the fabric. I just cut mine out.
- Once you have your fabric, begin to cut it into 6 inch strips (please be aware that some make them bigger, and others make them smaller. Decide what is best for your family).
- Once you have your strips, cut them into 6 inch squares. Because I was using up-cycled fabric, not all of my pieces formed nice squares. That was fine with me.
- After cutting your squares, serge the edges to help prevent fraying.
Using the Cloths
- I store my cloths in the cabinet beside the toilet, others display them in baskets on or near the toilet. Regardless of where or how you store them, you will want them close to the toilet for use.
- For the use of the cloths, it’s a matter of personal preference. Some like to wet them before use, some use them as is. I’m currently using them as is, but I may try the wash option down the road (if and when things start to get “messy”).
- Place used cloth in some kind of container. I use a small bucket, others use a wet bag. Again, it’s all up to you and your personal preferences.
- Every couple of days, wash the cloths. I simply take the bucket to the washer, remove the lid and dump the contents of the bucket into the washing machine, and wash as normal. As my cloths are dark in color I don’t use bleach but others with lighter cloths do. About once a month, I run the cloths through the “sanitary” cycle on the washing machine. Dry the cloths using your preferred method of drying and return them to the stack of cloths ready for use.
The only time I ever actually touch the cloths is when I am either putting the clean cloths away or using the cloth. And the cloth is substantial enough that I never have to worry about anything coming through to my fingers.
Would you consider using family cloths? or is the “ick” factor too great for you?