Sometimes we choose to live a certain way for health reasons, or ecological reasons, and often to save some money. Sometimes, however, we are forced to find creative ways to deal with situations due to outside forces. When the stores run out of toilet paper, we have to find another way to deal with this essential part of our daily lives. I have used “family cloth” in the past, due to ecological reasons, so I would like to share some simple tips today.
Family cloth is simply using washable fabric for wiping instead of toilet paper. It gets washed afterwards just like cloth diapers. To make family cloth work for you, you will need to set up a good system. So, let’s get into some details.
What should I use?
You have two good options for family cloth. One is no sew, and the other will require you to finish the edges.
Your no sew option is to simply cut up old t-shirts or knit fabric into rectangles. The knit fabric will hold up through washing without unraveling. Cut your pieces big enough so you can fold them into fourths before using.
If you have flannel fabric, it also works quite well for family cloth. You will need to layer rectangles, minimum of four layers, then finish the edges together, leaving you a four layer sandwich with finished edges. You can finish the edges with a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine, or with a serger. Four by six inches is a good size.
How do I use them?
Once you have a stack of wipes made up, put your stack in the bathroom. Just stacking them on the counter or in a basket will work just fine. Place a small laundry basket or empty wastebasket nearby. Instruct your family to use them for wiping and then place them in the basket. This will take practice, since it is very different from what most of us are used to. You will probably need to monitor the regular garbage for the first few days to insure that your efforts are not simply being thrown away.
How do I wash them?
Family cloth is treated the same way cloth diapers are. Since more than just the baby is using them, I recommend you wash your family cloth every day or every other day. You should not need to pre-soak or do any pre-treating. Dump your wipes into the washer and use whatever laundry detergent you normally use. Wash them on hot. Add about 1/4 cup white vinegar and run them through a cold rinse. Then you can move them to the dryer. Once they are dry, just put the stack of wipes back in your bathroom for use again.
Since I have used family cloth in the past, I can say it is absolutely do-able. I don’t prefer to stick with it long term since it’s just one more thing to maintain. But, when it’s needed, family cloth is a great alternative to toilet paper.
Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.