Family cloth: would you go toilet paper-free?

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That’s not a box of tissues on the back of the toilet — that’s FAMILY CLOTH! Photo courtesy of Penniless Parenting

Ok, we’ve talked about all sorts of eco-friendly home hacks, but let’s try the final frontier of reusable toiletries: FAMILY CLOTH. The concept is pretty straight-forward: rather than wipe your butt with paper that you then wad up and flush into the septic system, you use small squares of soft fabric that you then wash and reuse.

Aww, lookit this adorable bundle of pre-made Family Cloth wipes for sale on Etsy!

It makes sense, right? People use cloth diapers all the time. What’s the difference? You can even do like the folks at Penniless Parenting did here, and make a nice little Kleenex-like dispenser that goes on the back of your toilet tank, and then a nice little hamper with a lid next to the toilet. Line it with an old pillow case that you can lift out and toss in the wash and VOILA: you never even have to SEE the poopy fabric. Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! Makes perfect sense, right? Plus, some people claim that you get cleaner — no bits of toilet paper left behind in MY butt crack, no ma’am!

In my head, I say YES. Yes, this makes perfect sense, and I am totally going to hop over to Etsy and buy some adorable Family Cloth wipes and start using them on my butt TODAY! In my head, I am completely on board with Family Cloth.

But somehow, deep in my belly (…in my bowels?) the idea just squicks me out. How clean is clean enough? How many times would I have to run the clothes through the wash to feel ok with it? (Two times, with really hot water?) Then you get into the whole “If it uses that much water, is it REALLY eco-conscious?” debate. Then I’m just like EW SHIT STREAKED FABRIC SITTING NEXT TO MY TOILET GROSS! and clutch at my familiar rolls of toilet paper (so soft, so clean, so flushable) and coo “It’ll always be you and me, T.P. Together forever.”

Family cloth from etsy seller moocowmomma as seen on offbeat home
Family cloth from etsy seller moocowmomma

I feel like this makes me a eco-weakling and like I’ll eventually get over it. I mean, maybe if it was just pee?

But what about you: would you ever consider switching to Family Cloth?

Comments on Family cloth: would you go toilet paper-free?

  1. I’ve been tempted since we cloth diaper our little guy .. but the poop factor grosses me out and getting the ammonia smell out is super tough with hard water and only if you use a good detergent and hot water . I am also terrible at washing my towels and counter dishwashing cloths . Maybe if I didn’t live in a dessert and got my bidet sprayer to work for getting poop off I’d try it .Hubbies kinda willing to try it .. only if bidet works . For now toilet paper and I are necessary allies .

  2. My grandma used the family cloth when she was alive. I was squeamish to use it so snuck the tp. Now, with 6 of us in the house and the septic tank not being able to keep up, I have started using them even thou the rest are against it. It really doesn’t bother me to use the family cloths, for 1 or 2. I just discretely put them in a hidden cloth bag and wash them with the rags. I don’t even think the others know I am doing this.

  3. Once upon a time, I tore up an old towel and used it as pee rags. They were scratchy so I tore up an old flannel shirt, much better. I had a small garbage pail with lid beside the toilet just for these and Luna Pads. I did some sort of laundry often enough that it worked out. Honestly though, I wish the US got on board with bidets. Once I moved to an apt without onsite laundry, my system fell apart. Taking a cab to a laundromat once a week or less with a bunch of pee rags was too much for me.

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