Gallery: “Family cloths” reusable toilet wipes: gross or great?

 
There aren't many of us who would truly balk at the thought of using washable cloth diapers for babies and toddlers, but the thought of wiping away our own excretions with strips of flannel cloth and then washing them later seems to be an entirely different story.

 

Many of us who try to lead eco-conscious lifestyles are likely already using many reusable, washable fabric items for both household and personal use. Cotton dish cloths, washable baby diapers, handkerchiefs, and Glad Rags-type menstrual cloths are growing in popularity, but there’s one area in which we may all be eco-offenders: the ‘loo. Enter “family cloths”, also known as reusable toilet paper. These are washable strips of cotton flannel that folks can use to wipe with, but are they just too gross for most people to consider?

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12 Comments

  1. Kristin Legg February 4, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    You can buy a bidet attachment for less then $30.00 on amazon or ebay. We have two. One for downstairs and one for upstairs and we live in the US.

  2. danielcharbonneau February 4, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Not everybody can afford a bidet I guess. How about keeping a bucket of water nearby so, when one is finished with a movement, splash water with one’s hand on the bum, then wipe with a cloth. Much less yuck on the cloth and less washing to do. This practice is widespread in Asia where toilet paper
    is usually a couple of pages torn from a child’s kindergarten storybook no longer in use, but not pleasant to touch.

  3. cesul February 3, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    A bidet is a natural partner for reusable wipes. Sustainable, money saving and maybe best of all really clean. We have been using a bidet toilet attachment for almost 10 years. A few years ago we added reusable toilet wipes and made the whole experience even better. Since the bidet does the cleansing the wipes are just for drying off. We lay them out to dry after we use them rather than soak then wash them with the rest of the laundry at the end of the week. We wouldn\’t go back and hate it when we visit or travel. Here is a link for one of many such attachments on the market We originally bought a rather expensive one that used warm water. It was quite elaborate, involving electronics, and only lasted a couple of years. The much much cheaper one we are now using uses cold water but we are fine with it and it is more than five years old and still works like new.A bidet is a natural partner for reusable wipes. Sustainable, money saving and maybe best of all really clean. We have been using a bidet toilet attachment for almost 10 years. A few years ago we added reusable toilet wipes and made the whole experience even better. Since the bidet does the cleansing the wipes are just for drying off. We lay them out to dry after we use them rather than soak then wash them with the rest of the laundry at the end of the week. We wouldn\’t go back and hate it when we visit or travel. Here is a link for one of many such attachments on the market We originally bought a rather expensive one that used warm water. It was quite elaborate, involving electronics, and only lasted a couple of years. The much much cheaper one we are now using uses cold water but we are fine with it and it is more than five years old and still works like new.

  4. Violetmaid November 25, 2014 at 4:52 am

    While my family don’t use cloth wipes, I have a friends who’s family does.
    They all have their own patterned wipes which are washed together, then separated into different patterned (made with same material/pattern as wipes) drawstring bags. These then hang on hooks on the bathroom wall.
    Sadly my family can’t get past the “ick” factor.

  5. MadRecluse July 26, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I’ve been using them for 3 weeks now, and I love them. However, I only use them for urination. I absolutely cannot stomach the idea of using them for #2. No way, gross..IMO. The reason I chose to use cloth is not for environmental reasons – it’s to save money – pure and simple. My cloths are single layer, white. I just bought 2 metres and then used pinker scissors to cut the squares. There is a little fraying when washed, but it’s not too bad and it only happened after the 1st wash. I don’t have a sewing machine and was not going to spend $20 for 20 wipes (plus shipping) from people who sell them online. The pinker scissors cost me triple the price of the flannel, but that’s a small price to pay when considering I’d need about 100 squares to last me a full week. I’ll probably replace the flannel wipes every 6 months – which is a cost of just $13 for 2 metres. All in all, I’m very happy I’ve switched and they feel so much better to use than paper. Oh, and I live alone so there is no sharing (I wouldn’t share these with anyone else).

  6. annetteabu February 28, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    You can get bidets throught Dr Mercola or the company he buys them from. We have one and it works great! :) We love the cloth wipes too! :)

  7. Kay Smith November 6, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Forgot to mention that a good sunning removes almost all stains…especially if you SUN them BEFORE putting in the dryer.

    Have a great echo-friendly day, & thanks for all your efforts for a greener planet.

  8. Kay Smith November 6, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
    I’ve been using cloth wipes for over five years & definitely recommend them. I live alone so don”t have the concern of sharing. I got a fabulous deal on baby washcloths…6 per pkg & 4 pkgs for $1. I bought $10 worth. Do the math…that’s a lot of cloths. Trust me…I shared. I think these baby wash cloths are a perfect size & I like that the edges are all secured in binding.

    I use TP for first “rear” wipe & then cloth. I do not soak my cloth – nor did I soak soiled diapers. Cloths are deposited in an open $1 Store basket. I wash only when I’m about to run out of clean cloths, about every 8 – 10 days.

    As I grab a clean cloth I fold it into fourths; after a simple dry, I fold it over & place it on toilet tank & use the clean side as needed next visit.

    On washday all are tossed into washer, one cold wash cycle w/no soap. Next cycle I use regular detergent & hot water & never bleach. Third is just a hot rinse. These are all run on low water level. Toss in dryer on low heat & they’re dry in 10/15 min & piled into the pretty little basket in the bathroom.

  9. Becca Grove-Foster February 24, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    If I didn’t share laundry facilities that I had to pay cash for I think I would. I doubt my husband would though! it would have to be just me!

  10. joy2b February 24, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I can see why someone who has cloth diapered would consider this, but unless I smelled bleach, I would be very concerned to see it in use. If they were simply used to dry off, there is some limit on the number of germs, but if they’re used to wipe, you’d have to treat dirty ones like they’re dirtier than raw chicken (salmonilla is killed by hand sanitizer, some common stomach bugs aren’t). You need to use a cleaning method that kills both bacteria and viruses.

    I’m more comfortable with using reusable cloth on infants, who haven’t had the opportunity to pick up stds, utis, or a particularly wide array of gut bacteria. Even there, I’ve learned that it’s important to be strict about immediately and thoroughly washing your hands, and everything you touched on the way to the sink. It only takes one case of norovirus (a really unpleasant stomach bug) to learn why people are reflexively grossed out by feces.

    Gwenny – It’s quite reasonable to install and remove a sprayer on most apartment toilets. If you search for diaper sprayers, you’ll find an array of choices under $50, easily available in the US.

  11. Gwenny February 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I would personally like a bidet. But they are damned rare in the US. If I ever own a house I will have some sort of water cleansing device . . like the Washlet, which is made in Japan, or some bidet attachment.

  12. Lori Bevilacqua February 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I try to be as eco-conscious as possible, but this is drawing the line. I do use recycled tissue and toilet paper. Green Forest is great and recently I discovered some made from sugar cane fiber! It’s pretty incredible.

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