The Family Cloth. Washable Toilet Paper?

Are you ready for some unconventional money saving advice? It’s called the family cloth.

If you haven’t heard this term before you need to check this out. The “family cloth” refers to a washable cloth replacement for toilet paper. Now, before you get all grossed out, just hear me out. Instead of good ol’ T.P. some people are using cloths to wipe with.

At first I was like “Oh gross. I don’t think I’d go that far to be more environmentally friendly or to save money”, but I was still interested in the idea.

So I did a little research to see what others were saying about it. Here are a few excerpts I found:

“I continued to think about the claims I heard like “it’s softer” “no more fuzz” and “I’ll never go back” so I decided I had to try it. After all, I was already washing cloth diapers. I could just throw my cloths right in the washer with them, no extra work required.”

“The next huge difference was the massive change in toilet paper consumption. I didn’t really keep track before but I estimate we went from buying one huge package every other week to one small package a month!!! For a family on a limited budget this is a major savings. After noticing this I knew there was no going back.”

“I too have ditched the tp. I cloth diapered my kids so family cloth was an extension of this. We’ve done away w/paper towels too 🙂 Easier on the environment, the sewers, my wallet AND our bodies!”

“…for families that are already familiar with cloth diapering or using cloths instead of disposable baby wipes, it’s really not that much of a jump.

However, there are variations in usage, according to the article, even among proponents of the family cloth. The article notes that some men refuse to use it, some households use it only for urination and many families will stock regular toilet paper for their guests.”

“We use family cloth at our house. The used cloth gets tossed into the diaper pail and washed with the diapers. I have yet to pull anything out of my dryer that smells like poo. 😉 My first reaction to family cloth was that it was disgusting and I would never use it. It saves money and trees and doesn’t use any extra water at my house because we already have to wash the diapers. There is no “scrubbing the inside of the pail” since we have washable pail liners. Really, it’s not as gross as you think. It’s so easy my 3 yr old can do it.

And anyone grossed out by putting soiled garments in the washer is missing the whole point of a washing machine. It’s the machine’s job to clean things. Unless you throw out your underwear after every use, some of those bodily fluids and yes, even some solids, will find their way into the washing machine.”

After giving it some thought, and reading how happy those who have at least tried it are with the concept, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d like to give it a shot as well.

I realize how socially unacceptable it sounds; but you know what, who cares! Hubby is all against the idea, which is fine with me! I’m only interested in the girls using it.

My terms of usage would be: just for the girls (and baby), just for “tinkles”, and of course I’ll have regular t.p. for guests.

I think baby girl will like it better too. And since I’m already washing cloth diapers, it won’t really make much of a difference.

So, when I get a spare moment I’m going to cut up some old T-shirts and try it out! I’ll let ya know what I think once I’ve been doing it for a while.

If you are interested in reading more from others who have made the switch, I found this forum to be very interesting!

4 thoughts on “The Family Cloth. Washable Toilet Paper?”

  1. So I have to ask, since I’ve tried this out and actually love it, how do you keep your cloths from fraying? I just washed my first load and they came out as one big ball from all the fraying! Did you hem yours? Perhaps it’s since I am using terry cloth and not cotton. Also, just a little curious if you still are using this or not? Thanks in advance!

    • Megan,

      The cloth we use is made up of baby wash cloths and cut up cotton t-shirts. I haven’t hemmed the shirt material and it’s never frayed. Sounds like you need to sew the edges up on your cloths. You know, I personally have stopped using the cloth wipes for a while, only because we use them on the kids and don’t have enough wipes to go around every day. I really need to make more wipes. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve tried it and find that it isn’t as bad as we’ve all been conditioned to think it would be!

  2. I agree it’s not much of a jump from cloth diapering.

    I like the idea of just for ‘tinkles’! I can start with that!

    I want to hear your feedback on the idea 🙂


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