Creating a Reusable ‘Family Cloth’ System

Recycled toilet paper is expensive. Here’s an alternative, reusable option called the “family cloth.”

Implementing a ‘family cloth’ system could help you save money and reduce paper waste.

Photo by Fotolia/igor kisselev

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I did an online search for “recycled toilet paper” and found that a growing number of people are turning to the “family cloth.” This solution to bathroom paper waste makes sense to me.

We use rags to wash all parts of our bodies. I used cloth diapers and cloth wipes on my babies, and I use cloth menstrual pads, so why not take it one step further? If we really want to make a positive impact on this planet, then we need to get past these “ick factors” and “taboos” imposed on us.

I saw online that some businesses sell homemade family cloths, but they’re expensive. I settled on some cheap, widely available washrags. You don’t want the washrags to be too thick, and if you want to go greener, you can go with organic washrags. I suggest using dark-colored rags for aesthetic reasons.

I still buy toilet paper for other members of my family, and I still use it for “number two,” but some families use cloths for all “numbers,” and that’s cool, too. One roll of recycled toilet paper now lasts us more than a month.

I keep a basket of clean washrags on the back of the toilet and a half-full bucket of water with a lid (super-important) next to the toilet. I toss the used rags into the bucket. I also use this bucket for my reusable menstrual pads. I put baking soda, tea tree oil or laundry detergent in the bucket to help keep things clean and to eliminate any possible odors until I’m able to wash them.

Candice Brasington
Conway, South Carolina


Bundles of homemade family cloth wipes are available through Etsy. A bundle of 25 reusable wipes typically sells for about $24. — MOTHER