Creating a Reusable ‘Family Cloth’ System

Stop the forest destruction associated with regular toilet paper and save money on buying the expensive recycled kind by using a reusable “family cloth”.

  • Implementing a ‘family cloth’ system could help you save money and reduce paper waste.
    Photo by Fotolia/igor kisselev

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

8/4/2020 1:43:47 PM

I use some old flannel sheets that were too worn to use on the bed anymore. Pinking shears eliminated the need to hem them. They are incredibly soft- much softer than regular toilet tissue- and they take almost no time to dry (I dry outside in good weather, inside in bad).

3/19/2020 1:02:20 PM

I might suggest using a product similar to Oxydol in the bucket instead of regular detergent. I use it in the water I soak the dogs' pee towels in before I was them [accidents on the carpet]. To turniptop: not everyone has access to outside clotheslines or, like me, live in an area where drying clothes outside is not always a healthy option [heavy pollen counts in the spring or air pollution]. Others do not have room in their homes for drying racks. I have clotheslines & use them when I can.

3/19/2020 9:33:23 AM

I found the washrags to be too rough for my skin so I purchased a bunch of soft diaper liners from China. They fold in half quickly and stack nicely on the edge of the bathtub next to the toilet. I just keep a small plastic (or maybe rubber?) bidet bottle (I bought on eBay) under the edge of the side of the toilet to do a quick rinse and then dry off with the diaper liner and toss it into a basket hidden under the toilet tank - no need for water buckets or chemicals as there really isn't anything on them to create an odor. I do still use TP for the messy stuff though. As for using the dryer, well, a two week's supply takes 15 minutes of dry time - I'm okay with that (as opposed to the time it would take to hang that many items to dry).



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