So, this is probably the most extreme measure I’ve taken so far in the name of sustainability. I feel like it’s appropriate to share this on earth day, since it’s the most bold move I’ve taken as of yet! It sounds weird, but I promise it’s not as gross as it sounds!! And, hopefully you won’t be scared away from reading the rest of this post and hearing me out. 🙂
About a year ago is when I started to get serious about putting my words into practice – since I am a self-proclaimed tree-hugger, I finally decided I needed to do something about it! Yeah, I used the hand dryer instead of paper towels when they were offered in bathrooms, and I turned off the AC in the summertime and let the breeze roll in through the windows instead, but I didn’t feel like I was doing anything big enough. We had already made the switch to using cloth napkins instead of paper, and eventually an idea popped into my head…
I got the idea when I got a sewing machine to re-cover an old chair with pretty fabric. Sewing didn’t seem too hard, and I got all these crazy money-making ideas like selling pillows and cloth diapers. Well, that hasn’t happened (yet?), but in my searching I thought a thought I’d never thunk before, “If people use cloth diapers for their babies, they should use cloth wipes too. And if you use cloth wipes on a baby, why not use cloth toilet paper for adults??”
I found a few blogs about the crazy idea, and it didn’t seem too scary or overwhelming, but seemed like something that would make a big difference for the environment, so… I went for it!
Making the cloths was really easy. All you need is a yard or two of flannel fabrics in coordinating colors, scissors, and a sewing machine. As my New Zealand friends might say, Too easy! You can find flannel in the nursery fabrics aisle. There aren’t as many “grown-up” choices, but you can get some cute prints!
Fold your fabric, and cut out 5×5 inch squares, or really any size square around that size (you can adjust to get more out of your fabric, or to make sure you don’t have any fabric leftover at the end). With two same-size pieces placed together right-side-out, just sew the edges! Cut around the edges to get rid of the extra threads, but don’t worry about having imperfect edges. They’ll go through the wash just fine. Every now and then you may want to cut or pull some loose threads off though.
Just as you would do with cloth diapers or cloth wipes, I just put used cloth toilet paper squares in a wet bag next to the toilet. I found this pretty green damask print at the Container Store, but you can also order them on Amazon. When you’re ready to do laundry, throw the whole thing (bag and wipes included) in the washing machine. I normally wash them with our towels. Not any weirder than wiping yourself with a towel, right? Too much imagery? Sorry.
For questions about smell or grossness, this has honestly never been a problem. I only use the CTP (cloth toilet paper – maybe we can make that a thing?) for “number one” and there is no smell or wetness at all – you don’t even have to zip the wet bag, though you could (if you were ashamed! haha). Even if it’s been a week when I finally get around to doing wash, I have given the bag a sniff and literally there is no smell. So there.
I’m not sure about using CTP for going “number two” though I have thought about it. I may try that in the future, with an adjusted system (probably having a bucket to rinse? not sure yet). I’d definitely like to do that when we have babies and do cloth diapers though, might as well if we’re already washing poopy diapers.
I put the CTP in a pretty basket that sits on the toilet, with the wet bag on the floor. I’d like to figure out a prettier and more concealed way to hide the wet bag, but haven’t figured that out yet. Ideas are welcome!
Guests are welcome to use the CTP when they come over, as each one is freshly washed, of course. Though I’ve only had one person take me up on the offer (that I know of), feel free to try it and let me know next time you’re here! 😉
Anyways, this is one way I feel like I’m making a huge difference for our planet! It saves on buying toilet paper, too, which is a nice bonus! Also, when we do use toilet paper, I always buy a sustainable brand. My favorite is Scotties Tubeless, and I also like Seventh Generation recycled paper.
If you’re thinking about making the switch, here’s a tip I read that helped me pull the trigger… the cloths are made of flannel, so they’re softer than regular toilet paper! And you usually only need one square.
Let me know what you think – is this totally crazy, or would you be willing to give it a go?