Wednesday, February 22, 2017

UFF Experiments

OKAY. Let's talk cloth.

A friend was visiting recently and she carried soft cloth handkerchiefs with her, saying that paper tissue was too abrasive on her nose over time. Today I noticed UFF Grammy digging a decorative cloth hankie out of her pocket as well.

I cloth diapered my children (both of them). I don't use (and never miss) paper towels--only dishtowels or rags. We use cloth napkins here in the UFF household, when we use napkins at all. I even used locally-made cloth menstrual pads back when that was still an issue.

So why am I not using cloth toilet paper? Why does that feel somehow like an invisible line between hip uber-frugal weirdness and icky uber-frugal weirdness?

I have tried it, I confess. Back when we still had a diaper pail hanging out in the garage, and I came across the term "family cloth" somewhere on the internet (a hippie-raised friend said gently, "I like the idea, but…couldn't you call it by some other name?"). My idea at that time was to only use it for pee (urine is sterile), and with the realization that it would be mostly me, lone female in a house of males, to use it. I kept the diaper bucket, and a basket of nice soft cloths, next to the toilet. One person, one use (obviously), and into the bucket.

My children were absolutely flabbergasted that I would ever consider doing such a humiliating thing. And they were never ever going to invite someone over for a play date with that in the bathroom. Plus, the bathroom smelled like pee. So I stopped.

But why? Why are we using processed trees to wipe our nether regions? (although I'm not sure it is truly more environmentally conscious to reuse cloth, with the washing and drying). Why is toilet paper the exception? And does anyone else hate how toilet paper often comes wrapped in many layers of non-recyclable cellophane?

I'm seriously considering giving this a go again. Cloth toilet paper. Why not??


  1. It'd be interesting to run a cost comparison to see the cost of cloth vs. toilet paper. You'll have to share what you decide to do.

    1. MustardSeedMoney, that is a great idea! I've been meaning to dig deeper into our utility bills anyway, looking at the kilogallons of water we use monthly (it makes me a little sad just to type that) and thinking about how to trim our usage. It would be the perfect opportunity to run a comparison.