The Family Cloth: Would You Reuse Toilet Paper? Some Families Say Yes!
Until a few days ago I had gone my entire life accepting that baby wipes and toilet paper were used once and tossed or flushed, never to be seen from or used again. All of that changed when I saw not one but two Facebook friends post about Family Cloth, or reusable baby wipes and toilet paper on the same day.
I had to wonder – why would anyone in their right mind reuse baby wipes and toilet paper? The reasons, it turns out, are many and varied.
One friend sought a more minimalist lifestyle that involved buying less and living a simple life that didn't require as many trips to the store. Another friend believed she was saving money. Others chose Family Cloth because they believe it is better for the environment or because they do not want to expose their family to any chemicals or bleaches found in many baby wipes and toilet papers. Some choose Family Cloth because they believe that using a thicker cloth gets everyone cleaner than using thin baby wipes and toilet paper and feel more refreshed after using cloth.
Although it's hard to get past the “yuck” factor for some, Family Cloth has become so popular that many styles can be found on Etsy and elsewhere. However, many who use Family Cloth make their own as a way to save money or reuse old clothing. Many families who use Family Cloth keep a trash can in each bathroom for the used cloths and wash them every 3-4 days, before they start to smell too bad.
Despite the growing popularity of Family Cloth, the two friends I had who posted about having tried it both gave it up. They found that the amount of work involved didn't simplify life because the extra laundry made life more complex. They also expressed some doubt as to whether the higher water bills and cost of laundry soap outweighed the cost of buying toilet paper, which is relatively inexpensive to begin with. They also questioned whether reusable cloths were really better for the environment given the extra water usage and energy needed to wash and dry the cloths. Surprisingly, neither mentioned the “yuck” factor of the cloths as a reason for giving them up – after all, both had changed plenty of diapers and were used to dealing with other people's pee and poop.
After reading about the pros and cons, along with some real-world experiences, I'm confident that Family Cloth isn't right for my family. Admittedly, the “yuck” factor does play a part in my decision not to use Family Cloth even though I have changed thousands of diapers over the years.
Have you ever tried Family Cloth? Would you?