Our Switch to Cloth Wipes (a.k.a. Cloth Toilet Paper)

 reusable toilet paper

The other day I noticed we were on our last roll of toilet paper, so of course I added it to the grocery list on the fridge.

(What an exciting lead for a blog post, amiright? Last roll of toilet paper? I’m on the edge of my seat! Tell me more!)

Once at the grocery store, I scanned the aisle (half an aisle — both sides — in our local superstore is devoted to throwaway paper products) for whatever was on sale. Half off on Charmin? Sold. I hoisted the enormous cellophane-wrapped package — the size of a small treasure chest — into my cart, cringing at the additional $13 on our grocery bill, and the fact that there is no dignified way to buy toilet paper. You simply have to manhandle a ginormous, crinkly, saggy package of toilet paper rolls and wheel it around the store with you. There is no other way.

Once at home, I had the task of removing all that superfluous plastic packaging and stacking the rolls in our closet. But I discovered, to my dismay, that Charmin double-wraps its toilet paper: there’s the main packaging around the whole thing, but then inside, each pair of toilet paper rolls is also wrapped in another layer of plastic to hold everything together more neatly.

By the time I was done unwrapping everything, I had a huge pile of cellophane on my hands, which I had to stuff into my kitchen garbage can.

And more than ever before, this just did not feel right to me.

Respecting the Toilet Paper

I wrote recently about how I feel called to respect the material world around me. For me, this means eliminating disposables from my life as much as possible.

Respect means to look back or to look again. I talked about how using disposable items seems disrespectful to me — we buy things with the intent to only see them once.

Among other things, I’ve recently become troubled with our use of toilet paper. It just feels so wasteful. So . . . disrespectful.

We buy it, all wrapped up in plastic, and carry it into our bathrooms with the sole purpose of throwing it out. Just so we can go out and buy more of it.

(If you want more specific info about the environmental cost of toilet paper, check out Crunchy Chicken’s Post).

I know there are probably lots of other practices I engage in which are more wasteful and disrespectful of the earth’s resources, and I’m working on those, too; but this one seemed like a pretty quick and easy thing to change since we already use cloth diapers. (Actually, we just finished with diapers. HOORAY! But that’s another blog post.)

(I also want to briefly reiterate what I said in my last post: I am not assuming that this lifestyle change is realistic for everybody. It might not be an option for you right now. That’s okay. Guilt has no place in the Kingdom. I personally first read about cloth wipes a couple of years ago from SortaCrunchy Megan, and I filed it away in the Maybe Someday compartment of my brain. Until now.)

Anyway, we’d already been using cloth wipes on our babe, and it didn’t seem like a big adjustment to change all our personal hygiene items to cloth. We already had the lidded garbage cans hanging aroung and were used to throwing a load of smelly cloths into the wash every other night; we could totally handle this.

So here’s how we did it.

[Side note: one dear reader pointed out to me that since we already have a diaper sprayer attached to our toilet, we could use that as a bidet and forgo wipes altogether, like they do in countries all over the world. I thought that was a brilliant idea . . . until I let one drop of water from the sprayer drop onto my bare thigh. HOLY ICICLES! At least during a Canadian winter, I’m afraid that’s not an option. Perhaps I’ll try again in the summer.]

Our Switch to Cloth Toilet Paper

I’m finding that with all non-disposable items, the most difficult thing is putting a system in place that allows for easy/frequent laundering. Here’s how we’re tackling that.

You may recall our bathroom setup for cloth diapers, which included a second garbage can with a step-opening lid near the toilet. Even though we were just transitioning out of diapers with our little one, I decided to leave it there.

cloth toilet paper setup bathroom

Oops. Someone doesn’t think she’s getting the appropriate amount of attention.

There’s still regular TP and a normal waste basket for guests to use (and for ourselves, at times).

I put a small basket on the toilet tank to hold the wipes. I’m sure there’s a more discreet approach, for people who don’t necessarily want to advertise their unconventional ways in the bathroom, but I already had this on hand.


I started out using Lydia’s old cloth wipes (which were just cheap baby wash cloths) to try out, but they were too big. I dunno – I just didn’t like the feel of a big 8×8-inch piece of fabric, folded up several times, to do such a small job. You know?

So I made my own.

I just took an old flannel receiving blanket and divided it into 25 or so 5½ x 5½–inch squares with a ruler and pencil. (One blanket was all I needed, since you only need one sheet per use).

I borrowed my mom’s serger, which cut and serged the edges so they wouldn’t fray in the wash. I believe pinking shears would give similar results.

making cloth toilet papercloth toilet paper

cloth toilet paper

I put them in the basket on the back of the toilet. Done!


When I’m done with a wipe, I just toss it into the garbage can with the lid. The inner pail can be removed and brought down to the laundry room.

After a week of using the cloth wipes, I discovered that I preferred to line the garbage can with an old pillowcase. It felt kinda gross to toss damp cloths into a sealed plastic can for some reason. And with the pillowcase, I don’t have to see the cloths again until they’re clean. I can just throw the whole pillowcase — with all its contents — into the wash.

Right now, we’re still using that same garbage can to hold any wet training pants when Lydia has an accident, and we wash everything every 2-3 days. As her accidents get more infrequent, we’ll probably stretch that out to about once a week.

After washing, I hang them up in our laundry room in the basement with this handy-dandy tool from Ikea. Quick and easy! They dry super-fast.

drying cloth toilet paper

FAQ’s and Notes for the Crazy Courageous

(Note: Not for the Faint of Heart)

Can I just use cloth part-time?

Absolutely! We’re not completely committed to using it 100% of the time, but it’s at least available for when we want to use cloth.

If using cloth for #2 seems too much, you could use them just for #1. That’s what we’re doing for now.

What about That Time of the Month?

As above: you don’t have to use cloth 100%. You totally can use it throughout your cycle — especially if you already use cloth pads — but if you don’t want to stain your cloth, or for whatever reason, you can use regular toilet paper during that part of your cycle. Also note that if you’re using a Diva Cup or tampon, there’s not that much blood to clean up.

How does it work with natural family planning / fertility awareness?

I confess, this has given me a little bit of trouble. Many women use toilet paper to help them observe cervical fluid. Since cloth is more absorbent, this might make it a little tricky.

Since I also rely on my basal body temperature to pinpoint ovulation, and since I’m not trying to prevent pregnancy, it’s not that big a deal for me. I’m just doing my best with the cloth. Others might have to improvise.

I won’t go into any more detail.

* * *

So, what do you think? Too gag-inducing? Seem to complicated? Have any questions? Am I forgetting any important details?

Shared on Your Green Resource with SortaCrunchy.

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  1. You make it sound suspiciously easy. -_-

    Also, if for some reason I were ever designing a house from the ground up, or doing a major bathroom remodel, I would include a bidet. I don’t know why those never caught on here. They’re so handy.

    I’m pretty sure the DDH would never go for cloth toilet paper, though. I think he’s minorly icked out by my cloth feminine pads, and he’s definitely icked out by reusable tissues. So reusable TP would not fly with him. But I can use him as an excuse all I want; I think I’m kind of icked out by it, too!

    • Plus, I buy toilet paper probably only once every three or four months at Sam’s Club. Two people don’t really go through that much, so it’s not something I’m driven to change the way I was with switching partially to handkerchiefs, say (because my allergic little nose was going through a dozen boxes every six weeks, which was waaaay to much).

      BUT good for you! I know everyone is saying “eww, I couldn’t do that!” but if you can and feel like you should, that’s awesome. ^_^
      Katie recently posted..What I’m Into (March 2013)My Profile

      • It really is that easy . . . I’d say the ick factor is definitely the biggest obstacle.

        You’re right — two people don’t go through all that much toilet paper. But for me, the switch just seemed so easy and natural, I figured, why not?

        I really want to work on switching from Kleenex to handkerchiefs, too. We use them part-time, but I need to be more strategic about it if we want to go full-time. During cold and allergy season, we go through WAY too much of the stuff!

        • I am allergic to EVERYTHING, I guess, and go through waaaaay too many Kleenex. The DDH rarely uses them. (Though, strangely, my allergies seem to have mostly disappeared since T-Rex was born. I’m not sure what’s different–less time in my car? not going to work? magical hormonal allergy cure?)

          Anyway, I still keep normal tissues around the house and only use handkerchiefs in my bedroom, because admittedly a stash of snotty cloth is not attractive if you’re a guest, and I was way too snotty to be one of those people who just uses one handkerchief you keep on your person over and over again. But I keep a box of cut-up pajama pants on my bedside table and another box (old tissue boxes both ^_^) on the floor for the dirty ones and wash them with the towels every week.

          But I think snot is much less icky than poop and pee. ;-)
          Katie recently posted..A List of Lists: Purchases EditionMy Profile

          • I think every effort to make the world a better place is worthy of praise, ick factor or not. I am interested in trying the cloth method. At the moment, I recycle my used tissues by tucking them in regular toilet paper. I don’t flush them, as I don’t want them in the ocean. I toss them in the garbage. But the cloth version is the best solution for most purposes. Thanks for posting this.

    • Kate

      I think the stand alone bidets were just difficult to use, and bulky so not suited to many small bathrooms. However, now there is the bum gun bidet sprayer, every bathroom, even the tiniest can easily fit a bidet sprayer. Plus the bum gun is so much easier to use than the stand alone bidet. The cleanliness and comfort benefits are immense. Hence, no one goes back to toilet paper after using the bum gun. Then there are the cost savings of thebumgun. The return on investment is a matter of months with most family households. Check out the store: http://www.thebumgun.com/store/
      The Bum Gun recently posted..Why you need The Bum GunMy Profile

    • You don’t have redesign your bathroom to get a bidet. You can install them as an attachment right under your toilet lid and tap into your toilets water supply. They range in price from $30 all the way up to $500.

  2. Like the previous poster said, I am absolutely certain my husband would never go for this. I think it’s pretty gross too, if you use cloth for #2 (#1 isn’t gross at all). I’m a nurse so I feel like I can handle a fair amount of ickiness, plus we’ll be cloth diapering soon enough (!!), but cloth TP? Probably not going to happen, but good for you! I’ll focus on other kinds of creation care. :)

  3. I actually love this idea. I share your distaste for waste, not only in the monetary sense but also in the environmental (or respectful – love that btw!) sense.

    I’ve been reading your blog almost every day, and since I aspire to live more like a being who is capable of leaving a smaller footprint on our Earth, I have nothing but admiration for all of your efforts and I love the information you share! I am definitely considering making this switch to cloth, at least partially.

    For the dreaded #2 issues…what about having a moist option? I don’t see any reason why we can’t use the same kind of mindset with adult behinds as we do with our precious babies’ cute little bottoms…

    Bless you for your common sense as well as your frank, yet tactfully handled suggestions for living respectfully!

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Jacqui! I’m with you — once we can get past using cloth on our babies’ bums, is it really that much of a stretch to use it on ourselves? Maybe for some. :)

      • I’m so glad to have found your blog post. I’ve thought about cloth TP before but was totally grossed out. Now that we use cloth diaper and wipes for our dd (6 months), at least for #1, it almost seems like a no-brainer to switch. The problem I was having was trying to think/find a way to make it practical. Enter your blog post :D I’m going to mention it to DH tonight and try to get it organised on the weekend :)

  4. this seems like another one of those things that takes too much time and effort for the payoff. Don’t get me wrong, i respect the effort but I find there are other things that people can do much easier that have a greater impact. For example, most people just plain and simple use toooooo much toilet paper each trip to teh bathroom. If you use less, you save money, cause less packaging waste, and make less trips to the store. Also, I dont see doing three times the laundry as a viable alternative. Wasting water and the chemicals from detergents are pretty bad results. And yeah, somebody will say “BUT NO! you can make GREEN HOMEMADE stuff to cleans!!!”
    yeah, wrong. All the home made crap is useless. People that use home made cleaners, especially in the kitchen are asking for trouble. They DO NOT, positively, 100% DONT, clean safely.

    • Hi Brad! I’m sure that for some people, the effort isn’t worth the payoff, but for us, it really wasn’t any additional effort (besides making the wipes, which took about an hour). We were already washing cloth diapers, so it wasn’t much of an adjustment. It definitely doesn’t create “three times the laundry” — just an extra load or two a week. And it’s a very small load, so it doesn’t take much water. I’d be interested to hear more about why you think the homemade cleaners don’t clean safely. All the research I’ve read suggests that they do.

    • I have been using cloth just for #1 for years now, and it is NO EXTRA LAUNDRY AT ALL because I simply put it in the same load with my clothes. Urine is sterile until it touches the air (unless you have an infection) so it’s not unsanitary in the laundry.

      However, I agree that most people using TP could reduce the amount they use. My mom taught me to use one square at a time, and it seems to me that the size of the squares is set with that in mind, but when I’ve seen other women use the bathroom they’ll, like, mummify their whole hand in TP just to dab off a little pee! Crazy.

      I too would love to hear why you think homemade cleaners can’t clean safely. Sure, some people might be mixing up things that don’t work. But I clean mostly with hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar, both of which are proven germ-killers.
      ‘Becca recently posted..What to Serve for a Big Reception or Party (specifically, Easter)My Profile

    • A relatively clean house -meaning that it gets cleaned weekly!- does not need harsh chemicals to get satinitized or cleaned. In fact, in most cases water alone can do the job pretty well and pretty safe.
      For instance I wash mirrors with microfiber cloths and water and they sparkle. I also dust the same way.
      Baking soda, vinegar, peroxide, lemon and plain old green soap is more than enough for anything house related.
      I’ve been doing this for years both in cleaning any area of the house and in the laundry. Not to mention basic cosmetics like deodorant, shower soap, hand soap, body lotion, hair conditioner (different ingredients of course but same philosophy)
      I am beyond happy that my son can lick the floor after I mop (not that he does :D) because of the natural ways I keep my house clean and safe. I am also thrilled that I do my tiny bit to not damage this poor planet we live in and save A LOT of money in the process.
      Is it a coincidence that my son’s dermatitis appears and gets worse really fast everytime we visit my parents and do laundry with store bought detergents? I really don’t think so.
      I’ve been thinking of turning into cloth toilet paper and this week I’m finally doing this.
      Do you think a lided backet with water and maybe soap or soda would be ok for the cloths to wait until laundry day or that’d be a lot of hassle?
      Thanks for the info!

      • Thanks for all your tips, Calliope! (Your first name is my daughter’s middle name, BTW. Love it!!)

        I personally don’t think the cloths would need to sit in water/soda until laundry day. I know some people use a “wet pail” for cloth diapers but I’ve always thought that seemed harder than the wet method. I’ve never tried it, though, so I can’t say for sure.

    • sassygirl says

      I use only homemade laundry detergent, as well as many other homemade cleaners, and have for quite some time without problems or concerns. I also use cloth toilet paper and just toss it in a mesh bag with my other laundry. No added loads, no horrible chemicals, nothing but savings. Why must people spew their uneducated negativity on the internet? Talk about an ick factor.

    • I totally agree with Brad.

      Don’t get me wrong, the ideas are very good ideas.

      In defence to the Tissue Companies, it ain’t what it used to be. Manufactures are more environmentally concerned about where they buy their raw materials from and so forth.

      Personal opinion
      -Paper Win.

      I cannot see myself seeing a #2 cloth, that have to be washed.

    • Brad, we are on a septic so using harsh store bought cleaners is not advise. I use vinegar and baking soda for most cleaning with very hot water. I think my house would pass the white glove test no problem. And, our septic is much healthier.

  5. I’m not yet at reusable TP (if I ever get there) but good for you! It’s hard to make some of these choices because of the ick factor or what others might say but we totally need to do it (“it” being whatever we are specifically called to do).
    I so enjoy reading your posts :)
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  6. Nice article! I use cloth for #1 only–but also for nose-blowing and, y’know, in bed. I cut up worn-out cotton knit garments; that type of fabric doesn’t ravel much so doesn’t need to be hemmed. I like having assorted colors! :-) I store used ones in a zippered mesh bag that I can just zip up and toss into the washing machine; until then, it allows air circulation so the cloths don’t mildew or anything weird. They don’t have any smell.

    I keep a separate set of red, dark purple, and black cloths that I bring out at times when I’ll be using cloth pads. It’s easy to soak and wash them together.

    You wrote:
    there is no dignified way to buy toilet paper. You simply have to manhandle a ginormous, crinkly, saggy package of toilet paper rolls and wheel it around the store with you. There is no other way.
    I belong to a natural foods co-op that sells recycled-paper toilet paper and that allows members to order a case of just about any product. So I buy a case of Seventh Generation TP, which is a large but plain brown box that I pick up from customer service and take directly to my car. Discreet, but more importantly it keeps us stocked up with TP for over a year, and it costs 20% less than buying regular size packages. Inside the box, each roll is wrapped in a thin sheet of paper that is compostable.
    ‘Becca recently posted..What to Serve for a Big Reception or Party (specifically, Easter)My Profile

  7. I’m a little in awe of you right now…
    Good on you all for making the switch! I’m not sure this one is in my immediate future but I love reading about it from such a practical, “hey this was not hard” perspective. Maybe ask me again in two years when it’s had time to sink in (or I have a kid to cloth diaper) and I’ll change my mind ;)
    Fiona Lynne recently posted..living in the grey zoneMy Profile

  8. Good for you! We also use family cloth part-time (I just can’t bring myself to use it on myself for #2 and maybe never will). I also soak the cloth in oxygen bleach before washing it with clothes / cloth pads.

    Did you know that toilet paper can contain BPA (http://library.witpress.com/pages/PaperInfo.asp?PaperID=14382)? It’s one of the reasons we use family cloth.

  9. This is something I’m looking forward to doing as well. I’m not in an place I can switch since I share a bathroom with many people in a community setting, but it is definitely something I’d love to try!
    Joslyn recently posted..My Brand New Washing MachineMy Profile

  10. If you’re tempted to try this, but not sure. Be inspired and go for it!

    I started using cloth for #1 a couple of years ago and have never looked back. I’d just come off diapering a child, so maybe that helps one get over the Ick Factor a bit. And, even if you don’t cloth diaper, you end up washing a lot of pee soaked clothing (your baby’s, your own, bedsheets, carseat covers, sofa cushions…) so that helped me realize that I could just toss it in with the regular laundry.

    Although I’m the only person in the house who pees sitting down, the rags end up being used for all sorts of nose-blowing, small-spill-wiping type purposes by everyone.

    Interestingly, I have never had any guest ask me about the basket and can next to the toilet.

  11. Is it weird that I’m beaming right now? Like, totally grinning ear to ear. I am so proud of you!

    And I’ll just say this – once you start using cloth for #2, you will never go back to paper again. I’M SERIOUS. So, so, so much more effective!
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  12. My lady parts thank me every day for not using tp. I no longer have any itching, irritation, or problems with not feeling right down there. I do not use a pail of water for the washcloths I use for tp. I just throw them in the bathroom hamper with towels, other washcloths, and panties. I completely cloth diapered three children, so there is no ick factor for me.

    Think about your lady parts and go for cloth. By the way, I do not purchase washcloths retail for my tp. Worn out washcloths work fine, the ones that are threadbare. Also, I buy white washcloths from yard sales and thrift store. Besides that, I have sewing scraps and a large stash of white, soft knit fabric I could cut into squares if I need to.
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  13. I am just wondering how many that have runways in their tighty whities are saying this is nasty? Because I find that nasty. As far as using reusable, I think it is great, It would not up your washing much either if you have a loads worth of tissue. I think you would want more to cover cold and flu season. If I have the stomach flu not gonna be worrying much about laundry. Also for those who prefer to buy, I have bought toilet paper that had chunks of poo in it and ruined a good amount through the roll. I asked around about it and found out that many companys actually recycle tp even if they don’t claim they do. I think I would rather have a clean rag than someone elses poo recycled into my products. If the economy crashes or their is a huge disaster that shuts down trucking you will be wishing you at least had something for a back up.

  14. I have a septic system so I don’t feel that bad about the environmental impact of the TP I use because I buy recycled and it gets handled in the septic system. I do, however, HATE that we don’t have bidets here. I lived in South America for awhile and everyone had them. It was awesome! I’m going to buy a fancy electric bidet that hooks to the sink so it has warm water as soon as I possibly can afford it (I just found out that they exist a couple of weeks ago). Until then, I’m gonna start using cloth! I have some jammies I can cut up today, even.
    But if buying TP is embarrassing, buy it online! I get a much better price and the TP I buy is from recycled paper. There are 3 of us here in the house and we only have to order it like twice a year or so.

  15. DianeMargaret Miller says

    I found you BECAUSE we have decided to give “cloth hygiene wipes” a try!!!

    Hubby is actually MORE on board than he was with cloth diapers (turned out , he was just afraid of the pinning…like they aren’t mostly Velcro now!)!
    I was shocked!!! I expected an argument, at least a small one!
    I still can’t get him to use handkerchiefs though! :\
    I use handkerchiefs for allergies, sad movies, etcetera but use tissues for cold/flu. Maybe it’s because HIS allergies stuff him up instead of turning his nose into a seive, like they do to our daughter and I.

    Hubby would LOVE a bidet!!! He ended up using them a LOT in the military (Being more everyday rather than luxury in a lot of other countries!).

    Maybe I’ll look into the ones that hook to the sink…..his birthday is coming up…

  16. Hi thanks for blogging,

    Anyway, I am an avid cloth diaperer but this I cannot do. We have bidets in our house and find that they are an economical choice and good environmental choice as well. The bidet just goes on top of the toilet seat and uses filtered water. We live in south Korea and this option is well adopted by many people.

    Have you ever considered a bidet that hooks on to your toilet? Wouldn’t it be more hygienic to use nothing but water?

    I saw a girl doing this on TV and have just been puzzled why one doesn’t use water instead. Can you explain why?

    Thanks, I enjoy reading your blog.

    • Hi Meredith! As I mentioned in the post, I tried using the diaper sprayer as a bidet, but the water was FREEZING COLD. Yikes! I think bidets are used more in warmer climates.

      • Oh We have some cold cold weather here!

        Just saying! Check into it! Ours comes with heated water, or toilet seat, etc. It isn’t cold like a diaper sprayer. It’s very, very different than a diaper sprayer. The whole thing works like a replacement for your toilet seat but with amenities. Have you seen this where you live or is it largely an Asian thing?

        • Oh! I didn’t realize that. Thanks, Meredith. I think it is more of an Asian thing (well, and other parts of the world), because I’ve never seen that. I will have to look into that yet. Thanks for sharing!

      • I know this is a pretty old post, but wanted to mention that some people use a peri-bottle to help clean after a poo. If you can’t have the luxury of a bidet, this might help a little.

  17. I just drip-dry. You do have to change your undies more often, but so what? Clean undies are so nice to put on. And for #2, I jump right in the shower if I’m at home, which is usually the case. Brad from a few comments up is probably recoiling in horror right now!

  18. I LOVE our cloth everything. We switched to cloth a couple months ago and will never go back to toilet “paper”. Even my husband is on board because he doesn’t have to see or deal with any of the dirty cloths. I do the washing so all he sees is a nice stack of clean cloths. Also, none of us has had a “job” that one wipe didn’t take care of. They are thick, durable, soft, cheap and just makes since.

    We also love our non paper kitchen napkins and our cloth feminine cloths. I will never use commercial feminine pads again. I’ve never had a leak, they’re soft and mainly they are breathable and non toxic!

    Thanks for sharing your family’s personal experience with switching to cloth. It makes it much easier for those that are embarrassed about the topic.

    As for my family, non-paper is the way to go.


  19. I love this idea! I found your blog by googling articles on using rags instead of toilet paper. I will use them for #1 only and continue using paper for the other.

    I haven’t bought paper towels in ages because we’ve found that we enjoy saving money by using cloth napkins, instead. I wish I’d started using cloth instead of TP years ago, too.

  20. Ellen Calteau says

    I think this is a good idea. It is definitely for the open minded.
    I really enjoyed your post especially the FAQ I was also wondering those questions myself as I was reading it.
    It must be great for the environment (I would do it to save money though and I hate buying bales of loo roll for the supermarket I end having to do two trips on the bus)
    I thought perhaps they would end up costing too much in washing them but they are so small they would just go in with a normal wash.
    My husband isn’t at all impressed and I think if we did it, it wouldn’t be for a number 2 but it would still save on loo roll.
    The idea with a pillowcase and considering guests is really good too. All of this is well thought out.
    I may just try it.
    Wonderful post shall look on here more often
    Thanks xxx

  21. Thanks for the helpful blog! At first I was thinking, “No way,” but is adult waste all that different from a baby’s once she’s begun solids? And since I too already have a sprayer on my toilet for her poopies, I could potentially use that same sprayer for a poopy cloth wipe, if I decided to take the plunge for both #1 and #2. We are only two adults, but I use a ton of tp for some reason. My husband was horrified by the tp bills when we first got married, haha. Not sure why I use so much, I guess I just like a huge wad in my hand.

  22. Great idea! However I do have to ask you to please, please, please DRY these at a high temp in the dryer. Washing alone does not get rid of all the germs. A recent medical journal (I can’t remember which one at the moment) just published a paper about how Dr’s, nurses, etc. need to consider not wearing their white coats, ties, watches, etc. due to the high risk of spreading germs around the hospital & their offices. This article states that clothing have to be washed & dried at high temperatures and even then the clothing should be replaced every few months. Just an fyi. You’re site’s amazing!

  23. This is not new in the Philippines it is a customary that every time we go to the loo we use soap and water so a water jug is a familiar scene in a Filipino restrooms. I think this is the best way to keep hygiene keep bacteria and infection at bay.

  24. I like this, I really do. We used cloth baby wipes for a long time, so it wouldn’t be a step too far for us.

    But, I’m skeptical about the environmental gain. Besides the gain of not buying something to throw away, but I wonder if the cost of hot water, power (a lot of power if a clothes dryer is involved too) and potential chemicals outweighs the plus?
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  25. Thanks and bravo to you for posting this (some would be too squeamish). I have been considering this myself. After going through cloth diapering I now realize how easy it is to clean and really how much it can save. I think you’ve given me the push to try. Thanks for the post! :)

  26. I think each hard work for making the entire world an improved place is actually worth reward, ick issue or even not necessarily. My business is interested in trying the cloth process. Right now, My partner and i sell my used tissue simply by tucking all of them with regular bathroom cardstock. My partner and i don’t get rid of all of them, when i don’t would like all of them in the marine. My partner and i drop all of them in the garbage. However the cloth version is the better alternative for many of us uses.
    sewing recently posted..Anchorage – $1.58My Profile

  27. Cloth toilet wipes seem good for the environment, but using your washing machine 2-3 times a week seems to negate the little bit of good you’re doing for the environment. Using up all that electricity, and water!! For shame.

    • It uses significant amounts of water and electricity to produce the toilet paper, package it, and ship it, too. Not to mention the trees that are used for a one-time use product. Plus, I typically only run the machine once a week.

  28. For a guy I really think toilet paper costs less than the laundry costs. For a number two, normally I will use one or two squares, the max is three. It’s not the good thick stuff either, it’s a four pack of regular store brand rolls that last for more than a half a year only doing the deed at home everyday, sometimes more than once.

    Once anyone ever experiences the clean feeling after a warm stream of water doing it’s magic down there and then waiting for the heated blower to get you dry, they will always want that after shower freshness after every fertilizer deposit. Now I can see drying cloths very handy, since it takes so long to dry good. But I really think an electronic bidet that fits on top of the porcelain throne is the way to go. The problem with my current thoughts on pooping is I’m a squatter, yes I’m an acrobat with my feet clinging to the rim, all while balancing and making myself a little lighter. So, since I’m familiar with electronic bidets which just replace your toilet seat, hook into the toilets water, and gets plugged in to heat things up, I’m not sure if there would be room for me to have the bidet’s seat life’s up while I squat, without the back of me hitting the bottom of the seat. I really need a totally different toilet with a bidet and a supply of those clothes to dry off. Just using heated water to clean your bum, then having no bacteria load to launder seems like the win in my eyes for the cheapest 10 year option.

    I am a paper towel junky though. I get the nice thick ones that last and last. Yep they are there for me over and over again to dry my hands while I’m making something. After they get used up for drying, they go to Kleenex duty. A few give up their life in the kitchen, but most of the brave ones get a good rinsing, squeezed out, and lay around waiting to dry. My nose and I have a good relationship, it’s the wet bloodhound sometimes and I understand it’s needs. Hankies will not cut it, I need the absorbency of a well used paper towel that I will never see again after it makes it’s way to the trash–thank goodness, I know how hard it is to wash nose stuff out of paper towels, it’s like glue.

    One final note is real fireplaces and paper bags. Filling up those grocery paper bags with anything that could safely burn, really got trash down to plastic stuff they would not take for recycling. Ahhhh, using all waste paper for heat, that was always so satisfying. Where does one find real people not so material and closed-minded? Religious nuts excluded.

  29. I just discovered your blog and have been reading article upon article on your natural/eco-friendly living and I have a question – how does your husband take all of this ? I’m assuming you are both like-minded people, but does he always agree with your ways of doing things ? :)
    I’m just thinking about my guy, who I will be married to and living with in the near future, and I don’t think he’s as “crazy” as me !

  30. It is a great idea in theory.
    I have 3 teenage sons and they are in their evolutionary stage between lovely boy and wonderful man. I think the stage is disgusting grot.

    I do have a problem with soapnuts and feces and blood. There is still a bacteria issue afterwards. Tried and tested with my petrie dishes. I can’t use boiling water and tea tree/eucalyptus oils aren’t strong enough to dissolve these bacterias.

    My problem is that we are sharing feces bacteria on mine and my daughters vaginal areas. We have a girls bathroom. My ensuite is for the girls and myself. I have a set up and if there is that time of month when we all want to be clean on the outside, and it always seems to be that time of month that gives the girls and I upset bowels so we do use cloth and I then use an antibacterial solution just for that bin. The other bin is for the normal wees and pees. bidets’ are lovely but we don’t have water to waste.

  31. I prefer soft wool wipes for hygienic reasons: http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/lanolize.html

  32. You have GOT to be kidding. How much EXTRA water and detergent are you wasting to wash these feces encrusted rags? Ugh.

    Sounds like you’re being penny wise and pound foolish.

    So much for being environmentally friendly…

  33. This is great! Just wondering if you rinse the cloths in a bucket first or if you just throw everything straight in the machine? And if you do – doesn’t it clog it up? After wiping my 1yo there’s a lot of thick, sticky mess. I’m not sure how one would get around that without getting hands in there to clean (no thanks!) :)

  34. I’ve been thinking of baby washcloths as toilet paper! Once, we were out of baby wipes for my daughter, i was going to put her in the shower (because all drains run to the sewer anyways) under the message setting to remove the poop, but to hold her with just one arm, (and trying to avoid getting poop on me) and using the other to hold the shower hose was not a safe idea. So I put her in the bathroom sink were I bathe her, and since her washcloth was still there I used it to wipe her bottom. That’s where it hit me! Washcloths over disposable baby wipes (and eventually my thoughts led to “reusable toilet paper”)

    Although we only did that a few times, the though is constantly there. We have family living with us right now, but I would like to give it a try one day!

    Here’s what I have in mind:
    I would replace the squirt bottles from the hospital that my husband threw out, and use that first.
    Wipe with the washcloth and place it in the sink. Zip up.
    **With gloves and a scrub brush, I would scrub off the poop under running water, rinse, wring, rinse, and wring again* (did that when my baby exploded in a new outfit lol)**
    From there I would leave it in a bucket filled with water and maybe some detergent (is that bad?) until laundry day.

    !!!!But now that my breathing mobile washer should arrive by wednesday, washing the cloths could be done right after the scrubbing. And then ideally, I would hang them to dry on a folding drying rack that I still need to buy.

    Walmart sells 18pk 8″x8″? washcloths under $4, about 22¢ each.
    Dollar tree sells a 4pk 5″x5″ baby washcloths for $1, about $25. So you COULD buy the 18 pk and cut them into 4″ toilet cloth squares or not.
    I think ROSS sells 24pk 5″x5″ baby wash clothes for like maybe $6.

    …That’s how I think I would do it.

    Anyone already doing it like that or similar??

  35. Online you can buy bidet attachment for around $30 for standard toilet. They work great. I liked mine so much I sent one to my mother, she tells everyone it is the best gift she ever received.

  36. Sheila Gazlay says

    I have been looking for something like this. The eco-friendly aspect is great but think about this customer base: People that just don’t bend that way anymore.

  37. You did a great job! What a great way to save our environment! You can also try to use bidet toilet which is also a good thing for us to save toilet paper.
    Jamie recently posted..6 Best Bidets With Dryer 2020My Profile

  38. wow, im actually interested in this from a comfort stand point. especially if the wipes were made with a really soft material.
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  39. You did a great job! What a great way to save our environment! You can also try to use bidet toilet which is also a good thing for us to save toilet paper.


  1. […] Try cloth toilet paper. […]

  2. […] know a few women who already use reusable cloths for toilet paper, like Kathleen over at Becoming Peculiar.  Still, it’s a rather odd and fringe thing to do and  a lot of people have questions about […]

  3. […] A bidet will get you clean without requiring you to go through roll after roll of toilet paper every day. If you cannot afford to switch to a bidet, you might consider using cloth hankies instead of toilet paper. […]

  4. […] about that one yet but some people obviously love it – see this fascinating post from Becoming Peculiar . Didn’t imagine I’d be doing that at the start of the […]

  5. […] wrote a great post on the beauty of a bidet. I pair my bidet with cloth TP. I recomeend this post on the importance of switching to cloth TP. I can now use it for number 2 as well hehe, thanks to […]

  6. […] Cloth wipes. Make nice little wipes out of old t-shirts and then wash them just as you would washable diapers.  Here’s a guide if to want to do it. […]

  7. […] reading a few very informative and well-written blogs (like this one and that one) I was convinced to make the shift to reusable toilet paper. It seems to wasteful to […]

  8. […] drying off? For those who want a bidet to replace toilet paper completely, a designated towel or cloth toilet paper is an easy solution. It’s like drying off after a shower. Yes, cloth toilet paper has been […]

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