With 9 in the family, I wasn't overly concerned that we went through a whole roll of toilet paper until I saw what my 4 year old left on the floor. To borrow the words of Glenn Beck "It made blood want to shoot out of my eyes". So when I realized she just didn't know how much TP to use, I came up with the solution of "wiping squares" for her.
Since some women make their own sanitary pads, and babies use reusable cloth diapers I made some flannel squares that are just the right size for her to wipe with-and purple to boot. She has a special bucket by the toilet to toss them in and then I just throw them in with the towels or a load of laundry. I just cut 3 layers of flannel into 3 inch squares and zig zag sewed them together on my sewing machine. I only let her use them for tinkling, but that alone should save us huge!
My other daughter wants some of her own now too. :) We're feeling like we've gone so "green" with our washable toilet paper in pretty colors. At $2.97 for a yard of flannel I can make around 30 of them.
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I wouldn't recommend washing them with the regular loads. I'd recommend washing separately and possibly soaking in a vinegar solution first, or at least using bleach or something. You can give the whole family illnesses, parasites, etc.
I clicked on the feedback cause I wanted to see what other people said. I am the first to respond. TP is very expensive and you throw it away. I work 2 jobs. I could make this for myself. could you email me directions of how exactly you did the sewing and what material is best. sandysheep 1 AT yahoo.com
This is a fantastic idea! I would like the instructions also. Would you please post them here. I plan to use recycled flannel from old sheets, shirts and blankets. My grandchildren use cloth diapers, and cloth wipes for diaper changes. We don't use many paper towels at all anymore, just a kitchen towel. This makes perfect sense. Thank you.
When my kids was little I used cloth diapers and cloth wash clothes. I see all the throw away diapers and wippies and it makes me crazy. There is nothing wrong with washing and reusing. There are a lot of things we can do to keep from being so wasteful.
I started doing this for economic reasons nearly 5 years ago. It works great and a pleasant side benefit was a vast reduction in genital itch...guess I was allergic to chemicals in the toilet tissue. I won't consider returning to the old way.
Glad people like the post!:) As you can see I kept them simple just pre-washed the flannel after I bought it. Layered it in 3 layers and zig zagged around the edges. These are only about 3-3 inch squares. I've since made some 5 X 5 inch square ones for us older gals. Never gotten pee on my hand yet. Like I originally said this is only for when we pee. Notice how much my daughter used to use of the TP? I kid you not, the first time she wiped on the purple flannel there were 2 little pencil eraser size spots of pee.
What a great idea. I used cloth diapers on all of my kids. Of course they are older now, and throw away diapers were just coming into being by the time the last one was potty trained.
These are a great idea. They would make good handkerchiefs too (perhaps in another color!) I bet if you cut the squares with pinking shears, you wouldn't even have to stitch them.
I suppose your idea is a good one if it works for you but, I personally would not like all of that extra laundry. When your daughter is away from home this will not teach her how much T.P. to use. If I may, here's another idea: I put the T.P. on the roll holder. Then I roll down 2 squares and mark the cabinet with a sharpie showing how far it comes down. The child likes to see if they can get the T.P. to the line, therefore using less. It worked for me. But I know one does what they have to do so Good Luck.
Oh, my gosh you've got to be kidding!!! Washable toilet paper squares. I've seen it all!!!! Can't you save napkins from fast food resturants or buy cheaper toilet paper?
I think it's a great idea...and with a family of 9, it probably isn't that much "extra" laundry.
I live alone and think I will do this myself.
Along the same way of thinking, I have been trying to find the time to make washable bags for my waste baskets.
Not the garbage cans but the trash cans that get only paper. I have 5 throughout my house and hate the idea of using plastic bags.
I have been using reusable bags at the grocery store so I don't get a lot of plastic bags anymore.
To Sewing Granny,
Napkins from fast food restaurants and cheaper toilet paper still require cutting down our trees!
I am VERY happy to see that the majority of posters think this is a good idea.
We all need to do what we can to save out planet.
If 'washable toilet paper' helps, so be it!
What a very interesting idea! I already use cloth pads so it wouldn't be any extra work to throw them in the soaking bucket to be washed together. (with hot water etc...) Thanks for something new to try!
Hi, I think this is a wonderful idea and one of which to be proud. I don't understand the opposing feedback at all, especially in the state of our environment. I had read about this in a Yahoo group I belong to a while back. Now you have given me encouragement to really sit down and create these little squares. Thank you for posting it. Nicole
I forgot. Something to think about. Restaurant napkins: If you're worried about spreading disease, someone had to handle the napkins to put them in the holders, or on your table, and who knows what's been on the table beforehand. Then, you carry them around in your pocket, purse, plastic bag? How many more germs do you think they picked up then? Other people's germs no less....
Wow I seem to have started a conversation with this post! I've come to learn that there is a trend starting towards this, here's a link about "family cloth" I didn't know about this before I made the squares, but I'm glad I'm not the only one:)
For me it isn't about the expense of TP, I get that free after coupons and sales. For me it's about not wasting things just because we have them. What did our ancestors do without TP? They survived.
Urine is sterile-germ free unless a person has an infection. I'd have more chance of getting sick from a public pool this summer-ecoli etc. or from caring for/playing with a pet then getting sick from washing/using flannel at my house.
The squares were one yard of fabric, so basically I wash one more bath towel every 2-3 days...
Thanks to the poster that mentioned fast food napkins, I'll remember to start telling the workers to keep them so I don't waste them either :)
I THINK WE SHOULD TRY TO MAKE WASHABLE SANITARY NAPKINS TOO. JUST THINK OF ALL THE TREES WE'D SAVE.
I have made cloth sanitary napkins out of worn out flannel sheets. (internet has lots of patterns if you google) I still I have some material left so I'm going to try some of these "family cloth" squares.
1. Use a rotary cutter, ruler, and mat: Cut a lot of squares in no time!
2. Use a blade with a pinking edge and you don't even have to stitch.
3. But: balance trees saved against water used. blind_quilter AT yahoo
When I was a child, I used something similar that my mom gave me, because I had sensitivities to many brands of TP.
As for making sanitary napkins, there's no way I could do this, unfortunately. I've always had VERY heavy periods, and even while wearing disposables, I've had "accidents". It was impossible to get the stains out of the fabric, and that's really unsanitary.
I live green in many ways, but when it comes to being sanitary, one must draw the line in certain situations. :-)
I just want to reassure the masses that this is not gross, unsanitary or unsafe. Urine is sterile, there are no parasites or bacteria in urine.
Washable cloth menstrual pads are one of the best decisions I ever made. They are so comfortable. They are not at all unsanitary. You may not be able to wash out all the stains, but that doesn't make them gross or unsafe. I've been using them for over a year now and I can't stand the plastic backed disposables or even tampons anymore.
I think the wiping squares are a great idea. You could use them for stool if you washed them in a separate load with bleach. What do you think hospitals do?
I understand the want to go green and keep the less is more rule for disposable napkins...however when you have a heavy period it is not the best thing to do. besides that, I'm a fabrication welder and there is no way while working, lifting heavy machinery and steel that I could be using these. wish I could...it is understandable...but there would be no way for me to do this in the line of work I do. I can just imagine the awful issues this could cause for me. I do think it is a great idea though for those that are either at home and don't work outside the home, or for those that have laid back jobs.
I'm so glad someone else is doing this! Some additional thoughts:
1. With pinking shears, you don't have to stitch the edges.
2. Cloth diapers are fine, so cloth wipes should be just as fine.
3. If you've got an energy-saving laundry machine, you'll use less energy to wash your cloth wipes than is used in the manufacture of toilet paper. Much less chemical effect on the environment, too.
4. You CAN use cloth menstrual pads, even with an excessively heavy flow. I've begun using them precisely because my periods are so heavy. I get mine from www.yoni.com/
5. Word of caution: Urine is sterile while it is IN THE BLADDER. Once it encounters oxygen, it immediately reacts with bacteria in the body and in the air. Once it leaves the body, urine is no longer sterile. You can drink it if dehydration is about to kill you, and it'll help you live a little longer, but no, it is not clean once you're at the point where you need to wipe. Use vinegar, bleach, ammonia, or some other sanitizing substance in your soaking bucket (where you soak your menstrual pads and your cloth toilet-wipes), and perhaps a little salt or tea-tree oil to slow the growth of bacteria. Then wash as thoroughly as you would wash a bowel movement out of a soiled diaper. Just because we live frugally and naturally doesn't mean we have to be careless about spreading germs.
I find this to be way too excessive way to save money. There are surely other things to cut back on. I guess what I find most gross is washing the wipes with your towels. I imagine you would need to disinfect these more than you do your towels. If these are washed separately and you add in the cost of what ever disinfectant you put in the bucket, water for the washer, electricity for the washer dryer, soap/bleach - then you've probably bought at least a 4 pack of cheap toilet paper. I'd rather coupon clip and cut back on something else.
This idea was even too disgusting to read all the way through. Might as well save your old catalogues ... lots of paper in those. We all want to go as "green" as possible, but let's not be ridiculous.
I think this is a marvelous idea! I, too, had my babies before disposable diapers took the country by storm, so I used homemade flannel hourglass-shaped diapers and Curity Day/Night diapers for overnight or traveling. I also bought inexpensive (not cheap-cheap) washcloths in an assortment of colors to use as table napkins; I even made some out of leftover new terrycloth, and personalized each one with a monogram. But I never thought of wipe-cloths.
Now, as I'm older, I go to the bathroom more often, which means more toilet paper. These could be made from the sides of flannel sheets that have been worn out in the center, or from usable sections of favorite nightgowns or flannel shirts that just can't be mended anymore but I don't want to give up! These certainly should be lint-free and chemical-free, and would cost me only a little thread and a little time.
I cannot believe all the criticism this has brought on--people thinking this is disgusting, unsanitary, etc. Toilet paper and especially cloth diapers are relatively newer inventions in history; people lived for eons without them. Yes, they are convenient, but at what cost? Something that no one has mentioned, is our underwear--does anyone realize how much urine and fecal matter they hold? And to the smart as*** who will say, "I don't wear any," that's even worse. It means that their fecal matter is falling to the floor, getting on our shoes, and being carried home with us. And no one complains how unsanitary this is! Yet, we all do laundry and wash our underwear with no fear of getting our entire household sick. It seems that the SQUIMISH factor is in play here. Bottom line: If it doesn't work for you, move on--but quit tossing your opinion on everyone else. If this works for some, great--let them use it. Everyone's needs are different and they have different reasons for choosing to do what they do, so quit judging.
I am reminded that our Dear Editor in Chief once told me ThriftyFun was a family orientated website. I am keeping that in mind and hope I am not crossing any boundaries when I say:
First, urine is not sterile. This fallacy is proven wrong by clinical science. Do read this article citing the findings of Evann Hilt of Loyola University
You wouldn't catch me laundering urine stained pads with any other laundry.
Second, I have nothing to say about a person who, in part, would wear underwear to prevent fecal matter from being dispersed to the floor and shoes, except to say, 'Are these people walking around all day with fecal matter trapped in their underwear'?
Third, hair is very absorbent. We can use toilet tissue til it appears clean, but the truth is (Forgive me, Jess), the anal hair has absorbed a good bit of stool during the 'wiping' process. It cannot be wiped away.
The brisk and cleansing shower, freshly shampooed hair (wafting a bit of green apple scent), warm undies from the dryer, clothes from the closet covered with a plastic bag to preserve their freshness, brushed teeth followed by a mouth rinse, applied deodorant, all give us a sense of being near immaculate, when in truth, near all of us are walking around with stool soaked anal hair. So much for who thinks who is clean.
As I heard a proctologist say many years ago, "Don't be an old dirty assed American. Do like the French and some other cultures do....wash yourself with soap and water after each bowel movement".
(Do we still have proctologist? I haven't heard of them in years)
(I doubt my say will cause any surge in the sales of bidets, but not having one is no excuse for walking around with certain body parts unclean (in the worst way)).
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