I’ve done something gross. I’ve switched to reusable toilet paper. That’s right, no more paper toilet paper, just cloth wipes, or as its affectionately known, “family cloth.” That’s not the whole truth. We still use toilet paper for #2 because it’s still cut down the overall household usage of toilet paper! Because, honestly, I’m the number one toilet paper culprit! This is all part of my 2018 goals to be a little more crunchy.
Disclosure: I’m an ambassador with Omaiki and they sent me some Tushy Wipes to try. This kicked me into gear to try this. I also include affiliate links where possible. These links refer a small commission back.
What’s the Deal?
The deal is…
- toilet paper is expensive. $15-20 a month we just flush down the drain #literally.
- Toilet paper is uncomfortable. Have you ever bought expensive toilet paper? It’s amazing, but cloth wipes are heaven on the vulva.
- Toilet paper is less than eco-friendly. I know it takes resources to make cloth wipes, but they’ll last you several years.We flush 27,000 trees per day thanks to toilet paper. I can think of many other better things to do with trees – like build wooden toys and climbing apparatuses 😉
- I’m already washing cloth diapers, so why not?
But what about the environmental impact of washing Family Cloth?
I posted about family cloth on the Facebook some time ago, and I got a comment suggesting the environmental impact of washing Family cloth would be GREATER THANFamily cloth the environmental toll of creating toilet paper.
I’m calling hogwash because if this were the case, we’d all be wearing disposable underwear and undergarments. But we aren’t because, despite the horrifying conditions of the textiles industry, it makes more sense just to do laundry.
- Toilet Paper requires trees and a lot of them. A suggested 3.5 tonnes of raw fibre is needed to make just 2 tonnes of toilet paper. That we flush down the drain for ‘comfort.’
- Paper & Pulp Production is notoriously resource dependent. It takes a lot of water, energy, and resources to turn wood into pulp and pulp into paper. Some of BC’s biggest electricity users are pulp and paper manufacturers.
- Average American = 57 sheets of toilet paper per day. This results in 3.7 gallons of water for manufacturing alone (World Watch Source).
- Toilet Paper is Bleached. Unless you’re buying the super eco-friendly stuff, its’ been thru the chlorinating process. However, consumers have long shown a preference for fluffy white toilet paper.
- Toilet Paper is Packaged in #4 Plastics. LDPE (low-density polyethene) is seldom accepted by curbside recycling programs and typically lands in the waste stream. If your recycling system takes it, you’re ahead of the game. #nothere.
- Toilet Paper Cardboard Roles. I’m guilty of tossing them out, and I’m going to assume everyone else is too. Kimberly Clark estimates 17 billion card tubes are checked a year or check out this moment from Scott Paper products.
- The After you Flush: It’s not all fine and dandy after you flush away the toilet paper. Toilet paper can be a drain on septic systems, lagoons, and even city-managed sewer systems.
What about Family Cloth Production?
To say the production and manufacturing of cotton products into textiles isn’t harmful to the environment is a fallacy. It’s well known growing cotton and turning it into cotton textiles is resource rich. It takes a lot of water, a lot of petroleum products, a lot of labour, a lot of chemicals and more to bring cotton to the table, and into the bathroom.
The family cloth will require you to launder and dry textiles. Good thing, because family cloth is a single layer material (much like a flat cloth diaper) it’ll wash up easy and not be as fussy or finicky as prefold cloth diapers or microfibre inserts.
There’s no extra water usage or resource consumption in my perspective because family cloth is just part of my existing laundry commitments in the house. It’ gets added to my cloth diaper laundry and away we go.
It takes a lot of trees, a lot of water, and a lot of electricity to make toilet paper.
Short of doing the science research and spending another sleepless night reading charts, you need to make a decision on why you want to use family cloth and own it because there isn’t a right or wrong answer. It’s a very complex issue with many different facets.
Family Cloth is Perfect for Cloth Diapering Families!
Cloth diapering families are already doing the laundry, so why not add Family Cloth into your life? It’s an easy and seamless transition. Even our babies get the luxury of a cloth wipe over a disposable!
There’s no extra work with family cloth for a cloth diapering family. Family Cloth wipes go into the wet bag, and all set for wash day.
Seriously. Why haven’t I been doing this for years? I’ve been wiping my kids with cloth but neglecting myself. Cloth wipes are the best thing since French Toast.
When I stop doing cloth diaper laundry, and I have to wash my feminine hygiene products and family cloth separate, I’ll let you know my game plan.
Is it gross?
Underwear is gross, and we wash those in the laundry machine, but cloth wipes they aren’t.
I used to use a whole lot of toilet paper, but now I just use one Omaiki Tushy Wipe. I like Omaiki Tushy Wipes because they are long and comfy cotton. Designed as a toilet paper replacement, they are just right. I did try some of my cloth wipes but often found them too thick or too thin, too small, or too big, and sometimes just not the right.
Don’t worry, I still have toilet paper for guests, but if you’re up for it, find the stash next to the toilet and join the fun. I wash in hot water with a solid cloth diaper routine. Your lady bits will love you.