Family Cloth: Getting Set Up

December 16th, 2009 - filed under: The Farm » Home

How does one prepare to replace something as seemingly sanitary and culturally expected as toilet paper? Well, some times you just have to dive in . . . erm . . . metaphorically speaking. Ew.

If you’d like to learn more about why one would want to do such a thing, you can get the background story at this month’s Mission post. Now, you can go about getting started in one of two ways: buy them or make them. Since one of the major themes of this exercise is reduction, I opted for the DIY approach. A couple of my husbands old softened tee shirts was all it took!


An old sheet, flannel PJs, dish towels or bath towels – pretty much anything can stand in here. No sewing required! I just cut the fabric into strips the width of regular TP. Then, cut them into lengths so that when they’re folded in half they’ll make a perfect square.


From there you just need a place to store ‘em and to stash ‘em, close to the scene of the crime. I picked up this lovely secondhand basket at the thrift store, and found the perfect plain plastic waste bin for catching wipes. An empty drawer would also work great for storing the clean ones. I considered getting the biggest, tackiest vintage cookie jar i could find for used wipes. Ha!


There are really a million variations here. Highly customizable. Now as far as actually *using* them, that’s a whole other story.

We’ll revisit that at the end of the month.

9 Comments to Family Cloth: Getting Set Up



December 16, 2009

For #1 and #2? I have considered cloth for me for #1 (my husband doesn’t need to wipe I suppose). I have so many homemade wipes for cloth diapering, I thought I would just transition those to the bathroom for me when my little ones are done with them but I like the old t-shirt idea. I have a stack of those I was going to make into sacks. For now I am using TP made from recycled paper. I presume you and your hubby are both on board? I am looking forward to hearing how this goes for you guys. Once you are cloth diapering you will find it a cinch to get both baby and your cloth cleaned.



December 16, 2009

First house I lived in in SB, my roomie went the cloth route for #1, and I tried it. Old socks work fine too. Never went there for #2, though.


Lynn D.

December 16, 2009

I haven’t gone the cloth route yet, but my husband and I have a few toilet waste reduction techniques. I eat more fiber, so I don’t need as much paper. We flush every other time with number one. When the garden is growing, my husband pees in a bucket mixes with five parts water and uses it for fertilizer. We also have rain barrels and an (illegal) grey water system for our washing machine.



December 17, 2009

From cloth diaper experience, I’d like to offer a few suggestions:

A few simple mini pillowcase-like liners with a sprinkle of baking soda and/or a drop of essential oil will keep the pail fresh and make the trip to the laundry faster.

In the long run, a step trash can might be nice.



December 21, 2009

@ Farmingtheburbs – Just for #1 for now, so it’s just a ‘me’ thing (no husband necessary (= ) We will be cloth diapering and cloth wiping the baby for sure!

@ T – Never thought about old socks! Great idea, thanks.

@ Lynn D. – We also do the less-frequent-flushing method, and we do eat tons of fiber, ha! I’m curious about your rain barrels and grey water system. Any info you could share?

@ akeeyu – That’s a great idea. I was definitely planning to do that for the diaper bin, but I suppose I should do it for my wipe can as well. Thanks!



January 10, 2010

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, after reading about it on another blog, but have yet to take the plunge (ha!). Thanks for the instructions, as a matter a fact I just came across an old torn sheet that I wasn’t sure what to do with. Now I know, so you may be joining you very soon…



May 14, 2010

many years ago in Morocco a savvy Dane confided in me that he used strips of silk and washed them after use and I guess pegged them to his backpack to dry ‘en route’. Old fine silk shirts or frocks etc could be used as fine silk dries super fast. Found this site looking for plans for an alternative toilet for semi remote no electricity spot on coast of NSw, Australia. Any help out there/currently bury my offerings but no good for visitors.


Ophelia D

May 27, 2010

I’m still working my way up to this one; love the concept, just haven’t put it into place yet. I’ve been doing cloth for my womanly sanitary needs for over a year and a half and that’s all fine….not sure why family cloth should feel so different but it does. Probably has to do with the other 5 people in my household being less than enthusiastic!


Jo D

August 17, 2010

We use “wee wipes” in our house for #1s and have for ages now. My 4yo daughter loves them. As do I – so much softer than paper. I use old towels cut into small squares, and overlock the edges. Marvelous!