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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wasn't sure where this should go, so i thought here would be best since it will save $, but it's also an eco-friendly choice!

my husband and I are adopting the practices of "the family cloth." what is this, you wonder? well, it's reuseable toilet paper!

just like washable baby wipes, you make or buy a series of cloth wipes that can be used after using the toilet. then, place them in a bucket of water with detergent and wash each day (you can wash bby hand or in the washer--i'm using the washer).

it works quite well, honestly. we keep toilet paper on hand for guests, but use the clothes for ourselves!

I want to go paper-free in 2008--cloth napkins, dish towels, and wash clothes (instead of paper towels). and so, also, toilet paper goes.


if anyone is interested, i'll post a how-to on making them. it's basicly the same as making baby wipes.
 

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WOW. Just WOW. I am impressed. I would love to go that far but I don't think Spiderman would be comfortable with it....YET. We do cloth napkins, dish towels (no paper in the kitchen) and I do cloth pads (which Spiderman in so cool about--I've caught him talking to people about what a good idea environmentally it is and how much better my periods are since I changed over) but this. WOW.

I mentioned it and he thought for a bit and said--"well people do it with babies and you do it monthly. But I would have to think about it long and hard."

I'd be really interested...please post a tutorial Zoebird. I feel incredibly wasteful with toilet paper--especially on my moontime. And I cannot bear recycled TP--too rough on my girly bits. I would love to use a soft cloth.

Does your bucket have a lid? Damn...I am impressed.
 

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please post the how to (or is this where those dollar store wash cloths come in?)

anyone else just use a pitcher of water for rinsing after urine? (we also ascribe to if it's yellow let it mellow)
 

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I do that but it freaks Spiderman out. His mom was a big flush-a-holic. She flushed every time she went in the loo whether there was something in there or not. I often do a "tinkle tinkle" little wee and i'm not flushing just for that.

I'd like to do that more actually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
well, i've actually considered using one of those 'squirt bottles' to manage while menstruating--as it is more gentle--and it's a particularly good idea after giving birth (using comfrey tea as the rinse). but, i don't have a bottle. but, i do have a whole lot of soft terry wash cloths, so i thought i'd start with that.


ok, so, here's the basics--

1. choose your cloth. some people order baby wipes from online, or get used diapers and make their own (clean ones of course!), and others will just use what they have (like myself--which is just a huge number of clothes).

2. wash and label them (since all of my clothes for kitchen, general, etc, are all the same color, i used a permanent marker and labeled them; also, i labeled some for me and some for ryan so that he feels more comfortable 'keeping the separate.' labelling is optional.)

3. set a box or basket on the back of the toilet with clean wipes in there.

4. using a small bucket (i used 2 really small ones, each is about a quart, and it has a lid--i labeled one for me and one for ryan) put a bit of detergent and water (or dry baking soda) into the bucket.

5. when used only for urine, family cloths can be reused as urine is sterile. So, set up a hook system where you can hang your cloth for general use until your BM. once you have a BM, you can drop it into the bucket with water/detergent. if you're utilizing a dry bucket with baking soda, rinse the cloth before putting it in there.

6. using the bucket with detergent, simply shake the bucket to agitate. this will help remove most of the matter. then, wash the wipes with a normal load of laundry (whites or whatever you feel comfortable with). i mix my laundry (i do not separate 'whites.' so, i am washing two clothes today.


that's the basic run down. we're nearly paper free in the kitchen (we have another roll of paper towels), and then that's it.
 

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For my baby wipes we just use baby washcloths. The 6 or 8 in a package together, inexpensive if they get lost/ruined type.
You can get them at the dollar store, even! Target has them pretty cheaply packaged in the baby aisles. $2 or so for decent washcloths.

We go with the baby washcloths because they are softer than the thick terrycloth ones.

If you want to make your own and sew, you can just cut squares or rectangles of flannel out, make them double layer, and serge/overlock stitch/tight zigzag the edges. Or you can zigzag and leave a small open area, turn, and topstitch, if you prefer. (that's more time consuming but looks nicer)

6x9" or 6x6" are good sizes. 9x9" if you know the family likes to use a lot of TP
Or do 2 sizes? hmmm...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
my husband is a bit strange, that's why.

seriously, it freaks him out to have his stuff in my bucket and my stuff in his bucket. for me personally, one bucket would be fine. but he doesn't like 'mixing.'

when i first had my menstrual pads, he didn't want me to wash them with 'his clothes' and thought i shouldl do a completely separate load for them (it's not a whole load's worth of stuff!). it took him a while to become 'ok' with the 'mixing' of those cloths with regular clothes.

so, part of his original discomfort with this was that things would be 'mixed' which is why i had to label certain cloths as 'his' and 'mine.' once washed, they're interchangeable--of course! but he didn't like the idea of 'mixing' so i did everything separate.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

5. when used only for urine, family cloths can be reused as urine is sterile. So, set up a hook system where you can hang your cloth for general use until your BM. once you have a BM, you can drop it into the bucket with water/detergent. if you're utilizing a dry bucket with baking soda, rinse the cloth before putting it in there.
Urine isn't typically sterile when it comes out of you, as it gets in contact with bacteria on your genitalia (unless you're being, um, careful). And then it sits on a non-sterile cloth in the air, collecting more bacteria. Wouldn't that increase chances of UTI?
 

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"when used only for urine, family cloths can be reused as urine is sterile. "

Urine is nearly, sterile, assuming the person is perfectly healthy and does not have a bladder infection, or urethral infection, but urethral openings are not, and urine can pick up small amounts of fecal matter and skin bacteria as it leaves. Nor are pieces of cloth sterile, unless they've recently been sterilized. And none of that matters, because air is not sterile, and airborne micro-organisms will land on a urnine-dampened cloth and grow. Whether such bacteria are harmful is doubtful, since they come from the air, which supports different bacterial than those which human bodies, secrections, and excretions support, but yes it can contain pathogenic bacteria from gasses that exit human lungs, stomachs, and ani. In any case, even if no-one has any pathogenic bacteria to spread, they all have smelly bacteria to spread. Interestingly enough, the "gram positve" bacteria that we smell the most are the ones that tend to be harmless, although some of them do cause disease, while the gram negative bacteria, more of which cause disease, and tend to cause worse diseases, tend not to smell as much.

Anyway, those are the 2 reasons we don't want to keep urine-dampened cloth around for too long a time, without washing it: smell, and disease transmission due to bacterial growth. While usually urine itself, the moment it leaves the urethra, contains no bacteria, once it dampens the end of a penis or vulva, and then the penis or vulva is patted dry with a cloth, the urine in the cloth picks up bacteria from there, and in addition aerial bacteria land on it it begin to grow. Both types live on nutrients in the urine, and also in the cotton of the cloth, as well as in particles of skin that are between the fibers of the cloth. While usually the problem of leaving such a cloth around is just smell, I would think that disease tranmission is also impossible.

http://medic.med.uth.tmc.edu/path/00001450.htm

So I'd not want to use a urnine dampened cloth a second time, later, even if it were only my own urine, unless the cloth had been washed in detergent and preferably also chlorine bleach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
well, for my own part, we use multiple cloths, but a lot of people prefer reuse as long as they're only using their own.

the general consensus from cloth users is that they haven't had UTIs or an increase in them from reusing their cloths, but one woman says that she rinses the cloth in the sink and then lets it dry to reuse.
 

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"but one woman says that she rinses the cloth in the sink and then lets it dry to reuse."

Yup. I would think that rinsing with plain water should be sufficient to prevent most bacterial growth presuming it is done within a short time after the cloth is dampened with urine. Once you rinse out the urine and most of the pieces of defoliated skin, the main thing that is left for bacteria to feed on is cotton (cellulose) fibers, which probably won't support pathogenic bacteria, and will probably take a long time to produce a population of smelly bacteria. Once the cloth is dry, any bacteria colonies that had started to grow, will die. However their (dry and dormant) spores can start a colony of moist thriving cells again if the towel is moistened again, and as well, new bacterial spores from the air can produce bacteria that feed on the bodies and metabolites of the dead bacteria colonies.

I ought to add that paper toilet tissue is notsterile. Neither are paper towels, dinner napkins, feminine napkins, diapers, paper and plastic cups, paper and plastic plates. Bandages are sterile. All these other things aren't. They may be produced in dusty dirty factories where large numbers of people live and breath and many of them touch the machinery. Properly managed cloth is probably safer.
 

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Hmm, this is very interesting and a good idea!

My bf would like this since he doesn't like the idea of toilet paper (he uses 'free napkins' he gets from work and says he doesn't touch my toilet paper - but it disappears so darn fast) but I know he would never wash the cloths and I would end up doing it so not good for me. I definatley do not want to do wash everyday.

I used the recycled toilet paper. It seems like I am always needing to buy some though.

I was using these in my kitchen and for dusting but some how they keep disappearing.

http://www.gaiam.com/retail/product/09-9195_MSTR

I use recycled paper towels for cat accidents though.

Does the bucket you use ever start smelling? What seems to be the max on time left sitting around before you wash?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
well, you can use the bucket to hand wash it (see the hand washing thread in this forum). so, it could be easy enough to wash each day like this.

generally, i do a load of wash every-other day. thus, cloths are only in the bucket for about two days, but less than 24 hours i would say.

also, i have found that i tend to have one bowel movement a day, as does my husband--though sometimes i have two. the max amount of really dirty cloths are usually 4, with 4-6 urine clothes each. so, anywhere from 8-10 small wash cloths are washed with our regular laundry.
 

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There was an article posted here on VB some months ago from some sort of health expert who said one should wash one's hands after handling/folding clean laundry. The reason for this recommendation was that the fecal matter incidentally deposited on underwear during normal use/wear was enough to contaminate a load of laundry with various bacteria, which would survive a washing unless the washing were at 140 degrees F or hotter and/or used chlorine bleach. (I've looked for this article, but couldn't find it.)

I would be concerned about washing these cloths with the rest of one's laundry, because I presume that you do not wash your clothing at 140 or higher. Indeed, most clothing these days requires a warm or cold water wash.

So, I for one, would be concerned about your laundry methods possibly spreading bacteria.

I would think that if people are going to use these cloths, then they should adopt basically the same laundry methods for them as they would for cloth diapers for infants. In that regard, I've read a three-day max recommendation for washing diapers in the diaper pail to prevent bad odor and limit bacterial growth.

If someone using this method could set their washer to do an extra-small wash and washed these cloths separately in hot water every three days,

I think this method could be used without risks to health and reasonably economically.
 

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I saw that show Joe is referring to...........

I would also agree that the clothes should be treated as infant diapers are. i would never wash them with regular laundry unless you plan to throw a cup of bleach in there too.....
haha

i think your effort is commendable, I myself would never attempt this, (pictures 3 yo "investigating the bucket")
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
vinegar functions the same as bleach in the wash, which is something that we do use in our wash. we do a vinegar rinse.

i wash my pads with regular laundry, i mix my underwear in with my regular laundry, towels and sheets too, and a friend of mine also does baby diapers in the regular wash.

a wash of detergent and/or baking soda with the addition of lavendar or tea tree essential oil (anti microbial, anti-fungal), and a vinegar rinse (white distilled) does the same work as hot water or bleach.
 
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