Family Cloth: A Reusable Alternative To Toilet Paper

family cloth

If you are in the mood to hear about bizarre trends, it is time for you to learn about people replacing their toilet paper with a thing called “family cloth” - a piece of fabric used to wipe after going number two. The further explanation that follows may sound nauseating, but more and more people opt for it as an eco-friendly alternative to toilet paper.

The difference between the family cloth and toilet paper (other than the obvious fact that they consist of different materials) is that, while you would throw out a piece of toilet paper that you use, you would instead toss the used family cloth in the hamper to be washed and reused.

If this is appealing for whatever reason, you can make the cloth yourself from old clothing you (preferably) no longer wear, or there are a number of options of colors and patterns on the market. Again, you would use it in the same way as you would toilet paper; just make sure you get a sealed hamper and do your laundry more often… for obvious reasons.

As you can imagine, people have had some pretty strong reactions to the replacement toilet paper, and can you blame them? Yes, using toilet paper in abundance increases your carbon footprint, but surely there are other less medieval ways of making a positive environmental impact. There must be other steps you can take before this one. It just seems a little drastic.

We’re not the only ones who feel this way. Take, for example, Twitter user Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe), who wrote, “ahhhh family cloth, my one true enemy”. Twitter can be a bit of a melodramatic space, but this time it’s warranted.

Another Twitter user, Wario Van Peebles (@B1andzig), had a slightly more offended tone, writing, “This morning I learned about ‘family cloth,’ and now I’m suing you all.”

And finally, Amy Shuford (@angelamy444) had an eerie prophecy to share with us, “Surely this is the fall of Western civilization #NoWords #familycloth.” But hey, if you’d rather spend more money on laundry detergent, who are we to stop you?

paper towel

What Does The Concept Of The Family Cloth Entail?

If this is the first time you hear of “the family cloth,” it is a pretty simple but drastic concept involving replacing toilet paper with cloth wipes. Family cloth wipes are meant to be an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to toilet paper. You can purchase cloth wipes for this specific purpose or make them from sewn fabric, rags, or old t-shirts. 

Followers of this unusual trend do not use a single piece of reusable cloth instead of toilet paper. Instead, they possess dozens of cloth wipes for each visit to the loo. For instance, in an interview with Buzzfeed, an anonymous family cloth user suggests placing a container of clean cloths and a small basket for the dirty ones in each bathroom. After every toilet visit, you are supposed to use one wipe and then drop it in the basket. 

How To Wash The Family Cloth?

Since washing family cloth wipes is similar to washing diapers, parents of infants or toddlers can add them to the diaper laundry routine. For those who don’t use diapers, the family cloth should undergo a rinse cycle before being added to any other type of wash. 

Supposing you do laundry once or twice a week and separate it by colors, this concept should be fine with your laundry routine. Make sure you wash colored cloth wipes on a lower temperature setting and white ones at hot temperatures with bleach. Proponents of the family cloth claim that even a week’s worth of wipes doesn’t burden their laundry with a lot of volume. 

Another thing you should consider before ditching toilet paper for the family cloth is the type of detergent you would use. Simple detergents are the go-to solution for reusable cloth wipes. Additionally, you should avoid fabric softeners due to their tendency to reduce the absorbency of any fabric. 

cloth wipes

Benefits Of The Family Cloth

  • Cost-effectiveness - Toilet paper is one of the primary contributors to our everyday cost of living. Regarding family cloth wipes, you can buy (or make) them once and never have to worry about the cost of toilet paper again!
  • Reusability - Toilet paper is one of the unsustainable elements of everyday life that many environmentalists still fail to tackle. With the concept of family cloth, you can take your eco-friendly lifestyle to the next level! Unlike toilet paper, cloth wipes involve zero waste and zero environmental harm.
  • No toxic chemicals - We rarely think of the components of toilet paper, but it can be a potential source of toxic “forever chemicals.” Researchers have found components like BPA and BPS in recycled toilet paper. Most toilet paper brands use bleach, which harms your sensitive parts. 
  • Softness and better cleaning capacity - No 1-ply or 2-ply toilet paper can compare to cloth wipes in terms of softness. Moreover, family cloth has a higher durability and cleaning potential. 
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