A couple years ago, I watched a YouTube clip about switching to family cloth. At the time I though it was a little crazy, like it just wasn’t for me. Fast forward to now, we as a family are trying to be more Eco-friendly, and this brought me back to family cloth.
It wasn’t weird to me for two reasons. The first involved reflecting on what everyone used before toilet paper was invented – they used cloth . The second reason is that I use cloth wipes for Little One during diaper changes. If it worked for our ancestors and it works for my Little One, then why can’t it work for me, too?
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After exploring multiple choices, I decided to make mine out of flannel fabric. So off to Joann’s I went! After much consideration I decided to go whimsical with the prints. I purchased 1 yard of each of the fabrics, one each for the upstairs bathroom and main floor bathroom. There was also a 70% off sale on flannels – I swear it was like Joann’s knew I was coming! I got both for under $5. If you don’t want to make your own cloths, try these. We have these flannel cloths for Little One and they work great!
Preparing the Cloth
The first thing I did when I got the fabric home was prewash them. This is my rule whenever I bring new fabrics into my home. Next I pressed the fabric with an iron to prepare them for cutting. The pressing will ensure that the fabric is nice and flat for cutting. I used a mat, rotary cutter, and ruler to cut the fabric into 5.5 inch squares. You can decide on any size, but I found that this size made the most of my yard of fabric and is the relatively same size of a sheet of toilet paper. After cutting the squares, I surged each edge to prevent fraying during the next wash. If you don’t have access to a surger, you can perform a tight zig zag stitch or do a small rolled hem.
Making the Switch
I found two little round baskets at a garage sale and that is what I’m using to hold my clean cloths. Of course, you can use any container you like. I also added a wet bag to each of the bathrooms. Right now I am using my son’s wet bags (we have so many of them!). I may switch later to a container of some sort or a trash bin with a fabric liner.
One of the hardest transitions for me was remembering to throw the cloth in the wet bag and not the toilet! I haven’t actually done this but I did need to stop myself a couple times and throw it in the right place.
We are currently on a schedule of washing them 2 times a week. However, this would largely depend on the amount of cloths and your own cleaning schedule. I also don’t want them to smell so washing them more often wouldn’t be a bad thing. I wash them on a normal cycle with laundry detergent. The family cloth is added to the cloth diapers that we already wash and sorted out after the drying. Each of our cloths have a different pattern from everything else, which makes sorting really easy.
What About Guests?
So being a good hostess I wouldn’t want to make guests use family cloth, unless they are comfortable with it. We do still purchase toilet paper but have switched to a more Eco-friendly brand. They are a bit more expensive, but the payoff is that we use way less of it.
I love that we switched to family cloth. It feels so much better not flushing toilet paper every time. I also feel better not wasting so much money purchasing toilet paper.
Something that I think about a lot is what I am teaching my little one. For him while growing up, this will be normal. Other than when he is out and about in the community, he will be using family cloth from the time he was born. It is important for the environment that we make these small kinds of switches and stop being so wasteful. Teaching this to future generations is one of the essential practices to make an impact.
Have you considered switching to family cloth? Let me know your thoughts, comments or questions down below. Also, if you have already switched to family cloth, let me know how it is going!
Thinking about other Eco-friendly switches? Check out my post about switching to bar shampoo.