Family cloth is a thing and we have questions

When it comes to wiping their bums, some families hope to save money and the environment by using reusable toilet paper, also called "family cloth."

Family cloth is a thing and we have questions

Photo: CreeksideKid via Etsy

For most humans, nature calls multiple times a day, and when that happens, good ole TP is usually nearby to get you clean down there (obviously we're talking about toilet paper, not Today's Parent. Please don't use our magazine to wipe yourself—the glossy pages will 100 percent not absorb/clean anything). For some families though, the idea of disposable toilet paper is "literally flushing money down the toilet!"

That's what one unnamed woman told Buzzfeed in an article touting the benefits of "the family cloth," which is a set of reusable cloth toilet wipes that are meant to replace disposable single-use toilet paper. The idea is not only to reduce your family's consumer waste, but also save your family money by not having to buy toilet paper. Yep, this woman's family (along with many other zero-waste-minded families) saves money by using and reusing pieces of cloth to wipe after using the bathroom. And she's not alone—there are others out there and plus we totally saw this once on TLC's Extreme Cheapskates. But as much as we like saving money and the environment...we're having a hard time wrapping our heads around it.

For starters, the name "family cloth" sounds like the whole family shares a single piece of fabric. *shudder* To be clear, they don't. It's a set of small cloths that are used individually and thrown into a hamper after each use. But that brings us to our next point. We can't quite get past the thought of having pieces of cloth covered in pee and poop just hanging around in a pile in the bathroom. Admittedly, this isn't radically different than having soiled cloth diapers hanging around, so if your family uses those for the babies in the house, maybe the family cloth is for you.

To be fair, the mom in the Buzzfeed article says they only use the cloths for when they pee, and use baby wipes for poop (which seems weird considering baby wipes are more expensive than regular toilet paper and are worse for the environment, but we digress). She says the goal is to eventually get a bidet to wash their bums after pooping and to use the cloths to pat the area dry afterwards. And if we're comparing the family cloth to cloth diapers anyways, the amount of poop left on the cloth when wiping (with or without the use of a bidet) would be much much less than the amount of poop a baby puts directly into a diaper—just sayin'.

You may also be thinking that the amount of water used to wash the cloths would offset the benefits of not using disposable toilet paper, but the mother of two says she simply throws them in the same load as her other white linens with some hot water and bleach. "It hasn't really affected our laundry routines at all," she tells Buzzfeed. "Even a week's worth of cloth doesn't add much volume to the load of laundry, so we don't need to do it more often than we did."

While this woman's points are compelling—it doesn't seem to affect laundry volume and compared to cloth diapers, the amount of dirt is really not that bad—we're still pretty sure we won't be employing the family cloth in our homes anytime soon. If you're interested in trying them, you can make your own from spare fabric or an old pair of pajamas or buy a set from Etsy. As for us, we think we'll be siding with one of our favourite celebrity moms:

This article was originally published on Mar 12, 2018

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