Thursday, March 19, 2009

green: pee, poop & paper

how green are you willing to go? are you willing to substitute your highly pollutive toilet paper for washable cloth wipes? only for #1, or #2 as well?

i first read about cloth wipes here, and thought at the time it sounded like a brilliant idea. it just didn't sound right for us. for several reasons, i don't want to use them for #2 (there's a link at the bottom of this post that will answer all your questions about cloth wipes, and yes, also the hygiena questions). and the paper used for wiping pee in this house is minimal. but the thought of this wouldn't go away, and after a fortnight i'd had enough time to observe our paper habits to make up my mind, and...we use a tremendous amount of paper in the kitchen. add that up to the tp used for pee, and it's too much. kitchen paper will probably be the next challenge. but for now, i'm going with the toilet cloth wipes for #1.

a quick search through my fabric stash revealed an old piece of flanell sheet. wash, iron, cut, zig zag. couldn't be easier.

34 heavily zig zagged, pretty, purple cloths, ready to work for us :)

i cut the squares approximately 15 x 15 cm (6" x 6") - some smaller, some bigger. i have yet to find out whether that's a suitable size, and whether i've cut enough. the biggest challenge will be to prevent my girl from dropping them in the toilet after she's used them. that specific movement is a pretty established embodied habit :)

if you want to learn more about cloth wipes, head on over to these posts at crunchy chicken - the Lady of Eco Challenges (and my newest source of inspiration).

(tip: if you plan on doing this yourself, and haven't talked to your sewing machine for a while, this is the time to flatter her with some nice words and some oil. she's gonna do a lot of zig zaging for you. alternatively, you can take the time to hem them and sew with straight seems instead. the total amount of time spent on making them will probably be the same either way, and you will save a lot of thread!)


Cindy said...

Honestly, while using cloth diapers I keep wondering why I am not using cloth "toilet paper".... but I'm not there... quite yet.

Krista said...

I agree with the previous comment...we are currently using cloth dipes and wipes and I have thought the same thing. I know the rest of the family isn't ready to go there yet so instead I am focusing on facial tissue ("kleenex") for right now!

Lisa said...

I was just talking to my sister today about using cloth instead of toilet paper. I am going to share your post with her. She too is interested in this...wondering how to get the hubby on board!

Rosemary said...

If you use something knit, then you don't have to do the zig zag thing. Old "french terrycloth" sweatpants are the best, but any heavy cotton knit works well, too.

I first started with diaper wipes, when my oldest was an infant. He's now 19. I cut up all of those useless "baby towels" which are a knit cotton terrycloth - with the little triangular "hood" in the corner? You know the ones? I cut them up into 20 pieces, put them into a tupperware, and poured half-and-half witch hazel and water over them and there you go!

Only just recently did I throw away that tupperware. It lived in the car, and it finally got cracked. It's the best thing ever to keep in your car!

itto said...

thanks for that inspiration, I like your blog!
greetings from a green mom in morocco

Healing Earth said...

Thanks for a wonderful blog! I have been using cloths for toilet for about three years. However, I have found a use for those empty squeezy bottles from ketchup, mayo,salad dressing, and dishwashing liquid. I simply wash them out and keep them filled with water. When we go to the bathroom, we use the bottle for a fresh squirt of water to wash ourselves, then we dry off with the cloth "toilet paper." It makes for a much cleaner experience, LOL.

Also, I have color coded cloths, so each family member has their own color. I didn't have any spare sheets, so I bought inexpensive packs of washcloths, and we are good to go!

As for the diaper wipes, I kept cut up flannel and baby washcloths in an old diaper wipes container, but I left them dry. There is sometimes an issue of mold or bacteria growing in a wet environment. Instead, I kept a spray bottle with a solution of water with a few drops of tea tree and lavender essential oil and a teaspoon of liquid castille soap. I would spray the baby, effectively washing her, and use a bit of spray to dampen one end of the cloth. Then, once I'd wiped her clean, I could use the other end to dry her well.

Glad to have found your blog and yet another "green buddy!"

Anonymous said...

Hello dude! what a great post. I really follow all the text even the end... and I really liked. I hope you can still doing this for all. Buy Valtrex

Teresa said...

what about the environmental impact of the extra loads of laundry resulting from using cloth wipes?

Healing Earth said...

Teresa, the cloths aren't very big so they don't constitute a huge influx of laundry. However, even with our family who use cloth for just about everything, using the eco-balls for laundry or a safe, non-toxic soap (like soap nuts, castille, or Sals Suds) isn't bad for the environment. Also, energy for those loads of laundry can be sourced alternatively, but there isn't much repair we can do for the masses of natural resources gone to waste in disposables.

People have been washing clothes since the year dot. Disposables have only been going for the past 50 or 60 years...a huge difference.


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