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Recycle Fabric Scraps | Article 3 - Cloth Toilet Wipes

Here is a little warning, this article is going to get a dirty so don’t read on if you are squeamish!

Also my Project Management skills are rising to the surface with this little project as there is a potential health hazard especially when we are talking about teenagers over 6 foot!

So we all know that toilet paper uses trees, virgin or recycled, it has chemicals, it can cause reactions, it’s not recyclable, it takes resources for distribution, it creates waste, and its not so gentle on lady parts. I won’t be going into any of these facts in any detail as there is so much information on the website already you can google it and I will save my voice.

Now you could use kitchen roll or even wet wipes as an alternative to toilet paper if you are short but the same facts above still apply and also you risk the chance of blocking up the drainage system as they are not designed to disintegrate.

My first confession is that I have been wanting to give this a try for oh so long and for one reason or another it went to the bottom of my priority list! (see what I did there!)

However since we have a major toilet roll situation in Australia and I believe we need to learn and improve our lives continuously, what better way to sort out this problem than to give it a go?

My second confession is that I did not make my initial cloth wipes with recycled fabric, however as they are recyclable I feel I can still use this topic as a recycle topic. After all these cloths will be washed and used over and over again.

Finally my third confession, most of the research I have done has been written by families with small children, I have three teenagers, with extra hangers on and friends that visit - I am scared with No. 1. their reaction and No. 2. the laundering situation. (Yes I dropped in another clanger there!).

OK I have one more confession…. I miss my UK Bidet so much I may consider adding a devise to the toilet, the cloths will then be used mainly for drying off and the experience will be so much nicer.

I am glad I got that off my chest, and here is the sales pitch….

How much money are we going to save?

Yes, that is also a driver for doing this…

It’s all very simple really and here’s what I have decided…

  • My initial testing will be for number ones for the girls in the house. Wipes are easy to use for a wee and easy to launder, so this is a good place to start. This testing is completed and I can say amazing results, glad I changed.

  • After some confidence I will then move on to using the wipes for number 2’s personally. I feel testing is in order before everyone else gets a go….

  • After testing usage, storage and laundering I will be rolling this out to other household members, they will probably get no choice in the matter if we run out of loo roll anyway

Here is how I have decided to make them, really simple; either:

  • A single layer of flannel fabric cut to a generous size around 8” by 6” with pinking shears to reduce threads fraying. No double layer, sewing or overlocking required although that as well as size is personal choice. This unstitched fabric did not work so well even with pinking the edges there was still lots of fraying after laundering so if you are using flannel then overlock it or sew a zig zag stitch around the edge. However the fraying can be cut off and the pieces can still be used.

  • If using an old bed sheet cut into strips the size of 2-3 squares of toilet paper and overlock or use a zigzag stitch around the end to reduce fraying.

  • If using old T-Shirts, maybe you want to do a test first you can cut with standard scissors as this fabric will not fray so much.

  • If using towelling fabric you will need to overlock the edges to reduce fraying. This fabric is my preference, I cut the fabric into 6 1/2"strips (the width of my ruler) and then cut the long strip into 4 to avoid waste and to create longish pieces which is my preference. This fabric works really well for a nice soft result and washes and fluffs up beautifully.

Any of the fabric choices above would be good for a test run. Once I am happy with my experiment I will be buying organic hemp fleece or flannel or knit fabric to make up the bulk of my wipes to ensure that I am not wiping full time with dyes and chemicals.

There is one last option, buy them off someone who sells them locally!

Here is the usage procedure I am going to use

  • Store a pile of wipes in a box on the toilet cistern

  • Store a bottle spray of water with a little soap next to the pile of wipes, to allow for wet wipe usage. This way you can choose dry or wet

  • Wipes to be shaken down toilet after wiping a number 2 to drop off any large lumps (!)

  • Wipes to be screwed up and put into a small bin with a closing lid next to the toilet, lined with either fabric or plastic if you must (either can be cleaned down)

  • With gloves worn wipes taken daily to bucket or a laundry sink for a quick rinse through and maybe a little tea tree oil thrown in for good measure. I don’t think I will do any soaking personally as germs can multiply in a soaking bucket.

  • Wipes to be washed in washing machine separate from other clothes or at least separate from kitchen cloths. Washed on a boil wash.

  • Wipes to be dried in dryer for extra sanitation from the heat.

I want to do this experiment to see where this leads us, to be honest I hope I prefer it this way. I personally start a new recycle project every month for the household and I know that this really is the way to go right now and for the future, so I am now well and truly committed. I am actually thinking I may feel pampered with all of these soft cloths instead of the dry toilet paper that sometimes I feel does not clean enough but that we feel necessitated to use, I think my bathroom may get that luxurious spa feeling!

Just think we may never need to buy toilet paper ever again!

I wish you very clean bottoms and safe times right now!

Love and Light

Amanda Goldsmith

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