“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”
I detest useless waste. It literally makes me crazy to think of spending money on something — usually out of convenience — knowing that the end result will be the trash. Paper towels, diapers, wipes, disposable anything, and yes even toilet paper…for nearly a year our family has been on a mission to find sustainable replacements for these common household items in an attempt to create a paperless home.
Many people will argue that purchasing and using paper products doesn’t effect their budget enough to warrant seeking reusable alternatives. After pricing out these items in a local grocery store, I estimate our paperless home is saving nearly $40-$50 per month. That coupled with the $50 we save on not having cable, the $30 for no phone, the $200 because we grow/raise our own food, the $100 on the reduce use of electricity…just shows you that every little bit adds up, potentially saving 100’s — maybe even 1,000’s — of dollars per month.
15 Tips for Creating a Paperless Home
Important disclaimer: Don’t pressure yourself into implementing each one of these tips all at once…you’ll only end up frustrated and defeated. Pick and choose a few to get yourself started. Putting even one of the suggested alternatives into practice will prove to reduce the amount of money spent and waste generated by your home. Most importantly, have fun with it 🙂
Here are a few of my ideas for creating a paperless home:
1. Don’t buy it. This is perhaps the best tip I could ever give. In fact, it’s been the key to our family’s success in several areas of our lives. If I don’t buy the paper products we don’t use them and then we are forced to find disposable alternatives.
2. Old habits die hard. Paper products were created initially for our convenience — as something else to spend our money on. Many of us have deep-rooted habits and thoughts regarding our paper. Reaching for the disposables is part of what we do when life gets busy. Like it or not, it’s just the way things have become. Therefore, make using cloth just as convenient. Keep a large stash of easy-to-access cloth rags in all areas of the home that usually require paper products (i.e. kitchen, bathroom, and garage).
3. The sanitation issue. “Gross!!!” “You do what?” “That can’t be sanitary.” “So how do you…manage that?” Are just a few of the comments I receive when I open my big mouth and start talking about living paper-free. I think the biggest issue many of us have with not being able to just throw dirty things away, is sanitation…how do we keep it clean? Through my research, I have realized that using cloth instead of toilet paper actually cleans our skin so much better. The same principle as cloth diapering and cloth baby wipes applies. Soaking, washing, and line-drying all provide more than enough sanitation and anti-microbial action. It pretty much comes down to getting over it mentally.
4. It takes to much time. I’m not going to lie, living without paper products does take a bit more planning and time spent washing — maybe 30 minutes to an hour more because I hand wash and line-dry all the cloth rags in my house — but remember…this is what I do, it’s my lifestyle, it’s part of my commitment to making money by saving it.
In Practice: Viable Alternatives to Paper Products
5. Paper Towels. Old t-shirt, worn-out socks and cloth diaper, terry cloth wipes, cut up flannel, used bath towels…basically any super absorbent material gets up-cylced and placed in the kitchen “rag drawer” then used in place of paper towels. I keep a small waste bucket of “cloth soak” — made with borax and baking soda — under the sink and toss the rags in the bucket to soak for up to 24 hours prior to washing.
6. Coffee filters. After our electric coffee maker died 2 years ago, we started using a kettle to boil water and a French Press Coffee Maker. This combo has totally eliminated the need for coffee filters. We have a french press for coffee and one for loose leaf tea. The enhanced taste of coffee and tea prepared in this manner is more than enough incentive to keep us paper-free in this area.
7. Cloth diapers and wipes. After reading this piece on cloth wipes…I knew I could make the switch. In fact, I went to cloth wipes before going to cloth diapers. There are tons of tutorials and patterns on Etsy if you are interested in learning how to make your own cloth diapers and wipes. And like wildfire, there are a multitude of reputable companies offering very nice cloth diapers, making them super functional and convenient to use.
8. Toilet Paper. Megan over at Sorta Crunchy said is right when she published this post containing several reasons to use cloth toilet paper — or a “family cloth” as some call it. My children and I use this method — my sweet husband, isn’t there yet and that’s okay (love you honey) — I don’t think we’ll ever go back! I know, I know…the sanitation issue. Think of it as you would cloth diapers and baby wipes. Like in the kitchen, we keep a small bucket with “cloth soak” behind the toilet and toss the cloth toilet paper in to soak for up to 24 hours prior to washing. A bidet toilet seat attachment is also a very good and sanitary alternative. It’s a favorite among our European friends.
9. Napkins. I have found some of the coolest looking cloth napkins at the thrift store but Freecycle is another great resource too! And when dinner guests come over, I have a set that’s used especially for them 🙂
10. Tissue Paper. It’s a handkerchief for us.
11. Reduce junk mail. The clutter from paper bills, junk mail, and magazine subscriptions is another thing I that drives me bonkers! Paying our bills online has helped dramatically and so has reducing the junk mail. For the junk mail and personal papers that do make it through…they get shredded and saved for homemade paper making fun!
12. Disposable Disinfecting Wipes. A terry cloth and my homemade all-purpose cleaner (click here for the recipe) is all I need. This is my method for quick disinfecting throughout the house and in every room.
13. Feminine Hygiene. As it becomes more mainstream to cut back on the use of disposables, more and more women are researching options for reusable pads and tampons. This is one area that has seen a huge growth in popularity. Products such a menstrual cups, sea sponges, and cloth pads create an option for everyone. Check out Glad Rags to get the facts on switching to washable menstrual products.
14. Plates, Forks, and Spoons. We’ve never been big on using paper plates or plastic utensils…except for when we went camping. That was until I made a special trip to the thrift store to purchase a few plates, bowls, and silverware specifically designated for our outdoor adventures.
15. For Cleaning. Are there any other commercial products that use the most disposable paper other than for cleaning? I mean I used to love the Swifter and all the “fun” cleaning gadgets, but not only are they expensive…they are wasteful. I love this tutorial for making your own reusable Swiffer duster cloths or what about this one for the Swifter sweeper! Microfiber cloths are your friend and useful throughout the house.
So what about you? How have you gone paperless in your home?
Your suggestions are great. I will say that I keep a supply of paper plates on hand for emergencies; we lived (rented) in the country with a well for two years. When the electric pump went out we were without water for five days. Paper products saved the day for us. They are good storage items in case of an emergency. When I had my five babies I used white wash cloths for wipes. I’d use it then toss it in the diaper pail and wash them all together. Worked great. I would wet a cloth and seal it in a baggie to take with me in the diaper bag. Here’s a link to my blog where I show and tell what I use for cleaning around the house. http://rozyhomemaker.blogspot.com/2012/01/frugal-friday-wear-it-out.html
I was wondering if you keep any paper on hand for emergencies. If your family didn’t have water and electricity for an extended period, say, after a storm, would you use paper then? Sanitation is a major factor after a disaster and I wondered how your family prepared for this if you’re using cloth only.
In all of our preparations for an emergency we always think to ourselves, “What did people do 75-100 years ago?” I always try to function along the lines of sustainability. So to answer your great question…we do storage large barrels of water (living in the desert freaks me out), we have located our nearest water source, and I am learning how to wash and cook with very little water (should the skill ever be needed). We love to camp and backpack/hike so we do have reusable lightweight bowls, cookware, and utensils that we plan on using in the case of an emergency.
I know some gents like to pee on their garden waste to help it compost. Does anyone pee in a bucket to pour on their compost heaps? That would really be water- recycling
My family uses a composting toilette system. Being out in the boonies, there are currently no laws forbidding the use of such a system. All we do is put a toilette seat on a five gallon bucket and cover our waste with saw dust. When the bucket is full, it goes to the compost pile. It does not stink if you use enough saw dust. The saw dust soaks up the urine to hold it in the pile. Always rinse the buckets after emptying
Love this! We have gone paperless on everything but toilet paper and feminine products. I am not sure if we will ever make that switch as a family. I am very open to it myself, I just have not got up the nerve to do it yet.
🙂 We use shredded up junk mail and newspaper for our cat’s litter box. It is another great way to recycle old newspapers and junk mail. We also use for packing breakables and packages we mail. I’ll have to look into making paper with it.
It’s definitely not for everyone 🙂 But see you do something I hadn’t thought of! I love the shredded paper for cat litter idea!
I use the shredded up paper as bedding for my 3 chickens. After they are done with it, I compose it for the absolute BEST soil I have ever had!
compost not compose 🙂
we also use it for chicken bedding, then compost =) I keep a small trashcan by the front door (outside) to toss junk and flyers in before I even come in the house. Hubby likes to shred.
Katie raney says
I’m still not up to the toilet paper switch. But that’s the only one I haven’t done. As far as feminine products I use a dive cup. Another thing I use is norwex clothes for cleaning and their body cloth for makeup removal and things like that.
Katie raney says
Sorry thought of one more…. I bought a pack of 2 muslin coffer filters from a shot on etsy for about $5. I dump them in my compost bucket give them a little rinse and ring out and let it dry and use the other one the next day. I’ve had them about 10 months now and so far there’s no wear. They don’t change the taste of the coffee and they don’t smell if you were worried about that.
Oh you should try mooncups instead for fem hygeine they are fantastic and I would never swap back, they last for about 5 years and you seriously forget that it is ‘that time of the month’
I hate tampons so I have been using cloth baby diapers in place of a pad for years. I have never had a problem with them so long as I keep an eye on how soaked they get. On my heavy days I go through a couple of them, but once the flow tapers off I just change them daily. So far they haven’t been wearing out too bad, even after 4-5 years of monthly use. Never going back to disposables!
This is such a great article. We live in a modern, throw-away society and I think it’s very disturbing how many items end up in the landfill. I will be honest, I could never go from paper toilet tissue to using cloth, but I don’t knock you or anyone else who uses it. The great thing is that we can do what’s best for our own situation without comparing ourselves to others. I used to buy paper towels sometimes, but I’ve stopped a long time ago because it’s wasteful and expensive. Lately, I have been thinking about learning how to make hankerchiefs or finding a good place to buy them. My stepfather used to use those and I think it would be cool to have some in my home. There’s no need to waste money on paper products if we’re trying to find ways to be as frugal as possible. I agree that junk mail is wasteful and quite annoying.
I cut up a bed sheet that has seen better days and hem the edges so they won’t unravel in the wash. you can literally make dozens from one ruined or torn sheet set.
dozens of hankerchiefs
I so appreciate your honestly Neeli! And boy did you get it right…everyone must do what is best for their own individual situation! I sincerely hope no one ever feels down on themselves for not “being at that level” whatever “that level” is 🙂 Good for you! Making small, frequent changes is how it’s done!
@ Vanessa, that sounds like a great idea for me to try when I learn how to sew.
@ Andrea, you’re welcome. I’m not in a great situation at all, but I still do what I can to make my situation better. I’ve taken necessary steps to learn how to stop wasting things so that I can become frugal and stretch meals. I used to suffer from depression over my circumstances, however, as I get older, (just turned 29), I realize that I can only make baby steps in order for things to turn around. You truly are an inspiration for me and others who are trying to simplify and become frugal.
Years ago (like 30 or so) when my kids were small, I had an old fashioned doctor who told me to get a yard of soft flannel cloth and rip it into 16 or so handkerchiefs. He said they are softer on little noses, and they won’t get so sore from a runny nose. He was right, and I used them for years. I ended up hemming them, but you don’t need to. Joyce
When I got my Swiffer, I also got a package of prefolded cloth diapers (the kind with the thick third in the middle). I use them for wet or dry mopping. I just pull the cloth over the back and poke the cloth into the spots meant to hold the disposable swiffer things. After use, I toss them in the laundery and launder with my other towels.
Yeah that’s awesome Barbara! So smart!
The only alternative that I am stumped on is petroleum products–what to do in the garage?
I answered my own question about bacon grease–set it on a piece of bread (or other absorb-able and edible alternative) and, of course, I save the bulk of the bacon grease if not using it immediately in my cooking.
You know Audry…I put the really “bad” rags out in the garage. That way, once they get really nasty, we just toss them.
We have started placing all greasy items on baking racks (the ones made for cooling cookies) with a pan underneath to collect the grease. Another thing that really helps with Bacon specifically is to buy pork from your local farmer. I’m sure it veries by variety and management…..but our bacon has very little grease compared to store bought.
I save all my bacon grease… stuff like that, I make homemade bird food… old bread, last little bit of cereal…. egg shells… you name it I put it in the bird food and they love it… once summer I had 21 different birds coming to my feeders for my homemade goodies… the kids love help making it… help teach them the different birds… the birds and the family looked forward to feeding time..
We gave up (most) paper several years ago. Our first change was to cloth napkins, then to floursack cloths instead of paper towels for the kitchen & cleaning. We use newspaper to drain cooking grease (although I like the idea of using a piece of bread as well; if we ever give up our newspaper subscription I’ll be stealing that idea!)
When our babies came along we used cloth diapers and wipes (and still use them with our youngest). Our friends think we’re nuts for cloth diapering when we travel, but as long as we have fairly easy access to a washer and dryer it’s just the same as at home. The children and I use handkerchiefs instead of paper tissues (my husband uses paper, though; he thinks hankies are gross and there is nothing I’ve been able to say to change his mind!)
We still use toilet paper. Partly because my husband is squicked out by the idea of cloth—and it didn’t occur to me until reading this that I *could* switch for the children and me & let him do what he wants—and partly because in the midst of cloth diapers it just seems like a lot of work. Although maybe I need to look at it differently—I’m already doing the wash for the diapers (and the floursack cloths and the napkins and the hankies) so this wouldn’t really be adding to it…just increasing the volume a little… Something to think about… xo
Hi Meghann! Oh the sweet husband 🙂 I am so thankful for him…he just quietly supports me and continues on his merry way 🙂 He’s made some HUGE changes, but there are certain things he just can’t do yet, and that’s okay! He certainly doesn’t complain about all the money I save by doing these crazy things though 🙂
Carmel Garcia says
they are not crazy. just think of all the money you are saving.
Paper for toilet use is not so common where i stay. People wash themselves with water after they have done everything and then dry with towel. We dont have toilet tissue system.
I am officially in love with your blog and etsy shop!!! you’ve inspired me to make all of my own cleaners and beauty products. I work at a local inn and have been saving all of the soaps from the rooms that are perfectly good and barely used. I shredd them in my food processor and VIOLA.. soap shavings. upcycle! I thank you. my friends and family thank you too!
Way to go Vanessa!!! What a great idea! Waste not 🙂
This is great!
One ingredibly cheap thing I do for baby wipes is to buy the old think baby blankets at the thrift store. I think they are most commonly known as receiving blankets. At my thrift store they are a quarter each. I cut one blanket into either 6 or 8 pieces (depending on my mood I guess :-)) I don’t have a sewing machine but if I did I would hem them. Even unhemmed I still get several months of use out of them before they begin to fray. $1 for enough wipes to last several months works well for us.
Paper towels is the thing that I haven’t been able to completely give up. We still use about 2 rolls each month. I love your tips for old t’s and things to replace them.
That’s great Millie! A version of that is exactly what I did for my son’s wipes 🙂
If you have time, you can hem them without a sewing machine. Either roll the raw edges completely under and stitch down with just a needle and thread, or flip them over once and blanket stitch along the edge. Once you get the hang of a blanket stitch it’s pretty fast. I know it’s just $1 every several months, but if you could double the length of time you could use them that’s still less waste, if you wanted to give it a shot. =) The receiving blankets are an awesome idea. I should mention that to my DIL, who has the little ones these days. =)
Dea Lowry says
Cut your receiving blankets in quarters…use instead of paper towels. they work great!
Michelle @ Simplify, Live, Love says
We have always used cloth napkins. We we had babies, we started using cloth diapers. Wipes were a harder transition for me, for some reason. I quit buying paper towels about 5 years ago to see how it would go and it was just fine – kitchen towels work for everything, even bacon grease! And just this year, I made hankies from t-shirts (thanks to your post about repurposing tshirts). But TP and feminine products. I’m not sure. I’ll have to think on that for a bit… 🙂
I know these aren’t “paper” products, but I am in the process of using some really cute fabric to make reusable snack baggies for lunch boxes to eliminate ziplocs. The fabric is coming from some clothing that we were given, but can’t wear. I also like to use old flannel shirts for hankerchiefs… so soft on sore noses.
Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents says
I’m always preaching to use non-disposable items. And would you believe…when I did a post about using hankies instead of Kleenexes that I had TONS of people tell me how nasty and gross I was. Dude – it’s a good thing most people weren’t born before Kleenex. I guess it’s best to blow snot rockets. LOL
Lori Davis says
We’ve given up all the paper products except the TP, where I don’t mind using a cloth, my daughter and hubby are grossed out by it. At least I’ve gotten them used to cloth for cleaning and at the dinner table. 🙂
Excellent post! We’re paperless except for toilet paper and 4H meetings. We use paper cups, bowls, and plates for snacks and drinks during 4H meetings mostly because I don’t own enough dishes for everyone. However, all of the paper goods (and they are paper not Styrofoam) are collected and either shredded for worm bedding or used as kindling when I cook outside.
Have you thought of perhaps asking 4H club members who attend meetings to bring their own dishes? Maybe it could even be started with a meeting talking about reducing waste. Start them young!
I LOVE how much attention this topic has been getting lately. I cloth diapered and wiped by babies. Cut some old flannel into napkins years ago. And for myself, I have taken the old baby wipes, stacked them on the back of the toilet for the grown-ups to use. I do. The hub doesn’t. No worries.
Funny thing is, I told the hub I was doing this a few months ago. So this morning I was telling him how much this topic has been coming up lately and how pleased I was with the results in our home. And he was surprised that I was doing this!! He said…. so that’s why we haven’t gone through the 12 rolls of tp as quickly??
Uh yea.. remember when I told you I wanted us to start doing this?? Well, apparently he doesn’t! LOL
It’s funny how socialized we are to paper tp. It’s only been around for less than 100 years! My grandma, who is 83, has told me when she was a girl, they kept old sewing patterns and sears catalogs in the outhouse to use. Talk about eewwww factor!! That was just in the 1930s. Not that long ago in the big scheme of things.
Did it take some getting used to? Yes, it did. I actually fold the cloth in half to reduce ewwww factor. And mine aren’t huge to begin with. When I first made them as baby wipes, I took inexpensive wash cloths, cut them in half, folded them over and sewed them into pockets. So they’re only the size of 1/4 wash cloth, but 2 layers. After use, I toss them in one of those 5 qt ice cream buckets (the most reusable food container in the world!!). They go in the washer every 3 – 4 days. It’s not a full load, but I don’t have enough wipes for a full load and don’t know that I’d want them to sit for 7 days. :-\
To each their own, but for me, it’s cloth all the way!!
Actually sears catalogs and out houses have been around longer than the 30’s. I was born in the 50’s and I was a teen before I ever used indoor plumbing and tp. I’m a paper user but my daughter has gone paperless in a lot of ways. I’m interested but a little grossed out with the hankies. But when my kids were babies I did use cloth diapers and love them.
Thanks for inspiration & specific steps how to become paperless. I am using a lot less paper than I was 6 months ago, but after reading your blog, I will reduce even more,except for the TP thing. I luv luv my swiffer and that will be hard habit to break. But starting today, I will chamois floors except for when I am fostering a sick humane society cat. I will still swiffer the cat room. Perfect, no, ,,,better, yes.
Thanks for your help with this paper situation.
As long as you have the Swiffer refills…try throwing them in the wash with your other cleaning rags. They actually wash and can be reused many times before they are worn out. I will eventually out the ones I got from a neighbor who moved, and then I will go back to using microfiber cloths to swiffer with.
Katy @ Purposely Frugal says
We haven’t gone near as paper-less as you, but I do use a reusable swiffer cover I crocheted, rarely use cloth napkins or paper plates and really try to keep our paper towel use to a minimum.
Thanks for the ideas!
About the swiffers– are these the ones that clean the floors or ones for dusting? I never saw the point for floors–time is not saved & the refill costs seem silly. The duster however. I have bought. It came with a 3 pack of refills. Never did buy any more refills. I bought a piece of fleece, stacked 4 pieces the size of the refill and sewed left & right tunnels so they could slide on the like the originals. Once the sewing was done I cut the layers into fringe (alternating the placement of the fringe for each layer). I feel like I saved 1M$. I dust the whole house & then into the rag laundry basket they go; I wash them in the washer (just don’t use the dryer because they will singe & be useless).
Great paperless ideas! I spent a few days last week making more feminine pads for myself. As a trial run, I made the switch last year with a few pads and haven’t gone back. They are an easy sewing project and much more comfortable for my mind & body.
It’s great to hear about your experience with cutting out toilet paper. I have been thinking about doing this, but haven’t made the leap yet. You have inspired me to make a pile of rags and try it out. Thanks!
We aren’t paper free yet but someday! I mentioned the family cloth to my husband the other day and he looked at me like I was growing horns! I think we can definitely switch to cloth baby wipes though, it seems easy enough. Thank you for your suggestions, your blog has been life changing for me =)
Love this post! So many great ideas!
I wanted to let you know that I linked back to this post when I posted a blog yesterday about spring cleaning. The less paper in the house, the less clutter to deal with!
I am allergic to Borax and have COPD so I can’t be around bleach or other chemical fumes. Any other suggestions for a soaking solution?
MIchelle Humes says
You can use vinager as it has natural cleaning properties, you can add lemon juice in with it to cute the vinager smell.
What about vinegar? Studies show it works just as good as bleach in killing germs. I put citrus peels in mine to make it smell pretty.
Tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract are both powerful anti-microbials that I use in my cleaning products when disinfection is the goal. At an appointment with our family DNP (doctor of nurse practitioner) earlier this week, the subject of MRSA came up and she said that tea tree oil still works on MRSA! Studies with grapefruit seed extract have proven it to be MORE effective than chlorine in a hospital setting.
I have used family cloths now for about 5 years, my whole family fully converted 3 years ago. I don’t pre-soak. I live in South Florida and when I did this for diapers years ago, it made them mold fairly quickly. I am assuming because of the humidity here. So we have two cans in the bathroom. One marked CLEAN and the other marked, obviously, DIRTY. They have lids on it. But I have to say we only recently had to put lids on the cans because we have two new cats to our home who tried to use the potty in them without the lids on! LOL I wash once a week. On hot, with an optional second rinse and some bleach. There are times when I am out of bleach. I use peroxide instead. I have never had the first issue with everything being clean or sanitized! Hope that helps!
For those of you who have jumped over to cloth baby wipes but are still eeewwww about family cloths….. in my experience, there is a lot more eeewwwww in a baby poo swipe than a grown-up poo swipe. Really.
I’m always surprised at how revolted people are by “family cloths.” We split the difference: cloth for #1 and paper for #2. It took me awhile to work out a simple and effective presentation of the cloth option. Here’s how it looks in our bathroom: a small basket holds the used cloths (we call ’em “onesies” because they’re used for #1). The clean cloths are in a small wooden bowl that fits inside the basket and on top of the used cloths. I cut up old t-shirts into 6″ x 6″ squares for the “onesies.” I think soaking is unnecessary. The used cloths dry out immediately and so they can stay in the basket for several days without smelling. I’d much rather have a soft clean piece of cotton knit against my groove-thang than a piece of chemically-bleached, scratchy paper made from virgin trees.
I made cloth napkins out of a purple queen sized flannel flat sheet – flat sheet are silly we only use the fitted one. SO many can be made from one sheet!! We plan on using these napkins at our wedding dinner.
A quick question. What do you do in public bathrooms? Do you bring your own cloth or how do you explain to your kids which goes in the toilet.
My 14 month old enjoys being the one who puts her cloth wipes in the ‘used’ basket. It took a little while to teach her not to put it in the potty!
You have an inspiring site! Thanks, Maria
Hi Maria! Out in public bathrooms, we just go with the flow and use the paper. I’m not totally against using paper…I just don’t want to spend money on it 😉 I’m all about balance!
MIchelle Humes says
HI all… I first want to say I love this blog and thank you for all your ideas. I have gone paperless for awhile now, not completely but hoping to get there soon, we no longer buy paper towels, I use a washable swiffer cover and completely love it, as for tp I am completely on board with this…(my husband not so much), we work in a nursing home where we use washclothes, soap and water to clean our resident. So it cerntainly does not affect me or give me the eeeewwww factor…think about it this way, everyday you touch money which is the dirtiest thing on earth, I am pretty sure but could be wrong that we do not think to wash our hand every time we touch money but yet it is full of contaminent of all sort…Hope you all have a great day!
Hi, loved this article, and can see how some items are plausible for using cloth rather than paper alternatives. However, with cloth diaper items there is the argument that you’d save money and wastage but use more electricity for laundering and drying cloth items. I have a stash of plastic plates and cutlery for use on picnics etc, which l have had for years. I use flannels and kitchen clothes until completely threadbear. I did use towelling diapers for my first 3 children, but succumbed to disposables for no. 4. That was 20 years ago. Now said 20 year old is expecting and l hope to persuade her to use towelling daipers for her baba. Also hoping she wont use wipes but flannels instead.
However, over here in the UK we dont have the weather to be able to dry our laundry for free for the majority of the year so will for convenience and less energy costs use disposable diapers.
We are paper free where it comes to bills and filing, any paper we do get, gets recycled by our local authority for free. I never use kitchen towel, always clothes and hankerchiefs not tissues.
I saw the cutest idea on an Etsy site (sorry I don’t know where to direct you though)…the person made reusable rolls of towels to use in the kitchen, just like paper towels. She made them connect together with snaps and then rolled them up to fit on a standard paper towel holder. This is on my to do list. Looks cute and saves drawer space, which I have very little of.
We went paper towel free 3 weeks a ago. I did buy washcloths (the cheep 18 for 3.00). I got 3 bundles. I have to wash 3 times a week. I have a seperate basket for them and wash them by their self. We go through them fast. We were a 9 pack of paper towels 2 times a month family. We also use them for napkins. I am going to buy some material to make the napkins. I will use the same material as washcloth, just different colors (if I ever get in town). I can tell you we have saved already almost 20 dollars. At first the family was like what and now it is like we always used them. I find we are using them to heat up in microwave instead of dishes. What I hate is I get grief from people about not using paper towels. We still use TP and female products and I have a roll for animal clean up. But that is the only paper we use.
I was surprised not to see any references to menstrual cups as an alternative to paper feminine hygiene products. Less clean up involved and hard to beat the cost over time.
Lots of good info here!
Nancy, for me it causes cramping. But so did tampons. I use cloth pads. But I think the cup is excellent for those who can use it! 🙂
The Provision Room says
I’m so with ya!….except for the TP thing. Can’t get over that one mentally, yet. But, we use cloth diapers and wipes, menstrual cups, cloth napkins, etc.
Love it when we can reduce our trash output!!!
I haven’t used paper towels in I don’t know how long. The last time I remember buying them was my freshman year of college 14 years ago. We use cloth for most things. I have mentioned cloth in place of TP to my husband a few times and he’s not cool with it, but he is fine with installing a bidet sprayer and using cloth to dry off.
Hi Andrea! We are a pretty green family. My eldest son will be attending college in the fall and he is majoring in environmental science and policy! 🙂
Here is a post I did on cloth napkins if anyone wants to revisit: http://stephaniehallburns.blogspot.com/2012/02/greener-idea-cloth-napkins.html
We are working our way toward paperless, but TP is not going to change at our house. However, I recycle all the wrapping and the cardboard tube for each roll. I tried the diva cup but I did not have success with it…maybe I will look into another option because I feel very wasteful in that area.
I am in total agreement with you about waste and excess everywhere and that is really my motivation with zero waste.
Thanks for doing this post!
We also use cloth wipes, and they work so much BETTER than toilet paper. It’s amazing how people get used to sub par products just because they’re the status quo. When changing my babies we realized our washcloth wipes did such a better job of cleaning than disposable wipes, and we didn’t have to worry about what kind of chemicals they were soaked in! Seeing that, we decided to switch to cloth for our own wipes! Love your blog <3
I am very interested in going TP-less in our household. Using fabric wipes is a no-brainer since I used cloth diapers and everyone still uses disposable wipes – even my husband has started using them so I’m hoping he’ll move to cloth easily (HAH!)! Very wasteful. However, I was wondering if you keep dry cloths by the toilet with a spray bottle or if you additionally have a box of “wet” wipes. If so, what solution do you use for the wet wipes and how long can they stay in the solution before they get icky. When I wipe baby bottoms, I always get a cloth (or two) wet with warm water before I begin. Not very practical for the whole family – especially the kids who just don’t think ahead 😎
I LOVE this blog – thanks so much for all the great info!
I keep a spray bottle next to the potty. But we rarely use it! 🙂
Brilliant article and just what I was looking for. In our house, we use untold amounts of paper towel and tissues. That will be stopping. I recently found and looked up Glad Rags and to be honest, I think they are the best idea I’ve come across yet. As with most things in our daily lives, the mental picture is much harder to accept than the day-to-day use. So simple and, in the long-run, very economical. I am on a quest to make do, reuse or do without and your website is fantastic. Thank you!
We have gone paper-free for a year now with everything but human waste products. My stomach is WAY TOO weak to go to cloth in that area.
We aren’t COMPLETELY paper free, but we are close… MIL has gone through her Change, so no pads for her, I’ve been using cloth pads for 10 years now, I used cloth with my now 10 yr old, and when her sister is born in May, I’ll be using cloth with her, for wipes, we bought several of the dozen packs of baby washcloths, and just store them in a plastic Pampers box… We use family cloth, and even my DH raves about how much cleaner the bidet gets him… We do keep tp around for guests, but we also have the family cloth in large bowl on the back of the toilet, and the bidet on the side of it, so if they want to try it they can… I haven’t bought paper towels in a LONG time, although the Ikea tea towels work REALLY well for mopping up spills…
For my swiffer, I bought the 12pk of crappy gerber prefolds at Wal-mart, and cut them in half across the short side. this gave me 2 towels where the foam filled center part is almost exactly the length of the base of my swiffer. Zig zag over the edge, and when it is time to mop the floor, mix up your mop solution, and soak one or 2 of these in the bucket… wring it out, and attach the thinner side panels on the top where you would attach the duster cloths normally, and mop the floor… Voila: washable foam mop…. switch out cloths as necessary and wash with your towels.
The Short Italian says
Love your information! I’ve been cloth diapering for 4 years, using cloth TP for 1 year, have never used paper towels, and just started making and using my own cloth menstrual pads a few months ago (heaven!). If anyone is interested in trying out their own cloth pads, I just did a tutorial on it here: http://theshortitalian.blogspot.com/2012/03/my-crunchy-cause-and-my-first-tutorial.html
Recently, I’ve joined Days for Girls (daysforgirls.org), an orginzation that uses volunteers to make and send feminine hygiene products to women who don’t have access. It’s a great and sustainable cause.
Thanks again for your suggestions! It’s such an easy, money-saving way of life.
Thanks for this article and your great blog! I actually started with feminine products several years ago. It made all the difference in the world for me (especially made post partum more comfortable). After that (and some research) there was no way my baby was wearing dangerous disposables. We 100% cloth diaper and wipe. In fact, in the rare occasions I have to use a disposable wipe, I am very frustrated with how poorly it works. I am working on switching our napkins, paper towels (we used a lot) and kleenex. I am not sure if we will get to the TP. Based on experience with my baby, I believe it would clean better and be better for our skin but…. Maybe one day.
And man, hand wash?!?! Wow.
But I highly highly recommend those who don’t try mama cloth. It seemed gross at first but really did change my life, because it is what started me down this path. It is so much more comfortable, safer, and better for the world.
For my mentrual cycle when I still had one I used a mentrual cup. I have the Diva cup and also the Keeper cup. They last for 10 years and are totally awesome! It takes a little getting used to emptying them but once you have that down you’ll never want to use anything else.
I switched to almost all cloth a few years ago and never looked back. My husband still uses t.p., but really, men don’t use that much. I never thought ot the bidet sprayer, but I bet he’d love that—I know I would! We used cloth napkins and I have some that I’ve been using for over 4 years that are still going strong. I make my own, because I have a serger and that is extremely fast at finishing the edges. I make my t.p. wipes the same way, but using old t-shirts or flannel from thrift store cast-offs. I had already switched to cloth for feminine pads nearly 10 years ago—loved those and only used tampons (w/cloth pads) on my heaviest of days, just for extra security.
We have a system in the kitchen, and we are just two adults, so it works fine for us. If you washed your hands well (with soap) and rinsed them well, you can used the hand towel hanging on the cabinet (changed at least daily), but if you’re wiping messy hands or dirty countertops, I have cloth towels made from diaper birds-eye fabric. I make them roughly the same size as regular paper towels and finish the edges on the serger. I have a basket of clean ones on the counter and a basket for dirty ones and they get washed whenever I’m doing a load of lights or whites. I have paper towels, too, but they are only used for the greasiest, messiest stuff that would make my cloth ones unusable for the future. I wash my white towels, family cloths, and cloth paper towels in hot water, once a week, and hang them outside if the weather is right, so they can whiten and disenfect in the sun. During winter, I do bleach them maybe once a month just to be on the safe side, because work and bad weather make it tough for me to hang them outside for the disenfecting. Good luck to anyone who is making changes like this…..start with one or two and you’ll find yourself adding more and more, because if feels so good to save the money AND the earth’s resources!
I tell very few people about the t.p. substitution, cause most people aren’t ready to hear it, LOL!
I’m working on this, what I’m wondering is about the “cloth soak” solution. I’m using the Simply Clean recipe and I’m wanting to know how often you’d change the water? And do you soak cloth “tissues” too? I find these are harder to get clean than the wipes. I’ve just been washing everything together, should I be separating them. I’m a non-germaphobe almost to fault, it never occurred to me to soak stuff but it makes sense.
I don’t have hot water in my washer. Is there something I can use to disinfect without hot water I love the TP idea but it worries me that they might not be clean enough.
Erica / Northwest Edible Life says
I’m not sure why washing family cloth would be grosser than, um…boy underwear…if you get what I’m saying.
I’m really enjoying your blog. Solid content, thanks.
I have backslid recently with paper plates. It’s just been the whole juggling life thing. I feel like I’m in a “I need a little convenience help right now, and compostable plates are how I get it” month of life. It happens. But other than that and TP, which we haven’t switched on just cause these things don’t all happen at once, we’re pretty low-paper.
For all who are grossed out about no TP. It is very easy to attach a sprayer that looks like the one on the kitchen sink to the side of your toilet. It attaches where you turn the water on and off at the base of the toilet. You spray yourself clean and then you can just dry off with a piece of cloth. They are very inexpensive and can be installed in very little time. My husband refuses not to wash him self after going to the restroom. In his country only people have low water supply or live in small villages might use TP. For them it’s a sanitary thing. I am posting a link from amazon, but there are even a few more less expensive basic versions on other sites. http://www.amazon.com/Mini-Shower-Bidet-Multi-Use-Hand-Sprayer/dp/B001OIVDE4.
Cynthia I was going to say the same thing! We have the Bum Genius Diaper Sprayer on each toilet. We just spray and wipe and the cloths are never soiled. It is so much cleaner than t.p. Also, if you have a smart phone there is a great app called Paperkarma that helps with that pesky junk mail!
We went paperless, except for toilet paper about 3 years ago. It’s worked well here, surprisingly the teenage kids were more on board than I thought.
My biggest tip is that for feminine supplies, a much better choice than cloth, which must be washed, is the totally amazing diva cup. 12 hour convenience, perfectly healthy and no soak/wash cycle.
I am not ready to give up toilet paper! Not yet, anyway. Idk if I ever will. But I already use cloth diapers, and instead of making cloth wipes, I use the cheapie baby wash cloths, which I got tons of from baby showers & other gifts. I’m definitely looking at not using paper towels anymore. SO wasteful. I can use a LOT of paper towels in a week. And, I just ordered a menstrual cup online the other day. And, I have a bunch of brand new, unused micro-terry diaper inserts, so I’d like to make some cloth pads with those. 🙂
We are paper free in our house, we use cloth TP and I have small hanging wet bags on the TP roll holder that have zippers and keep bathroom odor free, to wash open zipper,dump in washer with cloth diapers/wipes and throw in he wetbags too. For feminine products I use a diva cup ( Best purchase ever)! We use cloth for cleaning etc, and we have reuseable/washable sandwich bags.
I am there right up to the point of toilet paper and sanitary items. I stopped diapering babies years ago so I will not be cleaning up someone else’s poop (or mine for that matter) off of a rag. I love the other ideas though. At this point we can affort toilet paper and we stock plenty of it. If there was ever a catastrophic situation I would make the switch then.
Ill have to have a look into how environmentally friendly it ACTUALY is, in Australia you can buy toilet paper that is made out of recycled office documents. It’s not the softest but it’s darn cheap and I like that it is 100% recycled.
We’ve been paper free for 2 years now. Once you feel the softness of a piece of flannel on your booty, you will never want to go back to scratchy paper! True story.
i try to use less paper, i do have papertowels on hand, but i use cloths whenever i can, so a roll lasts a month or more. i have a couple reusable swiffer pads i bought at a yardsale. when i was still menstruating, i used a cup because i became allergic to tampons and pads, i tried using cloth “pads” but they ended up being too bulky for me. i loved the cup, it never leaked and was so comfortable. i thought it would be gross but actually ended up being cleaner than throw aways. i use newspaper to wash windows, mirrors etc..
Elaine Pollard says
I’m not there with the cloth t.p., but kudos to you for findinfpg a way to make it work. Maybe some day. I will say when my daughter was a baby, I used cloth diapers for awhile. The smell, though, kept me from doing it lompng term. Great article!
I am absolutely THRILLED to find that bidet attachment for regular toilets! I can’t wait to get one. Literally, just minutes ago I bought my last package of toilet paper. Thanks so much for sharing this link.
Paulette Calton says
The first time I saw this post back in March, it inspired me to try “family cloth” myself to save on toilet paper. Seems like I was constantly restocking, and there are only two of us! I had knit material saved from repurposing old T-shirts, and cut it up into squares. No need to hem, as the knit fabric doesn’t ravel. After use, I soak them in a container with water with a bit of bleach, then rinse and add to a load of laundry, which I only need to do about once a week (all my children are grown, and husband does his own). I actually don’t like it now when I am elsewhere and have to use paper! My husband thinks I am “weird” and absolutely refuses to engage in this sort of radical behavior, but I am quietly saving quite a bit because I drink a LOT of water, and therefore need to pee a LOT. (Because I do laundry so infrequently, I am still using paper for the more solid stuff, but that is only about once a day.) Anyway, thank you for this post!
Great tips here! Though it got me thinking…if you are saving money and natural resources in reusing cloth vs. throw away paper, don’t you use more water in having to wash more loads of laundry? Have you done a water usage cost vs. paper costs comparison?
Have you ever looked into how much water is used to make paper in the first place, Mel? You might be surprised. Same goes for recycled paper products. Paper manufacturing is very resource intensive. Way more so than adding an extra load of laundry to your week. You might be able to find info on this by browsing Mother Jones’ website.
We use “toilet cloth” instead of paper. Started that at least six or seven months ago now (maybe longer?) and we love it. It feels nicer, it feels cleaner, and it is great to know we aren’t wasting a ton of paper every day. We do keep TP around for guests, but our cloths sit right next to the toilet and we keep a bucket with a lid nearby. When it’s full I just wash and line dry and they are as good as new. It was interesting over time… I initially made them about three inches wide and 8-10 inches long but after a couple months we realized that was too long, so now they are all about 3×3 squares, give or take. Best paper-free choice we ever made. We also don’t ever keep paper towels or paper napkins. Cloth all the way. 🙂
I just found your blog and am sure I will be visiting it more and more. I noticed that the extra long swiffer sweeper is basically the same length as the generic cloth diaper liners. I bought a pack of twelve to see and the padded center fits nicely over the bottom leaving the slightly thinner sides to tuck into the spots that hold the disposable cloths. It’s fantastic for dry dusting hardwoods and can be used wet too. Itturned out to be a great reusable alternative to the swiffer cloths for me since I have limited sewing skills and would do a bad job making my own.
I cut up my husband’s old cotton golf shirts with pinking shears to make a variety of cloth products (baby wipes, tissues, cleaning rags, etc.) No sewing needed!
Regarding wiping with toilet paper, baby wipes, etc. why not just try the good ‘ole hand and water. I’d guess about half the world’s population does it this way (and has been doing it this way throughout history). At first it took some getting used to for me, but after living in Asia for a while I find it’s no problem at all. And once you try it you find that you stay a lot cleaner than messing around with wads of toilet paper that just breaks up.
Thank you, Kiva! I do not use TP or cloth “family wipes”! I use the OLDEST form of the bidet also known as “LOTA”! Just a pitcher of water, soap and a special towel for drying! I wash my hands very well since my hand is “the wipe”! This may gross some people out, but over 1 billion people on earth use this ancient method everyday! I also made my own sanitary napkins with wings and just wash and dry them!
You have inspired me to decide that when I move out of the temporary place I’m staying in, I will eventually move to using both a bidet AND cloth wipes, just to dry and not to wipe (way less ick factor, because the cloth will be practically clean after using the bidet).
But the real reason I’m commenting is to drop my two cents that menstrual cups (I use the Diva Cup) are the best invention for menstruating, EVER. EVER EVER EVER. The learning curve is hard in the very beginning, but it is easily the cleanest, most convenient solution possible. Not to mention good for the environment!
Agreed a thousand times over about the menstrual cups, try them ladies you will never look back 🙂
Yes! Paperless as much as possible! I save bags from sugar and flour to use for draining bacon, etc. I have no problem being paper free, but DH isn’t there yet. We don’t buy paper towel, but I do have a rag drawer in the kitchen. I use wash cloths instead of napkins.
Family cloth is the way to go! But why buy anything for it? I cut up old t-sirts, keep them in an old tissue box…use a coffee cannister w/ vinegar water for soaking. (And hide it all when company comes. There’s toilet paper in the bathroom so no one freaks out.) Anything with poo gets washed with soapy water before it goes in the soaking cannister. On wash day, it’s emptied in the sink, rinsed with another shot of soapy water and washed with the work clothes.
There really isn’t that much urine, folks. They aren’t diapers. :o)
Have swapped fem hygeine, cleaning clothes, cloth nappies and baby wipes hmmm…great idea above about the flannel hankies I’ve just got to try that one.
We’re almost there! We have eliminated all the same cloth, except toilet paper. I’m cloth diapering my littlest and use old pre-folds for our Swiffer. We use cloth wipes, which we keep in the bathroom. We all use them, from time to time, but we’ve not made the complete transition….yet. Maybe this is the encouragement. I need.
I’ve not gone the way of cloth for menstrual products. I’ve been pregnant or nursing for a couple years, so I’ve not had to use anything. However, prior to kids I LOVED my Diva cup. I plan to going back to it when the time comes.
Jeri wood says
This is the second time reading this article. I switched immediately to cloth toilet paper. I used old t shirts from husband. Missed the part about the flannel for hankies will be doing that. My husband has sinus issues and he uses tons and tons of Kleenex. He won’t give up any of his paper products. I think it’s fun. I wanted to do this years ago but I thought I would be the only one. So I did not do it. But now I love. Off to buy some flannel.
Great article! I finally tried the diva cup. Fabulous product and I will never go back! Not ready to given up TP, but have eliminated most paper products from the house. Reuse and save money
I’ve seen posts for un-papertowels and using towels in general before and liked the idea, but I’ve always wondered if washable towels are really better if you live in a semi-arid environment that ships water in from a distance. I buy 100% recycled content paper towels which use 80% post-consumer content and are FSC certified. Does anyone have any thoughts on this or know if by chance anyone has completed a life-cycle assessment comparing the impacts?
I’m trying to make a transisiton to sustainability. I face one challenge though, as a caregiver to my mother: frequent incontinence overnight. I sew, so I’m working on a design. I’ll do it; and it will be pretty and washable and comfy and a success. Still, adult incontinence products – big challenge. That’s all I’m sayin’.
Home Depot has the bidet spray for about $40> I have one in each bathroom and I have bought them as gift for my SIL and MIL when they ask where we got them..
Andrea, I find it comforting that you are a nurse 🙂 My mom is too and I must say that the hardest part about switching to cloth products for me is the germ factor. We use cloth napkins and I used cloth diapers on our youngest (I’m fine with that since it’s all staying on the butt). Where I worry though is using cloth rags to clean the bathroom and using handkerchiefs. Yes, that’s what people did 100 years ago, but they also had a lot more sickness that is preventable now with more modern hygiene. Also, we own a house in town and have to pay for water. Things are extremely tight. Seems that washing all the cloth about evened out with the price of buying disposables 🙁 Suggestions?
k hawkey says
You can use your toilet clothes in a much more effective fashion, i.e. simply use a water receptacle kept next to the toilet to wash yourself with fresh water before wiping with the clothes. You pour the water between your legs and wash/rinse with your left hand before using the cloth to dry off. Wash hands afterwards as well of course. Much more tidy than a soaking bucket as you are not dealing with any amount of urine/fesces and less expensive than installing a bidet type mechanism.
There is a new mop that has a removable cloth pads as well as a reservoir that you can fill with your own non-toxic cleaner instead of the proprietary swifter. I think it is O-cedar brand, got it at walmart. Got an extra pad too.
Also, have discovered flour sack hand towels? I am in love with them!
couple thoughts… Coffee… the paper filters actually remove a large amount of oils that are not good for you, somewhat toxic and carcinogenic
I am a handyman… cloth rags are one use when it comes to calk. Papertowels are a must. but costco carries some great terrycloth rags that work great for most everything.
TP…. no thanks for #2, but maybe I can get my wife to cut back by using cloth for her “ladybits” I swear she uses a ¼ roll per time….
Fab article. Hope you don’t mind but I’m going to share it on my fb page (www.facebook.com/weheartecoproducts) as I’m just about to start selling my own range of paperless products after using them myself for the last couple of years. I started with cloth nappies when my daughter was born and its gone from there! I cant imagine going back now!
Thank you so much for all of these wonderful ideas!! I don’t know if you have heard of Norwex microfiber products, but wanted to take this moment to introduce them. Norwex Antibac* Microfiber lifts these particles up into the cloth and away from the surface. Once inside the cloth, the Norwex MicroSilver in the cloth goes to work with self-purification properties against mold, fungi and bacterial odor within 24 hours, so that it is ready to use again. The Norwex Mop system is amazing as well and uses the same self-purification process. Just Add Water! Please check out my website to learn more about this amazing company and our Eco Friendly cleaning and personal care products. Norwex Microfiber cloths have a 2 year warranty!!! http://www.melissahood.norwex.biz
Late again in finding this great post.
About TP–When I had a surgery below I could not use TP or even wipe for about 9wks. Scared to death to risk having an even more invasive surgery I complied. They gave me squeeze bottles of distilled water & saline as a spray cleanser. I then had to pat very gently dry with a special cloth. The cloths went into the laundry and it was life for 9 weeks. Using a water rinse first eliminates practically all the soil.
About paper towels–we moved from NJ to CA 2 yrs ago. I bought 1 doz rolls of paper towels (bought in NJ so we could unpack them right off) to clean the house (b/c I knew it would take a bit before the washer was good to go). But then a beautiful surprise, my son & his awesome wife (who lived across town) cleaned the whole house before we got there. Any way, we used some paper towels for napkins until we unpacked our cloth ones, but the rest of the towels were not used. Then we got the flu and we used paper towels to clean up after ourselves so we would not re-infect ourselves handling the laundry. Even after all that we have 10 1/2 rolls left. My main reason for reducing paper is because I can’t stand spending money for things that have no other purpose than to be thrown away.
Once a week, when I wash the dog towels I throw all rags in too and so no additional costs for washing them; I hang to dry.
Ok, I’m nana to six little munchkins and mom to four grown kids that I home educated before it became popular. (my oldest is 36) A couple of years ago I read about replacing paper products with cloth but like a lot of people it repulsed me at the time. Recently, I shared with my husband some ways we could save money and asked him what he thought. He was willing to put up a clothesline for me in the green house he had built. The greenhouse is attached to the backside of our home and has my washer and dryer in it, so it was a practical place for an indoor clothesline, remember I’m not as young as a lot of you! He liked the idea of cutting up some old towels to replace paper towels but he did a double take with replacing tp (I’d had a couple of years to dwell on it). He’s a great guy and also willing to try anything once so he helped me cut up some more old towels and then we went to walmarts and bought a cute basket to put them in and a small stainless steal pop top trash can (very small…1.8 gallon size). We did put some plastic liners in the can. We are just starting this journey but after 48 hours we love the the small rags on the counter as they are much more useful than paper towels and we feel much cleaner after using the restroom. Not wanting any problems with sanitation we plan to just dump the rags in the washer and wash them separate, and throw away the small bag. If you walked into my bathroom you’d never know we were using rags. We’ve left tp out for our grandkids and company and the way we did the rags just looks like cute cleaning rags for the bathroom. We have a 19 year old son that is still in the home and I don’t know if he just thinks we’re senile or what but he just shrugged his shoulders and said “ok” when we told him we were changing over…LOL My 36 year old daughter called and has offered to buy us tp for a year! LOL! I think when she comes for a visit she’ll be surprised!!
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Beth Shaffer says
I love your blog! We are trying to go mostly no paper! My husband refuses to use the cloth toilet paper! I however use cloth maxi pads, and I have so many less issues! My girls can’t wait until they get to make their own maxi pads, I know it sounds weird! They are totally worth it! Besides the pads, we are making tons of grocery bags mostly out of feed sacks (chicken & rabbit), paper towels, diapers and wipes for my sister’s baby. Most everything we use in our home was made in our home! Thanks for all of the encouragement!
Rachel Dailey says
My Mom and I just found you…. YAY! We had conversations of ways to decrease our waste as well as how to do the bathroom stuff with cloth… (after recent post I saw about it). We are jumping on the band wagon full hearted-ly!!! We even found several old towels and flannel left-overs from craft projects to use for our “onesies”. We decided that we would initially only do onesies and use paper for 2’s…. But I can see us moving in that direction fairly quickly.
Thanks so much for your sharing and for the many other ideas…. Keep them coming we LOVE them!!
Chris Mann says
I started in my kitchen to go plastic baggies and paper towel free. I use dish towel to wrap my vegetables in. They stay fresher and crisper longer. I use only my American made plastic containers to take all of my food in when traveling instead of zip-lock baggies and I only use American made glass to store my left overs in. For things like sandwiches I either use the plastic re-useable containers or a washcloth. For clean-up and mop-ups we use only washable wipes. For the floors I use a mop with a washable pad and use only vinegar.
Do you have instructions for making cloth dishtowels that will hold up? ty
Cera Wilkins says
We are paper free in our house. I decided that we were just not going to purchase it anymore. I already cloth diapered my daughter, so it was easy to convince my hubby. I made family cloth out of old flannel and jersey sheets and I love them, hubby included! Until the family cloth my daughter 3 1/2 at the time refused to wipe her bum herself. she tried cloth and it was case closed! I do keep an emergency roll of TP for visitors on hand. I also use cloth napkins and un-paper towels, mama pads etc. The only paper in the house is in the printer! Kudos to all who try this and succeed!
Any suggestions for replacement disposable adult briefs for incontinent elder family member?
I wish there was a “like” button – there are so many good ideas in the comments!
Cyn – two ideas – google for a sewing pattern for adult cloth diapers or make some pads from prefold diapers.
I am about 95% paper free. I do use paper TP for #2 but use cloth for #1 and damp cloth as “wipes”. If anyone has been creeped out they haven’t said. Although about 6 or so years ago when I went to cloth pads, my sister was grossed out and said she wished I’d never told her. LOL.