Family Cloth?

In a recent post over at Mrs. Money’s, she had a conversation with her neighbor’s teenaged boy who asked “Why are you always hanging those little cloths outside?  What do you use those for?” and then she links to another post titled Cloth Toilet Paper.

I honestly have never heard of such a thing before!  I thought I was pretty “up” on this green and frugal stuff. My first thought was EWWWWWW. But then I thought maybe I could at least try the cloths for “number one” wipes.  I think I even have some flannel that I could cut into squares.

I guess the thing that really bothers me about using family cloth for the “other” wiping is that we don’t have hot water running to our washer.  We also don’t have our wash water going into our septic tank.  The dogs have a beautiful green grassy area to hang out thanks to our wash water.  But the bacteria in the water would then go out onto the grass… the cloths themselves would be sterilized in the dryer.

I don’t use a clothesline because it is too dusty out here and my asthma would only get worse (I know, I’ve tried).

So… have you heard of family cloth?  Have you ever tried it?  Would you?

Yours Truly,

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12 comments to Family Cloth?

  • Janar

    First of all Hellou and this is my first post to your site! I am really impressed by this blog and the continues effort that you have put here. I am from small country in Europe – ESTONIA (its the country where Skype was developed for example:) Frugal living and budgeting has become my “hobby” about one year ago and it is always great to find people around the world to thing in the same way.

    To the point…

    I do not think there will be much saving if one would use cloth toilet paper. Cost for water, washing powder, electricity and your own working hours would exceed cost for cheaper paper I suspect. On the other hand this is just my quess so anybody can try it out:)

    However I have seen story on TV once from frugal guy who peeled layers of paper before using them and somehow trying to cut the usage that way…
    Also in the older times people used old newspapers… those could be available without any cost from some places?


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Welcome Janar! I guess this would be a good experiment to try out. One could compare water usage, electricity, time, effort, etc., against buying toilet paper, going to the store, gasoline spent, time spent, etc. I have heard of people using newspapers. The other thing I was thinking about is one’s septic system (which most Americans are probably on public sewage lines, but we have our very own septic tank) would not fill as quickly if toilet paper wasn’t going into it. Something to think about… thank you for visiting and commenting!


  • nancy

    This made me squirm, but the more I thought of it…here goes…

    When I was an exchange student, I told the family they were out of toilet paper. Turns out the small squares of newspaper were for that purpose.

    I felt sooo embarrassed asking for toilet paper. I immediately learned to use the squares, and it became normal.

    The second year, I went to Spain. The toilet paper was missing many, many times. There was a small rag on the sink. OK… that grossed me out, and I got my own. Sorry to make anyone ill.

    The last thing I wanted to do, was to buy my own toilet paper, and be “exclusive” to the rest.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Nancy, lol!! Thank you for sharing your experiences! I bet toilet paper was also expensive in those places and would have taken up a good deal of your available cash. The small rag on the sink would have totally squicked me out. OH my! The germs laden on it – the sink was probably covered, too. OH dear! Thank you so much for joining in the conversation! Have a lovely day! Mrs. A


  • Your dryer would have to reach autoclave temperatures (over the temp of boiling water) to kill the E. coli and other microbes that would joyfully take up residence in such rags. You’d be better off using tree leaves, really. At least they’re disposable and biodegradable.

    It’s possible to retrofit American toilets with a kind of bidet. This is a lot more sanitary than reusing rags, and it gets one a lot cleaner.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    LOL. Funny, you make me laugh. I guess I won’t resort to tree leaves because all we have out here are prickly ones, like chaparral or little tiny ones like palo verde or mesquite. Hey, I referred my son over to your blog, he is always using these giant words that I haven’t the first clue what they mean, and I know he would appreciate your love of words, too. So you don’t like the family cloth idea, I take it? LOL, I haven’t even mentioned it to my hubby, I am sure he would flip over the thought. I’ll ask him to look into the bidet option, though. Hah! Thanks for visiting and commenting!! 🙂 P.S. I found a company that sells “mini-showers” to hook up to one’s toilet. Looks interesting.


  • Mary

    I would give up food before giving up toilet paper. Sorry, but that is beyond gross.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Mary, so… another vote against family cloth. As I mentioned, the idea was totally new to me, and I was really surprised when I googled it, to find how many families are trying it, and appreciating it. I really do appreciate your joining in the conversation, and thanks for stopping by and commenting!


  • I have not given up on toilet paper…but I did start using wipes in addition to it. I guess it is a mindset thing and it takes people a long time to get accustomed to the change. I wrote a post on it on my blog (search for Poopy Cloth) and you can see what I wrote.


  • […] haven’t mentioned the family cloth idea to Mr. A… especially since he responded so disfavorably to the composting toilet.  He […]

  • […] frugal and then you might use cloth toilet paper also known as family cloth. I have to admit when I first heard about family cloth I was a little squicked out, but then I thought it might save quite a bit on toilet paper if you only used it for number one.  […]

  • […] paper, $15 for a case of eight. Since I probably won’t be able to convince my family to try family cloth any time soon, we decided to see if we could stand using these big rolls of toilet […]

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