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k, so I was just snooping through the "life before toilet paper" thread. but, anyone tried to live without it? Success or failure?

Cause here's the thing. I got me some "family cloth" items sitting in my etsy cart. i'm wanting to try it out. but just haven't. I know too chicken to spend the money yet. also, always trying to balance my sense of urgency to try all my ideas while not shattering forever my households sense of comfort and acceptable standards of living :)

we used cloth wipes and diapers with our kids. I don't buy paper towels anymore.

i'm thinking hankies and reusable toilet paper and maybe reusable "lady products" are the next thing on the list to try out.

anyone got any first hand info to share....
please feel free to preface your reply with "i have this friend..not me...just a friend"

sheesh.....now i'll be so shamed if no one else has thought or done this...lol...
 

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why spend money for rags? just cut up an old towel or 2. But remember you have to store poop rags and wash them. It was not worth the trouble to me to save a tree or 2, I think you use more energy and chemicals in the process since you have to wash them and dry them. And the kids kept flushing them, guests are discussed and ask questions. Dogs get into the soiled pail.
 

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I've got homemade pads from cut up cloth diapers for my really heavy flow days, which is about the first three. After that a couple days of pantiliners works. I use them because tampons make my cramps too much to bear, and thick store pads sweat me to death and I end up galded. But to Heck with rewashing poop rags, I use toilet paper. I do have a bunch of old rags I keep in a stack for spills, cleaning, etc, not paper towels.
 

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I've got several years worth of TP stored (planning on 1/2 roll per day for a family of 6) and a big dresser drawer stuffed full of pads and tampons for our daughters, but also have several large bags of the white "shop rags" from Costco that would work for TP or feminine products. I already use some of those towels for cleaning and mopping, and they last for years.

My philosophy is to live now with comforts like TP, but have the supplies and knowledge to do without them if necessary. I use my washing machine daily, but have a washtub with a wringer and scrub board just in case. We use our electric lights, but have lanterns and fuel just in case. We use bars of soap from the store, but I have supplies and knowledge (and practice) making soap at home. We have running water, but I've got water barrels stored, and several ways to filter/purify pond water or draw water from our well by hand if needed.

Most of my storage items are for decreasing comfort as times get harder. Hopefully we'll never need most of the things I've learned or stored, but I'm ready if we do.
 

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I've never tried to get the whole family to convert to family cloth. But, I have this friend...Who was cloth diapering, so using FC for herself was no big deal since she was already washing diapers and flannel baby wipes. And who found that she was ok with helping another mom support her family by purchasing cloth pads that were made by a better seamstress than she herself was, and also found that those cloth pads made her a whole lot less miserable than disposable products did when her aunt was visiting. She also found that "you get to use your very own special wipes" was a great potty-training motivator for toddlers, and that flannel was much softer and more effective than the most expensive premium TP. Or so I'm told.
 

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I use a P cloth -- for urine only. Since I live alone I use one a day (old washrags) and rinse it out each evening so I can throw it in the clothes hamper. That way I go through a roll of TP in a month or more -- I don't care for the idea of using cloths for poop. I could easily store several year's supply of TP since I buy the 24 roll packs.
If the worst happened, I figure I can find enough old clothes to cut up for one-time poop usage.
 
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I use the white CostCo bales of shop towels in "stages!"

They start life in the kitchen to reduce paper towel use - as DH Can go through a whole roll of paper towels in a day or two. They also can start life in the restooms for quick birdbath bathing at the sink and counter top wiping. I love washing my face with them, as they are great exfoliants!

After they begin looking stained, and don't look clean any more, they move to household duty. Dusting, spills on the floor, stuck to the head of the Swiffer, whatever.

When horrid looking, and unable to be Peroxide brightened, they become garage rags for washing the cars, mowing cleanup bathing at the sink, etc. They may make a couple passes through the Garage before their last use. Once Not being washed, they dry out and get tossed into a bucket to be used as grease rags which get used and tossed.

This process makes then last a couple years before they are disposed of... usually by then, they have ugly stains, holes and are beginning to unravel.

I am thinking Potty Rag could be inserted in this list somewhere! LOL!
 

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I haven't used family cloth myself...yet, but I am prepared to do so if things get to that point. I have some flannel that I caught at a great sale for $2 a yard that could easily and quickly be made into family cloth. Like MomofFour, I have the old-fashioned wash tub/wringer setup with a scrub board, a large store of soap and the knowledge to make more if need be in a SHTF situation.

I'd have no problem whatsoever using family cloth and have been seriously considering starting now for urine. I would set up a small diaper pail or trash can with lid and wash them once or twice a week. It just gripes me to pay an arm and a leg for less and less toilet paper, and as someone else said I actually think the flannel would be more comfortable on sensitive areas. :)

As for the feminine items, I had a hysterectomy at 28, so I have no need for them. But if I did, I would be tickled to have the option to use the more natural fabrics and be more comfortable. I hated the manufactured items back when I needed them, and I had allergic reactions to a lot of them.

I've made a conscious effort in the past 10 years to get away from paper and disposable products as much as possible. I have cloth napkins and fabric "paper towels" that snap together and fit on a roll just like paper ones. They're way more absorbent than paper towels and can just be tossed in the wash.

I bought a big batch of pretty ladies' handkerchiefs off eBay for blowing my nose in the house and when out in public and a gross of bandanas (got a great deal!) to carry and use while working out in the garden, getting dirty, sweaty, etc. I made plastic bowl covers and reusable sandwich and other size bags for the fridge. I also made and use my own cloth grocery bags.

I haven't figured out a replacement for freezer bags/paper, etc., other than reusable plastic containers with lids, and I do have a bunch of those, but I use a vacuum sealer a lot so am still locked in there. Other than that, toilet paper is my last disposable hold out, and I could easily and comfortably switch over to family cloth at a moment's notice.

I do all this to be prepared for harder times, to save money now and to save on environmental resources. It may not be much, but every little bit helps and we have to do what we can, right? :shrug:
 

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I gave away my toilet paper stockpile! Yes, you read that correctly.

I learned sooo much last year when I made a several month, several thousand mile trip in a camper van. Did a lot of boondocking. Very little room and I had to haul all the water I used and haul out all the water and trash. I started using a peri bottle to rinse after I pee. I don't worry about drying since it is just water(though I do drip dry).

For #2 I use a baby wipe. I am much cleaner than with tp. Toss in the trash can when I'm through. I buy the large economy box at Sam's. Each box has 900 wipes. Costs $18. That's at least 2 - 2 1/2 years worth of wipes. So I am saving a LOT of money compared to toilet paper. I'm getting much cleaner and I can store a decade worth of wipes in the same area as a years worth of toilet paper.

Yes I would use cloths if I needed to, but with the supply of wipes I have....it will be a loooong time before I should need to :D

A roll of paper towels lasts me over 6 months.

This is why I love this site! If I try to talk about this sort of thing with my friends they look at me like I have lost my mind.
 

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Just an idea but something that would make this process much easier. We do not generally think of it because it is not common in the U.S. But having worked (actually still working some) in South America it is quite common. They have a spray hose by every toilet. Even $300.00 a night hotels have them. Kinda looks like the little spray nozzle by your kitchen sink for dishes. it has a simple valve by the wall and you simply point and squirt. Yes, it is cold. Now if you combined this with the rag thing, the rags would basically just be for drying off, not actually removing solids. The water does that. I would suspect in a situation where there was no water pressure a 5 gal. bucket hung from a few feet up would probably provide sufficient pressure to work.
 

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I've not seen that set up but it makes a lot of sense. I'm about to install indoor plumbing....only took me about a year to get around to lol. I think I'll look into incorporating that into my toilet. Thanks Muleman!
 

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I still use toilet paper, but being out doors and hiking in the woods, I have learned some alternatives. As many times as I've been in the woods, I still haven't found rolls of soft toilet paper hanging on limbs left by sanitary white bears, but have used much of what nature provides, from leaves (the waxy smooth kind don't work well) to old grass (found under clumps of new grass in spring.) I can vouch for corn cobs, when corn is left to dry on the cob then shelled off the cob, the remaining cob is actually quite soft. Dry husks work well to. Snow in the winter works well although it makes you jump a little when applied.
I remember once I jumped behind a bush, and as I squatted there I looked to the right and saw poison ivy, and to the left the same, and down straight and I was standing in it. Even though I'm not allergic to it I wasn't going to push my luck by using those leaves.
News papers work ok, but the new Sears catalog doesn't work like the old ones, waxy paper is no good.
I can honestly say I'm an expert in alternatives, when you have a bowel disorder, and had to go over 20 times in a day, usually with only seconds warning, you don't have a choice.
 

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There was another HT thread that I read a while back and it inspired me to switch to cloth TP for urine only. Our TP usage has gone down dramatically!! I took cheap white washcloths, cut them in half, sewed the cut edge to prevent unraveling, and voila, I have TP cloths. I keep a supply in a basket on the back of the toilet,and I have a separate little trash can that I put the used ones in. I end up running a load of them about once a week - I don't put anything else in that load.

I have to say, I love them - they are so much softer than TP and they work so much better!! It isn't hard at all (once I got the sewing done). Just an FYI - give it a try!
 

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I'm another convert to nice soft terry toweling for wiping after urination. I still use a combo of TP and baby wipes for #2, but also have a peri bottle and a clean garden sprayer, either of which can be used as a "bidet" for personal cleansing.

I hate most of the TP on the market today - either it's outrageously expensive, or the rolls are smaller and narrower for more money and the paper pills and leaves, ahem, "product" on your bum. I don't feel particularly clean after using paper TP.

I used towels that were starting to show wear to make my TC (toilet cloth?) I ripped them into squares slightly smaller than a washcloth, and double zigzagged all the edges. They are soft, absorbent and as I started with bath towels purchased for $1 or less each at garage sales, and then used until they started getting ratty, I consider them to be the most frugal alternative to TP that I could use.

I have a small waste basket in the bathroom to hold the used TC squares. I have not noticed any odor at all. I'm tellin' ya - once you go TC, you'll never go back, lol!
 

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Just had a thought, an FYI for anyone who doesn't sew but doesn't want to spend money on "ready made" FC like the OP.

It wouldn't work on terry cloth, but for flannel or other fabrics with no nap, you can just cut the edges with pinking shears or a pinking blade on a rotary cutter, and they won't fray when you wash them. No sewing necessary! Maybe you have a friend or mother with some shears, so no cost other than the fabric and, if you watch for a sale at Hancock's or Joann's, it can be had very cheaply.

If you cut your pieces 11-1/4" x 12" (a standard washcloth is 12 x 12), you can get 12 out of a yard of fabric. If you cut them 9" x 9" you can get 20 out of a yard. I'm probably going to make mine 9 x 9, as the others seem just a little too big, and the flannel is thicker than TP so that should be adequate. Hope this helps.

I love some of the ideas thrown out on this thread! Y'all have convinced me, I'm going to start using FC for urine. That will be my project for this weekend. I'll make the ones for urine now and go ahead and make the others for "just in case" and store them. :)

P.S. I just looked at prices on Etsy...boy am I in the wrong business, lol! :D
 

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If you want to use flannel, another source of inexpensive fabric would be receiving blankets - I often see them at garage sales for anywhere from .10 - .50, and they are a bit bigger than a yard, IIRC. I like the idea of pinking the edges. I used the terry because that's what I had, but I'll be picking up receiving blankets now that my brain has been jogged!
 

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Those are also great ideas! :) Another hint...don't use fabric softener when you wash them, or use as little as you think you can get away with. The more you use, the less absorbent they'll be. If you do use softener, every once in a while run a cup of vinegar through the wash, and that will help wash out the waxy buildup.

For anyone worried about odor, although I really don't think it would be a problem, you can get a diaper pail with a place for a deodorizer. I had thought about that before, remembered using one when my son was a baby, thought it might be good for these. You can also make your own deodorizers too, saw a bunch of those on Etsy, that's what reminded me again. Now that there's paint out for plastics, you could paint it or use contact paper to match it to your decor so it wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb.

Sorry I can't think of all these at once, lol...scatterbrained! :D
 
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