Well, I did it. I switched to cloth toilet paper.
I am the lone voyager on this journey in my household. Little Cheap is interested, but frightened that she will flush the cloth down the toilet accidentally and get in trouble (she’s gleefully on the “let it mellow” bandwagon, however). Mr. Cheap is quietly aghast.
I’ve been thinking about the process for a while, and was further inspired by a discussion at Simple Living: Simplify + Reduce.
Then I had to accumulate my materials: a yard of flannel bought on sale for $1, a squirt bottle of water, the pinking shears to (hopefully) prevent my having to sew a zillion little cloths, and — the coup de grace — a fabulous asparagus pot bought at a yard sale for $1.
Potential “too much information” alert!
This week I dove into the process. (I’m going to share, because on most sites, nobody will talk nitty-gritty and I found it frustrating.) First, I cut wipes in rectangles about 4″ by 8″ — but this was really more than necessary, and I’m paranoid about Little Cheap’s fear, so I cut those in half to 4″ by 4″ squares. (If need be, we can use two!) As an added benefit, the small size fits nicely into a basket in the bathroom.
Following numerous suggestions online, I go, I squirt, I wipe, and I throw the wipe in the asparagus steamer. The asparagus steamer is a tall metal pot with two handles at the top and a ventilating lid, and inside a basket with a handle and drain holes in the bottom. I’ve loaded it with a solution of a tablespoon of washing soda and a few drops of tea tree oil (a natural antibacterial).
When laundry day comes, I’ll drain and rinse the pot and throw the wipes in with the towels or whatever. I’ll wash that load on hot, add vinegar to the rinse, and hang outside to dry, as we do with everything. This process worked well through two and a half years of cloth diapers, so I anticipate it will be fine here, too.
If you’re not ready for that step …
… at least consider the type of toilet paper you use. I’ll confess that I only recently, reluctantly renounced (again) my preference for cheap over green in this department, but it really is sick to think about using virgin wood to wipe your bum. This link at the Natural Resources Defense Council addresses the impact of non-recycled paper products on the environment: http://www.nrdc.org/land/forests/gtissue.asp.
I also am putting together a cost chart on types of toilet paper in my area (we’ll at least be keeping a courtesy roll on hand for guests). Watch for that next week. And meanwhile, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow.”