So Long Disposables, Hello Family Cloth {Interview with 3 Bloggers}

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FamilyClothInterview

You’ve read about family cloth but you are still a little unsure. Today I am pleased to have three ladies with us to encourage you along the way and share their stories. We have Anjanette from Rasing the Barr{s} and Beth from Red and Honey. Also joining us is Marilyn (Mare) Beard from Just Making Noise. Mare and I go way back, we first met nine years ago while working at the ministry for the Deaf in Mexico where I live. She is actually the person who motivated to take the final step of switching to cloth. It been so cool to see how we both after moving away from each other started on this natural journey and reconnected in a new way.

All three of these ladies have great advice, I’m sure they will help you on your way!

1. How did you first become interested in using family cloth?

Mare- I first became interested in using family cloth when a good friend, who is much like an aunt to me and I learned almost everything I know now about health & food from her, mentioned that she had been using family cloth for years.

I had no idea what she was talking about until she said they were basically cloth toilet paper. At first, I was a little grossed out thinking about reusing cloth for that purpose, but when I asked her why she likes it so much… she said lots of things, but the biggest thing being that it was comfortable and wipes away stuff much better than paper without chapping your sensitive areas. That’s when I knew I had to try it.

Anjanette- I began my journey to family cloth by purchasing cloth feminine pads. I was interested in avoiding chemicals and saving money, which also led to cloth diapering our babies. Family cloth was just the natural next step.

Beth- I believe it was through another blogger somewhere along the way in my crunchy living journey. I’m the kind of person that loves doing weird and crazy stuff for fun. I am willing to try most anything once (within reason, of course). Case in point – I encapsulated and consumed my own placenta, I use cloth pads, and… I sometimes use cloth toilet paper. 

2. How long have you been using family cloth for?

Mare- Going on 7 years and planning to keeping using family cloth for the rest of my life!

Anjanette- Almost two years. My husband has opted to go back to toilet paper recently (we have two bathrooms now and he likes keeping the cloth all in one bathroom), but I still use it for myself and my three children.

Beth- Off and on for about nine months now.

2. Do you make your own or buy cloths from the store/etsy?

Mare- At that time, almost 7 years ago, I did not know how to sew. I just bought a couple packets of cloths handmade at a local shop in my area. Those cloths have lasted me for almost 6 years before having to replace them!

At the beginning of this year, instead of buying more packets I made my own cloths using my sewing machine! For those who are wondering, it was not hard and I got great instructions and tips from this site.

I used cotton flannel on one side and terry cloth on the other side. They are thick, soft and wipe wonderfully!!

Anjanette- We use cloth wipes we purchased from a cloth diapering store as well as old washcloths and baby washcloths.

Beth- I use the same cloths that I use as wipes for my baby. They are the little cheap-o washcloths from the stores that come in packs of six or twelve or whatever. They are just thin, baby washcloths, and they work great. 

3. What is your favorite thing about family cloth?

Mare- My favorite thing is that I only have to use one cloth to get the job done and leaves my bum feeling pampered!

Anjanette- I appreciate how clean it feels – especially when I am on my period. And I love that my kids don’t get “skid marks” in their underwear after bowel movements.

Beth- The satisfaction of knowing I’m saving money and the environment with pretty well zero extra effort. Also – way more comfortable/luxurious- feeling than paper! 

4. What is your least favorite thing about family cloth?

Mare- Well, to be honest, I really don’t have a single complaint because I love it so much!

Anjanette- Oh, cleaning is not my favorite thing, but it’s not a big deal really. Just an extra thing in my day. I don’t find throwing away disposable diapers or washing my kids’ bums with toilet paper any less gross.

Beth- Forgetting that I’m using it and absent-mindedly dropping the cloth in the toilet. You’ll only do it once (or twice) and then you’ll probably remember from then on. Seriously though – even that is no big deal when you’ve been dealing with cloth diapers for the last five years straight. 

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5. How did you get over the gross factor?

Mare- I didn’t really have a gross factor… just when my friend first told me, but after she explained why and how it made total sense. When we first started using cloths, I couldn’t believe how easy it was and really, there wasn’t much of a gross factor.

A healthy diet also helps reduces the ‘gross factor’ because there shouldn’t be much to wipe after having a healthy, clean BM!

Anjanette- I think having kids has made “gross” just a fact of life. I do enjoy knowing that I’m getting more of the “gross” off of my/their skin, though. And I wash in really hot water. Twice.

Beth- That is honestly not really a concern for me. Everyone poops and pees. I dunno – you take care of business, you wash your hands, you move on. I’m more worried about the smell, but since I already store my diaper pail in the bathroom there’s no difference. 

6. How do you wash your family cloth?

Mare- I simply wash our cloths with the cloth diapers. I use cloth diapers with all my kids and still using it with our 9 month old baby.

Anjanette- We have a high efficiency washer that likes to use less water than necessary for items like this. For the sake of sanitation, I wash my diapers, wipes, and pads together every couple of days on the “heavy soil” setting. I begin with a cold wash with no detergent followed by a hot wash with detergent and an extra rinse. We’ve never experienced problems with yeast or other bacterial infections “down there” even though we struggled with breastfeeding yeast and I have two uncircumcised sons (which doesn’t make them more susceptible imo, but some people may be curious).

Beth- With my cloth diapers (which means a first rinse, then a hot wash cycle with detergent, then another rinse, usually with vinegar). When our diapering days are over, I will probably increase my stash and then throw them in the wash on the smallest cycle every three or four days or so.

7. Do you use a wet bag, wet pail or a dry pail for your soiled cloth?

Mare- We store all our dirty cloths in a dry diaper bag hanging behind the toilet. Works great and there is no stink factor.

Anjanette- We use a large hanging wet bag that we purchased from Amazon, and we throw diapers, wipes, and pads all in the same one. It gets full after two days.

Beth- A large wet bag inside a lidded step garbage pail is what we’ve used for our cloth diapers since day one, and that’s what I use for the cloth TP too. 

8. What kind of detergent has worked best for you?

Mare- I am currently using BioKleen and love it for all our washings.

Anjanette- We’ve really liked using Country Save over the years because it is cloth diaper friendly and not too expensive. We recently switched over to Soap Nuts and I like them, but I feel like I have to switch them out more often than recommended.

Beth- I’ve always used Nature Clean, and it works great. It’s a natural, non- toxic brand that is safe for cloth diapers, and we use it for all of our laundry. I use about half the recommended amount to prevent build-up on my diapers. 

9. How often do you wash your family cloth?

Mare- Whenever we have a load of diapers to wash, which is usually about every two days.

Anjanette- Every other day in general – though we have enough diapers and cloth wipes to last the whole family almost three days.

Beth- Every time I wash diapers!

10. How many cloths do you recommend having on hand?

Mare- For our family of 6, about 60-80 cloths is good.

Anjanette- Since we wash so frequently, we don’t need a ton. However, we also have very young children who go to the bathroom frequently. We currently get by on about 30 cloths for 4 people (my husband doesn’t use them, but when he did, we had this many for 5 people and were fine).

Beth- If I were just doing family cloth and not also using them as baby wipes, then I’d say maybe fifteen or twenty per person. That’s a very rough estimate though. It would depend on how much regular TP you use. 

11. What do you store your clean cloths in?

Mare- We just stack them on top of our toilet shelf.

Anjanette-We use a cute basket that sit on top of the toilet tank

Beth- A little basket on the back of my toilet. 

12. How much on average do you think a family saves using family cloth over toilet paper?

Mare- About $30-$40 a month.

Anjanette– We don’t have to pay for water (included in utilities), and we use wipes purchased or gifted for cloth diapering, so the added expense for us was $0. I have no idea what we would be spending on toilet paper now since my children were all still using wipes when I transitioned. I can tell you that a big package of toilet paper at Costco lasts us almost six months, even with guests using it.

Beth- Honestly – it would depend. For me, if I’m the only one using it, then maybe a hundred bucks a year? (I’m bad at estimating these things!). But I plan to get the kids to start using it too, and if I manage to get hubs on board, then it could be several hundred a year (even with Costco prices on toilet paper!) 

13. Is your whole household on board?

Mare- Totally!

Anjanette- My hubby was in the beginning. He used cloth until we moved into a home with two bathrooms. When he was given the option of having his own cloth stash in “his” bathroom, he opted to just use toilet paper.

Beth– For now it’s just me. Hubs finds the idea super gross, but I’m a very persuasive woman, haha! We shall see what the future holds. 

What additional advice do you have to give to families wanting to use?

Mare- If you are worry about stains from poop… no need to. It will wash right off!

– I like to keep a stack of black wipes for when I have my period. Blood on my pretty wipes does gross me out.

– Still not convince? Think about it… no more runs to a nearby store to get toilet paper just in case you run out or forgot to buy more on your weekly grocery shopping day

Anjanette- Don’t buy expensive (cute) cloths unless you have extra money lying around. The old washrags that don’t match your bathroom décor anymore and the baby washrags that are too thin to use on your toddlers are just fine for this purpose. You can also cut up an old t-shirt to see if you like the idea before committing. Also, we wet ours down before each use and I think it helps with the “clean feeling.”

I’ve blogged about Family Cloth in more detail here.

Beth- Go for it! Don’t let others’ raised eyebrows stop you. Be counter-cultural, be radical, save money, save the earth, and wear that crunchy mama badge proudly! Don’t be afraid to dive in! 

I hope this inspirers you to give family cloth a try! 
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About Katie Mae Stanley

Katie Mae Stanley is the writer at Nourishing Simplicity, where the focus is on nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living and faith. Ethnic and Mid-west foods are always a favorite in her kitchen and on her blog. She is also the author of the book Steeped: Simple Nourishing Teas and Treats. Katie Mae spent 10 years as a missionary dorm "mama" for a gaggle (almost 40) of amazing deaf girls at a school for the deaf in Baja California, Mexico. Now she finds herself state side ready to embrace God's next adventure. A cup of tea or coffee and a bit of dark chocolate make an appearance at some point in any given day. You can connect with the Nourishing Simplicity community on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Comments

  1. Hey, nice job! I too liked reading the side-by-side answers, and especially appreciated the links!

  2. Cool! Thanks for sharing my answers. Fun to read the other two gals’ side of the whole thing.

  3. Love! Thanks for posting my answers – it was neat to read everyone’s side by side!

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