Saturday, August 25, 2012

Luxurious Toilet Tissue

I have been wanting to write this post for some time. I was reluctant though because bathroom habits are typically taboo to discuss....and then what if somewhat thought I was off my rocker for making the choices I have made.  I am a very private person, and I find that as I reveal more of my private life in the pages of this blog I am becoming a little more hesitant to share with those I know the address of my blog.  This is not because I am ashamed of who I am and what defines me.  It is because I worry that others, and more specifically those I know personally, will read my posts and judge me negatively.  As you read this, I know that you will be making judgements. And that is ok.  I am coming to terms with the fact that what defines me is not exactly conventional.  I am becoming more and more what some people would call 'granola'.  And a few years ago I may have had the same thoughts about others.  I have come a long way and I am a happier, healthier person because of those 'unconventional' decisions and lifestyle changes I have made.
A couple of months ago I wrote a post about going paper free, or more specifically, toilet paper free.  As I dug deeper and deeper into the truths of the production of toilet paper I could no longer deny that I played a role in the impacts of the toilet paper industry on this earth, and I realized I had a choice to make.  I am at a place in my life where I am no longer comfortable with the use of chemicals in the products I and my family use in our day to day lives due to their impacts on our health and the health of the world we live on.  As I read other peoples' blogs about going toilet paper free I had a range of reactions. I started with..."I don't know if I could do that" to "Maybe I could. I'll just think about that".   In the end I decided I had nothing to lose by trying.  If it didn't work for me I didn't have to continue, and at least I had tried. I decided to give it a try, but only for #1s.

The first step was figuring out my system.  Since this was an experiment I didn't want to spend any money on it. No waste.  I had an old flannel sheet that was no longer useful as a sheet. I decided that I would cut it up into squares to be used instead of toilet paper.  Then I had to figure out where to store them.  When I was younger my mom had a plastic bag dispenser under the kitchen sink. We stuffed bags in the top of the cylinder of material and pulled bags out the bottom.  I decided this system would work for my cloths.  I quickly sewed a dispenser from an old receiving blanket and added a ribbon at the top to hang it on the door handle, and an elastic around the bottom to stop the cloths from falling out. It was simple and took me maybe 30 minutes.
Then the disposal system.  I didn't want to make any extra work for myself to sort the cloths out of the laundry, so I decided to line a regular bathroom garbage pail with a mesh delicates laundry bag. That way I didn't have to scoop the cloths out of the bin  when doing laundry collection.  It would be a simple zip and toss in the laundry. Also, because I didn't hem the edges of the clothes, they would fray and the zip bag keeps the threads from getting into my other laundry items.
Husband and Son were out of the house when I developed this new cloth system.  When Husband returned I explained my experiment expecting him to think I was a bit weird. He didn't and in fact seemed somewhat impressed.  Since this was for #1s, I would be the only one involved in this experiment and really, it didn't impact the boys at all.

My experiment is still going, one month in.  Will I continue? Yes, most definitely. Why you might ask? Why not is my answer.  This doesn't hurt me or anyone else in any way.  I can't say the same about using toilet paper.  In fact, the cloths are so nice and soft, they're like a luxurious toilet paper. So much nicer than toilet paper. It doesn't create extra laundry. If I'm already doing a load anyways, it doesn't hurt to throw a few cloths in. There's no sorting or folding involved, which means very little extra work.  I just zip the bag and throw it in the washer.  I normally split my laundry into those that get hung up to dry and those that go into the dryer. The cloths go into the dryer load (still in the zipped bag). And then they go back to the bathroom where they quickly get stuffed into the dispenser bag.  My cloths aren't very pretty since I just cut up a sheet, but I did mention to a certain sewing mother that I wouldn't mind some nicely hemmed pretty patterned fabrics for a gift for Christmas. But really, pretty isn't necessary.  In the mean time, I have also cut up a few old t-shirts, and those don't fray like the flannel.

So initially my experiment only involved #1s.  This has changed. The other day someone I know asked me if I used wipes for #2 too. I lied.  I lied because of what I mentioned above. Not wanting to be judged unfairly of negatively.  When I spoke with Husband later he assured me that I should be proud of who I am and what I'm doing.  Sister has showed me a lot of support too.  I appreciate hearing their words of encouragement.

Son is now asking to use them, and I have no issues with this. In fact, it pleases me.  I did not force him to participate, and he has chosen to.

So there's a system for #2s too.  Those cloths do not get put in with the other used cloths. They go in a bucket with a flip up lid. I used a Rubbermade container I had for dispensing cereal or other dry goods.
It sits beside the toilet with a solution of water, vinegar, and tea tree oil. Remember, our house is going chemical free.  The vinegar is a disinfectant and the the tea tree oil is a antimicrobial agent as well.  Once used, the cloths go into this bucket to soak. Before laundering I pour hot water into the bucket and do a prewash before they go into the zipper bag.  For those who are having an 'eww gross' reaction, I am a mom to Dog and Son. I have touched copious amounts of vomit, poop, blood, urine and many other gross things.  A bit of poop on a cloth is nothing. ...I then wash my hands very well.

So that is how paperless toileting works in our home. It is not mandatory.  If you visit my home I will not remove the toilet paper from the bathroom and force you to use my cloths.  But really, if you did come to my home and use my cloths, I'm sure you would learn just how soft they really are...and I wouldn't make you wash them either.  Leave that to me.  I've got a super simple system worked out.


Anonymous said...

What size are your cloths? Opitimally? I'm starting first number one cloths.

I need pretty - so I'm off to Fabricland for flannel.
Also considering homemade flannel "liners" to compliment the Diva cup.

Thanks for sharing! You've got the details worked out!


Gluten Free Mom said...

I made my cloths the same size as baby wash cloths. But in reality they really only need to be the size as 2 squares of toilet paper. The larger they are, the longer they will take to dry in the dryer.
As for the fabric liners....that's on my bucket list of projects to do. Let me know if you do this.
....and thanks for commenting Dedicated!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry if I made you feel ashamed. You shouldn't be. I think it is wonderful. I was just taken back as I couldn't imagine someone doing it. But as you explain it, it isn't much different than using cloth diapers for babes. You go girl!!!

Gluten Free Mom said...

Not to worry. I understand completely. :)

Anonymous said...

Alright....I'm almost there! FabricLand shopping spree was a hit! I got this awesome t-shirt material that won't fray, and it's very pretty (Type 2/type 3 pattern for all those Living, or Dressing Your Truth: Carol Tuttle) pink, gray/blue, grey/green camoflage print. $2.00 a metre. Deal! fabric is making it's way through the laundry assembly line, and then will get chopped into wipes. Dollarama zip bag lining a small container, ready to go for laundry, and just needing one of those nifty sac bags to store them in.
It got me thinking, what did they use BEFORE Simpson/Sears catalogues?
THANKYOU for the inspiration!

Gluten Free Mom said...

That's fantastic! Glad I could inspire.