Family Cloth. What is it? Have you heard of this? If you haven’t heard of family cloth before, don’t worry. Not many have. Family cloth is definitely one of those crunchy extremes and it’s also a topic that most people just naturally shy away from. Family cloth gives a slightly gross mental image. Most people hear it and think it’s one cloth that is shared by the whole family. Ummm… no. Thankfully that is not what family cloth is!
What is Family Cloth and Why You Should Switch to Family Cloth
Family cloth is just an odd name (probably used because we already have the term mama cloth so someone just decided to keep the ____ cloth pattern) but they are really just cloth wipes.
I’ve talked about cloth wipes before. Most of the time when you hear about cloth wipes, people are talking about reusable wipes for babies. This is also probably why we have the term family cloth because we wanted to differentiate between baby cloth wipes and cloth wipes for people who can actually use the toilet! That’s right, family cloth is reusable toilet paper!
Now don’t run away thinking that reusable toilet paper the grossest thing known to mankind. Hear me out. It is reusable but that doesn’t mean you aren’t washing your family cloth in-between uses! Each time you use a family cloth, it is perfectly clean! Just like each time you put on your underwear; they get washed, dried, and cleaned.
“But we don’t share underwear!”, I’m sure that’s what you are telling me through the screen. Yes, you are correct. We aren’t sharing our underwear and technically most family cloth users share their family cloth (although if you really want to be extra cautious, you can always get each family member their own color of family cloth so things are designated and there’s no sharing.) However, let’s just think about it. You wash all your laundry together so anything that was on someone’s laundry is already getting mixed in with yours. You are sharing those germs. But are you really? When you wash and dry your laundry, those germs are killed. Anything that was lingering on dirty laundry is gone. Everyone gets perfectly clean clothes so sharing or no sharing, things are clean for their next use.
Benefits to Family Cloth
- Saves money – We can go through a lot of toilet paper. With family cloth you buy just once and you’ll never have to run to the store for more toilet paper again! (ok maybe you’ll want a roll for company!)
- Reusable – This is about as green as you can get! Family cloth is zero waste which is something that can’t be said for toilet paper!
- No toxic chemicals – We don’t think about toilet paper containing chemicals but they can! Recycled toilet paper has been found to contain BPA and BPS. Recycled or not, most toilet paper is bleached and you are wiping those bleached sheets on some of your most sensitive parts!
- Softer – Whether you use 1-ply or 2-ply toilet paper, family cloth has got both beat when it comes to softness! No quilted paper can compare!
- Keeps You Cleaner – Family cloth is more substantial than toilet paper so it does a better job of cleaning you (especially if you use a wet family cloth!) but it is also more durable so no more dirty hands from poking holes through toilet paper.
- Fun colors and prints – Ok, probably not a benefit at all but it does make something as boring as toilet paper fun!
How to Use Family Cloth
Family cloth is just like toilet paper. Just wipe with a cloth wipe instead of toilet paper! It’s that easy. Many people do like to wet the cloth wipe first particularly for going #2 but it’s not a necessity.
Not THAT ready for Family Cloth? You can totally just use family cloth for going #1. Dealing with pee is a lot less intimidating than dealing with poop. Switching to family cloth for #1 will still save you a ton of toilet paper!
How Much Family Cloth Do You Need?
A good rule of thumb is to have 5 cloth wipes per person per day. You will want a minimum of 2 days worth so that you always have some while washing a load. Although I’d recommend having a big enough stash for at least 4 days so that you don’t have to do laundry all the time.
So if you have one person using family cloth you would want 20 cloth wipes for a 4 day stash.
Alternately, my friends at Creekside Kid recommend a supply of 40-50 wipes per person which will get that person through a week!
Storing Family Cloth
Clean Family Cloth – You can keep clean family cloth in a basket or box on top of the toilet. You could also store in a clean wet bag, or even a nearby drawer.
Dirty Family Cloth – You can store dirty family cloth in a designated wet bag or even a small pail (just make sure people know it’s not a trash can!) Some people like to store dirty family cloth in water but I find that unnecessary. Just like with storing dirty cloth diapers; keeping dirty family cloth in a dry area until wash day works just fine. Less fuss is always a plus in my department!
Washing Family Cloth
Many families just toss their family cloth in with their cloth diapers. If you do not use cloth diapers than you could just throw your family cloth in with the towels.
Wash on warm and toss in the dryer. (Psst.. it’s the dryer that does the bulk of the sanitizing. If you line dry then the sun does the sanitizing. You can learn more about that in this post.)
Where to Buy Family Cloth
There are tons of places that you can buy family cloth. You can even make your own family cloth/cloth wipes. I personally love buying my family cloth from Creekside Kid. Their cloth wipes are great quality and come in tons of colors and patterns. I seriously want to buy them all!