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Beyond Disposables: Switching the ENTIRE house to cloth!

Posted by Becca on 6/8/2015 to Green Living
disposables,cloth

Switching the Entire House to Cloth

I don’t know about you, but once I decided not to pay for paper diapers that would only be tossed in the trash, I started reconsidering the use of other disposable items my family uses too.

Baby Wipes

It started with baby wipes. Frankly, it was silly to keep a diaper genie in the room once we’d transitioned entirely over to cloth, but since we were still using disposable baby wipes, we had to keep it. The final straw with the disposable wipes came when I was changing my daughter’s diaper at church and had to roll the wipe up inside the cloth diaper as I stored it in the wet bag. Would I remember to separate the disposable wipes from the diapers when I threw them in the wash? We had a couple of loads that contained washed baby wipes before I bought some flannel and stitched together some wipes. Now, I don’t even do that, I just cut apart old T shirts and use them for wipes. It’s much easier when you don’t have to sew! We still keep disposable wipes around. In fact, I still have a couple of baggies full of wipes I bought when my almost two year old was born. We keep them here and there in case we ever run out of cloth wipes, but we rarely do which is why one container of them has lasted us nearly two years.

Paper Towels

Shortly after switching to cloth I decided that I couldn’t handle the idea of throwing away money in other areas of our lives. I never made the unpaper towels that are so popular on Pinterest and Etsy, but I did substitute paper towels for the hand towels and washcloths we already have. Between the two, our messes get cleaned and our hands get wiped without creating unnecessary waste. We do have a roll of paper towels. A vacuum cleaner salesman gave them to us two or three years ago and every once in awhile I’ll find a use for them—usually draining bacon. Mostly, though they sit in my cabinet literally collecting dust.

Paper plates

I hate doing dishes, but I hate wasting money more so we rarely use paper plates, and plastic ware even when we have company. For birthday parties, or school parties I make an exception. Those leftovers end up in the cabinet with the unused paper towels and if I have guests and the extra disposables and I really don’t feel like making extra dishes, I’ll pull them out. Usually, though, guests just get the family ceramic plates.

Paper napkins

Cloth napkins were another thing that just made more sense for us to use than using paper. We ended up with a bunch of napkins for one reason or another: some came with tablecloths, some were wedding gifts, and some I handmade for a special church tea I helped with years ago. Whether it’s guests, or just dinner with the family, everyone uses the cloth napkins. When friends are over there’s usually some confusion as to where they should get put when they’ve been used, but people get used to them rather quickly.

Tissues

I have yet to switch over to using handkerchiefs instead of tissues. I don’t know why, really, other than the fact that I just don’t want to sit in front of a sewing machine hemming tons of handkerchiefs. So, we still use paper tissues. I don’t know if that will be a temporary or a permanent thing in our house. I’m completely open to switching over to cloth, at least for family. I’d imagine we’d always keep aside some disposable tissues for guests.

Toilet Paper

Many family take the reusable thing all the way and use family cloth (reusable toilet paper). I, for one, don’t think I can ever bring myself to do that, barring some major natural disaster. I realize that family cloth really isn’t much different than cloth baby wipes, but there’s something about baby waste that doesn’t quite have the gross factor that grown­up waste does. So, I will happily continue to spend my money to buy disposable toilet paper. I think I can safely say that I will never use family cloth.

Has your family switched over to cloth in more areas than just diapers? If so, why did you make the switch and in what areas of your household have you ditched disposables?

Comments

Date 6/8/2015
Maggie
We use cloth almost everywhere! Diapers, wipes, family cloth (no more paper lint on your who ha), momma cloth (so much softer on the delicate parts), menstrual cup, cloth wipes instead of tissues. Making the change is easy, saves money and is great for the environment! We love being green!
Date 6/8/2015
Nadya D.
i have recently switched to cloth diapers (when my son was 10mo old), and to cloth wipes. I use burp cloths and handkerchiefs for cleaning up my son's nose and face. I would love to use cloth instead of paper towels, but my husband is not quite on board. And I am making me some mama cloth, but I think this is as far as we would go for now. Who knows though, my husband just suggested we start recycling ;)
Date 6/8/2015
A.G.
My family recently made our next to final cloth transition with family cloth. It started with cloth diapering and cloth wipes with our first child. While pregnant with our second child I discovered the fantastic world of cloth menstrual products and used them post partum, and now use a menstrual cup. We then ditched the paper towels and paper napkins. Not long afterwards when we were low on toilet paper I joked with my husband to use a wash cloth, he said to buy some dedicated for that. So I did. We're both surprised at how much better we like it. Next stop in cloth: Cloth hankies!
Date 6/8/2015
Amanda Jordan
We use cloth diapers, cloth wipes, mama cloth and unpaper towels. I would like to do family cloth but I know daddy would disagree. I may just make some for me to use. We also never buy paper plates unless for crafts.
Date 6/9/2015
Julia
We do cloth diapers, cloth wipes, and the menstrual cup. The choice to switch to reusable diapers and wipes was about saving money, keeping poop from getting into the landfill, and pampering my daughter's tush. The Diva Cup is for my comfort. I've always had kitchen towels, so paper towels were out when I switched to cloth diapers and started feeling guilty about the waste. I never considered using paper plates at home. We only need napkins for the baby, so we use a clean kitchen towel or washcloth. When the adults get something on our hands or face, we wash in the sink. For tissues, we use cloth wipes, wash cloths, or toilet paper, whatever's within reach. Just call us the lazy environmentalists. LOL. We have not branched out to family cloth. Commenter Maggie opened my mind on that one a little bit. It might actually be nice to have a wipe warmer with wipes for me in the bathroom, and I can always pretend they're the baby's when my husband asks!
Date 6/9/2015
Cassie
We switched to family cloth about 8 months ago and it is awesome! It's soft and gets the job done better than toilet paper. The "eww" factor isn't an issue at all. We put it in a wet bag that hangs next to the toilet with a zipper and I just shake it out into the washer to clean. I never see anything or touch any of it.
Date 6/9/2015
Becca
I do menstrual cups and mama cloth too but since I'm currently pregnant it didn't occur to me to include them in this post!
Date 6/9/2015
Rowena
I love cloth wipes!
Date 6/10/2015
Vera S
I am going to start using cloth wipes when I can get them, disliking opening the diaper genie every time I use a wipe since we are using cloth diapers. We are currently using washcloths and hand towels in placement of paper towels, it does save a ton!
Date 6/10/2015
Theresa Hover
Our first cloth switch was actually un-paper towels. It cost me probably $10 to make about 20 of them, and we've been using them for about 4 years now and they are still in great shape! I can't imagine how much we've saved on paper towel, besides the environmental savings.
Date 6/12/2015
Amanda
We try to conserve paper as much as possible in my house! I am guilty of using too many paper towels though. :O
Date 6/12/2015
Camille W
Most of these are quite do-able. I'm already doing cloth wipes (although my husband is resisting that one); we do use paper towels but I try to use cloth as much as possible; paper plates and napkins are a rarity but perhaps I should invest in some cloth napkins; but like you. I think I'd draw the line at toilet paper - MAYBE for #1's but definitely not #2's.
Date 6/12/2015
Melissa
We have switched everything but toilet paper!
Date 6/12/2015
Sweta Sonulkar
love the post about cloth and trying to switch to cloth entirely, thanks
Date 6/12/2015
Maggie M.
I use cloth diapers and cloth wipes. I'd like to use momma cloth maybe. I never buy paper towels I think they're pointless. I do but napkins but they last us forever. I mostly use them to clean grease off of stuff. My kids would love cloth napkins probably. I don't use handkerchiefs although my son has one he likes using when he's sick or his allergies act up real bad. I've thought about family cloth for the bathroom but that's probably something I won't do.
Date 6/12/2015
Victoria White
i could only talk my husband into a few covers and some prefolds and flats they work wonderfully but very bulky and I can't get my husband to fold and change but the other day we were running low on sposies that we use while out of the house and I told him it's ok we have the cloth..he was pleased to hear that made me happy and hopeful yet
Date 6/12/2015
Victoria White
i could only talk my husband into a few covers and some prefolds and flats they work wonderfully but very bulky and I can't get my husband to fold and change but the other day we were running low on sposies that we use while out of the house and I told him it's ok we have the cloth..he was pleased to hear that made me happy and hopeful yet
Date 6/12/2015
Erica P.
We do darn near all of these, and once they become habit it's really no different than using paper products--except it's a little kinder on our pocket books. Not sure I'll give up my paper TP, though. That's going to require a cognitive shift I'm not quite ready to embrace. :-)
Date 6/12/2015
Erica P.
We do darn near all of these, and once they become habit it's really no different than using paper products--except it's a little kinder on our pocket books. Not sure I'll give up my paper TP, though. That's going to require a cognitive shift I'm not quite ready to embrace. :-)
Date 6/12/2015
Kristen Nace
I'm a big fan of un-paper towels, cloth wipes and mama cloth... but I can't get into family cloth, Mr. Husband is too skeeved out by it :(
Date 6/12/2015
Mary Schuh
We've been reconsidering the disposable items we use, too! We've used cloth wipes for quite a while, but we've been looking into cloth napkins and unpaper towels. I love saving money!
Date 6/12/2015
S. Clark
I have tried to ditch paper towels (we don't even buy napkins anymore), but since we still have them in the house, they get used. My husband automatically reaches for the paper towels despite the large stack of cloth towels we have sitting in the cabinet. I wonder how much of an issue it would cause if I never bought more.... I can get into the family cloth and I know my husband would NEVER climb on that bandwagon. But I do have a friend who has taken that leap. She claims it's really not an issue at all
Date 6/12/2015
S. Clark
Can't *
Date 6/13/2015
Cassandra Lockshaw
I'm getting ready to make my 1st cloth diaper purchase! The hubby's not so thrilled about it but realizes it's better for the environment and our wallet. I could never give up tp, but we don't use paper plates and try to use paper towels sparingly. I'm also going to buy some of the cloth baby wipes since I'll be washing diapers anyway. I like your blog btw!
Date 6/13/2015
Cassandra Lockshaw
I'm getting ready to make my 1st cloth diaper purchase! The hubby's not so thrilled about it but realizes it's better for the environment and our wallet. I could never give up tp, but we don't use paper plates and try to use paper towels sparingly. I'm also going to buy some of the cloth baby wipes since I'll be washing diapers anyway. I like your blog btw!
Date 6/14/2015
Angela Neynaber
We use cloth diapers, napkins and wipes.
Date 6/14/2015
Faye
I have recently made the switch to unpaper towels and I'm getting ready to make some reusable menstrual products to try out. I was always kinda hesitant to switch to them because I don't like pads or the idea of the cup. But I recently found a great way to make my own washable reusable tampons. So I am going to take the plunge!
Date 6/17/2015
Sweta Sonulkar
love the idea and making every effort of switching to cloth than disposables in kitchen and bathroom too
Date 6/19/2015
Sarah Sheffer
I plan on using cloth wipes. I want to get cloth napkins the next time the budget allows it. Also I don't use paper towels anymore for cleaning up messes.
Date 6/20/2015
Brianna Weaver
I can't wait to get our whole family on cloth!
Date 6/21/2015
Lety Vazquez
cloth wipes was my next thing to replace disposables too
Date 6/21/2015
Elf
My husband has always carried handkerchiefs (I don't use tissues frequently enough to have ever done so), and I have used a menstrual cup for years. We were better about using kitchen towels instead of paper towels in our old apartment (it took us a year to go through one roll!), and I want to get back to that. When I started buying cloth diapers, it just made sense to get cloth pads for the postpartum period. We've always used the cloth wipes too. My husband and I aren't ready for "family cloth" yet; I suspect I might really like how it feels and works, but it remains one step too far.
Date 6/22/2015
Jessica J
um...ditto to EVERYTHING you said! I keep trying to talk myself up into switching to family cloth. I'm the only girl in the house, so I'm thinking of "dipping my toe" by using it for pee. still afraid to try... you didn't mention feminine products! I went to a cup after my first & mama cloths. that saved a TON of money each month! (which is only one of many benefits)
Date 6/23/2015
Savannah Aceituno
I would try everything EXCEPT family cloth!
Date 6/25/2015
Samantha Buentello
During JoAnn's "Firefly Frenzy" sale, I bought SOOOOOOOOOO much flannel, I could barely carry the bags up to my apartment! Haha this post blog post really inspired me to, firstly, save money on baby wipes (especially because I can make EVEN CUTER ONES!) but I'm on a mission to be completely waste free by the end of the year, if not sooner! I never knew how versatile cotton can really be, even after cloth diapering my firstborn for 2.5 years! ;) It just gets better!
Date 6/26/2015
Ashlee
Except for the wipes and paper plates I don't think I could get my husband on board with most of these. I should definitely take a better look at ways I can reduce our paper use though!
Date 6/26/2015
Dandi D
We are slowly switching to all cloth. First diapers, then wipes, next up: paper towels.
Date 6/26/2015
Amanda Felton
We do cloth diapers, cloth wipes, cloth for cleaning, cloth napkins and cloth bags for shopping. My husband uses way too many paper towels and I know I could never convert him, but I love the idea of cloth towels for the kitchen. We do not use paper plates or cups so that's a plus. Not too sure about re-useable toilet paper....but I do use mama cloth!
Date 6/27/2015
Lisaray
Cloth wipes are the best change i made
Date 6/30/2015
laura fulks
So interesting! I've switched diapers and wipes and probably reusable feminine products will be next!
Date 7/3/2015
Marita Ankobiah
Sounds interesting. I'd be interested in trying the paper towels or lady napkins.
Date 7/4/2015
Megan Sanchez
We have switched to cloth diapers, wipes, and reusable bags. I'm looking into cloth pads, reusable towels and baggies.
Date 7/9/2015
Jilliann M
My husband isn't a fan of cloth wipes so we still buy disposables. Don't think I could ever do cloth toilet paper either. But who knows I may think differently in a few years.
Date 8/27/2015
janie vezina
we've switced just about everything to cloth, reuseable, and clean.

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