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Beyond Disposables: Switching the ENTIRE house to cloth!

Posted by Becca on 6/8/2015 to Green Living

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.


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?