TOILET PAPER-Alternatives – Family Cloth Wipes

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  IceFire 12 months ago.

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    OK – since we lost all the data from the old website and new people are signing on for our info – we need to re-doo-doo some of the data! (Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun :))

    As an old pro and user of family cloth wipes for going on 9 years, I’ll start.

    Family cloth wipes are exactly what they sound like. They are personal wipes made of cloth. What cloth you ask? Flannel. I made many from different fabrics, and even made layered ones. Flannel is by far the best wipe for the tender areas. How do you make them? There are assorted ways. Some people make them larger like a washcloth, some make them smaller.

    Mine are 5 X 7, two layers of flannel outside, one layer of terrycloth inside. I used old towels and flannel receiving blankets I got at yard sales. Cut 5 inches by 7 inches, flannel pieces right sides together, terry on top. Stitch all the way around, leaving a small hole for turning, then fold opening in and stitch closed. You can top stitch all the way around if you choose.

    I chose this size because it fits in the only electric diaper wipes warmer on the market made for cloth or paper – Prince Lionheart. Wet the wipes, and put them in the warmer. Voila! A warm wipe for your dainty bits. Of course, if the grid goes down, I’ll no longer have the warmer, but for now, I do.

    Some people choose to use the wipes dry, or will wet them as needed.

    To use the wipes, for #1 wipe as needed. For #2, use toilet paper initially, then final clean up with a flannel wipe.

    Walmart sells a step-on, small stainless steel trash can in round or oval, that has an inside plastic bucket for around $10. Dump your used cloths in it. As you wash clothes, simply toss used wipes in the whites load. Have a spray bottle of Mr. Clean (the only liquid cleaner that contains lye) and spray out the inside of the plastic bucket. Do NOT rinse. Return to trash can for the next round of wipes. Occasionally add the wipes to a bleach washing load, just as you would diapers and other white items. It is best to wash the bucket load about every 2-3 days.

    There are no rules for making wipes – some people make them of a single layer of flannel/birdseye/terrycloth and do a serging stitch around the edges. Some make them larger. Some color code them so each family member has their own colors, for those who feel squishy about sharing.
    And some people just go buy a pack of washcloths (terrycloth or baby flannel ones) and use those.

    The possibilities are limited only by what you choose to use.

    The advantages of using wipes:

    Less toilet paper waste
    Better for tender skin (children and people on blood thinners)
    Generally there is much less personal odors in that area
    Portable – you can buy wet bags with 2 pockets (clean/used) to take.

    • This topic was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by  ReadyMom.
    • This topic was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by  ReadyMom.


    There is already a conversation going on about FamilyCloth Wipes at the Ladies Section (family-cloth-or-fabric-tp-t790.html) but i thought that i would also start the conversation here as it pertains to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Make sure to check out the other discussion tho as there are some really good links there!

    my first exposure to this concept was from a guest-post that Humble Wife of New Mexico Preppers Network did for the CPN last year – you can read it here:” onclick=”;return false

    once i read that article and followed the links that Humble Wife had provided – i was hooked!

    think about the amount of money you would save per month if you didn’t buy toilet paper! as well – stockpiling tp takes up a lot of room that could be better used to store other things. and lastly – if S really does HTF – there will not be anymore toilet paper!!!! you can only stockpile so much!

    so consider Family/Cloth Wipes instead!



    For those who do not sew click on Etsy to go to the website. Type in family cloth. Check out people who make and sell family cloth in various sizes, colors and fabrics.

    • This reply was modified 1 year ago by  Cin.


    Cin, you mentioned wash with bleach. Are you JUST using WHITE material? Or … are you bleaching your colors, too? -k



    Most of the material is flannel receiving blankets I bought at yards sales. They are usually all sorts of pastel colors. Since they’re not meant to be pretty, if they fade a little, I don’t really care. That said, I use granulated bleach – so I only use like 2 tablespoons for a full water load.

    The current crop of cloth wipes is 9 years old. In the past 3 months, they have finally begun to tear and fray, and in fact, I’ve torn bits of flannel off a couple. I have trashed one or two that really began to show their age.



    Cin, you mentioned wash with bleach. …

    We may need to have a thread on bleach,
    making bleach storing bleach, etc
    since bleach has six to twelve month shelf life.



    If I remember correctly, we DID have a thread on bleach. Must have been one of the ones that got lost in the move to the new format.

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