Warning: this post is perhaps the ultimate in TMI that you will ever see on this blog. I’m talking about bathroom habits, peeps. If you don’t wanna read it, then go ahead and click here instead of leaving me mean comments. Just sayin’.
When I stop to think about it, I realize that I have peed in quite a few places over the course of my life thus far. Let’s see: if I’m counting by country, we’ve got Canada, USA, Bolivia, England, France, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda.
I’ve used the facilities in this fancy-pants hotel, and I’ve squatted precariously over a disgusting hole surrounded by falling-apart wooden walls in the middle of a dusty African village. I’ve bought a roll of purple toilet paper from the woman on the side of the road, and I’ve used luxurious quilted 6-ply TP at homes where I had to check twice to make sure I hadn’t accidentally grabbed the hand towel.
I’ve awkwardly squatted behind a three-foot pile of bricks while the rest of my tour bus waited their turn in the hot African sun after we broke down on the side of the road.
Some people use bidets. Some use squatty potties. Some people wipe their butts with one hundred dollar bills.
I’ve used my own bathroom eleventy bajillion times in each of my third trimesters of pregnancy. I have, no doubt, peed in the woods a time or two, and maybe, just maybe, a lake. Definitely the ocean.
I’ve also gone tent-camping with a group at 37 weeks pregnant where the only “toilet” was a rickety wooden chair with a hole cut out perched over a dug-out hole surrounded by a tarp on only two sides. I’ve peed in quite a number of teeny-tiny airplane toilets while hurtling through the sky…
(If that’s not an odd string of memories to recall, well gosh, I don’t know what is.)
What exactly is the point I’m making here, you might ask? Well there are two things:
1) Everybody in the whole world has these bodily functions.
2) There are many variations in style and setting according to location, preference, and cultural norms.
With that in mind, I’d like to finally talk about one of my crazy crunchy hippie ways that often elicits a strong reaction: family cloth. I mean – I’ve given up shampoo for the month, so I may as well tell you all of my crazy secrets…
original photo via flickr cc
Family cloth is a phrase used for washable, cloth toilet ‘paper’. I use it and I love it.
1. Clean wipes
2. Something to hold the used wipes
3. A washing machine with hot water and detergent.
Most people have a wetbag in their bathroom for the used wipes, and a cute basket or what-have-you for the clean ones. I keep mine in a basket on a little shelf behind the toilet.
Conveniently for me, my used ones actually go right into the dirty diaper pail within easy reach from the toilet. When we stop cloth diapering, I’ll probably just use one of my travel zippered wetbags and hang it from the paper TP holder (yes, I will ALWAYS have paper TP on hand for company, don’t fret!)
Walk into the bathroom and grab a wipe. Use dry or wet with water (your choice).
(I like to use it dry for #1 and wet for #2. In either scenario, I feel immensely cleaner than when I use paper. The cloth wipe is just… sturdier and more substantial for those purposes.)
Use your wipe as needed, then toss in the appropriate sealed bag or container until wash day (a couple of days max is my recommendation.) Easily washed with cloth diapers, or by themselves as a small load on hot. I would throw them in with my regular laundry if it were just #1 wipes. For #2 I prefer to use hot water (for #1 I’m ok with just a warm wash, considering that’s what I do with any clothes or bedding that have been accidentally peed on).
How did you get started in it?
I cloth diapered my first baby from the get-go (as soon as his teeny little legs beefed up a little to fit the diapers I had bought). We didn’t want to buy expensive cloth wipes that are sold by the cloth diaper companies for a million bucks, so we marched ourselves down to the big-box store and got a pack of cheapie baby washcloths.
I think it was around $6 for 10 of them. We got a couple of packages, and those were our designated baby wipes. Then one time a few years ago I read a post about it somewhere. Probably from this wise friend. And then my curiosity was piqued, and it was just a matter of time.
Isn’t it super gross?
I fear I’m overstating the obvious here, but bear with me. We cleaned all three of our kids’ poopy bums off with those cloths, washed them in our washing machine, and used them over and over again.
Got that? We wiped poop and pee… washed them… and reused them. The only argument that is usually left standing after getting the basics out of the way is simply the ick factor. People think it’s just gross.
Of course, that’s a totally subjective judgment, right? I personally don’t think it’s really any grosser than cloth diapers. And cloth diapering is becoming way more mainstream than it used to be (since disposables came on the scene.)
Can I be a part-timer?
Absolutely, 100% yes. I am part-time at best since I don’t currently have a system set up in my upstairs bathroom. I use the main floor one all day long and it’s where my diaper pail is (and it’s close to the laundry room) so for now I’m good with that. And of course, it’s advisable to keep cloth TP on hand for guests (and resistant husbands…)
Some people also like to use it for just #1 and not have to deal with #2. Personally, I love it for both. I find it so much more comfortable and luxurious feeling. I feel cleaner. I also use it for ‘that time of the month’ which is extra-awesome. We ladies tend to feel icky in those days because it’s tough to get totally clean with just paper. With a warm, wet cloth, I feel like I’m actually getting 100% clean. Full disclosure: sometimes I tag team it and use a bit of paper to wipe first, then a wet cloth for a more thorough clean.
Doesn’t it smell bad in your bathroom?
Nope. Not if the container or bag is sealed/zipped and the contents washed every 2-3 days.
Save money. Save the environment. Those are big enough reasons for me. You may make a different choice for your family, and that’s cool too. I just wanted to give you a rundown on how we do it because people have asked.