Family Cloth Wipes Trial

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Experiments in Natural Family Living
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have reported on weeklong trials to make their lives a little greener. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Sometimes, it seems overwhelming to see how “well” others do at living sustainably and parenting naturally. . . but when I think about it, I know that every small thing that I do makes a difference, and every baby step that I take leads me to discover a new natural family living experiment to consider.

I feel wonderful that we’re introducing our children to reusable linens and green philosophies – and they’ll carry these convictions and conventions with them as they grow, but there’s one thing that I really never thought I would try.

I’d heard about and read about Family Cloth wipes in the bathroom instead of toilet paper, and the thought just grossed me out. So, for my Natural Family Living Experiment, I faced my fear and introduced Family Cloth wipes to our restrooms. . . . and guess what? I actually ended up liking it! Totally not as gross or off-putting as I thought it would be!


 My Natural Family Living Experiment- Family Cloth Wipes 

 The Wipes: 
I sewed together scraps of fabric that I had from diaper making and the Joanns remnants bin. My final pattern ended up being flannel on one side with organic bamboo fleece (OBF) on the other, sewn together right sides together, overlocked with a zig zag stitch, pressed, and turned and top-stitched (which required more pressing). They are about 7 1/4 inches long and 5 inches wide, and even after shrinking in the wash, they are a perfect size for an adult palm.

My Homemade Family Cloth Wipes, Photo Credit: Author

I decided to tread carefully at first and introduce the cloth wipes only for “#1s” . . . I figured if I made that my goal, I could feel good about achieving it, and then maybe move past it, if I felt comfortable enough.

 The Transition:
I thought that it would feel weird to use cloth wipes, or that Abbey might accidentally throw one in the potty and flush it down, but neither of those things turned out to be true. It honestly feels so luxurious to wipe with cloth! The flannel is warm, fleece on my palm is oh so soft, and no annoying toilet paper left behind – ever!

Abbey didn’t really even skip a beat when I told her to use the cloth wipes. I placed them on the back of the toilet, told her we were going to use them to wipe instead of toilet paper, and “okay mommy!” away she went. I’ve been washing them in my cloth diaper loads every two days.

 The Result: 
Not only were Abbey and I comfortable using the cloth wipes for “#1s”, but Abbey started using them for “#2s” as well. She loves that she can wipe herself easily, and that for the most part, she doesn’t have to be checked for stray streaks or paper bits left behind, because the cloth wipes do a great job of cleaning up, and don’t “rip and stick” in her little bum.

This is fantastic for my little Miss Independent.


 So, experiment successful! I’ll be sewing up more and more Family Cloth wipes in the near future, and maybe (just maybe) I’ll start using the cloth wipes for my “#2s” (TMI, I know!) and see how that goes.

I was really surprised with how much toilet paper I have to use when I wipe even after peeing in order to get the same coverage and thickness of a cloth wipe. That’s tons of money and paper waste, when I can just use cloth instead!

Many of my fellow NPN Volunteers have assured me that they use Family Cloth for pee, but haven’t transitioned for poos at all. So, apparently it’s not uncommon (or a cop-out) to only go “half-way” cloth in the restroom. Whew! What a relief!


What do you think about cloth bathroom wipes (aka Family Cloth)?

Do you use them in your home?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


  1. There are a lot of us new family-clothers out there! I figured I should go whole hog and try it for #2, too. Sometimes it grossed me out, but it helped if I rinsed with my bidet a lot first. What? You don’t have a bidet? You’re missing out. ;)

    I like your version of wipes! I need to make some more.

  2. I used mine post-partum (before this I had not used them when I was menstruating), and I have no stains! Anyway, I love me some family cloth. TP just cannot compare.

  3. Lauren, I have a diaper sprayer. . . but I think if I used that like a bidet, I would make one hell of a mess ;)

    Dionna, that’s amazing – no stains! All the talk about how pampering your family cloth was at the NPN get-together at your house was what really set me in motion with trying it!

  4. Interesting. I’d never even considered it. I might give this some thought… seems a great way to save money and create less waste!

  5. Yay to another successful cloth experimenter. I too loved the luxury feeling. I used mine for #2 after washing myself with water first. I’d love a bidet but a jar of water works well in the meantime!

  6. I would NOT try this at home. Our laundry mountain with 3 kids is already the size of Everest, and takes weeks to get through, so family cloth would be oh so yucky here! Hats off to you for trying, and really delighted your experience was so positive.

  7. It does seem much easier while already washing diapers. Fun to read about your adventure and kudos for trying it when you initially felt uncomfortable. Facing fears can be so powerful.

    When we were at a low financial point a few years ago I made the switch to save money and just caught the used cloths in a mesh bag so they could be washed daily or every other day. We really like it, too. Sometimes we use TP and sometimes cloth. Come to think of it I am sure at least one child prefers the cloth because she often uses them and just throws them in the diaper pail. LOL It’s nice to have a choice these days. :)

  8. Im definitely going to give this a shot in the near future, but only for #1′s too :)

  9. I’m open to a lot of reusable products (or will at least consider them), but I have to draw the line at reusable wipes in the bathroom. Not even to keep around for “we’re out of toilet paper” emergencies. :-)

  10. lol Cassandra, that’s what I thought, too! “I draw the line at wiping MY butt with cloth!” was my response to all my NP friends saying that Family Cloth was da bomb. . . until I went out on a limb and tried it!

    Now, I have to say that because we cloth diaper, a little smear of adult poo or pee is NOTHING compared to spraying out diapers (which really isn’t all that gross anyway) or the ammonia smell of a diaper pail as you’re putting the diapers in the wash. So having been a cloth diapering mama, I was already desensitized to the “ick” factor.

    I can see how this seems icky from your perspective ;) <3 love you!

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