Monday, October 20, 2014

The Family Cloth Movement – Get Your Wipe On

 (Feel free to skip to bottom to see my instructions for cloth wipes out of bath towels.)

What is family cloth?

It is a piece of cloth that is used in lieu of toilet paper that can be washed and used again and again. It can either but kept dry for use or like baby wipes kept damp. There you have it, simple. Below is the two of the first websites that I researched to learn about Family Cloth.

To be honest when I first time heard of this I thought is was crazy and that it would just add more for me to do. My baby was between 1-3 months old and I was doing mainly cloth diapers with the supplanting (hope that is the right word) of disposable diapers (learning the way of the cloth diapering). I was only using disposable wipes at this time and was researching cheaper alternatives to disposable wipes or how to make my own (see my post on baby wipes for my method, successes, and failures).

Long story short I used cloth baby wipes now and love it and have been doing it for 10+ months. So the crazy idea of doing family cloth seemed less and less crazy. From my previous post (link below) I discussed getting a bidet, and with that purchased I also planned on switching to cloth wipes.

Choosing the Material

§  Flannel wipes: Old flannel sheets or stained receiving blankets.
§  Terry cloth: Old towels into cloth wipes. Others use a soft fabric called “baby terry,” available at fabric stores.
§  Cotton or Bamboo Velour
§  Cotton or Bamboo Fleece
§  Old T-shirts
§  Mixed fabric: Terry cloth on one side; flannel on the other.

I am all about saving money and try to up cycle as much of possible to prevent waste. So for me in selecting a material I wanted to use something I already had. Here are my four attempts for making our cloth wipes.

 Attempt 1: Flannel
I already cut up old flannel nightgowns and receiving blankets to make my baby’s wipes and diapers. So currently not option till he is potty trained. This would have been the BEST option.

Attempt 2: Fleece
I have ton of leftover fleece from an old blanket that I cut up for fleece liners for my baby’s diapers.
I cut a few up in the traditional 8x5 in sections for wipes and tried it out. It only lasted for day. Maybe it is the wrong kind of fleece but it does not absorb any moisture and leaves you still wet (I should have known this because I use the fleece as a liner for night time diapering, so my baby feels dry).

Attempt 3: Cotton Blend

I have ton of remnant material from past projects and inherited material from my mother. I made some beautiful 8x5 rectangles and surged the right sides together.

Though they look lovely and they did not do the job of making one dry. And I guess looks do not matter when wiping one’s bum.

Attempt 4: Terry cloth/Bath towels
While going through these different materials, my husband mentioned that he ended using his bath towel to dry (upon finding himself with nothing to use). IDEA! I pulled out some old bath towels that we no longer use and cut them into 8 x 5 inch rectangles. Below are the instructions.
Step 1: Select bath towel.
Step 2: Cut into 8 x 5 inch sections
Step 3: Surge edges or sew with zigzag or fray stitch. (Important: edges will fray and leave tiny bits of material everywhere.) 
Step 4: Place near toilet and use. ENJOY! (make sure you have a bin to place them when used and wash on hot)


  1. Have you tried making cloth menstrual pads? I'm kinda tempted by the idea, and this reminds me of that... I haven't tried it yet but they seem SO much more comfortable than the chemical nightmare of regular pads.

    1. I have not, but i have been think about trying. I had a friend in oregon make some and it look super easy. This would save money (about $4 a month) and yes I don't like the plastic feeling and they do not allow you to breath down there. I hesitant to make the them because i love tampons. But given time i just might because it will be one less thing to have to rely on.

  2. Same here... Tampons are my favorite, but it'd be nice to have some breathable cloth pads for nights or those extra-heavy days where tampons just aren't tough enough.

    I'll send you pics and patterns if I get around to actually making some!

    1. Hey i just heard about these and i am excited with the idea for saving money on non-toxic