I decided to give up toilet paper after I recently learned my poop was going a really nice holiday. You read that right. I know I sound crazy but hear me out. It seems that after sewage from my hometown is treated, the solids referred to as biosolids, are trucked four hours away to the beautiful Nicola Valley, just outside a town called Merritt.This valley is home to wildlife such as bears, deer, moose and so much more. There are more than 200 lakes and waterways teeming with fish. The rolling hills are ideal for raising cattle. The land is diverse and beckons many outdoor enthusiasts. This is a great place to raise a family; that is except for my poo. So what does this have to do with going green and reusable toilet paper? This new-found knowledge that my feces is going to be used as fertilizer was my inspiration to reduce the amount of waste I flush down the toilet. This is the reason I am giving up toilet paper.
I sat at my sewing machine today and made reusable cloth wipes which will replace our conventional bathroom tissue. (Did I mention I decided to do this while my husband was at work? I will tell you his reaction later.) I cut up an old flannel nightgown into 8″ x 8″ squares to use for this project. Having no real idea what I am doing I decided to make two ply poo wipes and one ply pee wipes. For the poo wipes I sewed them wrong sides together along three edges and flipped them inside out so the ”lovely pink floral pattern” was on the outside and then I finished off sewing the open edge. For the pee wipes I just used a zig zag stitch along the edges to help limit fraying. After I was done I threw all thirty-two wipes in the wash. I am sure this will not be enough cloths for two people, but this is my trial run. Once we get experimenting I will have a better idea of how many we will need and I might want to change the size or style (maybe even find something less pink!)
So just as I finish the laundry my husband comes home and asks how my day was.
I respond, “I made toilet paper”.
He looks at me confused.
“I decided not to use toilet paper any more so I sewed reusable cloth wipes, you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to but I don’t want to add to the biosolid Poo Situation.”
Being familiar with the current problem in Merritt, he was surprisingly agreeable to this implementation. In fact he was the first to use my hand-made cloth wipes!
Let’s get on to your potential questions shall we?
Q: That can’t be sanitary can it?
A: Using reusable cloth wipes is no different from using cloth diapers. If it is sanitary enough to use on a baby’s delicate behind, it is good enough for me.
Q: Are you really going to put cloths you wiped yourself with into your washing machine?
A: For those of you with kids, you know body fluids happen, I cannot imagine that you throw out an outfit or bedding every time your little one has an accident do you?
Q: Aren’t you going to have fecal matter in your laundry suite?
A: First off we switched to using a diaper sprayer as an inexpensive “bidet” a long time ago. After we spray off we are really just drying off with the cloth wipes. Second, we wear undies and even if you cannot see anything on them they have bacteria too and we wash those in the laundry no problem!
Q: Where are you going to put the used cloths?
A: I have a pail with a lid that we will keep in the bathroom. Just to be ironic the pail used to hold honey. That makes it a honey bucket. Get it? Potty humour at its finest.
Q: Won’t your bathroom smell?
A: From everything I read online, the smell is easily managed by doing laundry a couple of times a week. We are not soaking the cloths in the bucket so they won’t start to smell of mildew. I figure a little baking soda should eliminate any potential odors. The bucket also has a lid. I also want to say that we only flush the toilet when we do #2. You know the saying, if it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow, let it mellow? We actually DO this.
Q: What will your company think?
A: When company comes over we hide the bucket we use in the bathroom sink to catch grey water to flush the toilet. We put the lid on the toilet tank and let them flush the toilet normally. We will be understanding that not everyone has the same ideologies as us and we will have regular, flushable toilet paper for them to use.
Q: What about when you have Aunt Flo come to visit?
A: I have yet to work out the details on this one. Worst case scenario I temporarily switch back to flushable toilet paper, best case scenario a little hydrogen peroxide soak gets the cloths stain free. We will see how it goes.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me!
And for those of you curious about my “bidet” sprayer, we bought a set up similar to the one pictured below and it hooks up to the fresh water line connected to your toilet. We got ours cheap at Home Depot. I know you will pay more online if they are marketed as a diaper sprayer. Either way, it works!