I like this quest - it's easy and straightforward....but a lot people don't get it, and I'm not sure why. Where the resistance comes from? I think to have any interest in this quest - you have to be quite frugal, pretty "green", and prefer to function outside the norm. You don't care what anyone else "thinks" - and in that....I feels it's more than a toilet paper quest....it's an excellent indicator of where you're at with yourself on an empowered, independent, centered level.
There are plenty of people out there, who are vegan, or raw, and only wear organic clothing, buy organic, and fair-trade, and drive around in eco-cars, and are highly conscious of their carbon-footprint. They spend a lot of money to help the planet, and....they most likely buy recycled toilet paper. I would assume. I hope. But, Sometimes at that level - it becomes more about not getting 'caught' at not being green. Like an obsession, it can switch gears (energy) - and become more about self-image.....about status, and ego, and pride. It does, it happens....and quite easily. Still - I wonder, can someone display their cloth bum wipes, as proudly as they do their ever so slightly brown-tinted TP (on their bamboo toilet paper holder)? You know, there's a huge stigma to brown toilet paper! That's just crazy!!! It's the same with white table salt, white sugar, white flour - whose ideas are those? Of course, we're slowly getting over ourselves - finally - thank God, where having gray tinted salt, or brown tinted sugar - doesn't mean we're "dirty" and "poor". It actually means we're pretty smart, and healthy!
I don't understand how the cloth diaper movement can be so massive. How kids in cloth can be so "cool", their parents so "hip", but it stops at toilet paper. It makes perfect sense to replace paper towels with cloth, diapers with cloth, baby wipes with cloth. Why not TP?? It's one of those things that doesn't catch on, till enough weirdos start doing it....and someone takes the time to make a documentary on the horrors surrounding the industry, and blah, blah, blah. Well......there is a growing movement of TP-Free weirdos, and you can get on board...and when it becomes the popular thing green thing to do - friends can say, "oh so-and-so has been doing that for years!"
I live with other adults that absolutely, never, no-way, would ever use anything but toilet paper. They won't use my homemade soap either, and they don't believe anything I have to say about phytates....and I've never seen either of them drink a glass of water. There are some people who under no circumstance would ever go out on a limb. And, to do make any drastic changes - for no reason at all...well - it's just plain ridiculous.
What's ridiculous is - Americans use more than 3.2 million tons of toilet paper annually, cutting down 54 million trees in the process. The production of each roll requires an average of 37 gallons [140 liters] of water. The average American uses 57 sheets of toilet paper per day, about 3.7 gallons of water per day figured for just for the manufacturing process!
Not so long ago (in North America anyway) - folks wiped their bottoms with corn cobs....that was normal. A pail of cobs in the john, was a welcomed sight. Sears and Roebuck catalogs replaced cobs - they were free, delivered to your home, and you could read them. It was such a big hit - that it gave birth to the toilet paper industry, to which there seems to be no reinventing. Yes, we now have the option of wet wipes, and bidets are slowly making a comeback, as more useful than extravagant, which might lead to less TP use? Thing is - toilet paper isn't something you can use conservatively. I've lived with toilet paper police..it's stressful. It should be the one place you can sit, relax, and escape from everything. In that sense - I do understand why people like to have the basic comforts at hand, but in all seriousness...this quest isn't asking you to go without wiping...it's just asking you change the material you wipe with.
It's not hygienic - If it's safe enough to use cloth diapers on babies, it's safe, and actually does a better job than paper.
It's messy and gross - Again, no more gross than cloth diapers. The clothes aren't soaked with urine, and full of mushy poop. Yes, they're soiled, and they can be a little stinky, but if done correctly - your hands need never touch the soiled cloths - till they're clean, and ready to reuse.
What will guests think? - You don't have to go 100% TP-Free. You can still have a roll of toilet paper available for big jobs, and if you can't bare the thought of guests finding out - you can keep your wipes in a lidded basket, or hanging in a nice cloth dispenser bag close by. Most likely - no one will ever think twice.
Simple, easy, never run out of toilet paper again, money-saving, and of course earth-friendly!
THE MIND SET
All the reasons why someone can't take on this kind of challenge are in the head. The argument can be made - that it's just as good as toilet paper, but I honestly - it's better.
If you could a imagine the most royal or royalty, the highest of high - sitting on their personal thrown, doing some dirty work, in your mind....are they reaching for a wad of 2-ply? Of course not! First of all - there's a servant to perform that task 😉 and nothing touches the most glorious royal bottoms, expect the finest silk, or softest egyptian 1,000 count cotton. Of course, it's burned after the fact, or maybe auctioned off? Point being - it's silly to take this quest too seriously. Treat yourself royally....you can slowly build up a stock of the finest fabrics available. Although to really embrace the quest, it should be organic, unbleached, undyed, and all that. Stay away with from organic bamboo. The processes necessary to turn bamboo into fabric are far from eco-friendly, and not at all healthy!
CONTAINER FOR SOILED WIPES
A small plastic pail with lid - This depends on how into decor you are. Some people are happy with a $3 5-gallon bucket & lid from Walmart.
A small garbage pail w/ lid can run around $6, and there are lots of sleek options if you look for cloth diaper pails...some that come with the washing liners included.
If you have a lot of house-guests...a pail may lead to some confusion, as people might think it's a trash can, use it - and find out your secret! 😉
If you have a sewing machine handy - you can put together a nice hanging bag. I would get some heavy mil plastic to sew inside as a liner. Or you can buy them ready-made.
If you're like me you have the best of intentions, but not always the money or time to pull off perfection. I ended up using some remnant flannel I had on hand, and some old t-shirts, and other items that were slated for the rag bin. I didn't even sew them....I just tore them into squares. And, I have yet to sew together a bag. There's no room in my bathroom for another bin. I just toss them in a plastic grocery bag, hung on a hook. Sad, I know....especially for the Queen of Crafting. :/
I think the sewn, double-sided wipes are way cute, and eventually I'll get that done. Since it's just myself and James that use them, there's no pressure to impress anyone with the beauty of TP-Free.
In my opinion the best route would be a small plastic trash can, with a lid...and a net washing bag liner! You should be able to find them just about anywhere, or Google "dedicates mesh laundry bag". This way, all the soiled wipes go into the mesh bag (inside the can), and you just pull the bag out, close it up, and toss it in the washing machine, and right into the dryer. When it's all clean and dry, you can pull out the wipes, and roll or fold pretty, or....you can just have two mesh bags. Hang the clean one on a hook beside the toilet, and place the second mesh liner in the can. Keep rotating them.
If any wipes are soiled beyond solution - just toss them out. No big deal. It's easy to come by more wipes. You can get about a dozen out of an old t-shirt. I've never had a problem. I wash in cold water, with my homemade laundry soap. I do wash wipes separately, in a "small" load. I leave the lid open on the washer, so it fills with water, agitates, but never drains/spins. I leave them to soak for a bit, then reset the washer to the beginning of the "wash" cycle (agitate more), and close the lid. Everything comes out clean.
There's more and more folks selling handmade wipes online, and cloth feminine products as well. If you're short on time, want something nice, and money isn't short - support these indie sellers.
Think about having a basket of dry wipes, and a container of wet wipes. You can use any plastic container, but of course a used baby wipes container is ideal. Soak the wipes in something gentle...distilled water with a drop or two of your homemade liquid soap, and a few drops of essential oil! Nothing harsh...try chamomile, lavender, Calendula, comfrey, geranium, rosewood, palmarosa, or rose. These are the gentlest E/Os and safe for tiny tot tushies!! If you want to go extra royal - consider getting yourself a baby wipe warmer!! Oh yeah! I've seen them time to time at Goodwill. I have no idea why I haven't ever grabbed one?!? Weird.
That's it. Rip up some rags, lay 'em on the back of the toilet, and right this quest off as "DONE"!! 😛