Reusable toilet "paper."

1 metre of flannelette makes 16 wee wipes.

I first heard about wee wipes on the Simple Savings website, back when the kids were little. I was desperately looking for ways to trim money from my grocery budget, but at first sight I wasn’t a fan.

“Eewww!” Wiping yourself with cloth after you do a pee and then washing the cloth? How disgusting!”

But then a few hours later, the logic kicked in. Toilet paper is a recent invention in the course of human history. Using cloth to wipe after urinating, putting the wipes in a bleach solution and then regularly washing them – seems like it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to do. After all, we do the same for babies with nappies!

Back then, I grabbed a worn-out towel and hemmed all the edges. I used those suckers for around 2 years. I had a lidded bucket that I kept in the laundry trough, away from small boys and it was easy to keep the routine going. No one knew… not even the boys.

I don’t think I saved a huge amount of money, but it was more getting into that whole survival mindset of making every dollar last as far as it could. When things eased up financially, the wee wipes gradually disappeared.

Who cares about precision with these things? Near enough is good enough, baby!

When I was in Spotlight buying quilting supplies a couple of weeks ago, while everyone else was in the supermarkets panic-buying everything they could lay their hands on, I saw that they were selling flannelette for $6/metre. On an impulse I bought a metre. Considering the way toilet paper is still really hard to find, I figured that this was pretty cheap insurance. (And far softer than those scratchy old towel wipes that I used to have!!)

Later that week I grabbed a face washer, used it as a template and cut out 16 wipes. I cut them with pinking shears, but then had my doubts as to whether this would effectively stop them fraying. In the end I grabbed them and ran a line of stitching around the edges before I started using them. I know what I’m like – if I waited until I washed them and saw them fraying, I’d probably never get around to doing the sewing. Best to do it while it was still a New Project.

Easiest sewing EVER!!!!! Quilting is such a finicky thing to do… always matching seams and sewing straight and making sure everything is perfect. But this? My lady bits won’t care if corners are ragged and sewing lines are crooked. I just whacked those babies under that needle one by one and raced around them to get the job done as quickly as possible.

A few cautionary things, should you decide to try this.

1. Force of habit is strong. The first time I decided to test this out, before I realised it I’d reached for the toilet paper and torn off a length – even though I’d literally carried the pile of wee wipes into the ensuite not a minute before. I felt like an idiot.

2. Force of habit is strong. The third time I went to use one, I almost dropped it into the toilet after using it!!!!! Imagine if I had’ve done it???? Erk! It then dawned on my mighty intellect that I don’t have to keep a bucket with bleach in the laundry anymore – the boys are grown, the dogs won’t go near it and no-one uses my ensuite except me. so now I have a bucket right beside the loo.

Having used them for a few days and washed them a couple of times, I have to report back that yes, they have frayed a bit but who cares? and amazingly, they are really nice to use. They feel almost luxurious, which is a weird thing to experience when using something like this. You expect the opposite. Or maybe that was just me remembering those scratchy old wipes made from towels, back in the day!

I’ll keep using these while the toilet paper situation is still running rampant. It keeps our stores going for quite a bit longer, so we’re not out competing with the rest of Melbourne for loo paper. I still use toilet paper for um… toileting situations other than just a simple pee. Just thought I’d better make that clear!

Also, environmentally, using reusable wipes is a better thing for the planet. It’s odd how so many frugal things are also environmentally friendly.

But the most important reason for me having these wipes on hand is below. Today I went out to buy some yeast and when I got home I saw this:

Poppy’s handiwork.

If Poppy keeps trying to unroll the toilet paper to get to the toilet roll so she can play with it, these reusable toilet wipes might become an absolute necessity!!!

And finally, a meme that seems to fit the situation we’re finding ourselves in:

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3 Responses to Reusable toilet "paper."

  1. foodnstuff says:

    You don’t need the bleach because urine is sterile. I tear my old flanelette sheets into rags and tomato ties. I use an ordinary large flannel for ‘wee wipes’ (love the name….I call it sopping up the drips). Folded into 4 and refolding a different way, each time, it does several days (you can do these things when you live alone). I wash it out in hot water and hang it on the line and start a new one off. They’re only a dollar to buy and save all that sowing.

  2. Keryn Emmerson says:

    Urine is sterile inside you; if it’s not, you’re in trouble. But it’s not sterile for long in open air, it’s full of nitrogen which is food for bacteria. Keep bleaching them. Also, if you need to make more, consider cutting them on the bias and then running that line of stitching around. Limits the fraying even further. Isn’t it strange that so many things now are actually good for the planet? I do think that our sewerage treatment plants are going to be in trouble soon with people putting tissues and wet wipes down the toilet. Those things just don’t decompose like paper. Sigh.

  3. Pingback: Ecofrugal around the web - March 2020 - Ecofrugals

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