Check out my new book, The Non-Toxic Avenger: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You, available from Amazon.

2012 Silver winner in the Health/Medicine/Nutrition Category of the Independent Publishers Book Awards

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How do you wipe?

Cloth Wipe Challenge 2008It's day two of the 2008 Cloth Wipe Challenge and I wanted to check in with y'all on how things are starting out. I suspect that, like last year, many of you started even before yesterday. It seems like once you get hit by cloth wipe fever, there's no stopping you!

Any questions come up yet? What kind of system are you using for storage and washing? How are you liking things so far? Do you think you'll make it until the 30th? Are you in cloth wipe heaven, hell or purgatory?

Just out of strange curiosity since we're discussing wiping and all, here's a poll that will provide much needed entertainment in these challenging times of political craziness, economic turmoil and end of days talk. What could be more fascinating than how you wipe?



I'm always intrigued by people's personal hygiene habits (in case that wasn't totally obvious by now) and not just from a scatological perspective. There's the cultural aspect of bathroom behavior, of course, but it all comes down to: how did you learn how to wipe? Does anyone ever even remember? Were you shown or did you just figure it out?

I imagine this post will get me some weird traffic. Again.

32 comments:

Latigo Liz said...

I just can’t get behind the whole cloth wipe movement...just...can’t...do it.

knutty knitter said...

Ummmm... about that poll... no#1 in front, no#2 behind??

cloth wipes for no#1 but the rest not yet. I need to find a good replacement for wet wipes for hubby and his furry heiny. Possibly some sort of spray would do it.

viv in nz

Gracia Fraile said...

I wish I could make that effort and change that... I realize we use way too much toilet paper (and we're not wasters!) but I don't think I can...

Tara said...

Knitter - yes, me too - I assumed the poll meant #2 since it said "hiney". :)

Robj98168 said...

Knutty Knitter- I use a Bidet ole and the shower to keep my furry butt clean and happy. The down side is amazon seems to be out and does not know when and if they will be available again. Just google Bidet Ole and you can find them at Shop.com. Or for the more affluent there is the Biffy or the Clean Butt spa

Freth :0p said...

I noticed that all this #1 stuff is women ... men don't wipe (just shake) after #1. And I don't see a lot jumping on the #2 bandwagon ....

Anonymous said...

When it comes to hemorrhoids and such ... wiping #2 can be uncomfortable ... I've resorted to a Biffy and my wife swears by it.

Katy said...

I have to say that I was totally grossed out by this challenge and wasn't going to participate.

Then last night we ran out of TP. I was SURE I had another stash in the apartment, until I realized I had given my "extras" to a friend not too long ago. So. Cloth wipe it was. And guess what...

I'm still alive.

agreenfire said...

I am not participating in this challenge but I admire those who are. I just switched to cloth napkins, and have decided to slowly reduce my paper consumption. Giving up TP, even if it is just for number 1, is way down on my list.

I do remember how I learned to wipe. My mom taught me.

emerzim said...

This challenge is working great for me! I'm home a lot during the day and I drink a lot of water so I keep finding myself running out of wipes and needing to cut more. But that is easy to do. I did accidentally flush one yesterday (habit, you know?), but I haven't seen any ill effects yet...

Kim from Milw said...

I've used cloth for #1 for about a year now...gotta say I LOVE IT! I haven't been able to get myself to switch to cloth or just water for #2 yet...Rob, thanks for the bidet info, I may get one of those Biffys, they look nifty!!

To add a footnote: when I read about the clearcutting of Canadian forests for our toilet paper (Cottonelle even!) that's when I really got angry and wanted to 'stick it to them' by not purchasing any more toilet paper. I thought Cottonelle was made from good ole cotton, but no, it's virgin wood. They sure fooled me.

Rosa said...

I use cloth on me, and my bf is still using paper. I have a lidded garbage can (we used it as a cloth-diaper pail). It's convenient, because our 3 year old is still not all the way potty trained, so I can drop wet pants in there with my wipes. I do about one load of pee & poop laundry a week (I do mine separately, just like I always did diapers).

I really prefer the cloth. It just feels a lot cleaner, and I can use a damp one if i want. I already had a stack of baby washcloths that we used to use for baby wipes, so i use those.

My son, if I help him use the potty I use a cloth wipe on his butt, if his dad helps his dad uses paper, and if he goes on his own he just doesn't wipe and I end up with poopy pants to wash even though he used the potty. I do not know how to convince him he has to wipe, if just the icky feeling doesn't do it.

(I didn't join the challenge last year but it got me thinking, so I gradually moved over. We still *have* paper tp, so it doesn't feel like a radical change, but we are still on the 8pack I bought in...April?)

bekahcubed said...

I intended to do just number 1 with cloth--but figured "what the heck" once I actually got started. I put my wipes in a ice cream bucket of water (with a wee bit of bleach) under my sink--the same bucket I use for my menstrual cloths.

My mom taught me how to wipe--and she and the doctor reminded me often to wipe from front to back. I had a lot of UTI's 'cause little girls forget sometimes!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the cloth wipes. I bought 3 - 18count packs of cheap washcloths and am using those.(I chose a different color & weight from our regular washcloths.) I am currently only using them for #1. I have a small mesh lingerie washing bag that hangs off of the TP holder to put the used wipes in. I keep the clean wipes in a canvas bag under the vanity. (For the 1st few months I was folding them!) I also put away an additional pack of washcloths with my emergency supplies.
Thanks for the challenge, Crunchy! And thanks to all who shared their ideas last year.

katecontinued said...

Rob, I remember 22 years ago in the Manhattan interior design firm where my co-workers and I laughed and laughed at the Japanese version of the Clean Butt toilet seat. "Oh, what has the world come to?" - we asked while wiping our eyes.

Or 35 years when I bought my first menstual sponge. I cracked up the women in my consciousness raising group with replaying the scene of me racing to the sinks in the public toilet - with a bloody hand - to quick rinse the sponge and run back to the stall."Oh, what has the world come to?" - we asked while wiping our eyes.

And I roared with laughter in '78 in Nebraska when Johnny Carson made jokes about New Yorkers having to pick up their dog's poop. "Oh, what has the world come to?" - we asked while wiping our eyes.

dahlia said...

i've been using cloth wipes after peeing for months, and during the challenge am upping the ante and using them all the time.

i am not a mama and not used to laundering poopy things and feel a bit squicked by it. i fear that my washer's hot setting alone isn't enough to be truly hygenic, and am not willing to bleach something i'm going to use on my tenderest parts. directions online about 47 steps for laundering are a bit daunting! i'd love to hear suggestions on the simplest ways to do a truly hygenic wash without bleach, please!

Anonymous said...

Since Crunchy is so interested and all that -- in the morning I wipe pee with last night's hankie; at night, I use my knickers. Both get tossed in the laundry basked. In the day, if I'm at home, I use a bit of cut up tee shirt, and into the basket. At work, their TP. The fact that I'm one of the few who answered "all of the above" suggests why I'm not using cloth for #2 -- yet -- though I've been know to wash with one of the bits of tee-shirt and toss it in the rubish tied up in one of those plastic bags the free (and unwanted) newspaper comes in.

I have yet to try cloth on any family members, except that if I'm in the loo with my younger daughter at night, I'll use her knickers on her.

I have no idea how I learned to wipe.

MEA -- who is now going to change her name and move to another country after being, yet again, the queen of TMI

Rosa said...

dahlia, I use non-chlorine bleach and sun-dry my wipes. If any of us are sick, I wash the hankies & wipes & anything else with body fluids using chlorine bleach.

I don't presoak or anything, but I do have a high-quality, high-efficiency front-loading washing machine that spot-heats water.

One of the great things about using mostly cloth (cleaning rags, dinner napkins, menstrual pads, snot rags) is that when I *do* buy paper products I can afford to buy the 100% recycled stuff. My boyfriend tried to switch out the 7th generation tissues for cheapos last time we were at the store because they were "too expensive" and I convinced him to stick with the expensive stuff because we buy about 4 boxes a year (for guests, and I keep them at my desk at work so my coworkers can borrow them).

Laura said...

Having been inspired by your first challenge, my boyfriend and I use homemade cloth for ones and twos. (He is more on board with the twos than I am.)
We have two seperate ceramic dry jars with lids. Baskets of clean wipes on one side of the toilet, ceramic (cookie) jars on the other side. We drop in a bit of baking soda every so often.

Ones get washed once a week or so. Twos maybe a little longer.

The only real problem I have found is washing the twos. Sometimes there is some...errr...residue left in the washer and I have to wash them again. :/ I wash with hot water, seperate load, seventh generation powder, in our old clunky washing machine. This is my main problem with the twos, the washing. I don't want to waste the water washing twice, but I'm not sure what else to do.

I am also a cloth pad gal. My flow is light enough that I just throw them in the laundry pile. Done. :D

Anonymous said...

Ok, I have to believe I am supposed to do this challenge (although a little late) because this is my second time reading it and because until a little while ago I didn't know what you would make the wipes out of. After reading, flannel, it hit me. I have a box of almost 50 scraps of flannel from blankets I used to make. And they are already cut into perfect size 61/2 inch squares! If that is not a sign, I don't know what is. I am going to start with #1 tomorrow and after a week, depending on how it goes, try #2. Of course all this will be done without the knowledge of the rest of my family. They would probably be disgusted. I don't know why, we used to use cloth diapers.

Now I am looking for a wipe box to put the wet ones in. Also, not sure yet how I will "store" the used #2's until washing. Also, we have no hot water in our washing machine, so don't know how I will do that unless I do them in a bucket first with boiling water and then in the machine.

Well, I am off to put some in my bathroom - hidden away!

Anonymous said...

Laura,

Try rinsing them in the toilet (after you flush) like you do cloth diapers. That will get rid of any - sorry - chunks. Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

i am a new cloth wipe user. i tried before and stopped, i was using those big washcloths because i had so many. too bulky, too much laundry. now i'm trying the cut up shirts/flannel. much better, even for 2s. to keep them, in a large yogurt cup with a lid until i can put them in my hamper.

problem is i'm newly dating, when is too soon to answer that question, "What's that pile of t-shirt scraps on the back of the toilet?"!!

Robj98168 said...

Kate contrinued- I must ask- did you wash your hands before wiping your eyes???



Wiping my eyes here

Chile said...

When Crunchy ran this challenge last year, I just couldn't deal with ... chunks ... on #2 wipes. I found a method that worked for me and eliminated residue issues (which would also eliminate the possibility of using greywater from the washing machine in the garden!)

I have a small Tupperware container (4 1/2" across x 3 1/2" high) with a lip all the way around, making it easy to hold. I fill it partway with water before I sit down. When I am done, I grab a wipe to rest on my leg. I use my right hand to dump the water slowly down my backside while cleaning with my left hand. The water is washing everything off the bum and hand.

I can dry the left hand quickly with the wipe resting on my leg (preventing dripping water anywhere reaching for a wipe) and then dry my bum. The clean but damp wipe gets tossed in the bucket with the #1 wipes for weekly washing. Hands are thoroughly washed!

To wash wipes, I add washing soda and hot water to the bucket. I agitate the wipes briefly and let soak for a couple of hours. Then toss in the washer with other laundry and wash normally. Everything is line-dried in the sun.

MEA, I think I've taken over as Queen of TMI...

Erika said...

My only problem with this challenge has been that it's been rainy/drizzly and I've been putting off laundry and hoping for either dry weather to dry outside, or a drying rack/indoor line to appear (courtesy of DH...)... and I've nearly run out of space in my bin for the used wipes... but since I'm starting a load tonight... I think I'll be okay.

knutty knitter said...

Thanks rob. We are going to put in a new bidet in the new bathroom - the new bathroom we prepared for 3 years back and then ran out of money to finish!! Chile's idea of hand and water looks good too.

will see what happens when I suggest it.

viv in nz

Nadine said...

I started the cloth wipes over the weekend for pee. I keep the cleans stacked neatly in the bottom drawer of my bathroom vanity (in easy reach) and I've been putting the dirties in a small plastic tub (not something I bought but something from around the house).

I was thinking of soaking them in vinegar before washing. Thoughts?

I'm loving the super soft flannel, so I bet I'll be trying 2s soon.

katecontinued said...

Just a word on space planning . . .
If you are planning a bathroom layout, it is really handy to have the bathtub/shower faucets within reach of the toilet. My own hand held shower wand is next to the toilet. The German design is set a predetermined temperature, so I don't have to fiddle with hot and cold.

I had no idea I'd be moving towards a no toilet paper lifestyle, but the layout of my bathroom and the faucet decision have made this whole experience much easier and more rational than using paper.

Red said...

Just a quick question here to clarify something. Are we talking cloth washrags, as in the ones we use to wash ourselves in the shower.

Or, are we referring to the store bought disposable wipes. For we are trying not to purchase and or use anything disposable, or at least curtail it. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Going Crunchy said...

I use cloth washcloth wipes for #1 and regular TP for #2. Just can't seem to do cloth for #2.....though I admit we made the change when we stopped using baby wipes when the kids were smaller.

Somehow it seemed less gross for little kid poop? Makes me wonder what the threshhold for saying poop is "grown up."

The boys are, well, boys so they shake and I haven't thought much about the issue lately. Perhaps I should reconsider........

Chili Bean said...

latigo liz, I've got to the bottom of what you were saying!

esther said...

it's funny to read all those comments, 'cause using cloth instead of paper, is to help the environment...but if you replace that with (drinkin) water, that only about 10 percent of humanity possesses, I feel it's making the problem worse...
Personnaly We have a dry compost toilet, great thing! and I have been washing the babywipes from my son (the regular ones, before I got into environmental questions) and use those sometimes as tp. But the tp we do have, is recycled, and after use, thrown on the compost!

great challenge though!!! love it!

LinkWithin