Help me with the logistics of transitioning out of paper products - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-26-2012, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would really love to phase out toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels. Toilet paper seems the easiest, logistically, because I can keep a basket of clean ones in the bathroom, then the used ones can go right in the diaper pail and get washed with the diapers. As long as I have a baby in diapers, this will be simple! As for paper towels and tissues, I once designated a stash of prefolds to be "unpaper towels" and hung a bag on a doorknob to put the dirties. They collected for a few days, then I washed them. And since they were sitting wet in a bag, they got all mildewy and gross. Whats the solution for this? Do you throw your dirties in with a load of clothes every day? Seems like an organizing/sorting nightmare. But if I simply kept caught up on laundry and put away clean clothes every day it wouldn't  be a problem ;) Sounds ambitious though!! lol. Our laundry room is like a walk in closet.


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Old 04-26-2012, 04:00 PM
 
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I usually wash our cloth towels with our bath towels. This helps with organization and if they're especially dirty I can run them on a hot load. I like to wash towels on hot since they are wet and might start getting mildewy plus for nose cloths this helps kill any nasties/cold germs. I'm not opposed to washing our cloth towels with our everyday laundry, but I try to keep them separated.


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Old 04-26-2012, 04:01 PM
 
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I love dishtowels as paper towel substitutes. i have large stack and I collect the dirties at the end of every day. They go in with a regular load of towels.. sorted by color so I can brighten the white ones with lemon.
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:35 AM
 
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I always let my "unpaper" dry before putting it in whatever laundry container, but really, I grew up without paper towels, just washcloths and towels. It's the same as I do with my dishcloths. Let them dry overnight, then into the hamper to wash with towels. I only use one or two a day.

 

How many do you anticipate using each day? I just hang mine on my little over the cupboard door style towel rack. It can hold three if need be.

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Old 04-27-2012, 07:50 AM
 
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Similarly, I just hang my wet dishtowels/washcloths over the hamper at the end of the day, then throw them in to hamper in the morning when they are dry.  We go through a few a day, but don't get mildew doing this (and we can only do our wash once a week, shared WDs).  I wash all non-clothes together (sheets, towels, cleaning) on hot.
 

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Old 04-27-2012, 08:20 AM
 
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We call them "rags" and I also grew up doing things this way. If you want to have a receptacle in your kitchen, a bucket might work better than a bag so they have a chance to dry out.

But what DH and I do is when a rag is too used to use again, we put it on the counter by the kitchen sink. When 4-5 accumulate, they are usually fairly dried out, and someone takes the whole pile to the diaper pail on their way to the bathroom.

We go to the diaper pail often enough that this works for now. I'm not sure what we'll do when no babies are in diapers anymore, but I'm thinking it would be nice to keep a small "diaper pail" going even then, esp. if I continue using cloth wipes for TP. Right now it just makes sense to do so!

FYI cheap washcloths make the best rags ever--you can buy multi packs of them and they last a long time! We go through a lot of them every day, with the messes of 2 kids under 3.

I can't imagine how wasteful (and expensive) it would be to use paper products for everything. I wonder what other people with little kids do--paper for that kind of messiness just goes against common sense, kwim?
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:20 AM
 
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I think your solution would be a receptacle with holes in the side. Depending on how much rags you pile up between washings, either a wastebasket (like the metal mesh ones) or a small laundry basket.

 

The holes help prevent mildew since there is some airflow.

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Old 04-27-2012, 09:30 AM
 
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I grew up without paper towels too.  I use old, beat up dish towels and dish clothes as well as true rags (cut up old PJs, etc) for dusting, cleaning, etc.  The key, as PPs have said, is just to make sure they dry before being put into any type of closed container.  Or, get a basket with lots of air circulation to keep them in.  I bought a cheap "office paper" type garbage can at Ikea so it is essentially full of holes.  If I'm cleaning I just collect a pile then take them down to the basket which I keep beside the washing machine.  Really wet ones get draped over the side, but ones that are just damp go right in as there is a substantial amount of air circulating which allows them to dry without getting mildew-y.  When I've collected enough, I do a load of just rags.  It's probably not necessary to do them seperatly since I use kitchen ingredients for my cleaning products, but I don't like the idea of the dirt mingling with my bath towels or kitchen cloths or clothing!


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Old 04-30-2012, 12:39 PM
 
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Like other pp's, I lay wet rags on top of the garbage can to dry overnight or under the bathroom sink to dry before tossing it into the laundry.  If I'm really on the ball, they get downstairs to dry over the laundry sink before I toss them in the household laundry hamper (also in the laundry room, with towels, napkins, rags).  

 

A dedicated mini drying rack (somewhere in the kitchen/bathroom wherever you use your rags the most) might help?

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Old 04-30-2012, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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letting them dry before tossing into a hamper.. its so practical and obvious, I needed someone to TELL me before I could figure it out! Thanks :) I think I can do this! I have loads of old flannel squares  I can hem. I was thinking of designating some prints/colors as "for face" so there's no ick factor of blowing your nose with something thats been used for yuckier things!


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Old 05-09-2012, 03:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiLStar View Post

letting them dry before tossing into a hamper.. its so practical and obvious, I needed someone to TELL me before I could figure it out! Thanks :) I think I can do this! I have loads of old flannel squares  I can hem. I was thinking of designating some prints/colors as "for face" so there's no ick factor of blowing your nose with something thats been used for yuckier things!


Definitely a good idea! This has helped me a lot, to have different rags for different things. I don't use paper towels at all anymore. I have three types of "paperless towels" that I use: kitchen, napkins, and single-use.

 

The kitchen ones are just dish towels. I have a billion and use them for wiping up kitchen spills, cleaning the counter, drying hands, etc.

 

The napkins are cute ones my sister made me a while back that have polka dots and cats on them -- these are for napkin use only, as I get kind of squicked out if I think about wiping up a gross spill and then using it to wipe my mouth later, even if it's been cleaned.

 

The single-use rags were what I had to come up with to finally get to being fully paper towel free. I have a cat; he throws up sometimes. I do NOT want to reuse a cat-barf clean-up rag. Ever. So I take old scraps of fabric (usually cut up old t-shirts or towels that are completely worn out) and use those for really gross tasks, and then throw them out. They would have been thrown out anyway, so I feel less bad about it!


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Old 05-13-2012, 07:12 PM
 
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We have 3 grades of cloth washing here.

 

-Bathroom wipes and rags for cleaning things like the toilet and pet messes are washed together...used to be every other day with diapers, now it's about every 4 or 5 days. (no more diapers, yay!)

-Kitchen rags and hand towels are put in a wicker laundry basket on top of the dryer when they're dirty.  Usually just draped over the side so they can air out and dry 'till they're ready to be washed with whatever load of clothes I do next.  If you're short on space you can always hang a small clothesline of twine over your washer/dryer to drape your wet hand towels over...I do that too.  We are big on utilizing all the space we can.

-Infrequently we have big messes and dog baths that use our "dog towels" so those are done in a load on their own due to the dog hair.

 

I actually have needed to put toilet paper on my shopping list for the past week or so...I keep forgetting I should keep a roll or two in the bathroom for guests!  LOL

 

I keep a stack of rags in my laundry room for messes that I deem too dirty for my kitchen rags and towels and those just get washed with bathroom wipes.


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Old 05-29-2012, 08:56 PM
 
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I have a small woven basket in the kitchen for dirty towels and napkins.  Even with the airflow they don't really dry fast enough to avoid getting stinky so I wash them very frequently - anytime I throw in a load of whites I add the kitchen towels.  I don't use them for anything too gross so don't mind doing them w other clothes.


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