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#1 of 38 Old 12-03-2008, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We've been moving toward less waste and more reusing in our house lately, but there are just some things I'm having trouble with.

I can't get rid of tissues for nose wiping! It's so silly. I know I should just go out and buy some handkerchiefs, but I can't. Someone help me get over this! And should I use real hankies, or just get some fabric scraps first? And what's the softest fabric to use on sensitive noses during cold season?

Still use dental floss -- I'm guessing no one has a reusable version out there. It drives me nuts to throw it away EVERY DAY, but really, how would you clean a reusable version? Does anyone do this? It's as much about the floss as the non-recyclable container that sits around for a few weeks and gets tossed...

Q-tips -- any alternatives?
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#2 of 38 Old 12-03-2008, 09:50 PM
 
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only tissues i can help with in my house what gets used most is the fleece it is soooooo soft. oh so cute designs, easy to care for, easy to clean, super cheap and easy to make no sewing. they get folded (most times just put in with no folding) and put in a wooden or wicker basket.
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#3 of 38 Old 12-03-2008, 10:06 PM
 
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I like old flannel for nose-wiping - cut up an old pair of pajama pants, then sew or serger the edges (I did not do that and now all the stray threads end up in a big tangle in the washer).

I don't have an alternative for floss, but I do buy the largest container so at least it last longer before throwing out.

I would like an alternative to plastic toothbrushes...anyone? Even if it has to be disposable, there's the health/safety issue - especially for DS who really likes to chew on his toothbrush.

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#4 of 38 Old 12-03-2008, 10:54 PM
 
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I like old flannel for nose-wiping - cut up an old pair of pajama pants, then sew or serger the edges (I did not do that and now all the stray threads end up in a big tangle in the washer).

I don't have an alternative for floss, but I do buy the largest container so at least it last longer before throwing out.

I would like an alternative to plastic toothbrushes...anyone? Even if it has to be disposable, there's the health/safety issue - especially for DS who really likes to chew on his toothbrush.
i have seen ones made of wood (dont ask where).
we use the eletric ones with replaceable tips atleast it is less waste and i find they get chewed less so they last longer.
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#5 of 38 Old 12-03-2008, 11:57 PM
 
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I love EcoDent floss. It comes in a cardboard box that can be recycled, instead of plastic, and the floss is super cheap, and several regular boxes combined.
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#6 of 38 Old 12-04-2008, 02:57 PM
 
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our coop has toothbrushes where the head pops out and you put a new one in. they make kid ones, too. The brand is Eco Dent. I think there might be a coupla different companies that make these. The heads seem pretty secure, but if you have a kid who still chews a lot, I might wait a little longer. I'd get a color you really like if you go this route, though.

Yeah, the floss gets me too - why can't Tom's of Maine make a refill spool to go in the old box?!?!?:

I found some lovely new vintage hankies at the thrift store. I bet cut-up T-shirts would also work well, too - they don't fray too much, and are soft. And whose kid doesn't have a favorite T-shirt that they've outgrown but don't want to part with? Ala Henkes' "Owen".
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#7 of 38 Old 12-04-2008, 09:43 PM
 
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I use hemp jersey in my business, so I always have small pieces leftover. I cut these pieces in to squares or rectangles and use them. No need to hem or anything. They don't ravel. I keep a basket full of them on the table. They can be used for cleaning, napkins, noses or whatever they are needed for. I was using them to wash dishes with until I started knitting my own washcloths.

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#8 of 38 Old 12-05-2008, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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EcoDent... I'll have to look for that. And it looks like the flannel jammies I'm wearing will soon be nose wipes, since the elastic waist is shot and I can't keep 'em up!
Thanks, everyone!
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#9 of 38 Old 12-05-2008, 02:57 PM
 
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I would like an alternative to plastic toothbrushes...anyone? Even if it has to be disposable, there's the health/safety issue - especially for DS who really likes to chew on his toothbrush.
Wood handle with boar bristles. The combo is not easy to find... I can find boar bristles with a plastic handle or plastic bristles with a wood handle easier. I don't know anything about this company, but a google for "wood handle toothbrush" turned it up.

As for hankies, I switched us over by just stopping buying tissues one day. We went to buy DH a suit for my grandfather's funeral and they had a pack of hankies there, which I thought would be a good idea for the occasion. We've been tissue free ever since.

Really any plain cotton or natural fiber. You want one that if it's colored is dyed rather than painted (front looks the same as the back), since the paint makes the fabric stiff. Muslin works nicely if you pink or serge the edges. So does a nice thick flannel.

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#10 of 38 Old 12-05-2008, 04:12 PM
 
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The best for nose wiping, hands down, is bamboo velour. BETTER than actual tissues. I am a WAHM with a sewing business and I am working on sourcing a tissue box, because I've been making bamboo velour tissues.

There is also a company that you can send your old toothbrushes to that recycles them into plastic "wood" - http://www.recycline.com/toothbrush.html

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#11 of 38 Old 12-11-2008, 11:42 PM
 
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I'm very happy with the cotton hankies from Dharma Trading Company. I now can't stand using tissues- it's so annoying when I'm sick and behind on laundry AND using more hankies than usual when I can't find a clean one anywhere.

I'm not too worried about my dental floss use. I mean, the total amount of floss used daily is REALLY tiny- I can't see it being practical to buy sturdy cotton thread and wash it out after each use, although that is an option. I'm equally unconcerned about the toothbrushes- even with replacing every 3 months, that makes 12 toothbrushes a year for my family, plus a year's supply of dental floss and empty dental floss containers, that wouldn't even fill up a single plastic grocery bag of trash. Assorted other packaging (try as I do to avoid it) comes to way more than that. The tissues, however, can really add up.

There are even families who use cloth in place of toilet paper! (We're not one of them, although I wouldn't be uncomfortable using cloth at somebody else's house if they had it.)

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#12 of 38 Old 12-13-2008, 12:39 AM
 
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i started using cloth kercheifs and will never go back to paper. our nose never gets red anymore or raw. the kids love them. just do it!!

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#13 of 38 Old 12-13-2008, 12:40 PM
 
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I use the same cloth wipes for nose wiping that were originally purchased for baby bottoms ... I have an enormous quantity in lots of different fabrics. I'll be doing family cloth soon - since we're about to have a baby in diapers again, it's a logical time to do it. I think I'll be dividing my wipes stash into "face-worthy" and "butt-worthy" ... thinking about dying the latter purple or blue or something.

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#14 of 38 Old 12-13-2008, 07:06 PM
 
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Cloth diapers are the best nose wipers on earth.

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#15 of 38 Old 01-01-2009, 02:57 AM
 
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I bought 2 shirts, one pink and one blue, at the thrift store. They were a really soft, fine linen. For $2 I made 8 linen hankies out of them. Now not everyone needs linen hankies, but I loved the feel and they wash and wear great. Also I can take them out with me and they don't look as gross as something I'd use at home like old t-shirt squares.

But you can buy birdseye (diaper fabric) at the fabric store and make diapers, cloth tp, hankies, counter wipes, dishtowels, etc. from one type of fabric and it can all be bleached since it's white (or bleach alternatives). Joann fabrics always has these 40% or 50% off coupons and then the birdseye is about $3 a yard I think.
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#16 of 38 Old 01-05-2009, 01:12 AM
 
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Four out of five members of this family have colds. I'd have to have a very large stash of hankerchiefs to get through one day! For normal days I have about 6 cotton hanky's which just I use. I was raised with real hanky's where as my husband wasn't so getting him to make the switch would be traumatic.
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#17 of 38 Old 01-08-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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The best for nose wiping, hands down, is bamboo velour. BETTER than actual tissues. I am a WAHM with a sewing business and I am working on sourcing a tissue box, because I've been making bamboo velour tissues.

There is also a company that you can send your old toothbrushes to that recycles them into plastic "wood" - http://www.recycline.com/toothbrush.html
Cool Website! Thanks for sharing! I bookmarked for next time I need to buy brushes!

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#18 of 38 Old 01-08-2009, 06:25 PM
 
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Four out of five members of this family have colds. I'd have to have a very large stash of hankerchiefs to get through one day! For normal days I have about 6 cotton hanky's which just I use. I was raised with real hanky's where as my husband wasn't so getting him to make the switch would be traumatic.
My dh wasn't really into cloth for anything until we did cloth nappies, then a mooncup (me not him obviously!) then EC and some cloth TP....hankies were a no brainer from there really!

In the beginning I sewed him three of his own from a 100% cotton vintage pillowcase and he loved them. Now that he has been 'run in' he will wipe his nose on any old serged square of old nappy or t-shirt he can find in the hankie drawer

I serged the ones for noses and faces to distinguish them from any other cloths.
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#19 of 38 Old 01-08-2009, 09:26 PM
 
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Here's where I rave on and on about handkerchiefs.

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#20 of 38 Old 01-08-2009, 09:33 PM
 
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I don't like real handkercheifs. I do like flannel and cotton velor or bamboo velor. The velors don't stay silky soft, but they are absorbent. Flannel pills, so if you don't like that, you need to be careful about the quality. The flannel, CV, or BV are all so much more absorbent than disposable tissues.

For normal use, I'm not so picky, but when I'm sick and my nose is at risk for getting chafed, I'm very picky. Then, the only thing that I want to use is minky. It's not really absorbent, but it is so soft. It's so much better than real tissue on a sensitive nose.
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#21 of 38 Old 01-09-2009, 03:40 AM
 
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I just went to the dentist yesterday and learned about floss-rite. It's not reusable floss but it is refillable and holds enough for a family for a year! I was thinking about ordering it
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#22 of 38 Old 01-09-2009, 02:07 PM
 
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For normal days I have about 6 cotton hanky's which just I use. I was raised with real hanky's where as my husband wasn't so getting him to make the switch would be traumatic.
Neither of us was raised with cloth, and my DH made the switch just fine. I just stopped buying paper tissue and started sticking a hanky in his pocket every morning... we have a litany every morning to make sure he doesn't forget anything "cellphone, wallet, keys, hankie". After a couple weeks and the beginning of allergy season, when his nose didn't get raw and tender, he stopped thinking I was weird. At this point I think there's even 2 boxes of paper tissues in the bathroom that have been there a few years now.

Of course, I started with hankies. Then mamacloth and cup. After that, I added napkins, kitchen cloth and family cloth and the only one he's been weirded by was family cloth, but since he doesn't have to use it, he's gotten past it.

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#23 of 38 Old 01-11-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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OMG, that floss-rite is $20 and refills are $2! I buy one 100 yd. floss for myself and it lasts at least 6 months and only costs $1.

However, I have been wondering what to do about the disposable issue. It's probably the only disposable thing I buy at this point. Has anyone tried waxed thread? You can find thread on wooden spools and wax it (beeswax) or buy the plastic spools but at least there's 300 yds. Anyone tried something like that?
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I don't worry about dental floss as the volume is so tiny I just can't see it being a big deal, not while we're still "imperfect" about packaging in other areas of our life. A year's supply of dental floss for the 4 of us (assuming all 3 kids really did floss daily) wouldn't even fill a single plastic grocery bag.

I have about 4 dozen cloth hankies and I'm currently the only family member willing to use them regularly. When healthy, I go through about 4 in the 3 days I go between washing. When ill, I go through 6+ in a day- but try to wash them more often (we have a laundry machine in the bathroom so it's pretty easy to dump used hankies right in the machine and wash with whatever's being washed next.

And, worst case scenario. I'll use some disposable tissues only when I'm sick. It's still a lot less wasteful than using them daily.

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#25 of 38 Old 01-12-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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I have seen toothbrushes made from recycled material at target. And I've seen the ones with replaceable heads at my local health food store. I know that the electric toothbrushes seem like it's throwing out less, but for me I have a hard time because it seems there's a magnet and wires included as well. I stopped using them for that reason... THey are good for the teeth, but bad for the wallet... Does anyone know if you can recycle those electric toothbrush tops?

Anyways, the floss thing gets me too... Since they sell these individual flossers for kids, and the dentist gave my son a pack of them.

Also, at the very least I look for packaging that can be recycled. SO with regular floss, if I can at least recycle the package I"m ok... but I'm not as thorough about all this as most.

Hankies--my dad's been using them his whole life! It was just what you did back then (that and brill creme) ... It's so funny that being environmentally conscious now days brings either eye rolls or applause...
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#26 of 38 Old 01-13-2009, 02:34 AM
 
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Q-tips... I've heard people use those ear candles, and is there something about hydrogen peroxide??

Oh, and what do you guys do for those little bottles that they put the herbs for kids in? I hate throwing them out, but I have no idea what else to do with them... And I could use them for play or something else, but that would only take a few. What do I do with the rest? Oh, and our local places don't recycle glass as far as I know.

Is there someplace to mail things to recycle? Or are there other ways to get those same products in different packaging?
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#27 of 38 Old 01-13-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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I have "single ply" flannel the same size as my wipes. Katie is a chronic booger sneezer. Each sneeze is explosive, lol. Super cheap & easy to make with a serger.
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#28 of 38 Old 01-17-2009, 06:36 PM
 
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I would get bamboo fleece or bamboo velour for the hankies-the fabrics are our preference for mama cloth, baby wipes, family cloth, etc. They are just so soft!

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#29 of 38 Old 02-01-2009, 03:34 PM
 
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I've been thinking about the disposable issue with cotton balls. I use a cotton ball everyday (to put toner on my face), and I want to stop! Should I just use a piece of flannel/fleece instead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Limabean1975 View Post
I would like an alternative to plastic toothbrushes...anyone? Even if it has to be disposable, there's the health/safety issue - especially for DS who really likes to chew on his toothbrush.
We just started using the Ecodent toothbrushes w/the replaceable heads, and we really like them. My teeth feel much cleaner with that toothbrush than they have with our old ones!

Crunchy wife to my high-school sweetheart, mama to DS (10/23/05) , DS (11/22/07) , DD (3/9/10) , and DS (5/26/12),  and three babies in Heaven.
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#30 of 38 Old 02-01-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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I've been thinking about the disposable issue with cotton balls. I use a cotton ball everyday (to put toner on my face), and I want to stop! Should I just use a piece of flannel/fleece instead?
I just use a family cloth square to put toner/acv on my face. I figure they are washed in hot and dried on hot so they don't have any germs.

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