I care about the environment as much as the next person but I'm not sure how I feel about this new trend of using reusable cloth wipes instead of toilet paper.

Actually, I do know how I feel but this is a family-friendly news site so I have to mind my language.

Here goes anyway: don't switch to reusable cloth wipes as an alternative to toilet paper.

In an effort to save the world, some people are switching from toilet paper to what is called a "family cloth" - a reusable fibre cloth that you can wash and use again.


If your first thought is "that's disgusting", you're not alone.

A number of online stores are selling the reusable "family cloth", as it has been called, and a recent article in Buzzfeed has put the so-called eco-friendly trend under the spotlight.

People are reportedly swapping from toilet paper to these reusable cloths because it saves money and saves the environment.

"In my mind, buying and using disposable toilet paper was literally flushing money down the toilet," a "family cloth" enthusiast told Buzzfeed.

"Let's also set the record straight: Individuals who use family cloth do not only have a single piece of cloth. We have dozens of smallish strips of cloth."

Why reusable cloths are not a good alternative to toilet paper

The thing about these reusable cloths is that, on top of being disgusting (don't even try to convince me having a hamper full of cloths with old crusty poop on them is not unsanitary) is that they are far from being the best thing you can do for the environment, when it comes to your bowel movements.

These cloths still need to go in the wash and, as such, you'll be using a lot more water and power (and potentially detergents with harmful chemicals because, hello, old poop stains) to clean them.

This same reasoning applies when it comes to debunking the argument that these cloths will save you money. Toilet paper is not that expensive, really, and you'll no doubt be adding to your detergent, water and power bills by switching to these things.

When it comes to "family cloths", perhaps no one puts it quite as eloquently as Queen of Twitter Chrissy Teigen:

If you want to help the environment, here's what you should swap toilet paper for

Don't despair. It is true that there are better alternatives to regular toilet paper - even if "family cloths" are definitely not it (I'm not sure I can stress that enough).

One of the most environmentally-friendly solutions is actually far from an innovation: it's the very old-school bidet.

The humble and often misunderstood bidet is one of best ways to save trees from the comfort of your bathroom.

According to an article in Scientific American, switching to bidets could save around 15 million trees in the US alone, where it is estimated that people use 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper every year.

If you want to save yourself the trouble of bathroom renovations while still helping the planet, you can always switch to recycled toilet paper.

Just don't switch to family cloths.