My Cloth Revolution

Over the past year and a half, I have been a Cloth Revolutionary at my house.  Little by little, disposable paper items are disappearing from our landscape, only to be replaced by colourful, reusable Cloth replacements.

The first step in our Cloth Revolution was the switch to cloth diapers.  We did this when our daughter was 11 months old, after visiting with some friends whose daughter was using cloth. The cloth diapers seemed so cute and cozy, and more “natural” than the crinkly perfumed plastic ones we were using. I was nervous about the workload, but found them not to be that much work. We have a small washer that plugs into our sink, and we dry them (as pictured) on our collapsable drying rack.

The main benefit I saw right away was cost. We went with cotton prefold diapers, which are about the cheapest you can go, and we used some high-tech fleece-lined, microfibre-insert pocket style diapers for night time.  I think the four night time diapes cost around the same as our two dozen prefolds with four or five covers.  It has been great not to worry about having to drive out to Costco to get the best deal on diapers.

My next Revolutionary Act was to replace my tampons and pads with a set of beautiful, comfortable, reusable Lunapads.  This was after doing some reading about how tampons have dioxins in them left over from the bleaching process, which can then be absorbed into your body when you use them.  Also, after having my baby, I found them uncomfortable to use.

As the stickers say, “I ♥ my lunapads”! They are so comfortable and beautiful. The nicest thing about them is that I never run out! I had bought myself an “Intro kit”, and then after using them for a couple of months, I got another kit to round out my collection.  It has a good selection of sizes, thicknesses, etc. for different stages of my cycle. My only disappointment is that I got pregnant again right after my second kit arrived! At least I know they are waiting for me when I start my cycle again.

Next I replaced paper towels with cloth napkins. On a trip to Sudbury to visit my parents I stopped into an adorable new store called Mimi & Lulu. They have all sorts of beautiful handmade clothes, aprons, bags, toys and crafts, as well as a selection of fabrics so beautiful I thought I was looking at a magazine or something. I honestly don’t think I’ve seen such gorgeous fabric in stores, ever.

The best thing (for me) was their remnant bags, a bunch of colour-co-ordinated fabric bits from their collection, mixed with some cute vintage finds, all for $13.  Inside was enough fabric (in the right size) to make more than 10 napkins, some of which I kept & use, and some of which I gave away as gifts.

It’s so nice to use cloth napkins, especially ones in such cute fabrics. They seem to add a touch of class to every meal.

Home-Made Toilet PaperThe next item is a bit more . . . unusual, and I hesitate to mention it in my first post on the Simple, Green, Frugal Co-op, but here goes: the next paper product I replaced was toilet paper.  Well, not entirely, but I made some lovely wipes that my daughter and I use for #1. Being pregnant and having to drink a lot of water, this saves me a huge amount of toilet paper. I just throw them in with the diapies and wash them often.

Moving on, my most recent Revolutionary change was to make some cloth kleenex (tissues). Once again, so cute! Once again, so comfortable! I made them from some cloth I had in mystash, so I consider them basically free to me. We haven’t yet been through a major cold or flu with these, but I will report back on how they fare. I just throw them in any wash I’m doing (except for darks!) and they stay nice and absorbant.

Besides these recent changes, I have always used cloth rags for cleaning rather than paper towels or even J-cloths. It’s a great way to re-purpose old towels and t-shirts, and if a rag gets too dirty, I just throw it away.

For me, this process has been about saving money, being green, and more importantly, finding a better product to replace the cheap disposables in my life. If you have replaced something I’ve missed, please let me know! I’m always open to making more frugal & green changes in my life, and sharing them with the world.

22 thoughts on “My Cloth Revolution

  1. Wonderful post.
    Just wondering if it is possible to make your own maxi-pads? You purchased yours at quiet a initial cost but do you feel it would be possible to make your own from the template of the ones you purchased?

    I too have done most of what you have listed but can’t get hubby to use anything but tissues. Shoppers Drug Mart has them on sale each week and I am ashamed to say I spend about $3./week on tissues from hubby with allergies.

    I grew up in a Mennonite household where we used hankies. It was a treat to get one made from a friend. I still have these treasures and use them.

    Old nighties, receiving blankets and such are cut up and serged around to make the rag bin. I have a small Rubbermaid container of them which we use for washing to wiping grand children’s bums. They would be ideal for our #1 around here with three teenage daughters but put to a vote this morning…. answer. Nope! I remember the Eaton Catolgue and the outhouse. How life has changed but not always for the better.

    I really enjoy your blog. I too am doing work with making fancy Amish bread.

    A friend on the farm near Peterborough.

    Marlyn Dubay

    Your ideas work well with me.

    1. I’m making my own pads, and it works. You do not even need to purchase them in the first place – just look them up and I’m sure you’ll find some patterns and instructions online. I read several and then freehanded my own pattern. 🙂

    2. Hi Marlyn, I’m sure it would be possible to make your own pads. I don’t have a serger myself, and Lunapads are so well-made and with such gorgeous fabrics that they were a bit of a luxury indulgence for me I’ve come across many patterns online for making your own pads, and Lunapads even offers one, along with 2 instructional videos, on their website:

      Their pattern is simpler than the pads they sell commercially, but the videos seem very helpful.

      It sounds like you have lots of experience using cloth replacements Thanks for the comment!


  2. I am full of admiration for your cloth revolution! Most everything in our home is cloth rather than disposable except…. toilet paper. I am inspired by your description of using the cloth for no. 1’s however, that does seem do-able.

    All those fabrics with their variety of designs and purposes, create such a wonderful atmosphere of steady, simple living – I really really love it. Your photos are beautiful.

  3. I am stunned and amazed! I just don’t know how I could get over my revulsion at my own bodily fluids (t.p. and kleenex for example). Is that too honest? I can handle menstrual and diaper action but I definately can’t imagine the rest (although I do use cloth napkins and cleaning rags)

    I applaud your committment.

  4. We’ve used cloth napkins for many years and rags or microfibre rather than paper towel for a few years… recently switched to a Diva Cup and just today used “birthday money” to buy a few lunapads:) I do need to sew some new napkins too. The other ideas… well, I may need time to grow into them. I have been wondering if other moms offer lunapads to their teenage daughters and how this is received.

  5. Aww shucks! We’re so pleased to be mentioned on your blog. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with Lunapads with your readers. For those that are interested, in addition to cloth pads we also offer handkerchiefs and “family wipes” or reusable toilet paper.
    Here’s a coupon for 10% off on orders over $35 on just enter ‘clothrevolution’ at checkout to receive your discount.
    Thanks again Colleen, we couldn’t ask for better fans!

  6. I am impressed with the lunapads. Funny that I can cloth diaper and deal with my kid’s poo but my own blood grosses me out. Will have to think more about this.

  7. I’m curious how you made your “kleenex” box. I’ve made the exact same thing a few months ago, and I can’t seem to get a box heavy enough for me to be able to just pull out ONE sheet at a time and have the box stay when I pull.

    1. 😀 I’m glad you liked it! I just used a regular ol’ Kleenex box and stuffed the remaining kleenex down (I still have about 9 boxes left from a recent Costco trip!).

      All I did was fold my cloth tissues just like the kleenexes are folded, so that when you pull out one, it pulls out half of the next one. I will try to do a picture demo of this because it really is handy for keeping the wipes around the house (so we don’t forget and just use kleenex!).

      Now, to figure out a similar dispensing system for my toilet wipes!

  8. o boy, this sure has been a eye-opening read. i would never have even thought of some of these things (reusable toilet wipes) but now, well now I’ll ponder these for a bit and no doubt something will change in our home. it just makes good common sense to me. 😉 i use disposables having failed to make good on cloth diapers, he was just wet through all the time. will need to talk to my cloth diaper friends again. see if we can get going on it and get it sorted. i spend too much on disposables and in the back of my mind, carry guilt that these are no good for the environment. this is a great blog, with lots of amazing ideas. thanks for that. 😉

  9. i have a friend who’s 8 year old daughter cant wait to get her period so she can have beautiful embroidered pads like her mum (she has plain ones which she embroidered little roses on).
    i have made my own set of pads in a basic pad shape, in varying thicknesses and lengths, all backed with polar fleece. the polar fleece is great, it helps them not move too much and nothing ever seems to soak through.
    i have got to make some cloth tissues. thats great!
    cloth for wees. not sure if we are ready yet. probably will be by the time we get our compost toilet tho.

  10. Hi there from Aus 🙂 We’re at the same place, using MCN (reusable fitted nappies – we did squares for first two babies, then MCN for the others), Diva cup (menstrual cup), cleaning rags, cloth pads for postpartum etc but I am interested in your tissues 🙂 and am looking forward to your step by step. With thanks 🙂

  11. I love the cloth tissues. What an awesome idea. That you can wash them with what ever load your doing and hang them to dry on your laundry rack. What a great environmentally sound and money saving thing.

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