Thursday, June 07, 2007


Issue Four of Crunchy Chicken's Low Impact Week

Just file this post under "TOO MUCH INFORMATION," please.

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We've used kitchen towels forever, cloth napkins everyday for many years, and cloth hankies occasionally. When we realized how much we loved using cloth diapers for our son when he was a baby, I decided to try cloth pads for myself. Some people make their own, and there are many different companies from whom you can purchase pre-sewn pads. I bought Glad Rags and absolutely love them, but I think if I had it to do over, I'd buy from a WAHM.

My pads are now about seven years old and in wonderful shape. After use, I put them in a small water-proof bag without rinsing, then wash whenever it is convenient. They don't smell, and because I have dark jewel-toned colors, there are no visible stains. Folks who prefer tampons might like a menstrual cup such as the Keeper or the Diva Cup.

With both cloth diapers and cloth pads, I have felt incredibly pampered. Instead of having to touch icky cheap plastic or deal with itchiness and odd chemical smells, I now have gloriously soft cotton next to me.

Almost on a dare, I decided to see if I would be as pleased with cotton for our other big use of a disposable paper product. I intended to use them myself only during the week of my period and wash them with my cloth pads. We had an old navy-blue flannel sheet that had shrunk in the wash enough that it would not fit our mattress--and I cut it up in strips. Wonderful! And not at all disturbing or smelly. The family surprised me a bit by wanting to participate as well.

Although we still use the flannel strips, I augmented our stack with some cloths from Stork Savers. We chose some bug patterns from her marvelous collection of fabrics.

One thing that concerned us was that washing the wipes weekly in hot water would und0 any environmental benefit of not using disposables. But after reading about the incredible amount of water as well as other stuff used in making disposable toilet paper, the water issue seemed to be, well, at least a wash.

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Back to your regularly-scheduled


FemiKnitMafia said...

Your post is timely, because after years of hemming and hawing about spending the money on one, I finally bought a Diva cup. I tried it last month and it was ... well ... okay. I suspect it'll take some adjusting, but it was nice to know that it'll be around for many years. If you're inclined, I would recommend it.

Mouse said...

If I got rid of all of the paper products in this house.. my husband would go ballistic. The best thing I can do is buy recycled unbleached paper towels and recycled toilet paper and/or cut the sheets of paper towels in half if they don't come cut in those half-sheet things.

We do flush our toilets a lot less though.. that's my one "not in polite company" thing that I'm sure would freak people out.. especially my germophobic MIL.

As for feminine products.. I've thought about going with cloth pads but I haven't yet.I am highly allergic to perfumes and cleaners that they put in pads though.. so it might be something to try.

Jennifer Jeffrey said...

WOW! That's quite an undertaking there (in more ways than one! ha!). I have to honestly say that I'm not quite sure I'm ready for that, but a huge BRAVO to you!

CygKnit said...

I'm glad you posted this! Too often it falls under that "not in polite company" category and interested people remain clueless.

We're using cloth on our soon-to-arrive baby and are very excited about it. I've given great consideration to mama cloth but have only made my own pantyliners so far. I talked to my husband about cloth TP, but he's not *quite* up for it yet. None of these are easy concepts in our current society.

At any rate, I wanted to congratulate you on making some hard switches. Also, (you may be aware of this already) the common thought that washing these items takes more water/causes more harm to the environment was part of a research & marketing campaign in the early 90's funded by Proctor & Gamble. I can dig up the articles for anyone interested--including the lawsuits filed by several states regarding the heavily biased information.

Wow, I'll get off my soapbox now. Kudos to you.

Sheepish Annie said...

Interesting...I'm not sure I'm quite ready to go that far, but it certainly does get one thinking about how to make changes that will work for both me and the planet.

And, um...I did go get a new lunch bag from Mouse's store. (with a neat sheep on it! I know it's not quite as radical as "other" steps. But, I was kinda proud of myself for giving up the plastic bags! ;)

jess said...

I am really enjoying (and being inspired by) your posts this week!

Plus you reminded me that I need to order a moon cup -- I've been meaning to do it and keep forgetting until it's that time.

Now, I have a logistical question -- what did you guys do with the used flannel strips in the bathroom? Put them in a special container until washing or what? :)

The Purloined Letter said...

Yep! We keep the clean ones in an open container on the back of the toilet, then put the used ones in an old diaper bag--one of the small ones used for travel. The size is perfect. At the end of the week, we wash them in hot water. Although I'm a big fan of cold washes, here we use hot to kill germs. If you are terribly worried about poop stains and are using lighter colored cloth, you could do one wash in cold and then one in hot.

We also keep a little water bottle handy so we can dampen the cloths when needed. Or you could use the sink if its convenient. Some people use a water bottle as a substitute bidet, as well.

There is an interesting thread on a Mothering forum that gave us lots of ideas. You can find it by googling "family cloth."

Jenna said...

Ooohhh kay.....

Points for going that extra mile, I gotta give you that. And most definitely points for bringing the idea out in the open.

Maybe this is something I could be slowly edged to. I'm already buying most of my paper products recycled. I try and make sure the paper I DO use is fully used, then recycled. The diva cup is on the list of "paycheck providing" purchases for the future, and I've made a fair share of the cloth pads for emergency situation.

But. Umm. Not so sure if I'm ready for this step. Something I will think about though, and it is definitely going to be a talking point soon on my own blog (I'll make sure to list this site, promise).

Okay, enough hemming and hawing. I'll just ask the question banging on my brainpan. If someone in the family has a serious stomach... issue, how can you use fabric to deal with the situation? Not sure I can bring myself to give up the charmin in the instance.

Very intriguing website, nonetheless. I'm tossing this into my favorites pile and will definitely be wandering through your site more.


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