Things are quite tricky at the moment, globally.... I'm focusing my mind on achievable eco goals. One of them is to try to find ways around the national toilet roll shortage! It seems like a good opportunity to find sensible ways to use less and waste less, at a time when we don't know when we might safely be able to leave the house to go to the shops in the way that we have been used to. At time of writing we are Day 2 of lockdown during the Coronavirus pandemic.
I have used reusable / washable baby wipes and bum wipes since my son Finn was born - some I made when I was pregnant on the advice of a good friend (she advised that I'd need around 80 wipes, which I thought extraordinary at the time, but of course she was right!), and others I inherited from my sister (handmade by her, and used on all her children's bottoms!). I have also had a small stash of washable toilet wipes that sit on my toilet, but I've never had enough to actually bite the bullet and go completely paper free. Now is the time, if ever there was one!
Some people have said that they or members of their family wouldn't consider washable bum wipes because of the 'ick' factor, or because they consider it unhygienic... I really do think that if you pre-soak the wipes before washing for at least 2 hours in something like BioD Nappy Fresh (which I've used for years now, very successfully), and wash them at the highest temperature setting, it is very hygienic. I keep them in a little bucket, with some tea tree and lavender essential oil, and there really is no noticeable smell either (!!).
My mission this week was to make enough washable bum wipes for the whole family (me, Finn and Geoffrey our dog... well, the dog doesn't count... I'll not be wiping his bottom, ideally!). So I thought that I would take photos of the stages, and share with you. I'm no sewing expert, so bear with me...
WASHABLE / REUSABLE TOILET WIPES, HOW TO GUIDE:
What you will need:
Sewing machine ideally (you can hand sew, but would take a long time!). Even better if you have an overlocker (I don't, sadly!)
Pretty cotton fabric scraps
Tape Measure / Ruler
How to make:
1) Decide very roughly how many wipes you wish to make, either by how much towel fabric you have to spare, or by actually doing the maths (!)... I chose the first option, as I'm rubbish at maths. Previous wipes I currently use measure roughly 7 inches by 5.5 inches, so with this in mind I folded my towel in half and half again (etc), and eventually managed to work out the most effective use of fabric to achieve roughly a 7 x 5.5 inch wipe.
2) Cut out the towel fabric to the size worked out in (1)
3) Cut out pretty cotton fabric scraps to the same size as the towel pieces, and pin them on with right side up
4) Sew a zigzag stitch along the outside edge of each wipe on the sewing machine. It may need you to cut off any extraneous bits of edge material after you sew each one, particularly if you are a bit of a slap dash machinist like me. You can also go round the edges twice - I've done this on previous wipes I've made.
5) Admire your handiwork. It's really as easy as that! I do find that sometimes after the first wash they need some little threads to be cut off, but it's usually fine after that.
Stick them on top of or near your bathroom toilet, and use as you would use toilet paper, but just don't forget not to chuck it down the loo! (I have done this...). A tip from me is to remove the toilet roll from sight, or put it somewhere else in the bathroom, because if you have toilet roll in the usual place in your bathroom, then you automatically just reach for it, as you go on a sort of pee-pee poo-poo auto pilot. Some people go as far as to put poppers on them and wrap them around the toilet roll holder, but I think that's a bit of a faff too far for me personally! Up to you. Customise to your heart's content. I have always quite liked the idea of embroidering on little phrases and sayings on mine... maybe that's what I shall do with my 'lockdown' evenings ahead...