When you ask minimalists, frugalists, or tree huggers how you can get by with no wasteful toilet paper or “less” toilet paper you will typically hear them sing the praises of family cloth. I have dabbled with it myself over the years but usually return to toilet paper, for the sake of less laundry.
Family cloth is is basically the use of reusable cloth rags or wipes instead of toilet paper. You have a collection of the cloths by the toilet and a receptacle for their storage until you can wash them. You then wash them with your other laundry a couple times a week or if that makes you squeamish you can wash them on their own, much the same way we cloth diaper enthusiasts washed our baby’s diapers.
It’s not a perfect system by any means as the thought of soiled cloth rags being stored in the bathroom for any length of time is not appealing to many. Having to wash soiled anything regularly is not appealing to many, and that is okay. I was not comfortable using family cloth for anything other than pee personally. But like I said, with three kids, laundry is already a daunting responsibility so extra loads for the sake of reusable wipes became too much for me.
Why am I trying to get rid of toilet paper though?
Well, it has always bothered me that I am buying a product everything month to use and throw away. It just seems wasteful. The recycled toilet paper options are no good because they contain BPA due to paper receipts being recycled. You can’t feel good about using a recycled product if the end product is harmful to your health.
I also hate paying for toilet paper. Sure, its only $10 or so a week but that is $40 dollars a month that could be used for something else.
So I decided to see if adding a bidet to our existing toilet might be a better option. I was introduced to the idea through a facebook group where family cloth was being discussed and several European folks started talking about their love of bidets and their need for little to no toilet paper. A big selling feature is that you are also much cleaner when you wash your tushie rather than just wipe it. It also seemed like it might be rather refreshing for women during their monthly cycle as well.
Thus began my research. I knew I wanted a bidet sprayer that you can add to your existing toilet and not an actual bidet. I also knew I wanted the sprayer to be hands free and under the toilet seat, not a handheld sprayer that attached to the wall (they often leak). I researched many different brands, models, and price points. I looked for one that was easy to install, inexpensive, attractive looking, and that had good reviews. I did not care to buy one with a heated water feature, cold water is fine by me. There are are heated water bidets on the market though. You can even buy one with a heated seat and blow dry mechanism. For me though I did not want a toilet with so many features that I need a remote control.
I settled on the Luxe Bidet Neo 120. It was nice looking and had great reviews. I have been using it for about two months now and I am super pleased! The sprayer pressure is very strong, even to the point of being a little painful if I turn it up full blast, so no weak spray action here. The sprayer is also behind a small door and is not visible until you set it to spray. This helps keep the sprayer clean by keeping it from being splashed with dirty water every time you flush.
This bidet also has a self clean setting. You simply turn the dial the opposite way and it will spray inside the small door that covers it…using a high powered spray to wash the spray mechanism and the inside of the cover. I use this feature regularly and also spray it with my bathroom cleanser of choice once a week, when I clean the toilet bowl.
I recently remodeled my master bathroom water closet and I don’t think the bidet detracts from the design. It also works quite well and reduces the need for much toilet paper. After spraying yourself clean you can simply dry with a washcloth and because its just water on the cloth you can use the same one throughout the week. Each family member can have their own if you are sharing a bathroom. I do tend to use a small bit of toilet paper for drying after bowel eliminations just to make sure everything is clean. I would rather use paper for that confirmation, rather than cloth. So I am not toilet paper free but pretty darn close!