Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Mondays 12/20/10 The “other” reusable stuff!

other reusable products via @chgdiapers

It’s time again for Mailbox Mondays!  If you have a question (cloth diaper related or not) email maria at with “Mailbox Mondays” in the subject line!

Hannah says:

Hi Maria,

I have used cloth diapers for my son since birth, and I have made the switch to reusable menstrual products for myself (DivaCup and homemade pantiliners). I clean around the house with old holey socks, washing them a time or two and then tossing them. I rarely set the dinner table with napkins, but I am working on getting a set of cloth dinner napkins. I use a mixture of cloth handkerchiefs and disposable tissues, depending on what I have handy. I wish I could stop buying paper towels, but I usually use them for greasy jobs like cleaning or oiling my cast iron pans, or greasing baking pans. I am afraid to put very greasy items in my washer for fear they would ruin the whole load of wash, or that I would accidentally throw an item with residual grease in the dryer and it would combust. I also have not switched to “family cloth” (cloth TP) in the bathroom, because I think my husband would flip, even if I didn’t make him use it.

My question to you (and other blog readers) is: what reusable products do you use and why; which ones would you like to use, and what is holding you back?


Hi Hannah!  Shamefully, I don’t use as many reusable products as I should.

What do I use?   Cloth diapers and wipes of course, along with dish cloths and microfiber towels in lieu of paper towels for cleaning and dishes.  We also use cloth napkins, reusable mop pads, reusable bags, containers and napkins in my daughter’s lunch box.  Even my daughter’s baby alive has gone green.

So, what haven’t I tried that I want to?  I’ve been wanting Made in the Red Barn unpapertowels and a paper towel house for a very long time.  It takes us months to go through a roll of paper towels since we only use them for really icky stuff.  Unfortunately, if we have “guests” we can go through a roll in the course of a day.  It just kills me to see someone dry their hands on a paper towel and throw it away!  Especially since I have clean towels right there, that I replace with a clean one several times per day!

I also very much want to try mama cloth.  There are some amazingly talented WAHMs that sell great Mama cloth on Hyenacart, and of course, I want one of each!

Also on my wish list are Better for Grownups organic tissues.  They also sell family cloth!  I don’t think we go through much toilet paper, since we use only 2-3 squares at a time.  Oddly enough, writing this made me remember a dream I had about seeing half a roll in the potty and freaking out.  Man, are my dreams ever exciting.  Anyway, when we have guests over, like paper towels, a roll of TP can disappear in a few hours.  I would definitely not want to wash family cloth that people outside my immediate family had used, but I’d be willing to start with using them for “#1.”  I’d probably only use them myself though, since my daughter would probably accidentally throw them in the toilet, which would not be good for our septic system, if it managed to get down the toilet at all!

We produce very little trash.  Since we started using our Nature Mill Composter we typically have less than one 5.2 gallon bag of garbage per week.  Even so, I’d love to use even more reusable products.  So, what’s stopping me?  Money

For most people who pay full price/nearly full price for things like tissues, paper towels and feminine products, their reusable counterparts will “pay for themselves” in no time.  For me, I only “buy” these products when they are free, nearly free, or (in the case of my CVS shopping) “better than free.”  So it is really prohibitively hard on my budget to try to buy reusable products.  Especially since it’s not a matter of a $2 investment if you don’t like the product.

How about you gals?  What reusable products do you use now?  What would you like to try?  What’s stopping you?

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
  • Tat
    December 21, 2010 at 12:22 am

    >I've recently bought a Lunette cup and I love it! I wish I had discovered it much earlier.

  • Amy
    December 20, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    >Wow, I'd never even heard of some of that stuff. I can't say I'd ever use the family tp though. We also have the similar dilemma of simply not being able to afford a switch to some of the reusable products.

  • December 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    >We use cloth diapers, and I've just made the switch to mama cloth. I keep some wet cloth wipes in the bathroom to help my potty learning preschooler, and I've been known to use them for myself at times. I guess that's family cloth on the sly? I've been humored by the whole un-papertowel movement. I've been using cheap ($3 for a pack of 15) white wash clothes as my all purpose kitchen cleaning cloth and "paper towel." I still use "real" paper towels but for the most part, we just wash a lot of the others! I guess what I find humorous about the umpapertowl things is seeing the lengths people go to for them – pretty fabrics and snaps so you can put them on a roll. For me, that's too much trouble. My husband made fun of ME though, and said I would totally go for them if I let myself. :)I have cloth napkins, but we don't use them as much as we could. I've also used microfiber cloths as a substitute for disposable swiffer pads.I feel like I should be more committed to using my reusables consistently, but in practice I'm not. Some days I just go for the disposable products because I don't want to mess with even MORE laundry.

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