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The term "family cloth" should conjure up endearing images of something passed down from generation to generation, preserving a rich family history. Something like this:

a homemade rag for sale

But there's hardly anything endearing about a reusable, supposedly eco-friendly and cost-effective replacement for toilet paper. Family cloths are homemade rags or sewn fabric that follow the same operational model as normal toilet paper, the difference being that instead of throwing it out, you give it a wash and use it again.

Cost-effective?

An anonymous proponent of family cloth spoke to Buzzfeed about how amazing reusing toilet linens has been in her life:

"In my mind, buying and using disposable toilet paper was literally flushing money down the toilet!" she said. "Do you throw away your underpants after each use?"

People on social media went off on the concept of the family cloth, with one user pointing out a fatal flaw:

Is It Eco-friendly?

Family cloths might not be completely sanitary, which ultimately affects their impact on the planet as well.

"When you wash these clothes you transfer these germs to an entire load of laundry, even subsequent loads if you're not using a protocol," Kelly Reynolds, a director and public health researcher at the University of Arizona, told USA Today.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water and bleach need to be heated to a certain temperature in order to disinfect and sanitize -- a temperature most home laundry machines don't support. The amount of water and energy needed to properly sanitize these family cloths makes its eco-friendly appeal not worth pursuing due to these high demands. For now, keep those toilet rolls handy.

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