Canadian mum-of-three reveals why her family doesn't use toilet paper

Stock image of toilet paper
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For the majority of households, toilet paper is an essential item. You only need to cast your mind back to the pandemonium that rocked the supermarkets during the early months of the pandemic to realise that for most families, toilet paper is a precious commodity. Rumpuses erupted over rolls and brawls broke out among the bathroom aisle as people desperately stockpiled their Purex. What a time to be alive.

With bedlam over bog roll now in the history books, it's somewhat bizarre to come across a first-world family that doesn't consider toilet paper an absolute necessity.

A Canadian family desperate to clear their debt has shared the ways they cut costs in their household - including swapping CottonSofts for cloth.

Amber Allen and her husband Joseph no longer purchase the product in a bid to save money, with the couple and their three children instead opting for cloths and rags.

So what's the bottom line?

In a video shared to her YouTube channel, Amber explained that after ruling out toilet roll, she tried repurposing old or damaged clothing by cutting the fabric into rags. She also found cloth wipes online that were sold as a more sustainable alternative to the traditional squares, however, both options wore out quickly.

"We've used cloth instead of toilet paper for the past three years," Amber said.

"We started not using toilet paper for several reasons. We were trying to get out of about CAD$70,000 (NZD$84,144) worth of debt, so we cut anything out of our budget that we could. We cut out Netflix, we cut out shopping of any kind and we ate very, very frugal food. And one day it occurred to me, why are we using toilet paper? We are literally throwing our money down the toilet. I just couldn't wrap my head around why we were doing that."

Eventually, Amber decided to buy second-hand baby blankets made out of flannel. She estimates that since making the swap, the family have saved several-thousand dollars over three years.

She added that the family will now purchase toilet paper for guests after initially adopting a "bring your own roll" policy.

Explaining how the family keeps their cloths clean, Amber said there's always a bucket of water in the bathroom and they wash the soiled cloths each day. She warned others that if they're looking to pooh-pooh the need for toilet paper, they'll need to keep their cloths and rags separate from their regular wash.

"After using cloth wipes for years, we are kind of getting tired of it. It takes work, but we're going to keep going, for now," she added.

In her bio on YouTube, Amber describes the family's lifestyle as "imperfectly sustainable", with a goal of living as "low waste" as they can.

Amber, who has been vegan for 16 years, also grows the majority of the family's food in her regenerative garden, and also "forages in nature for wild food".

"Eating healthily, homeschooling our kids, making good financial choices, gardening and showing people all over the world that small changes can create big impact is what I'm all about."

Their channel, The Fairly Local Family, currently has more than 230,000 subscribers.