What do you think of flannel in eco-friendly items?
I see flannel everywhere: for reusable toilet paper, for reusable paper towels, even for reusable tissues! And also for baby wipes and makeup remover pads. It is everywhere and used for everything!
As if flannel is the most absorbent and softest fabric there is... This is where I disagree.
Flannel is affordable and full of beautiful patterns, yes.
Flannel is perfect for pajamas and for winter sheets, yes.
In short, it's perfect for keeping you warm, but I don't find it perfect for wiping things.
FLANNEL TOILET PAPER
I admit, in my early days, I myself sold flannel toilet paper. Everyone was doing it, so I followed the crowd! I thought it must be the best thing ever since so many people were selling it... What a mistake.
I made myself flannel toilet paper. I spent a year still feeling damp after wiping. I didn't understand... it must be me the problem, right? Maybe there was a way to wipe with flannel that I didn't know? Why did everyone want to wipe with it?
THE FLANNEL TOWEL
At the same time, I made reusable paper towels from flannel. Everyone was doing it, so I followed the crowd! I made them with scraps from the toilet paper I was selling and with snaps to roll them up... What a mistake.
First, wiping a table with snaps is not fun! The snaps make noise, and I feel like I'm going to scratch my wooden table. If it were glass, it would make even more noise. Those snaps just get in the way of my wiping! And never, never did I take the time to roll them back up. Once, just to try. That was the only time. As we speak, my flannel paper towels have become relics of rags; the ones I hate the most.
Second, flannel paper towels don't wipe, they spread. The absorption time of flannel is slooooooow. That's what I understood when I read about it (I had to read about it because at some point, I didn't understand much about the flannel craze anymore): with flannel, you have to blot, it doesn't soak up on its own. Ok, let's say I want it to soak up and dry, what do I do?
THE FLANNEL HANDKERCHIEF
For all the reasons mentioned above, we can agree that I didn't want flannel handkerchieves in my life. That's why I looked for another fabric. I wanted BETTER and genuinely softer fabric!
Many years ago, before launching our reusable TP rolls, I was wiping my nose with a flannel toilet paper because - laugh at me now - we don't have tissues in the bathroom... and my nose did stay wet afterward. I've never been able to wipe my nose until it's dry. I still don't understand the concept of blotting, it seems.
Moreover, my flannel toilet paper was two layers. A two-layer handkerchief: hell no! Way too thick to try to blot the inside of my nostrils.
Recently, we put our flannel sheets back on our bed for winter. They've become all stiff, full of lint. The softness of flannel is cute in the first few years, but it doesn't last for all types of flannel. Counterintuitively, you need the least soft flannel (with the least amount of fuzz) when it's new for it to stay softer over time. And this type of flannel is closer to cotton, which, for me, isn't that soft. Am I losing you a bit, maybe?
Touch our bamboo-cotton tissues, and you'll understand what softness means.
THE FLANNEL BABY WIPE
Where I agree with flannel for washable products is a thin flannel lined with terry cloth for baby wipes to wipe their bottoms with liniment. It's specific, but that's where I feel like I used it to its full potential; at its best.
As it doesn't absorb quickly, we apply a spray of liniment to it, and then we can spread it well and wipe/wash baby parts in the process.
FLANNEL MAKE-UP REMOVER PADS
I don't wear makeup (so I don't remove makeup, obviously), so I can't speak about my experience with flannel here... but I can't imagine using flannel makeup removal pads in the long term. Given its slow absorption capacity, it's probably great when you want to spread makeup remover. But over time, it may become fuzzy, and then it's no longer super soft... The flannel must have been chosen wisely. How do you know?
I complain about flannel, but truth be told, despite its stiff lint, it does become somewhat absorbent over time. It's been years since I made my first flannel toilet paper, and I still use them when ALL of our Boaty rolls are in the laundry. I feel that after all these years, they absorb a bit better. But it took many washes to get there, and it did produce lint... It's not so bad, but it's not as soft as they say.
As for our flannel-fleece baby wipes, they became, after potty training, washcloths for the kids. When wet, they do a wonderful job of cleaning their faces.
There you have it. Wet or sprayed with a product or water, flannel is great for spreading these products or water.
For drying, it will take more time or many, many washes.
That's why my two flagship products are not made of flannel. I decided to stop following the herd and to seek what is best for each of our specific needs. Find the perfect fabric for blowing your nose and the perfect fabric for wiping the bum. And in these two cases, flannel didn't win.