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Does Anyone Here Wash Their Pipe Cleaners For Re-Use?

(97 posts)
  • Started 2 months ago by tufftony
  • Latest reply from ashdigger
  1. tufftony

    tufftony

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    Pipe cleaners are cheap enough, of course, but after running out of them
    once I collected up some used ones, washed them in hot soapy water, rinsed
    them and found they were perfectly re-usable.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  2. bassbug

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    Maybe in case of a dire emergency, but otherwise, no way. They're too cheap and its just so easy to always keep a good supply on hand.

    Dire emergency would mean that I had more than one pipe to clean right this moment and that just simply never happens to me.

    I don't care who you are, you're not walking on the water while I'm fishing
    Posted 2 months ago #
  3. didimauw

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    I remember once not long ago, some one else posted that they do that too. And gives them some sort of a handle if I remember correctly.

    "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
    Posted 2 months ago #
  4. gatorlope

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    Nah, they’re just one of those things that I pick up out of town when I need supplies and then gets tossed in the drawer with the rest when I get home again. If I needed to, I would and could, but they’ve been piling up for years.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  5. cosmicfolklore

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    We used to have a member, quite a time back, that would put them in an old pillowcase and run them through the washer, then hang them out to dry. I don't do that, because it would deprive some baby seal somewhere the luxury of getting one stuck in their ear or a porpoise would never know the honor of getting one stuck in their throat.

    Michael
    Posted 2 months ago #
  6. woodsroad

    woodsroad

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    I do wash, dry and re-use my pipe cleaners. But only because I make my own, out of cotton that I grow on my own plantation property, harvested by my indentured servants friends and I. The wire is extracted from old coat hangers that I roll out by hand, to the desired diameter.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  7. dcon

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    I love the effort some folks put into various aspects of pipe smoking. This one doesn’t appeal to me.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  8. olkofri

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    I dip them in soapy water, alright, but then I immediately use them to wash the lux of the stem. Then into the trash can they go.

    Not the sweet, new grass with flowers is this harvesting of mine;
    Not the upland clover bloom...
    Posted 2 months ago #
  9. jazz

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    I would think the metal in them would rust pretty quickly.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  10. tufftony

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    You'd think so but I've been re-using mine for
    a couple of months and there's no sign of rust.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  11. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    My true cost in my own time spent screwing with trying to clean pipe cleaners to reuse would be 100 x greater than the savings. There's a reason they are 2 cents each.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  12. jazz

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    You'd think so but I've been re-using mine for
    a couple of months and there's no sign of rust.

    But why bother?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  13. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Everyone is free to do as they like, but it reminds me of when I had my first child. My wife had a friend who was guilting us about using disposable diapers. No matter how strong the argument, there is no guilt that will get me to keep a bucket of babyshit in the house and then put my hands in that crap to wash them. Blech! I gag just having to clean up hairballs that the cat coughs onto the carpet.

    Posted 2 months ago #
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    ekert

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    I've used the same pipe cleaner for the last 6 months! I soak it in ether for 10 minutes and then hold it in front of my 5 speed fan until it is air dried (usually 3-4 minutes). I then vacuum seal it and throw it in the sous vide overnight to pasteurize it and eliminate any pathogens. Lastly I turn the cleaner into a plumb bob by securing a weight to one end and let it hang for 8 hours, adjusting the weight hourly to ensure it is perfectly straight. Every 10 uses I use some bleach and oxiclean to return it to a tidy off white color. Who in their right mind would spend $1.89 on a bag of pipe cleaners? I recently invested in an industrial press, I'm getting tired of throwing away perfectly good tobacco dust when I'm done with the bowl and am looking at making some dottle kake or plug.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  15. woodsroad

    woodsroad

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    Henceforth, there will be pipe smoking that happened before and after Dottle Kake.
    The world has shifted.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  16. cosmicfolklore

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    Mmmmm, dottle cake, mmmmmm... it makes me miss Lawrence.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  17. cosmicfolklore

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    BDK and ADK, I've marked it in my calendar.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  18. tufftony

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    I've used the same pipe cleaner for the last 6 months! I soak it in ether for 10 minutes and then hold it in front of my 5 speed fan until it is air dried (usually 3-4 minutes). I then vacuum seal it and throw it in the sous vide overnight to pasteurize it and eliminate any pathogens. Lastly I turn the cleaner into a plumb bob by securing a weight to one end and let it hang for 8 hours, adjusting the weight hourly to ensure it is perfectly straight. Every 10 uses I use some bleach and oxiclean to return it to a tidy off white color. Who in their right mind would spend $1.89 on a bag of pipe cleaners? I recently invested in an industrial press, I'm getting tired of throwing away perfectly good tobacco dust when I'm done with the bowl and am looking at making some dottle kake or plug.

    Hilarious!

    P.S. I suppose you realize that you are violating the Forum Rule against sarcasm here?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  19. craig61a

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    No, but I do wash and reuse my underwear...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  20. tufftony

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    You'd think so but I've been re-using mine for
    a couple of months and there's no sign of rust.

    But why bother?

    Well, when you've grown up during a war experiencing strict rationing
    of everything and when you've spent time living in poor countries and
    seen how the people waste absolutely nothing the habit of not wasting
    stuff grows on you, I guess.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  21. tennsmoker

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    I don't use 'em.
    How's that for old school?


    The past is never dead. It's not even past--Requiem for a Nun
    Posted 2 months ago #
  22. tufftony

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    No, but I do wash and reuse my underwear...

    Well, thank God for that!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  23. bassbug

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    I suppose you realize that you are violating the Forum Rule against sarcasm here? [:nana:]

    Sarcasm? Rules?

    We don't need no stinkin' rules...

    Posted 2 months ago #
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    ekert

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    Who says it's sarcasm? I use the same method to clean my used Q-tip, I've had it since junior high.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  25. hoosierpipeguy

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    Well, when you've grown up during a war experiencing strict rationing
    of everything and when you've spent time living in poor countries and
    seen how the people waste absolutely nothing the habit of not wasting
    stuff grows on you, I guess.

    I get that and respect it. My Parents and my wife's Parents lived through the Great Depression. I still remember some of the things they did when we were kids that were habits acquired during that time. My generation has been spoiled beyond any reasonable expectation. And we spoiled the generation behind us even worse.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  26. tufftony

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    To have grown up in an age of scarcity is good training for when scarcity comes again.

    To have grown up in an era of abundance leaves one unprepared for the scarcity that must eventually come.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  27. jvnshr

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    My true cost in my own time spent screwing with trying to clean pipe cleaners to reuse would be 100 x greater than the savings. There's a reason they are 2 cents each.

    I love when a member writes exactly what I wanted to say. I only have to quote it and add +1.

    Javan
    Posted 2 months ago #
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    dare66

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    Thanks for the tip now I know what to do when I'm in a bind. I wonder if you would've gotten all the sarcasm if we all were sitting in the same room together or is it just because we are sitting behind some electronic device.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  29. tulsagentleman

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    On the subject of recycling things that most would consider disposable - I took a math class in college with a guy who invited me over to the apartment he shared with his wife. Neatly clothespinned to several coat hangers were 6 or 8 condoms which had been washed, powdered and hung up to dry He didn't explain and I didn't ask, but it was difficult to think about anything else. It was our last study session. I'm not making this up.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  30. tufftony

    tufftony

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    Thanks for the tip now I know what to do when I'm in a bind.
    I wonder if you would've gotten all the sarcasm if we all were sitting
    in the same room together or is it just because we are sitting behind
    some electronic device.

    Probably not, but I think most of it is just in fun. I must have
    15 or so packets of fresh new cleaners here but since my better
    half found out that the used ones could be washed she won't let
    me open a new one.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  31. btp79

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    I've never even considered it, but now that I know it is doable I am grateful for the knowledge. Well done.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  32. btwes7

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    No

    Posted 2 months ago #
  33. tufftony

    tufftony

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    On the subject of recycling things that most would consider disposable...

    Modern economies are throw-away economies based on waste.
    There are probably many other things we could think of that
    could be made re-usable with a little effort. I can remember
    the forties before the age of plastic arrived when we actually
    used to repair almost everything and very little was thrown
    away when it got a bit old or worn.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  34. jaytex969

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    We all have our own quirks, based on our experiences.

    I learned while in the army and required to shave daily that, if done so right after a hot shower, I can easily shave with no lather, just hot water, and use the same old school disposable single blade Bic for a whole year!

    I bought my last 10 pack of them soon after buying my house 20 years ago and am not yet through them. Of course, these days, I shave weekly instead of daily.

    Knowing I can wash and reuse pipe cleaners is good enough for me, until it becomes dire.

    Gunner, Black Frigate. Say "Hello" to my little friend!
    Posted 2 months ago #
  35. tufftony

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    I've never even considered it, but now that I know it is doable I am grateful for the knowledge. Well done.

    Thank you. I got the idea when watching a Youtube video of a piper
    cleaning his pipe and was horrified when at each step, after the
    tiniest amount of use, he just tossed the cleaner in his waste basket
    even though the end he had not used was perfectly clean. What a
    dreadful waste, I thought, and began to wonder if, after just a
    single use, a pipe cleaner could be washed and restored to its
    near-pristine original state. And I discovered that they can!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  36. tufftony

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    We all have our own quirks, based on our experiences.

    I learned while in the army and required to shave daily that, if done so right after a hot shower, I can easily shave with no lather, just hot water, and use the same old school disposable single blade Bic for a whole year!

    I bought my last 10 pack of them soon after buying my house 20 years ago and am not yet through them. Of course, these days, I shave weekly instead of daily.

    Knowing I can wash and reuse pipe cleaners is good enough for me, until it becomes dire.

    I've only been doing it a few months but have found that a single packet
    of pipe cleaners, like your blades, can seemingly be used indefinitely.
    WOW! Think of all the money people are wasting on pipe cleaners that could
    have been used instead to buy some great tobacco!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  37. jaytex969

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    When I began piping, I'd clip the moist and dirty end off one end of the cleaner and give it a 3rd use before tossing it. I was also on injury pay at the time and quite mindful of the household funds.

    However, the metal spine would bend a bit at the end and I could feel it scraping the wall inside the stem. I decided that, long term, that may not be good for the stems, so I discontinued the practice.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  38. josephcross

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    Ive had pipe cleaners go through the wash, after having tucked them in a pocket. Ive re-used them with no problem. I dont go out of my way to do this but will use a cleaner after this has happened.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  39. tufftony

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    When I began piping, I'd clip the moist and dirty end off one end of the cleaner and give it a 3rd use before tossing it. I was also on injury pay at the time and quite mindful of the household funds.

    However, the metal spine would bend a bit at the end and I could feel it scraping the wall inside the stem. I decided that, long term, that may not be good for the stems, so I discontinued the practice.

    That's a good point. Yes. I don't clip mine but there is occasional scraping
    even when new so I'll have to keep that in mind. In fact, it leads to a new
    question. "Are there any brands of pipe cleaners whose metal ends don't scrape
    the inside of the pipe stem when being used?"

    Posted 2 months ago #
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    bullet08

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    i clean my pipes right after finish smoking. pipe cleaners come out pretty nasty, two per smoke. tar on the tips. i just dump 'em. but i can see how cost adds up.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  41. ashdigger

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    If I run out of pipe cleners it's game over.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 2 months ago #
  42. jazz

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    "Are there any brands of pipe cleaners whose metal ends don't scrape
    the inside of the pipe stem when being used?"

    The denicotea ones I use rarely do this. Many others I have tried over the years do.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  43. newbroom

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    Use the 'delicate fabrics' setting on your drier, and don't use a fabric softener!
    Regular drier setting will result in a handful of twisted wires and a lint trap full of it. s/

    Posted 2 months ago #
  44. tufftony

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    "Are there any brands of pipe cleaners whose metal ends don't scrape
    the inside of the pipe stem when being used?"

    The denicotea ones I use rarely do this. Many others I have tried over the years do.

    Thanks. I'll keep that name in mind.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  45. 3rdguy

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    I do not reuse pipe cleaners.

    Toilet paper on the other hand...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  46. jpmcwjr

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    To really save on pipe cleaners, use the hot tap water flush. For many of the flushes, you don't even need to use a pipe cleaner at all. Just let dry overnight.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 2 months ago #
  47. mso489

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    I like the re-useable concept and compulsively recycle stuff, even as I am skeptical of its re-use. If I were an all-day or multi-bowl smoker, I might have a system for washing out the less sooty pipe cleaners, drying them out, and giving them a second use. Since a pack lasts me months, I don't. Too busy wiping off pizza boxes and scraping out peanut butter jars. Actually, I was told to just scrape out the peanut butter jars but don't bother to wash 'em; that all gets floated off in slag, if they are actually re-processed. Better to do what you can than to join the slob army.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  48. hoosierpipeguy

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    I wonder if you would've gotten all the sarcasm if we all were sitting in the same room together or is it just because we are sitting behind some electronic device.

    I can't speak for anyone else but if you were face to face with me, my remarks would be every bit as sarcastic if not more so. I make it a point to not say anything in cyberspace that I wouldn't say in person. I think the better question is was anyone trying to be hurtful or malicious. I believe I can speak for everyone when I say absolutely not.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  49. anthonyrosenthal74

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    When I began piping, I'd clip the moist and dirty end off one end of the cleaner and give it a 3rd use before tossing it. I was also on injury pay at the time and quite mindful of the household funds.

    However, the metal spine would bend a bit at the end and I could feel it scraping the wall inside the stem. I decided that, long term, that may not be good for the stems, so I discontinued the practice.

    I get that scraping with brand new pipe cleaners from time to time. Clipping off the very end of a cleaner usually will usually fix that. It's because there's a bur or slight bend at the tip of the cleaner from when cut by the manufacturer.

    Arrrrr, shiver me timbers! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September the 19th!!!
    Brothers Of The Black Frigate
    Posted 2 months ago #
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    chilly65

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    I mentioned this years ago (maybe 35 yrs ago) on ASP. I clipped off the ends and put the cleaners into a bag that is used to wash delicate items, and then put them into the washer. After washing, I then put them in the dryer on low heat.

    At the time I also suggested that the easiest way to build up a cake in a pipe. This involves filling the pipe with your favorite burley, light it, and then hold it out of a car window, driving from 50-60 mph. It will build a cake really fast.

    I also suggested that the way to keep a pipe lit is to break off the heads of some matches and put them into the bowl with the tobacco. The pipe will stay lit, I guarantee. I had also tried squirting Zippo fuel on the tobacco, but found that it left a bad taste.

    Mike

    Posted 2 months ago #
  51. trouttimes

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    Hoosier is spot on. I thought this was a joke. I'm with Ash, if I run out of cleaners...well. Let's see...$15 tabacco...$150 pipe....$0.10 cleaner

    Posted 2 months ago #
  52. ron123

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    I've found that if I run the pipe cleaners along the side of the shanks, that I can reuse them almost endlessly.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  53. brian64

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    I'll just say that I'm very thankful I can afford plenty of pipe cleaners.

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 2 months ago #
  54. cohibajoe

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    Heck NO!!!!!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  55. haparnold

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    I learned while in the army and required to shave daily that, if done so right after a hot shower, I can easily shave with no lather, just hot water, and use the same old school disposable single blade Bic for a whole year!

    We Air Force guys were much more "civilized" than this. Why, I'll never forget my butler rushing in at the sound of Reveille with a hot mug of lather and a badger hair brush. Sadly, he sometimes had my morning tea slightly tepid, so we had to court-martial him for dereliction of duty...

    De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
    Posted 2 months ago #
  56. ashdigger

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    I wonder if you would've gotten all the sarcasm if we all were sitting in the same room together or is it just because we are sitting behind some electronic device

    Are you fucking kidding me? I'd be so much more sarcastic and profane.

    Do you have any idea the amount of self control I exercise when I answer stupid questions.

    I was raised that there were no stupid questions. Then I had children and joined a forum. Needless to say....I was lied to.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  57. tbradsim1

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    I have to embellish on Ash’s comments, man if you were face to face you wouldn’t believe the yahwhos, and catcalls, you would to endure, we are a generation used to being have to stand up to brutal kidding, you learned to give as hard as you got, or you didn’t survive.My take, they are your pipe cleaners , do as you wish. But I’ve never seen someone waste such valuable time in life, next they”ll be trying to recycle toilet paper.Yes I know it’s a shitty idea.

    The Old Cajun
    Posted 2 months ago #
  58. dukdalf

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    Tea bags haunt me. The first time I met my wife's grandmother she had half a dozen of them, neatly clipped on a rack drying out on her kitchen top. "So nice to meet you, young man. Would you like a cup of tea?"

    Posted 2 months ago #
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    mau1

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    When I was a poor sick university student, suffering from a severe cold and studying at 2 am in the morning for an exam, I recycled Kleenex tissues as there were none to be found in the cold apartment. The study lamp proved to be quite excellent at drying the tissues. Toilet paper was a luxury only the rich could afford.

    “I've been treating you with courtesy and respect because that's the way I choose to treat everyone. But never, ever mistake kindness with weakness.”
    ― Louise Penny, Still Life
    Posted 2 months ago #
  60. hawky454

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    Toilet paper on the other hand...

    This is a real thing, in the big liberal cities anyway. My ex tried to talk me into it, she got so into the cloth diapers thing when our daughter was born she started trying to sell me on cloth toilet paper. That is just disgusting in my opinion. Ya know, a lot of the sexual desire stuff starts to go out the window when ya get married anyway, just imagine adding cloth toilet paper to the mix.

    Posted 2 months ago #
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    Joe Blow

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    I don't wash, but I do try and get more than a one or two uses out of each one.... well as many as are easily possible.

    I keep a pair of cheap side cutters / pliers around where I smoke (deck, shed, garage) and the dirty end off into the trash. It's usually only the last 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch that's filthy..... So I trim it off, and have relatively clean cotton to use. It definitely cuts down the time between having to do deep cleans on my pipes, as I'm never using using gunked up cleaners.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  62. tufftony

    tufftony

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    It's clear that at least some of the responders to this thread
    grew up in an era of abundance and that the concept of WASTE
    has never entered their minds. Nor do they seem ever to have considered
    that an economy based on WASTE - which is what all modern economies
    are - must eventually run into a brick wall since, although our
    economists like to pretend resources on this planet are infinite,
    they aren't. I would suggest that the scoffers take a little time out
    to visit their city's waste dump. They might also do a little research
    on the huge and growing problem of waste disposal. These might help
    them see through their illusion of a never-ending flow of cheap and
    readily available goods, a flow that must inevitably end.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  63. ashdigger

    ashdigger

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    It's clear that at least some of the responders to this thread
    grew up in an era of abundance and that the concept of WASTE
    has never entered their minds. Nor do they seem ever to have considered
    that an economy based on WASTE - which is what all modern economies
    are - must eventually run into a brick wall since, although our
    economists like to pretend resources on this planet are infinite,
    they aren't. I would suggest that the scoffers take a little time out
    to visit their city's waste dump. They might also do a little research
    on the huge and growing problem of waste disposal. These might help
    them see through their illusion of a never-ending flow of cheap and
    readily available goods, a flow that must inevitably end.

    Bullshit

    Posted 2 months ago #
  64. User has not uploaded an avatar

    frozenchurchwarden

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    I’ll re-use pipe cleaners but I don’t wash them.
    My last adjutment to cleaning habits was using a small tube brush for the shank.

    (I believe that modern dumps are going to be gold mines in the future, dump all you want, some day people will have plenty of motivation to recycle most of it. What grinds my gears is dumping in the Ocean where it makes my Tuna less edible and precious metals are effectively lost forever.)

    Posted 2 months ago #
  65. gatorlope

    gatorlope

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    Someone mentioned using the ‘delicate fabrics’ setting...

    Maybe I can just drop them in the washer when my wife does her lingerie?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  66. gatorlope

    gatorlope

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    Might as well save water while we’re at it!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  67. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Dishwasher!!:LINK to scientific discussion.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  68. haparnold

    Hap

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    ...although our
    economists like to pretend resources on this planet are infinite,
    they aren't.

    Speaking as an actual economist, this is just flat wrong. I teach first-year undergraduates the concept of resource constraints and budget constraints literally the first day of class. Also, there's this whole field called Environmental Economics, which is dedicated to (wait for it) problems of allocating increasingly scarce resources. There's also Ecological Economics, which is focused on preserving natural capital.

    For a little light reading, let me recommend The Annual Review of Resource Economics at https://www.annualreviews.org/journal/resource,

    Or maybe The Journal of Environmental and Resource Economics at https://www.springer.com/economics/environmental/journal/10640,

    Or maybe Land Economics (since 1925!) at https://uwpress.wisc.edu/journals/journals/le.html,

    Or maybe just crack open an undergraduate econ textbook.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  69. tufftony

    tufftony

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    although our
    economists like to pretend resources on this planet are infinite,
    they aren't.

    Speaking as an actual economist, this is just flat wrong. I teach first-year undergraduates the concept of resource constraints and budget constraints literally the first day of class. Also, there's this whole field called Environmental Economics, which is dedicated to (wait for it) problems of allocating increasingly scarce resources. There's also Ecological Economics, which is focused on preserving natural capital.

    For a little light reading, let me recommend The Annual Review of Resource Economics at https://www.annualreviews.org/journal/resource,

    Or maybe The Journal of Environmental and Resource Economics at https://www.springer.com/economics/environmental/journal/10640,

    Or maybe Land Economics (since 1925!) at https://uwpress.wisc.edu/journals/journals/le.html,

    Or maybe just crack open an undergraduate econ textbook.

    There are some who believe that Economics, like many other modern fields
    of study (e.g., Psychoanalysis), is a pseudoscience.

    "As to the people, they have no understanding and repeat only
    what their rulers (and their stooges) are pleased to tell them".
    - Protagoras, Greek Philosopher, c.490-420 B.C.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  70. haparnold

    Hap

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    Yeah well, some folks believe the earth is flat.

    Posted 2 months ago #

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