I want to make the transition from using paper towels (we use A TON) to using towels, wash rags and cloth napkins instead. I did start this a few months ago but it fizzled. I found it great to have cloth napkins ready whenever I needed them for Lila. She’s not the cleanest of kids. Besides being a bit on the clumsy side, she’s also a food, paint and dirt magnet. I found myself constantly grabbing paper towels to wipe her off. With a cloth napkin I can use 1-2 a day (depending the mess I’m cleaning) and save the paper towels. I also find myself grabbing a paper towel to wipe the littlest of spills or drips on the counter or table.
I read this article, How To Switch From Disposable Paper Towels and Napkins to Cloth, from the blog, Kinda Crunchy Kate. It reminded me of what I started this summer and never finished.
Here’s how you can switch from disposable cleaning items to cloth. This is an excerpt from How To Switch From Disposable Paper Towels and Napkins to Cloth.
- Go to a store and buy the cheapest dish cloths/ wash cloths you can find. I usually use white ones, but you can get whatever colors suit your fancy. If you are really industrious, you could knit or crochet yourself some. You don’t want to be worried about messing them up, though, because you are now going to be using them for almost all of your needed clean ups in the house. So, I have certain wash cloths for the kitchen and clean up and I have much nicer ones that we use to wash our face. I’ve also “downgraded” the face wash cloths when they become too worn into dish cloths. I use my cloths for everything from washing dishes, wiping down counters, wiping up spills, washing walls, and wiping grimy little hands and faces.
- Put your paper towels away and make the dish cloths and towels as convenient as possible. I think putting the paper towels away is really important because if they are sitting out on your counter, they are so much easier to use than the dish cloth. I have mine under the sink, so they’re still convenient if I need one, but they are not in my (or my family’s!) line of vision. I’m at the point now where I only use a paper towel for greasing my iron skillet and for really gross clean ups around the house (read: vomit). I’ve finally gotten our system set up where my husband and kids go to the dish cloth drawer before they go to the paper towels and that makes my little crunchy frugal heart happy.
- Figure out how your system for washing the dish cloths and towels. I go through 3 to 4 dish cloths a day. I’m admittedly a little Type A about them, so I use a new one for my kiddos’ faces and hands after every meal. We dry our hands on a dish cloth, so I have one for drying hands and another one for drying dishes. I change both of those daily. (Again, a little Type A.) I just toss all of these cloths in with my regular wash. I do a load of laundry almost every day, so I just put them in with that. If you don’t like that idea, perhaps you could put a bucket under your sink and toss the used cloths in there to be washed once or twice a week. I used to do that, but it was too inconvenient for me, so I switched to my current system.
- Streamline your process. I know that if something takes too much time or effort with stuff like this, I just end up not doing it. I’ve streamlined my process of putting everything up by not folding the dish cloths. It saves me some time and they are just going to get pulled out and used again, so I don’t waste my time folding them. Besides, its kind of nice to have permission to have a drawer where you can just shove stuff in and close it without a second guilty thought. (I know. I’m Type A about replacing the cloth items in the kitchen and not about how the drawer looks. Chalk it up to my idiosyncrasies.)