A little over a month ago (April 28, to be exact), I posted this comment on my Facebook page:
“Ok…I have issued and accepted a challenge to myself. I am trying to eliminate the use of paper towels in our house. My goal right now is to make the 4 rolls that I have left last at least 2 months. I will not buy any more paper towels until July 1. I have plenty of kitchen towels and rags, cleaning rags, and even some homemade “clorox” wipes. I am about to wash the cloth napkins that have been sitting in my linen closet for 6 years waiting to be used. Game on! :-)”
Since that day, we have used less than 1 roll of papertowels. Yep…the other three are still sitting there collecting dust.
Here’s what we are using:
- cloth napkins for meals
- flannel squares for quick wipe-ups (faces, noses, hands, etc)
- kitchen towels for dishes, cooking, and such (I keep a clean one out at all times)
- kitchen rags for washing dishes
- retired rags for floors, yuck messes, staining messes, and things that need to just be thrown away (I wash a lot of them, but some things just need to go in the trash!)
We already had a lot of these things hiding in our linen closet. It was just a matter of rummaging through to see how we could use what we already had. I started out using the “clorox” wipes, but have wound up using them only rarely. I usually just grab a rag and a spray of whatever cleaner is closest…or a microfiber cloth. Those things are awesome! I use microfiber for messes that would have usually required a good bit of cleaner or scrubbing, like my flat cooktop after using it to knead my bread dough.
I have realized that I’m not a huge fan of WHITE napkins, for obvious reasons if you have kids and serve spaghetti. I spent $4 on a couple of yards of printed darker fabric that I’m slowly hemming into napkins. I also discovered that old flannel baby blankets can be cut into the most perfect little rags for toddler-related clean ups. I hated having to run to the closet for washcloths every time I needed to degunkify that percious little face, but I didn’t want to spend money to BUY even more stuff. One of the points of this whole project is to save some money while lessening our impact on the enviroment. I can’t do that if I’m buying more and more. So, I took a pair of pinking shears to a white blanket that was stained beyond hope anyway, and sent them through the wash with my fingers crossed. Unlike my flour-sack towels, these didn’t ravel AT ALL!! I forsee the demise of a few more blankets in my house’s future…
The only thing that we use papertowels for is really grease. The few times that I have cooked sausage, I drained it on papertowels. I may try it on my flannel rags and rinse them with a little dawn, but for now, I’m ok with this occasional usage. Once we’re out of those 4 rolls though, there’s no looking back! (of course, at this rate, that will be some time in 2013)
The best part of the whole process was the moment that my husband told a friend that he’s really been enjoying using the cloth napkins! He said that he wasn’t too sure about it at first, but he’s really gotten used to it. *smile* I love affirmation. I hope that he’ll look back on a lot of the changes that I’m trying in our house with the same happiness.