Last year I wanted to try cloth, so I pulled out those cloth napkins that I got as wedding gifts, and I found a few extras at the thrift store. We've never gone back. We even pack them with lunches. They absorb better than paper, and they are larger as well. I store them folded (but not ironed) in a wicker basket in the largest drawer in my kitchen. At my old house, there was no where to store them, so the basket sat right on the end of our table. Napkins can be used several times before they need washed in many cases, and in our house we mark our used napkin with a napkin ring for later use.
Paper towels went later. I wanted to try cloth rags, but I didn't want to use my regular household cleaning cloths, so I went to plan B. I started gathering worn out white T-shirts and cutting them into large squares, added some kitchen towels with holes, and my kitchen rags were born. My basket of cloth towels sits in the pantry, and the other side of the pantry holds my kitchen laundry basket. I keep all of the kitchen laundry completely separate from the other laundry. When we have a spill, need to wipe counters, or want to finally scrub those fingerprints from our glass kitchen door- we grab one of these towels. Our all-purpose cleaner is homemade and completely non-toxic. The recipe is as follows:
All Purpose Cleaner
Add 14 oz. of white vinegar to a spray bottle,
and then fill the bottle the rest of the way up with filtered water.
For an added scent, squeeze half of a lemon into the bottle.
Five benefits of switching to cloth:
- Save Money. The napkins and rags probably won't cost you anything, or if they do, the thrift store can make the price minimal. You won't have to shell out hard-earned cash for disposable. If you already wash your kitchen towels, bibs, highchair cover, and washcloths, you won't have to spend any extra money on laundry either. Just add the napkins and towels to your load.
- Limit Your Family's Exposure to Toxins. Toxins are not only found in cleaner sprays, but did you know that since they use Chlorine to bleach paper towels and napkins, a dangerous bi-product called dioxin is released. Dioxins are one of, if not the top, most toxic chemicals known. (If you are interested read this.) Cloth has no toxins, so this is a safer option.
- Reduce Waste to Landfills. Growing up I was always taught that we need to care for the earth because we want it to still be livable for our children and their children and so on. Now that I have had the chance to meet my children and I look them in the eye and I know that I am the one who has been given the honor to protect them, I take this charge very seriously. Whatever your motivation, I think we can agree that our planet could use some TLC, and this is one small and easy way to reduce waste and to cut back on dioxins that are spewed into the air at paper mills.
- Save time. Purchasing anything takes time, and using cloth means there are two less items to add to the list and search out at the store. The more you simplify, the easier your life will be. If you are interested in saving even more time, don't bother folding your napkins or rags. They are only used to clean up food after all.
- Protect Our Forests. Paper napkins and paper towels are made from trees, so simply cutting back your use of paper means more trees that do not need to be cut down. Can you imagine how many trees would be saved if families even cut back their use of paper products?
Tags: napkin, cloth napkin, paper towel, paper towels, towels, rag, rags, kitchen, money-saving, saving money