Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Un-Paper Towels

I have a question for you. What do you typically look for in the perfect paper towel?
  • Low price?
  • Durable?
  • Environmental?
If you are anything like me, you would want to have all three. But it always felt like to have any of these qualities, I would end up sacrificing the other two.

Then I discovered un-paper towels...

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, let me explain. Un-paper towels are cloth towels that are are made to replace the traditional paper version. You can get really cute designs on etsy that even snap together to mimic the paper towel roll shape and convenience. I am not a fan of this version because most of the time, I would end up not bothering to snap them together. In fact, most of the time, I won't use these because I love the design so much that I don't want to stain them. So now, my most expensive un-paper towels have been reduced to water clean up and that's about it.

What Works For Me

Terry Cloth (Classic Wash Cloths)

Terry cloth is definitely my go-to for any everyday job. I bought a couple of 18 packs at Walmart when they were having their Back to School sale, and I love them. They have just enough color in them to be pretty without me worrying about staining and ruining them.

Microfiber Cloth

Microfiber cloth rags are great for high absorbancy needs, such as kitchen spills (flying glass of milk, anyone?) or other big cleaning jobs. I only keep a few on hand, because they aren't needed in my home daily.

Flour Sack Towels

Flour sack towels are dirt cheap and great for cleaning. They are relatively thin, but surprisingly absorbent. They are about 28 inches across in each direction. My favorite thing to use them for are wiping down counters, dusting, and light spills on the floor. They also work wonders when cleaning large messes (like toddler's faces after meal times!) Bonus: If you are a cloth diapering parent, they also make GREAT flat diapers!

Cut Up T-Shirts

This probably rivals terry cloth for my number one used cloth. It is such a simple solution, and great for a wide array of things. This is gentler on your skin than terry cloth and microfiber, but can be more manageable for small jobs than flour sack towels, since you can cut them to whatever size and shape you want. My favorite applications are tissues and face wipes. Bonus: No hemming, as jersey (the material t-shirts are made from, doesn't fray. It does, however, roll, so be sure to take that into account when you cut the fabric.

Cloth Napkins

I included this on the list because I do use them, but honestly, not that often. Cloth napkins are broken out every time I have company over for a meal. Most days, I will use cut up t-shirts for meal time clean up if I am not trying to impress anyone.

Cleaning Up

Cleaning is a breeze! I used to keep a bucket under my sink full of water and a bit of vinegar, but really that was way too much, and caused me to have to do laundry almost every day to keep it from getting mildew-y. So now I keep a bucket (no water or vinegar) under my kitchen sink for most napkins, and a mesh laundry bag in the bathroom for whatever cloth is in there.

On laundry day, I take the mesh bag and dump my bucket into it. I close it up and wash it in the bag with towels on the other side of the drum to balance everything out (no need to worry about this in a front loader). This makes everything SO much easier when you transfer it to the dryer, because trust me, you don’t want to go digging for a million little pieces of cloth in the bottom of the dryer. And don’t wait until the mesh bag is full, or nothing will be able to be moved around to get clean.

In The End

You might dive fully into the cloth world. You may even be like me and not even stop at paper towels, but move on to family cloth and mama cloth (but that’s another post...) Or you may not. You might only use cloth napkins at dinner, or just reach for a towel instead of a paper towel for a small spill. But remember, the point of this blog is not “Go big or go home”, but rather “Every bit helps”. Every conscious decision you make to make the world a little bit better of a place to live in matters.

Until next time, as always, peace and love!

What about you? What are some ways that you have reduced on your disposable paper products? Would you ever consider cloth paper towels? Why or why not?

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