I am a glutton for DIY non-toxic cleaning recipes and ideas. Cannot get enough of them. Something I keep running across is the great idea of non-paper towels. Most methods I’ve found involve cutting and sewing squares of broadcloth onto squares of terry cloth, turning right-side-out, basting closed then fastening velcro or snaps so they attach together like a paper towel roll – which we all try not to use so we can save money, avoid chemicals and diminish our ecological footprint, right?! I love the idea of these fabric towel rolls. They are economical, convenient and pretty. I love them every time I see them!
Yet, there’s something that stops me from using this method. Besides the sewing. Well, ok. Maybe sewing is the deal killer here. But
most some of the reason is that there’s another option I like better.
You want to know what I use? (You do realize that, even if you cry out, “No! Please NO!”, it won’t stop me from telling you. So you may as well just relax and read on.) I use white, all-cotton washcloths. They’re inexpensive (last year, I found a pack of 18(ish) for about $4 at KMart. I also use these ), they have a bit of rough nap to them, so they’re great for scrubbing. They absorb as well, if not better, than paper towels. You can bleach* them , beat them up AND keep them as handy as a roll of towels, paper or otherwise!
*(actually, I don’t bleach. I Homemade-Oxygen-Bleach. We’ll talk about that another time.)
I like to fold them in half and roll them into nappy little logs to grab as needed. Stack the rolls in a small basket, decorative baking dish or other handy container. Voila! Instant “green”!
See how neat they look?
When they’re too dirty to trust for one more job, like at the end of the day or after cleaning up raw meat drippings, I drop them in a corner near the door. At the end of the day, into the laundry they go to wash for another day.
We no longer have children living with us, so 20 cloths are plenty for our kitchen. I would suggest beginning with about 20-24 then see if you need more. You might find, as I did, that more is overkill. We still use paper towels for things like my husband’s oil-painting (he’s gifted, for sure!)… but, I’m working on that. I hope to be 100% paper towel-free very soon.
Here’s a list of things that I love about this solution:
1. No sewing, gluing, velcroing or needing special tools to attach snaps.
2. Very inexpensive – much MUCH less $$$ than burning through one paper towel roll after another.
3. They don’t kill trees or contribute to overflowing landfills.
4. They hold up, even when wet! Better than the leading brand 🙂
5. They absorb spills effortlessly.
6. The slight roughness is great for scrubbing vegetables, messy pans and work-surfaces.
7. They can smell nice. I use essential oils in our (fragrance- and dye-free) laundry detergent and on our dryer balls (you can find them here).
8. No running out.
9. I like how they feel in my hands.
10. Every time I use them, wash them, roll them up and reuse them, it makes me feel virtuous.
The things that could be a little bothersome:
1. If tags bother you, as they do me, you have to spend a whole 3 minutes cutting them off when you open the package. ~ Not really all that bothersome since you only do it once.
2. Some of the cloths begin to fray after awhile. ~This might be a good thing. It shows you’re using them right. Just roll them so the frays don’t show and use the worst of them for things that stain.
3. Eventually, they will become so ratty they’ll be relegated to the rag bin for much dirtier jobs and, way in the future, thrown away. ~ Hm… also not a bother.
4. um, I can’t think of anything I don’t like about this solution.
Let’s share ideas! What do you think about this solution? How do you avoid using paper towels?