Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wipe Your Face

I am addicted to paper towels. Really. All my efforts to live greener and more sustainably and I tear through paper towels like there's no tomorrow. I cringe when I think about how many rolls of paper towels I've used in my lifetime. I use them for everything. To wipe up spills, clean bathrooms, wash faces and hands....I even use paper towels in lieu of cutting boards when I'm slicing fruit for breakfast or as a quick plate for sandwiches and muffins. It has to stop! 

Lately, I've been making an honest effort to stop using so many of these environmentally damaging but oh-so-convenient scraps of absorbent paper. I used to use nearly an entire roll to clean my bathrooms but I've been using my arsenal of rags instead. And to wipe down the counters, I've been using clean kitchen towels and my homemade all purpose spray. But I still reach for one to wipe a messy child or to provide a plate like barrier between food and table. My laziness astounds me. Why not just use a real live plate or cutting board?Because then I'd have dishes in my sink. I HATE having dishes in my sink. A paper towel is used and tossed, no extra mess to worry about.

My solution is this: cloth napkins. I figure if I have drawer full of cloth napkins, I'll be less tempted to reach for paper towels. Runny nose? Cloth napkin. Plate for afternoon snack? Cloth napkin. Nasty, unidentifiable sticky spot on the table? Cloth napkin. And since cloth napkins can run a kings ransom at the store, I decided to use what I had to start my soon to be gargantuan collection of cloth napkins.

No fancy hems or mitered corners either.The fabric I used was free (the best kind), pilfered from my Mom's unused and unloved stash from her stint as a home economics teacher. I cut my napkins to be 11x11 which is much smaller than a standard store bought napkin but it's more than adequate for everyday home use. Plus, you can get more napkins out of less fabric. I just used a zigzag stitch around the edges to keep them from fraying, but a serger would have worked well too. With very little time, effort, and money, my cloth napkin collection is off to a great start. Hopefully I'll be weaned from paper towels soon!


  1. Cute! I'm addicted to using baby wipes for hands, spills, icky spots on floors and walls...and bums of course. I've started cutting up my flannel receiving blankets and zig-zagging double layers of them to make reusable wipes! They're so soft!! I do love paper towels too but don't buy them...I splurge on super-soft toilet paper instead! Ha!

  2. Glad to find another convert. I completely gave up paper towels a couple of years ago now. I didn't go the napkin route. Washing them and keeping them clean and cute looking seemed like such a chore. I instead opted for purchasing cheap face cloths and using them for dinner mess and face cleanup. I use cheap miracle cloths for counters and dusting and cleaning. It's so nice to not spend money on something I throw away after one use.