Getting Rid of Paper Towels

Cheeky Dish Cloths
Cheeky dish cloths!

One of the easiest changes I’ve made in my home is getting rid of paper towels. I was initially very intimidated by this aspect and put up so many barriers to doing this – if I use rags, what type of rags? how much more washing will I have to do? what if I’m out of rags? cloth towels cost more than paper towels!

As in most things in life, the initial investment in cloth napkins and kitchen towels can be a lot to pay at once, however the cost of paper towels is a lot more in the long run, costing families an average of $200 or more per year – and it’s all being thrown in the trash!

As I said, I was terrified by the aspect ofย not having paper towels in my home – I used them for everything, all. the. time. Wiping faces, counters, sticky hands, cleaning EVERYTHING, wiping up spills, used as napkins, cleaning make-up brushes – almost any cleaning task was done with a crazy amount of paper towels. And I couponed my heart out and got the best deal for my dollar, but at what cost to our earth? Going through 3 or 4 rolls of paper towels a week, just because I could?

Since moving into our tiny apartment, we’ve switched to cloth napkins, microfiber cloths, sponges and rags for our cleaning and wiping jobs. I have a drawer specifically for these cloths and have a few hooks for ones we’re currently using. Once they get dirty I just throw them in the wash with our other towels.

Not once have I been out of towels or napkins – I’ve been low, but I’ve always had a couple of clean ones lying around. And the fact that I’m not contributing to more waste than necessary while cleaning makes me feel good. The family is adjusting fine – my daughter gets a kick out of the ‘fancy’ napkins we’re using, while my husband I think misses the ease of paper towels (always there, ready on a roll, throw it out when you’re done), he is definitely on board with it and I think after a few more months he’ll eventually stop asking me ‘where we keep the paper towels’…!

PS. Full Disclosure: We do have ONE roll of paper towels in the back corner of the sink,ย just in case. In case of what? I’m not quite sure yet, but it’s there – just don’t tell my husband!

*The Going Green Series will discuss tips on reducing waste, recycling, sustainable living and how to easily implement these into our daily lives.

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  • This is such a great idea….I think I just may try this! I live in Seattle, but I have to admit, I’m not always the most “green”. ๐Ÿ™‚ THIS is something I could very easily do and save us some money in the process. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It is such an easy thing to do, once you get over the mental aspect of not being able to throw away the paper towel. And it gives you an excuse to thrift for chic and vintage kitchen towels ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I was so worried about losing paper towels but quickly realised how easy it is to do! Family members haven’t been over since we’ve changed it (they either live across the country or a few hours away), but I wonder how they’ll react!

  • Got to this post through your latest one– but have you heard of Norwex? They are micro-fiber cloths embedded with silver that kills bacteria so you never need to use cleaning products. I use their all purpose cloths now and they are a life saver!! I still have one roll of paper towel too but I rarely use it.

    • I’ve heard of Norwex but haven’t purchased it yet – they are somewhat pricey and we’re “budgeting” right now! However it’s definitely on my list of things to buy for the new house – I hear such great things about them!