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 of 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, 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.