Switching to Cloth Napkins
Paper napkins have earned their place in the majority of homes across America (and numerous other countries, too) for their convenience. But are they necessary? Less than a generation ago, although available, paper napkins were far less ubiquitous than they are today. What did they use then? The answer is simple enough: if they used anything at all, they used cloth.
One of my New Year’s resolutions last year was to switch to green cleaning. That decision led to my family’s reduction of our paper towel usage. For 2009 one of my resolutions was to reduce the number of paper napkins we use by adding cloth napkins to our collection. I found a helpful tutorial at Passionate Homemaking on how to turn a twin sheet into a set of cloth napkins. Lindsay made 20 cloth napkins out of a sheet she purchased for $4.00. I like her idea to make a set for a Christmas or homemaking gift. Although I am useless with a sewing machine, I had every intention to follow the simple instructions to make my own set, but when my mother heard of my resolution, she offered to let me have a set of my grandmother’s cloth napkins so we use those instead and remember my grandmother when we do.
How to Make the Switch Work for You
If you make or purchase cloth napkins that are similar in dimension to paper napkins then you can store them the same way you would store the paper variety. The only downside to the napkins from my grandmother is that they are much larger than a standard paper napkin so they don’t fit neatly into the basket where we keep paper napkins. We have to store them in a drawer in the dining room and remember to pull them out when we’re having a messy dinner. When they are soiled, we toss them into the small basket under the sink to be washed along with the collection of rags and washcloths that we use in place of paper towels.
Using paper napkins instead of cloth is another simple change that I wish we had made a long time ago both for its benefits to our budget and to the environment.
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