Options for Replacing Paper Towels
We use an assortment of dishrags and washcloths which can be purchased inexpensively (less than $0.25 each when purchased in a bundle) for wiping up most kitchen messes, cleaning the counter tops and wiping down the table. We throw the dirty rags into a small basket under the sink and a couple of times a week we empty the basket into the washing machine to clean the rags.
What About Those Really Messy Messes?
Switching to cloth instead of paper towels doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing decision. Thinking about wiping up raw chicken juice and tossing the rag under the sink makes me feel queasy. For really messy messes we keep a roll of paper towels on the counter. I’d guess a roll lasts us at least 2 months, maybe more, because we use paper towels so infrequently.
Another option is using cloth rags that are tossed out after one use. We have a stack of t-shirts from our college and high school days that are either in poor shape or would be very unlikely to find a new home through donating them to the thrift store so we cut them into rags. In past I have used these rags to clean the bathroom and tossed them out when I’ve finished. Although not ideal, this is still a more eco-friendly and wallet-friendly option than paper towels because I did not purchase the rags with the purpose of throwing them out and have reused something that was otherwise useless.
Make a Small Change
If completely ridding your home of paper towels sounds too overwhelming I encourage you to consider making the switch step by step. If you always use a paper towel or baby wipe to clean your child’s hands after a meal, consider taking your child over to the sink and washing his hands there or use a washcloth instead. If you need to wipe up the juice that spilled on the floor, use a dishtowel to soak it up instead of reaching for the paper towels. Small change adds up.