or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › For those who do not use paper towels...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

For those who do not use paper towels... - Page 2

post #21 of 39
Here's what we use since we don't use any disposable items such as paper towels and napkins.

-cloth napkins
-old cloth napkins for oil messes/draining food, etc.
-cloth and knit/crochet dish rags
-old/retired dish rags and shower wash rags are used for pet messes, cleaning toilets, floors, etc. (pet mess rags are washed with family cloth, or on their own if they've been sick)
-cloth towels for drying in the kitchen (we even cut down and serge retired bath towels for this purpose)

Nothing goes to waste....a rag has to be really really far gone to be disposed of.

I keep a simple line of twine hung in my wash room to hang wet dish rags and such so that they don't mildew while they wait for wash day and also to keep from attracting bugs.

Rags/towels that are used for icky things like cleaning the bathroom, etc. are kept separate from things like our shower washrags and kitchen cloth. We just keep a pile in our wash room cupboard.
post #22 of 39
In the kitchen I use tea towels, cloth napkins and Unpaper Towels. I make wetbags for hanging on the stove or drawer handle.

In the bathroom we have family cloth (Un-tp) and also have a wet bag that is used until they go to the laundry room into the former diaper pail. And two ply woven hankies for nose duty.

I use a bowl brush for the toilet.
post #23 of 39
ok instead of paper towels i have a huge stack of kitchen wash rags. they are cheap colored rags from wal mart. i have white ones for the bathroom. i use them for everything. counters, tables, cat puke etc. they are in stacks on the shelf above my sink. i have like 20 clean at a time. the bathroom ones are on the shelf next to the towels. i use a dry pail like for the dipes. it is the exact same garbage can as the dipes one but a different color. 30 gal. i put all rags and towels in there. then i wash a cold rinse, hot wash with detergent, and a cold rinse with vinegar. come out great. clean, dont stink, no stains, even with using them on cat puke, and DD accidents. the hot water wash kills the bacteria.
post #24 of 39
i would love to cut out paper towels!

but are you more concerned with reducing waste or saving money?

isn't washing with hot water or more cycles or more often just as expensive as buying paper towels? or are you just wanting to go greener?

this is my concern for cloth diapers as well

thanks
post #25 of 39
I bought the Skoy cloth from Zoom Baby Gear above after reading this thread. I just received it last week. I'm using it in the kitchen. It doesn't scrub at all, but it's great to wipe the surfaces, better than sponges or dish cloths for that. I have always used cloths for cleaning, but this is good with very wet stuff. I go through 2 rolls of paper towel a year.
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by merryns.mom View Post
i would love to cut out paper towels!

but are you more concerned with reducing waste or saving money?

isn't washing with hot water or more cycles or more often just as expensive as buying paper towels? or are you just wanting to go greener?

this is my concern for cloth diapers as well

thanks
It's complicated just like anything else and it's great to think about the drawbacks as well. Every "green" option has its pros and cons. Recycling uses loads of energy but I still feel like it is better then throwing those resources in the landfill.
I think it is really essential to think about all the factors involved but I don't think that it should stop you from giving it a try.
Making paper takes a crazy amount of water (something like a gallon per sheet, not including the water used to grow the tree), so for every paper towel you use, you have already consumed a lot of water.
From my understanding, it's not really the water that you see being used in a day that is drying up the reservoirs, but it's all the water consumed in producing the things that you use and eat.

You also have to factor in where you water comes from. My water comes from a river that is less then a quarter mile from my house. It is micro-filtrated and then comes directly to my faucet. Our grey water leaches back into the river. I might feel differently about the extra laundry if I was living in the dessert.

We use dishcloths and wash cloths for everything that we used to use paper towels for. It adds about an extra load of laundry per week (or maybe every 2 weeks) and uses 2-3 gallons of water plus detergent and electricity.

We don't have control over the places where paper companies get their water or electricity, but we do at our own homes. I see that as a big advantage.

I'm not really sure how the energy/consumption really comes out. To me it seems like we are way ahead of the paper towels but it is complicated! Consumption aside, I think it is good to get away from the trash mentality and try reusing what you have. It has given me such a better idea of how much we still use even when we are trying to get to zero trash.

Also, it's fun to hand someone a piece of cloth when they ask for a paper towel and they look at you like you have 4 eyes
post #27 of 39
We use a combo of wash cloths, dish cloths and old rags. I sewed loops on all of the kitchen towels so that they are distinguishable from the "good" washcloths and they can hang on a hook in the kitchen. They go in a bucket under the sink when they are dirty and waiting to be washed.

I use a standard toilet brush when I do clean my toilet, which is not often
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by merryns.mom View Post
i would love to cut out paper towels!

but are you more concerned with reducing waste or saving money?

isn't washing with hot water or more cycles or more often just as expensive as buying paper towels? or are you just wanting to go greener?

this is my concern for cloth diapers as well

thanks
I agree with everything Toolip said. And wanted to add that it is some pretty fancy marketing the disposable corporations use to convince us that it takes more water to maintain an item then it does to make an item. Those studies which prove disposables are as green as cloth were all done by folks with a vested interest in selling disposable products.
Not to mention the chemicals you expose your family to with disposable products.
Not to mention that cloth just plain works so much better then disposable products.
Not to mention that cloth is so much softer and nicer to be around.

That said we do have disposable toilet paper in my house, (and I do occasionally use it to clean up cat poop!) for everything else I have a great supply of rags. For oily jobs I pick one at the end of its life and pitch it if needed. Otherwise rags are rags and they all wash up clean with minimal effort and water.

Smiles,
Inge
post #29 of 39
Don't you guys think it would be as costly to run a washer to wash all the clothes as buying kitchen towels and toilet paper?
post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ma2tng View Post
I agree with everything Toolip said. And wanted to add that it is some pretty fancy marketing the disposable corporations use to convince us that it takes more water to maintain an item then it does to make an item. Those studies which prove disposables are as green as cloth were all done by folks with a vested interest in selling disposable products.
Not to mention the chemicals you expose your family to with disposable products.
Not to mention that cloth just plain works so much better then disposable products.
Not to mention that cloth is so much softer and nicer to be around.

That said we do have disposable toilet paper in my house, (and I do occasionally use it to clean up cat poop!) for everything else I have a great supply of rags. For oily jobs I pick one at the end of its life and pitch it if needed. Otherwise rags are rags and they all wash up clean with minimal effort and water.

Smiles,
Inge
ITA! Remember that the companies that make disposable whatever (diapers, menstrual pads, tissues, ...) will need a lot of water and electricity in the process (especially for the night shift LOL), plus plastic products for wrapping plus extra-absorbent whatever (I'm not a chemist) in the case of diapers and menstrual pads.

I just switched to familiy cloth (FC) for myself and often for my younger children, and I replaced the paper towels in the kitchen with former towels, cut up in rectangles. (Dish rags, dish cloths and cleaning cloths were in use anyway before that.) Last summer, I switched to a diva cup for myself (before that I used tampons) which actually saves me laundry as I have a lot fewer stains than before. I still use washable menstrual pads for the light flow towards the end of my period (and have been doing so for the past 12 years.)

Counting in that my "paper towels" would otherwise have ended in the trash (or maybe in the garage for oily jobs) I don't feel that I'm wasting water or anything here. Even the FC isn't an extra load of laundry, it just "fills the gaps" when I wash towels.
post #31 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by sora View Post
Don't you guys think it would be as costly to run a washer to wash all the clothes as buying kitchen towels and toilet paper?
nope, not at all! And it's not just about cost savings either. It really doesn't add that much extra laundry. Often it just goes in with a load of towels. Even if they take a whole load it is still a savings for us.

Say a load of laundry cost us $5 (which it doesn't, not even close). If we filled up that load with all our kitchen rags, we have enough that would last us 3 weeks, easily. That would be around $1.70/ week. We used to go through about a roll per week. I don't usually find paper towels for less than $2/ roll so we are coming out way ahead. Does that make sense?
post #32 of 39
We have been paper towel free for a couple of years and it is wonderful! You never ever run out! We also generally don't buy kleenex- but I did get 2 boxes this winter when we all had runny noses (not enough hankies). Mine aren't fancy- just kitchen rags. When we are done with diapers it will be microfiber clothes and pfs. The dirty ones I just throw in wash machine with whatever load is washing (we are a farm family- so there is always laundry going) or I have a bucket in my pantry. I don't think it adds any to our laundry- although I do bleach them all probably every 2 months- so that is an extra load.
post #33 of 39
I use a brush for the toilet and 'bar mops' for the rest of my cleaning needs. They are just dish towels. When they get dirty, I throw them in the wash. It seems like I go through more per day than the other mamas on here (at least 3....6 or 7 if I'm really cleaning). I probably have at least 70 or so. When they get really really worn out, I toss them.

I also have some old white t-shirts I cut up to clean glass (the don't leave lint)/
post #34 of 39
nak

We're switching to cloth for paper towels. We have a motley assortment of tea towels, old wash rags, cloth napkins, & 3/$1 dishrags & dishtowels from the grocery store. For kleenex we use baby washcloths. Hubby still uses paper towels sometimes, so we go through maybe a roll a month.

I wash them in hot with towels & cloth diapers (we're 50/50 cloth/sposies) with Borax & soapnuts and rinse with vinegar.

For the toilet, I use a brush & 7th generation toilet cleaner.

Recently switched to a Diva Cup. LOVE it! Making some cloth mama pads is somewhere on my list of things to do... maybe this year!

My Mom was here for two weeks when the baby was born. She kept asking for napkins. I kept handing her a rag and saying "We use cloth for napkins" She bought herself paper napkins from the store. The day before she left I overheard her saying to herself, "Oh! They use CLOTH for napkins!!"

I think reusing cloth is cheaper than buying paper towels & better for the enviroment. Even with washing them. To make a paper towel you hafta cut down a tree. Cotton/hemp/bamboo are more renewable.
post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by sora View Post
Don't you guys think it would be as costly to run a washer to wash all the clothes as buying kitchen towels and toilet paper?
Not at all. We can go through a 24 pack of TP in under a month - and that's mostly me peeing. When I use cloth (pee only), a 24 pack can last us closer to 4 mos. Paper towels we used to go through about a roll a week. Now it's a roll every 6 mos. And yet if I take all my kitchen and bathroom cloth together in a pile, it doesn't equal 1 load of laundry. So I add the bath towels and the hand towels from the bathroom, sheets, diapers or whatever else I'm washing (on hot - so not with clothes). All of my cloth together (dish rags, family cloth, napkins, hankies, etc.) don't even equal 1/3 of a load.
post #36 of 39
We use cut-up old t-shirts, some diapers that have ceased to be butt-worthy, and kitchen washcloths. We have a hamper bag that hangs over the door to our washer/dryer closet (which happens to be just off the kitchen) that we throw them in when they've been used.

We currently have two rolls of paper towels that a friend brought over when she hosted a party at our house (long story). We're using them mostly as butt-wipes for DS. Compared to an old rag, they just don't hold up for household tasks. Scrubbing carpet, particularly, you need something a little more durable for.
post #37 of 39
i use cloth rags (wash cloths) and 'tea towels' for the kitchen and cloth rag and a scrub brush for the bathroom.

the wash days are organized along with the cleaning days. so, for example, monday is the wash day for the bathroom, and so the towels, floor towel, and cleaning rags are laundered that day in the hot wash that i do to wash the baby's trainers (they get a hot wash--all of them--once a week). that's a full load and i do it right after i wash the bathroom. that sanitizes the rag. when we get family cloth online, i will also do those in this load.

kitchen scrub day is friday. throughout the week, i use a dish rag, and then for spills, i have a rag that we wash out after each use and let dry. if it's a big mess, then i rinse the rag and let it dry and then put it in a laundry basket to be cleaned on friday when i do the bedding and kitchen rags.

i might divide the family cloth into the two washes--one on monday and one on friday. middle of the week is dusting/sweeping, and all cold-wash laundry.
post #38 of 39
For spills that include both liquid/food and broken glass I use old clothes that need to be tossed (too stained, torn, thread bare, etc). That was the only thing I was hanging onto paper towels for. (We have at least 4 broken items a week. I guess my kids are sloppy eaters. or perhaps we do get a little wild at meal times!)

I drain tofu on my regular kitchen towels. I'll put latkes and other oily things on the regular kitchen towels also.

I don't use the same cloths for kitchen cleaning that I use in bathrooms or floors. But they do get washed together.
post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by mumm View Post
I don't use the same cloths for kitchen cleaning that I use in bathrooms or floors. But they do get washed together.
You know that sort of thing is really my bane. We have certain wash days. We are restricted by our water and solar, so it happens when it happens. Diapers and FC are kept separate, but everything else gets jumbled together more often than I would like it to. Not really an issue in the summer. But boy, in the winter...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Mindful Home
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › For those who do not use paper towels...