or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Reuse & Recycle › Reducing or eliminating paper towels?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Reducing or eliminating paper towels? - Page 2

post #21 of 33

We don't buy paper towels either, but both sets of our parents buy them when they come too. I think it drives them crazy! We don't have any stashed away, but we do have paper napkins for when we have a large group of guests. We do use them in a pinch. Mostly just rags and towels to clean up though. I don't have a lot of meat mess, we don't eat much, but if I do have a package to open I do it in the sink so I can scrub with soap and water. Rags used to wipe big messes or the floor it goes right to the washing machine. For things like buttering pans, or using shortening I just use my fingers! LOL

post #22 of 33

At Target or Wal-Mart, you can get decent quality washcloths, in a bundle of (IIRC) 18, for under $5.  I have a couple or three of these bundles, and, at our last house, tossed them into a drawer in the bathroom, within reach of the kids (who are 3 1/2 and 2).  These worked great as substitute for paper towels, much of the time.  If they were used to wipe up something nasty, I simply threw them in the diaper pail with the diapers.  I do still use paper towels, but usually for draining bacon, or cleaning up dog puke (that just grosses me out too much for washcloths).  My 2 yo often wouldn't even tell me about a mess--I'd just catch him cleaning it up!  We just moved, and I don't have my washcloth stash unpacked, yet, but we'll do something similar at this house, as I was really pleased with it.

 

For napkins, many years ago, I cut up an old sheet that had torn too badly to be used as a sheet anymore and made it into a couple dozen cloth napkins.  Over 10 years later, we're still using most of them.  If they get ruined, they're just old sheet.  I can toss them with no regret.

 

Bluing can often be found in grocery stores, in the laundry aisle.  It's in a small blue bottle, and will be stashed somewhere out of the way.

post #23 of 33

I'm a heathen, and I use Tide. :)  I use it because every time Consumer Reports rates detergents, it comes out on top, by a wide margin. I've used other stuff, but clothes are expensive, KWIM?  If I don't have to do anything but stick the darn things in the washer (front-loader), then it's saving me time and money.  My mom, who lives with me but has her own washer and dryer, only buys the cheapest detergent, and yet regularly comes and asks if I'll wash something that she's stained (and usually already washed and dried).  And Lo! and Behold! out comes the stain.

 

  • Tide 2X Ultra with Color Clean Bleach Alternative HE Very Good
  • Tide 2X Ultra Original HE 
  • All 2X with Oxy Active 
  • Gain Original Fresh HE  Average
  • Up & Up Fresh Breeze HE (Target) 
  • Kirkland Signature Environmentally Friendly Ultra 2X HE Item # 295863 
  • Seventh Generation Natural Powdered HE 
  • Gain 2X Ultra Original Fresh HE 

 

Bluing is an old-fashioned item.  You might not know that cotton, in it's native state, isn't actually white, but is usually cream colored.  When you bleach it, if you're not ultra-careful (and I'm usually not), you can bleach the white right out of it.  100 years ago, people used it because they didn't have detergent--they had soap instead. Soaps form a scum in hard water that sticks to your clothes, eventually turning your whites/lights kind of yellow/gray. Detergents do not leave this residue. Even if your water is soft, it's still not pure, and then a gradual build-up of calcium and magnesium ions (also called 'curd') will be left in the fabric. In addition, soaps are not suitable for use in acidic conditions (like urine), because the same thing happens (leaving a stain, to boot!). Therefore, if you had only soap, you'd add a bit of bluing during washing to make your whites appear whiter. 

 

 

post #24 of 33

I use old cotton diapers for most of my cleaning, but have to admit that I still use paper towels for some pet/kitchen/human messes. Thanks for all the great tips here on getting me in the right direction!

post #25 of 33


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtney-Ostaff View Post

I'm a heathen, and I use Tide. :)  I use it because every time Consumer Reports rates detergents, it comes out on top, by a wide margin. I've used other stuff, but clothes are expensive, KWIM?  If I don't have to do anything but stick the darn things in the washer (front-loader), then it's saving me time and money.  My mom, who lives with me but has her own washer and dryer, only buys the cheapest detergent, and yet regularly comes and asks if I'll wash something that she's stained (and usually already washed and dried).  And Lo! and Behold! out comes the stain.

 

  • Tide 2X Ultra with Color Clean Bleach Alternative HE Very Good
  • Tide 2X Ultra Original HE 
  • All 2X with Oxy Active 
  • Gain Original Fresh HE  Average
  • Up & Up Fresh Breeze HE (Target) 
  • Kirkland Signature Environmentally Friendly Ultra 2X HE Item # 295863 
  • Seventh Generation Natural Powdered HE 
  • Gain 2X Ultra Original Fresh HE 

 

Bluing is an old-fashioned item.  You might not know that cotton, in it's native state, isn't actually white, but is usually cream colored.  When you bleach it, if you're not ultra-careful (and I'm usually not), you can bleach the white right out of it.  100 years ago, people used it because they didn't have detergent--they had soap instead. Soaps form a scum in hard water that sticks to your clothes, eventually turning your whites/lights kind of yellow/gray. Detergents do not leave this residue. Even if your water is soft, it's still not pure, and then a gradual build-up of calcium and magnesium ions (also called 'curd') will be left in the fabric. In addition, soaps are not suitable for use in acidic conditions (like urine), because the same thing happens (leaving a stain, to boot!). Therefore, if you had only soap, you'd add a bit of bluing during washing to make your whites appear whiter. 

 

 

But where do you get bluing?  Is it a liquid or powdeR?
 

I am pretty sure I have bleached the white out of things in the past - I didn't know that's what I was doing :(

post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by swede View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtney-Ostaff View Post

I'm a heathen, and I use Tide. :)  I use it because every time Consumer Reports rates detergents, it comes out on top, by a wide margin. I've used other stuff, but clothes are expensive, KWIM?  If I don't have to do anything but stick the darn things in the washer (front-loader), then it's saving me time and money.  My mom, who lives with me but has her own washer and dryer, only buys the cheapest detergent, and yet regularly comes and asks if I'll wash something that she's stained (and usually already washed and dried).  And Lo! and Behold! out comes the stain.

 

  • Tide 2X Ultra with Color Clean Bleach Alternative HE Very Good
  • Tide 2X Ultra Original HE 
  • All 2X with Oxy Active 
  • Gain Original Fresh HE  Average
  • Up & Up Fresh Breeze HE (Target) 
  • Kirkland Signature Environmentally Friendly Ultra 2X HE Item # 295863 
  • Seventh Generation Natural Powdered HE 
  • Gain 2X Ultra Original Fresh HE 

 

Bluing is an old-fashioned item.  You might not know that cotton, in it's native state, isn't actually white, but is usually cream colored.  When you bleach it, if you're not ultra-careful (and I'm usually not), you can bleach the white right out of it.  100 years ago, people used it because they didn't have detergent--they had soap instead. Soaps form a scum in hard water that sticks to your clothes, eventually turning your whites/lights kind of yellow/gray. Detergents do not leave this residue. Even if your water is soft, it's still not pure, and then a gradual build-up of calcium and magnesium ions (also called 'curd') will be left in the fabric. In addition, soaps are not suitable for use in acidic conditions (like urine), because the same thing happens (leaving a stain, to boot!). Therefore, if you had only soap, you'd add a bit of bluing during washing to make your whites appear whiter. 

 

 

But where do you get bluing?  Is it a liquid or powdeR?
 

I am pretty sure I have bleached the white out of things in the past - I didn't know that's what I was doing :(



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by heathernj View Post

At Target or Wal-Mart, you can get decent quality washcloths, in a bundle of (IIRC) 18, for under $5.  I have a couple or three of these bundles, and, at our last house, tossed them into a drawer in the bathroom, within reach of the kids (who are 3 1/2 and 2).  These worked great as substitute for paper towels, much of the time.  If they were used to wipe up something nasty, I simply threw them in the diaper pail with the diapers.  I do still use paper towels, but usually for draining bacon, or cleaning up dog puke (that just grosses me out too much for washcloths).  My 2 yo often wouldn't even tell me about a mess--I'd just catch him cleaning it up!  We just moved, and I don't have my washcloth stash unpacked, yet, but we'll do something similar at this house, as I was really pleased with it.

 

For napkins, many years ago, I cut up an old sheet that had torn too badly to be used as a sheet anymore and made it into a couple dozen cloth napkins.  Over 10 years later, we're still using most of them.  If they get ruined, they're just old sheet.  I can toss them with no regret.

 

Bluing can often be found in grocery stores, in the laundry aisle.  It's in a small blue bottle, and will be stashed somewhere out of the way.

 

 

Never mind - jsut saw this - thanks :)
 

post #27 of 33

Both liquid and solid. I buy liquid at the grocery store, in the laundry section, and it's a little cheaper than on Amazon.com, but not much.

post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtney-Ostaff View Post

Both liquid and solid. I buy liquid at the grocery store, in the laundry section, and it's a little cheaper than on Amazon.com, but not much.



thanks!

post #29 of 33

We use kitchen towels as "paper towels". our napkins are old cloth napkins my mom had. We keep a stack of kitchen towels under the sink and a wire basket hanging on the back of a cabinet door. We do have paper towels and we go though a roll once a year that is what we toss our bacon on. 

post #30 of 33

We have been a cloth using household for a while.  My collection includes old cloth diapers (prefolds and birdseye flatfolds) that date back to 2002 and are in good shape.  You can get big packs of microfiber cloths @Costco - they are really absorbent.  I keep other rags (worn out tshirts, onesies, etc) for the Uber icky stuff- in the event that is needs to be tossed out.

We use single-use washcloths instead of a communal handtowel in the bathrooms.  This collection has come from a variety of places (Ikea - a little rough but fine for drying hands, Target- the quick dry ones seem to be holding up well - are 100% cotton and really do take less time in the dryer, Costco).

I recommend Birdseye cloth or towel sack material for glass.

 

To wash the cloths, we have a regimen of any of the following, depending on the load:
Seventh Generation detergent with BioKleen Oxygen Bleach

SGDetergent and Chlorine Bleach (for blood/vomit/feces)

SGDetergent and OdoBan for bacterial/viral messes (we had a run of MRSA - 4 of 5 in our household got sick) and it effectively cleaned and killed the germs in the wash, and helped prevent any further contamination.

 

BacOut or Odo Ban are effective for odor removal.  BioKleen Oxygen Bleach is very effective against stains.

post #31 of 33

I've been paper towel free for almost 4 years. I just got tired of literally throwing my money in the trash can. We use microfiber, old dish towels, old washcloths, etc. for drying our hands. As for my husband, he figured it out quickly when the paper towels weren't there. He doesn't seem to mind it anymore.

post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by nanette0269 View Post

i love this idea...but we have so many glass tables.  how do the terry/micro towels work with windex on glass?  that really is their primary use. 



Best thing I've found for glass is actually just plain old straight white vinegar & newsprint.  Old phone books might work too but I just use the free local paper that comes once a week.  Works like a charm & no streaks!

post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by CinCanada View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by nanette0269 View Post

i love this idea...but we have so many glass tables.  how do the terry/micro towels work with windex on glass?  that really is their primary use. 



Best thing I've found for glass is actually just plain old straight white vinegar & newsprint.  Old phone books might work too but I just use the free local paper that comes once a week.  Works like a charm & no streaks!

Same here.  I use a spray bottle mixed with a combo of Ecover dish soap, vinegar, and water.  I use that for windows, granite counters, mirrors, etc.  They all come out crystal clean.

 

We still buy paper towels, but we only really use them for grease (bacon, crisco on pans, etc), to clean up cat puke, and nasty stuff like that.  One roll will last us a month or two, maybe more, depending on how often we do things that require them.  We have a big drawer in our kitchen full of all different types of towels and wash cloths.  Each of them have a different purpose, and DH and DS know what they are for.  I have them organized like this:

http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a353/ShyGecko/71db7ccc.jpg

The drawer is right next to the sink.

 

We also have a stack of random old wash cloths in an upper cabinet (simply b/c they don't fit in the drawer) and those are used for germy stuff like cleaning bathrooms and washing out the litter boxes. The striped "cleaning cloths" are used for washing the counters, tables, etc.  The dish washing cloths are used, obviously, for washing dishes and that's it.  Both of those are terry cloth.  The white counter drying towels are a microfiber and I use those to dry counters and tables b/c they soak up the water quickly.  The white "dish and hand drying" towels are tea towels and I like them b/c they don't leave lint behind on the dishes.  The "various pretty towels" are the ones that get hung on the oven handle and we use it for drying hands and various other things.  These are the only ones that get used more than once.  The rest of them get used once and thrown into a dry bucket next to the washing machine and I wash them all once it gets full.  Other than a couple small stains on a couple of them, none of them really have any stains.  They all get washed in the same water, so I'm not sure why I insist they all get used for certain purposes.  Maybe I'm just crazy.  LOL 
 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Reuse & Recycle
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Reuse & Recycle › Reducing or eliminating paper towels?