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Whenever your old socks get holes in them or you outgrow t-shirts or pants, don't throw them away. Keep them in a basket and use them for rags or washcloths. I use them all the time in the garage to clean my hands or wash the rims of our car. You can use them for any cleaning as long as they're not too dirty before you start.
By Jesse from Duluth, MN
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When my sister in law got a nice used serger, she took all of her kitchen rags and serged around them, so they had a nice edge, and doubled the thinner ones. There was always a supply to clean, and they were washed several times a week, which saved on paper towels, big time.
This week end I found a nice used sewing machine for $25 dollars. I went through it and oiled everything that needed oiling, with turbine oil [the best oil for everything I've ever found] per the booklet which came with the machine; an added plus. It works like a charm.
I took all my rags and doubled the ones which were similar weight and size, and zig zagged with the 2 setting so it kind of flattened out the edges of the cloth, went around the edges, leaving just a 2 inch or so unsewed portion of the last side. I trimmed any area which didn't quite fit the squares or rectangle and turned inside out. Then I top stitched with a straight stitch, about an 1/8 inch in, and closed the little gap by tucking seam allowances in to match the rest. I didn't bother to iron as I sewed, just finger pressed. The sewers out there will know what I mean.
They weren't serged, but they came out nicely and now I have a little stack of nice little thin pads to use as kitchen clothes, wipes and so on. I cut up an old stained t shirt, used a worn dish towel, and assorted rags from cut up towels. For the towels I just zig zag around the edges and trimmed any straggling threads. Altogether I have about a dozen little clothes.
I live with my son and grandson, and they will use rags as long as they are clean to begin with. I just keep throwing them into the wash with anything else to keep them circulating.
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and have seen the forests and trees disappear in great numbers in my lifetime. I hate to use paper towels.
Source: Sister in law and numerous old ladies throughout my life, who never threw anything away.
By pikka from Westminster, CO
Economically and ecologically sound! Now, if only I could get hubby to cooperate. :P (05/29/2009)
I just laugh when those articles telling you how to save money say to go out and "buy" a package of wash cloths to use in place of paper towels. How does buying something save money? Why do people not think of using their old clothing? I can find all sorts of thing to do with them: cleaning cloths, small squares in a container used for homemade disinfecting wipes, rag rugs, buttons for my sewing projects, refashioned clothing, quilts. (05/30/2009)
I no longer buy paper towels or paper napkins. Older stained clothes are cut up to use for cleaning, washing cars, windows, and wiping up spills on counters, stoves and floors. I buy used napkins at Goodwill and garage sales - lots of different colors, then mix or match depending on my mood. I have even made napkins from leftover material. Buying less paper products means one less tree is cut down Go Green! Help save our planet for our grandchildren.
By Christie from Poulsbo, WA
Save those buttons as well! Have you seen the prices of buttons these days! They're out of this world! If you don't sew, crochet, or knit, but you know someone who does, then give your "recycled" buttons to them. They'll be GLAD to receive them! Hey! I'll take any buttons off your hand! *grin* (03/10/2008)
I agree that this is a wonderful "green" thing to do. I also use old clothes, towels, sheets, etc. for the same purposes. I have a friend who takes "green" to the next level on this and uses them as toilet paper and kleenexes as well. If they are not too soiled, they are washed and reused. I have not gone that far with my "going green", but that seems to work out well for their family. They have a septic system that had problems when they moved in 8 years ago, and they have not had one problem since they have stopped with the paper products. They also only have to have it pumped about every year to year and a half instead of 3 to 4 times a year. Saves them $80 each time! (03/10/2008)
By Caring about our earth
Don't know about the rest of you but my local Goodwill in west TX is sky high. You gotta know your prices; I've just about stopped shopping thrift stores altogether. I've found I'm better off going to Kohls on Wednesday's senior day and using coupons. Or using coupons at Penny's and some of the other stores. (03/12/2008)
I've done this for years and years. I was brought up to re-use all those things from worn out sheets to old tea towels to knickers and shirts, etc. Save the buttons, zips and even elastic. It usually helps to hem some of the stuff to prevent fraying out and excess lint (03/12/2008)
I couldn't agree more with the rest of you. I stopped using paper napkins and paper towels a little more then a year ago. I don't have an exact amount that I have saved green tree wise or green money wise, BUT I have noticed I don't have to go to the store as often, which means I don't just pick something up because I am there, which means less clutter in my house, which also shows a little more of the green left at the end of the day.
P.S. As far as those buttons go, I am very glad I have saved all of the ones I have. They have been great to keep around for numerous projects and home made things.