Save money and our planet. Use fingertip towels, bandanas, or cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. Use them a day or two or even just the meals for one day then toss them into the laundry basket. Keep plenty on hand. Keep a few sets of new ones for use when you have guests.
By Hope from Charleston, SC
Hum, doesn't having to wash these cloth napkins cost money and uses water. I like to recycle and be frugal but this is one area that I guess I just can't make myself go along with. I buy big packages of paper napkins, yes it makes trash but at least the paper is biodegradable. I have so much laundry to do as it is and just can't see how adding more work and spending the money on the water and soap is any better than using cheap paper napkins. Maybe someone can explain that to me :-) (04/20/2007)
I never make a special load of laundry just for napkins! If you use wash cloths, for instance, you can buy them in the jumbo packages so you'll have enough for several meals. Then, whenever you wash your clothes, just toss them in with the rest. By the way, when the cloths are no longer nice enough to use for napkins they become cloths/rags for cleaning. I also wash my cleaning cloths. I really get my money's worth from them! (04/21/2007)
The amount of extra water and soap you would use to wash cloth napkins will be hardly noticeable if at all. I just toss mine in with clothes or whatever else I might be washing. You waste more resources with paper napkins than you can imagine. Those little paper napkins have to go through a lot of processing and packaging before you buy them and that wastes more water and energy than you could washing cloth napkins, and that doesn't even get into the chemicals involved to process paper napkins.
I even buy my cloth napkins at the thrift store which saves more money and is recycling at the same time. (04/27/2007)
By Jessica from Jersey
Seems like a no-brainer to me! I'm going to wash towels, sheets, dishtowels etc. anyway, so I throw the cloth napkins in with them. It doesn't use more water or detergent unless you do a separate load just for napkins. As for the extra time, it's negligible. I wonder if anyone has done a detailed cost/benefit analysis of this? (07/27/2007)
That's a great idea, I've been doing that for several months...you'd think it would have occurred to me sooner. Hee hee. Also you can use old shirts and sheets to cut up and make your own cloth napkins.
By the way, be careful with red napkins. Mom got some from a garage sale and when they got washed, we had pink clothing... (09/20/2008)
By Hyena Cub
To Debbie52: Each person can have his or her own designated cloth napkin. Kids can pick the one they like or make a special napkin ring. The napkin gets used at each meal until you can't stand it anymore or until the end of each week. So, for a family of 5: 5 napkins. Then you wash them with any load of laundry you will already be doing anyway. 5 napkins are very little - you won't be needing extra water or soap.
The problem with the paper napkins (and, believe me, I totally understand their convenience) is all the water and energy used to produce them plus they sit around in the plastic trash bag in the landfill unable to biodegrade.
Well, those are my thoughts. I hope they gave you some of the explanation you were looking for. (10/17/2008)
I have been using cloth napkins but don't have enough to always use them. So my new project is making my own. I am loving using outgrown clothes. I am delighted that my son grew out of a few of his dress shirts! :) It's such a challenge to try to figure how you can get the most napkins out of the clothes. I have quite a few now and will continue to make more cause I love it. If you have little ones they might go through one a meal. So you need to have more if you have little ones. They love picking their napkin out. I also made some little lunch box sized one for my son and he uses them every day at school. Those can usually be used about twice.
There is always room for 7 or 8 cloth napkins in my wash. I'm always usually scrounging for something to fill up my load anyway. I'm not using any extra water or energy than I would have already. Also it's teaching your kids to upcycle. (11/18/2008)
By Mary K
What I do for cleaning is similar. I do the dishes, rinse the rag, clean the counters and then toss in the wash(happens to be right there so we toss stuff in as we go and when it's full we start it. (01/12/2009)
Hubby and I use the white terrycloth "shop towels" for all sorts of things around the house, including as napkins for casual dining and kitchen hand towels. They're a little too rough in texture to use for bathing, but they work well for almost everything else. Not as cheap as using scrap fabric, but cheaper than washcloths or other types of towels. (02/12/2009)
I have used them for years cloth napkins they are great . I buy them at yard sales, flea markets etc I pay 5 to 10 cents for each of them I try to buy cotton and colored ones. I have so many I can go a month or longer between washes. Like the idea about wash cloths. Just to add instead of paper plates,cups and plastic silverware . I have extra plates, glasses and silverware to use in stead of throw away items . (02/12/2009)
I've been going through and getting rid of things no longer needed in the house (outgrown clothes, toys, etc) and came upon a pile of baby blankets. I had a huge stack, so I saved several (and I mean several) for larger cleanups, and cut up several more into squares to be used as napkins, smaller cleanups, whatever. I have a 'rag bag' hanging on the pantry door so the kids can grab one as needed. Been a while since I've purchased napkins for the home!
Penni, Hillsborough, NC (07/20/2009)
If a person has to pay to do their laundry, like in an apartment complex or a laundromat, it doesn't hardly pay to use cloth napkins. The apartment complex I live in it costs $4.00 a load to wash and dry. I don't even dry everything all the way. (07/20/2009)
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