If you use paper towels, think about going green and switching to rags. You can make your own non-paper towels with your own old t-shirts, baby blankets, flannel shirts, etc., or you can find them cheap in thrift shops. Sometimes thrift shops will have grab bags of t-shirts very, very cheap just to get rid of them. Try to use fabric that won't fray after it's cut, so you don't have to hem it. Just cut them into rectangles of the size you want, and when you would use a paper towel, use your green cloths. They will absorb more, and you can scrub with them and wring them out. Wash in hot water, and reuse.
You can keep a pile of them in an old tissue box with the top cut off, or something similar, to keep them handy in your kitchen, bath, and laundry. Some of those tissue boxes are very pretty. Just make enough to meet your needs between wash loads. Try to use fabric you can bleach, if you want, and that you can sanitize in the microwave. To do this, take your rinsed out rag, wring it out, and zap it for about a minute. Just don't try to take it out until it cools. You might find that you don't need very many of them, since you can keep rinsing them out, and sanitize them every morning. Of course, if I use one to clean in the bathroom or to wipe up after preparing meats, I put it right in the laundry room to be washed there. Finding old dish towels and cloths at thrift shops is also a real good source, since you don't have to cut them at all.
By Copasetic 1 from North Royalton, OH
When my washcloths get ragged and yukky looking I move them to the kitchen. I do the same with hand towels. I never buy new ones for the kitchen since these also double a car rags. I have a plastic bucket to put them in when they are dirty. I just dump them in the washer when it's full. I run a small load with just those items. I haven't bought paper towels in ages.
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Tired of spending money on paper towels? Sending them to a landfill is not good for the environment. Instead, use rags: Worn out towels, old fabric etc. When these rags might have seen their last scrub, their useful life is not over.
Layer 2 or 3 rags and sew them together, each about 12 inches square. Then place your old soap ends and maybe some stinky soap you won't bathe with in the center. Tie the layers together (with your favorite rag on the outside) with a strong string or cord and make a pouch.
You can tie this soapy wonder in an outdoor wash area or from the faucet in the bathroom. No fuss or muss, and no icky slime on the sink. When it wears out, compost it and make another.
By sue123 from Oroville, CA
Keep a rag on your paper towel rack and quit buying paper towels altogether! Use newspaper for washing windows. Use cheap paper napkins for food as needed. You'll be surprised at how often you'll grab that rag to wipe up a spill and you are saving lots of money. Have a bunch on hand and just wash up a load every once in a while.
By Laura from Mason, OH
We've even done away with the paper napkins and use cloth for everything including school lunches. My daughter's friends think it's cool that she is "so fancy" and my husband's co-workers think it's cool he's "green", some have even started following suit. (03/10/2009)
We've started doing the same thing. I would advise, however, to make some cloth napkins and keep them set aside for guests. I was so embarrassed to hand my guest a kitchen towel last week! I went to WalMart and bought some $1 fabric and made a few napkins. (03/10/2009)
I purchased some inexpensive wash clothes to use as napkins. I have nice cloth napkins for company. (03/11/2009)
Thanks, you're right! I just bought my last paper towels. I have some vintage cloth napkins that I treasure, found at a thrift shop. (03/12/2009)
The rags are a great idea. I had an old sheet that I cut into small rags (about 12 x 15 inches). I folded them and put them in a little basket on the counter near the paper towels. I told DH that every time he would get a paper towel to grab a rag. I do the same. I wash them when I do the towels. We also have used cloth napkins for several years. We use paper towels on really yucky messes but have reduced our paper towel use by probably 95%. Good for the budget and good for the environment. (03/12/2009)
When my dishcloths and tea towels get too old and grubby for 'show' I start using them as cleaning rags. They're much sturdier than paper towels and work pretty well as stain-scrubbers. Keep them clean and hang them up after use to keep smells away. For really dirty or greasy cleaning I use those semi-disposable cloths you buy in packs in the grocery store; I try to reuse them but if they're too yucky I just toss them out. (03/17/2009)
It's a great idea. I haven't used paper towels for years. When your baby has grown out of muslins or swaddle cloths, they make great wipe-up cloths too. (03/04/2010)
Ma was raised on a farm during the depression and so we learned long ago to use newspapers and rags. When someone pulls a long roll of paper towels to wipe up a drop I cringe. (03/04/2010)
I've use rags for cleaning for many years. My favorites are my husbands old worn white work socks cut so they lay out flat (down through the back and heel side). I like to leave some in tack and turn them wrong side out and put them on like a glove. They are great that way for cleaning my stairway spindles. After cleaning the house, I usually rinse the rags a little then put them in with a load of jeans. (03/04/2010)
I have been using rags for years and years. I refuse to buy paper towels or napkins. Instead, I use rags for clean-up and cloth napkins for meals including picnics. It's easy, cheap and more " efficient, plus they don"t add to the land-fill. I just save them until I have a decent washer load and do them all at once. Then I'm ready to go for a couple of months.
In the "old days" , over forty years ago, everyone used worn out cloth diapers for dusting and cleaning up. They were soft, lint free,absorbent and re, re, re-usable. Nothing ticks me off more than seeing a cart load of paper anything that is to be used once and thrown away. (03/05/2010)
I use napkins and old burp clothes as rags. I still use paper towels but I am phasing them out. I also use old phonebook pages for mirrors and windows. (03/06/2010)