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Switch to Cloth Rags and Napkins

Using cloth towels (instead of paper towels) and napkins reduces the amount of paper that goes into the garbage and saves you money. If you buy dark colored cloth they will handle stains better and look good longer. By JulieBeth


One reader added this great advice:

We use cloth tablecloths everyday. I buy busy prints when they are on sale. It saves the table, especially if you have a little one who gets as much on the table as themselves. It is more sanitary than the vinyl ones that you can never get all the food off of.

Growing up, my mom bought inexpensive, busy prints of terry cloth and made table cloths and napkins out of it. For a while we each had different colors so we knew whose was whose.

We only use cloth towels for clean ups and it saves so much and does a better job. Cloth diapers are the best deal ever and my potty trainer uses cloth training pants with rubber pants at night. Investing in a few dozen heavy duty diapers has lasted all of our five children.

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February 3, 20010 found this helpful

My mother bought us each a set of wash cloths and stiched our initials on them. We used these instead of cloth napkins and they were easily washed.

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January 21, 20060 found this helpful

Isn't having to wash cloth napkins and clean up cloths as expensive as just using paper? I have so much laundry to do as it is, I can't imagine washing napkins daily. I buy a big supply of paper napkins and hey they are cheap time is worth something and I am othewise fairly thrifty and frugal....and I recycle a lot!

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March 4, 20100 found this helpful

Good idea helps with going green. I use cloth napkins all the time.


I have enough cloth napkins that I wash them once a month. Brought them at yard sales and flea markets.

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April 22, 20130 found this helpful

DH and I switched to cloth napkins several years ago. I have enough napkins to use one a day and then I put them in with the load of towels I wash weekly. It may add a couple of minutes to my folding routine, but I think it's worth it. I bought some inexpensive thin white washcloths at the dollar store to use in the kitchen instead of paper towels. I make rags from old t-shirts and old towels and use them for cleaning very messy jobs. Sometimes I wash them and sometimes I toss them. I feel good we don't buy so many napkins or paper towels and saves the environment.

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June 10, 20130 found this helpful

I am a household of 2 people plus 9 dogs! I was using 4-5 jumbo rolls of paper towels a week. To save money and the environment, I switched to cloth cleaning towels and napkins two months ago.


In two months, I have only used approx. 3 rolls of towels and these were used mostly on dog messes. I found that it has only added one extra load of laundry a week. It does actually cost less not only for me but for the environment.

I bought inexpensive cotton cleaning rags on Amazon for less then $1 a piece and nice cloth napkins for about $1 a piece. I use one napkin a day, the same one for each meal. I keep a towel under the sink for counter cleanup and switch it out every couple days.

The hardest part was remembering not to reach for the paper. Once I got the habit, it's easy. I actually get mad when I have to use a paper towel!

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