View Full Version : Lots of unpaper towel questions...

12-14-2007, 08:04 PM
Hi ladies! This is my next step in my "green" life! I'm slowly sneaking things in, so dh can get used to my ideas one by one! :giggle:

So, my questions are:
How many do you have to last a week?
What size do you use?
Where do you store them?
Do you then put them in a wetbag when dirty?

I've been keeping tract of what we usually use our paper towels for, mostly for clean up and wipe off stuff, but I do use some to heat like a muffin or slice of bread in the microwave. (Yes I know the microwave is bad, that is going to be a big step to get rid of!) So, what would I use instead of that? Is it realistic to be totally paper towel free? Also I want pretty ones, so I'm thinking bamboo velor and cotton/flannel print. What kind of fabrics do you like for them? I don't like or use microfiber. TIA! :goodvibes:

12-14-2007, 11:02 PM
We haven't used paper towels in over a year! :thumbsup: We have about a dozen terry towels IIRC, however many came in the bundle that I bought at Wal-Mart. I keep them in a drawer in the kitchen with my potholders, and when they're dirty I throw them in the diaper pail...if we didn't have a diaper pail I'd probably wash them with regular laundry. The dozen is usually more than enough to get us from one wash to the next, I rarely run out of towels and that usually only happens because the diaper pail took a long time to fill since DS is PLing and using less diapers.

12-15-2007, 07:15 PM
I bought a ton of bundles of washcloths from Marshalls. I like washcloths over kitchen towels becuase they are scrubbier and more absorbant, plus smaller and hterefore easier to use IMO.

I go through them frequently, whenever I think one is dirty I just throw it into the laundry basket. I don't feel like it adds to my laundry though at all. I just fold them and put them in a basket in my closet since we are limited in drawer space. I also usually put a few in a napkin basket that's on the kitchen table for a quick grab, and hang wet ones on a hook on the inside of my cabinet below my sink.

I thought my DH wouldn't like them but he actually really does. They work much better for messy stuff like buffalo wings than paper napkins do! And we have definitely cut down on cost of buying napkins and paper towels.

WHen I do my paper products though I always buy recycled paper products. Seventh Generation and Green Forest make a lot of stuff, and even the way they make it is environmentally frienly (no bleach, etc) You can even buy recyled paper for your computer printer.

12-15-2007, 11:15 PM
We use bamboo loop terry/flannel or cotton/woven for our napkins. We use flannel/microfiber for cleaning cloths only (micrterry is an AWESOME cleaner - you don't even need chemicals to make your mirrors shine...and the flannel makes it so you don't have to touch it). We use terry or sherpa/flannel combo for clean up paper towels or hand drying....we also have some cheapy terry towels.

If you make your own, get quilters flannel - it pills less.

12-15-2007, 11:32 PM
We have two different "stashes" of washcloths that we use as towels. One is white (36), one is blue (12 or so). The white stash is for kitchen and household use, the blue stash is for cleaning the bathroom. We wash the two sets separately. IMHO, I wouldn't want a cloth that cleaned my toilet cleaning my kitchen counter (regardless of whether it has been washed). The white stash (kitchen/household) gets washed on a daily basis. The blue stash (bathroom) only gets washed weekly when we clean the bathroom. They are color-coded so they don't get confused. We have more than we need, I generally dont use more than 4 a day. We also have a stash of fast-food napkins that we've collected over time, that I use for things like killing bugs. :giggle: For some reason, I just can't bring myself to use cloth for that yet.

ETA: Target has good quality washcloths for 1.84/5

12-16-2007, 04:13 PM
I never bought anything special, I just aquired a lot of kitchen towels, the onl thing I have ever wanted a paper towel for is grease, We haven't had paper towels in probably 4 years, and I really don't miss them anymore.
Good job on switching things up and being more green, and I think it is smart to do things one at a time, It is beter to feel they are small changes than feel so overwhelmed with what seems like a lot of changes at once.

12-16-2007, 06:45 PM
How many do you have to last a week? I haven't counted, but I know I don't have enough!
What size do you use? I made my own by measuring a regular papertowel and then cutting flannel to slightly larger than that size and hemming.
Where do you store them? I keep them in a drawer in the kitchen with my potholders.
Do you then put them in a wetbag when dirty? Our laundry room is just off our kitchen, so I just keep the washing machine open and toss the dirty cloths directly into the machine. I wash them along with our regular clothes.

12-16-2007, 06:50 PM
We don't use paper towels or napkins either. I have 2-3 dozen of the Walmart cheep washcloth packs. I dyed them with Dylon because I love color and just felt like it. :giggle: I keep them under the sink in a rubbermaid tub. I have a tall laundry basket (um trashcan) next to the washing machine off the kitchen for the dirties.

12-17-2007, 03:21 PM
for use in the kitchen, i go through 5-6 per day & we just use kitchen towels; however i still buy paper towels to use for grease situations (my washing machine actually has a message printed on it that grease and oil, including cooking oil, should not be washing in a washing machine??) i'm not sure about washing greasy/oily cloths? does is ruin your machine or something?

I store out kitchen cloth in a deep drawer between our sink and stove. In order to minimize dh from using too many paper towels for non-grease needs, i don't keep them out in open, ready to use. they are tucked in the cabinet - out of sight, out of mind.

for cleaning the bathroom, i use my "old kitchen towels" that are getting holey and ratty. i store them in my cleaning supplies bucket so they aren' mixed up with kitchen cloth.

12-19-2007, 08:59 AM
we use seventh generation paper towels which is made by recycled paper. I am a big fan of seventh generation products

12-19-2007, 09:37 AM
however i still buy paper towels to use for grease situations (my washing machine actually has a message printed on it that grease and oil, including cooking oil, should not be washing in a washing machine??) i'm not sure about washing greasy/oily cloths? does is ruin your machine or something?

I'm pretty sure it's a flammability issue. I think it is a bigger concern with gasoline, but the oil can be a fire hazard, too. Rare, yes, but you know the manufacturers have to cover themselves.

I also use paper towels for greasy stuff, but I use kitchen towels mostly and cloth napkins. I just wash my kitchen towels in with the whites.

12-19-2007, 01:28 PM
I have a clean basket and a dirty basket. Because I may not get to them, they probably would mold in a wet bag.

I have about 50 kitchen towels. Many from costco car care aisle.

It depends how many you need if you just cleaned out your fridge or you are not cleaning much. Once a week I will clean white towels.

I dry them in the basement in the winter.

Eli Poist
12-19-2007, 03:46 PM
Most of you mentioned using washcloths or Walmart quality towels. I'll chime in from the I LOVE COLOR in my kitchen and bathroom side.
For the kitchen I buy the Williams Sonoma style kitchen towels when on sale.I also pick them up at Target or Linens and things (etc). These are bigger than the washcloth size and work really well in covering food when counter steaming food, for washing and drying dishes, for wiping up the counter AND for putting under the dishrack when drying my dishes. I use the larger size for all sorts of things.
That being said we also buy the smaller size for the kitchen to use as dish rag which then is used to wipe up the counter.
For the bathroom, I use the old small size kitchen rags that are stained or getting old looking.
When we have guests over to the house they always mention my kitchen towels and actually ask what I use them for! In most cases I have friends who end up going out buying kitchen towels and getting rid of the paper towels.

Eli Poist
12-19-2007, 03:49 PM
Forgot to add, when I'm making a transition from wasteful and non-energy efficient I try to pick something that feels "indulgent" by being "green" So I don't have a ton but the kitchen towels are pretty for that reason.

I just toss them into the dirty laundry basket next to the washer when i'm done using them.

12-20-2007, 07:46 PM
i have a bunch of terry washcloths & i also knit cotton ones...i LOVE them, i still use paper towels for microwaving stuff, but i'm trying to stop.

12-21-2007, 03:35 PM
We have 2 doz terry washcloths which were my original unpaper towels. I recently added 2 doz preemie pf's and I LOVE them so much more than the terry cloths. They are soft and super absorbant. I keep 1 small basket (6x8 maybe?) on my countertop with clean towels and another identical small basket under the sink for dirty. I wash when I have only a few cloths left, about 1x a week.

I found that while I can use these for lots of things, there are some things that I MUST have paper towels for - like if the dog has the runs or something (our labbie girl has a delicate tummy). So I keep a roll of either 7th Gen or TJ's paper towels for gross things that I don't want in my washer. They are 100% recycled paper, 80% post consumer waste so I don't feel *that* awful keeping them as my backup emergency stash.

12-21-2007, 08:48 PM
That would be my problem too the dog issues. I have a pit and he tends to eat things that are not food...ironically he eats paper towels. HAHA

12-24-2007, 11:31 PM
I use regular washcloths or dishrags that are designated for cleaning - I use one every day or two and keep the used ones in a small pile near the end of my counter (the only other thing that goes there is dirty dishes) and when I do laundry I just drop them in with all the rest of the clothes.

We use non-toxic kitchen cleaner (Method Go Naked) and don't cook with much meat at all, so basically those rags are used to wipe up crumbs and fruit/veggie messes and are no worse than DS's dirty clothes, yk?

My mom never had paper towels when we were growing up (she was very green living in the 80's when it was considered super strange ;)) and just used dishrags to clean the counters/table instead and it worked just fine.

12-31-2007, 08:49 PM
Thanks for the wash cloths suggestion. I was at Walmart yesterday and saw 18 for just over $3 so I picked some up. I washed them and dried them last night, and just this morning got to use two of them when the dog threw up.

12-31-2007, 09:03 PM
being paper towel free is not new to me. no one uses them where i come from.

I have 15 dishrags i got at walmart. then toss them in a bucket filled with baking soda and water in the garage as i saturate them (like they can't go any longer LOL) then I do a wash. when clean i fold them and put them in the dishrag drawer in the kitchen. size? i'm gonna say.. 12 x....20 ish.

then i have hankies/napkins I sewed from some flats- TP is only for the bum now. dh just will NOT go to family cloth. :banghead:

01-02-2008, 08:43 PM
We're going paperless (except TP) next month when our house is finished, and I had a questions...Is there a huge issue with staining? I wanted to get a bunch of white MF towels, but I don't love the idea of a bunch of dingy ones. Is it better to get colored ones so the stains are less evident?

01-02-2008, 09:38 PM
I never knew people used paper towels for everything, until I met my DH lol. We keep them in the house for him basically, he's getting better and is using them less and less as time goes on. The boys and I never use them.

I just have a large drawer just devoted to towels/wash clothes in my kitchen. If we have a dirty face, just grab a baby washcloth. If we spill water, grab a dish towel. If you have to wipe the counters, grab a washcloth. We have no system and nothing really matches, but it works for us! They get washed w/ regular laundry or w/ dipes, just depends on what I'm washing. I call washrags a filler item, hehehe, and am not particular in how I wash them.