Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Dreaded Paper Towel

For a long time, I was addicted to using paper towels.  We got them in bulk from Costco, so it was easy just to run to the pantry to grab more paper towels.  At any given time, I probably had 5-6 paper towels wadded up on my counters while I was cooking or cleaning.  *B* always got frustrated by how many paper towels I used per day.

I usually only use paper towels for two purposes:  drying my hands when cooking and cleaning, and blowing my nose.  The latter is laziness - our bathrooms are up a floor or down a floor from the main floor of the house.  Paper towels were always just closer.  *B*, however, kept trying to use the bandanas that I wear in my hair as hankies.  Not cool.

When we started talking about going natural, *B* brought up my paper towel usage.  I know, I know, the paper towels.  I kind of shrugged it off.  But when the last paper towel came off the roll, I didn't go downstairs to get another roll.

It's probably about a week now.  Maybe more.  I haven't even taken the tube off the roll for fear of upsetting the groove.

Instead, I've relied on my tea towels to dry my hands.  They're getting to be a bit saturated, and definitely need to be washed.  But it was somewhat annoying to get up from dinner, walk over, wipe your hands or face on a tea towel, then sit back down.  So yesterday, as we were walking through a shopping center, *B* and I noticed a new store opening: a dollar store.  In there, were some cute packs of "dish towels" that looked to us just like cloth napkins.

Thinking ahead to future children and the possibility of friends dining with us, eight seemed like a good number.

We also grabbed two yellow bandanas as hankies.  It's a color that I don't own, so it won't get mixed up with my stash.  They're very pretty, and so far, have been effective.

It's funny to think that before Miss F, the idea of used handkerchiefs in my washer would have grossed me out.  Now, that's far better than the other hygiene-related items that go through my wash cycle.

The one thing I'd still like to do is make some "unpaper" towels.  These are terrycloth backed fabric panels that snap together to form a paper towel-like roll.  They are up to $50 (fifty dollars!) per roll on Etsy, but I'm sure I can make it for less than that.  I found a tutorial here that I intend to use as soon as I have the money and time to make them.


  1. We hardly ever use paper towels anymore! I do keep some around for when Mr. Mordecai wants to use them outside, though, or for extremely greasy or toxic messes.

    I have a large kitchen drawer full of towels and dish cloths, plus some cloth napkins. If I need to wipe my hands while cooking, I use either my apron or I grab an extra dish cloth out of the drawer, since it's right by the stove.

    I use my kitchen linens so much they are wearing out and I need to replace then!

    I keep a small laundry basket under the sink and put all my kitchen linens in it (also bibs, tablecloths, etc.). I wash it once a week and it works out very well.

    Oh, and I keep a box of tissues in the kitchen. I use them for nose-blowing and also for spreading grease around in my cast iron pans after they are clean (I used to use paper towels, but then I realized that a tissue is much less waste and cheaper too).

    Way to go getting rid of the paper towels.

  2. We do have probably 9 rolls in the basement, so I think I'll keep them on hand for emergencies, too. I like the idea of the basket under the sink. We throw all our laundry down the basement step (long story), but it's hard for me to judge when I have no more towels. I've been looking, but I haven't found an apron I like. That, I think, will be a sewing project this summer.