Friday, April 22

Earth Day Post: Cloth Instead of Paper

I'm hoping this post will inspire anyone who has not made the switch from paper to cloth. For about two years now we've been using cloth napkins and towels instead of paper. Soon after having my second daughter, I realized just how many paper towels and napkins we were going through. Between a napkin for everyone at every meal and paper towels for spills, cleaning up and the general mess that occurs, I felt like I was always buying and throwing away.

I started making napkins from fabric I found, was given, or was left over. They have held up very well and are used daily so they get washed often. In the past I had tried cloth napkins - purchased from stores- but they were always too big and awkward for little hands. I found that if we were going to make the switch, I needed something very similar to what we already were using.

The napkin basket always held our paper napkins so I started making the cloth napkins to fit inside. It works perfectly and I immediately felt so much better that we weren't buying and throwing out paper napkins anymore.

I also love the switch we made from paper towels to cloth. Like the napkins, I had tried using different clothes and sizes before I found something that worked for us. For everything I tried, I found that either the size was wrong or the material or both. I again realized I needed to find a cloth substitute that was just like the paper product we were using if I was going to stick with it. Our cloth towels are a simple birdseye cotton cloth, serged around the edges. They are made the same size as a paper towel, absorb well, wash and dry easily and are very durable- in all they are just like paper towels except cloth.

Knowing I am the most successful with an organized system in place , I purchased the Towel House from Made In the Red Barn which has worked well for us. With both the napkins and towels, when they have been used they go into a small metal container in our kitchen and are washed with the laundry.

We still have more changes to make. I'm looking forward to a few more adjustments this year as I look at how our family can make more positive steps towards respecting the earth.


Anonymous said...

What a great idea. I love the basket and holder. About what size would you say your napkins are. I agree with the store purchased ones they are awkward or too thick for my liking.

I love this thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Love the idea. What kind of fabric did you make your napkins from?

Vickie said...

The other day I was over on Blessings Overflowing and she was talking about how she has switched to cloth napkins. The past couple days I have been going through my stash so I can sit down and make some next week. I'm a beginner sewer and I found a couple sites to make them. Now to add to that list the towels. I don't think I have anything to make them with so I'm going to have to check around. Thanks for sharing and giving inspiration :)

Nicole said...

Does the birdseye work for windows? We have used cloth napkins for years, as well as cloth to wipe up messes, but I haven't found a good substitute when it comes to windows. We have 2 sets of 8-foot sliders in our livingroom so I hate to have streaks on them. Thanks!

Pickens Posts said...

What size are the napkins and type of fabric. Also are the just surged on the edges?

Amy said...

The napkins are about 6 1/2 by 6 1/2. They are cotton- either 100% or a mix (I always wash if first for shrinking)

We use the birds eye for our windows and mirrors. I find it works well.

The cotton napkins are two squares sewn (right sides together leaving space to then turn them inside out) The birds eye (paper towel replacement) are the ones that have a serged edge.

Joyful Learner said...

I love your blog! I always feel at peace reading it. We just switched to cloth last month when I was decluttering and found cloth napkins we weren't using. They were kind of fancy so we were saving them for dinner parties wjivh we rarely host. So, I decided we had enough sets to put them to use and we don't by paper napkins or paper towels anymore! My daughter used to go through so many paper napkins before!

Maru said...

Love it! We've slowly started transitioning to cloth.