Sure, using 100 percent recycled paper products beats using paper towels made from virgin fiber, but the greenest option is to skip the paper towels all together.
Whether you’re in the kitchen, cleaning up spills, or out and about, there are reusable options that can help you save a tree!
Up Next: In the Kitchen
In the Kitchen
For routine cleaning like wiping down the kitchen counter, you can use a sponge or a kitchen towel. Not only do reusables like this help save trees, they save you money in the end! If you want to be ultra eco-friendly, look for kitchen towels that are 100 percent organic cotton.
If you’re feeling crafty, it’s easy as pie to make your own kitchen towels out of any absorbent fabric you choose! Organic cotton or hemp are excellent for absorbing spills, and you might want to pick a busier pattern to hide small stains and blemishes.
This video tutorial is for making cloth napkins, but you can easily adjust the fabric dimensions to make two-ply tea towels instead. Rather than the 10″ W x 10″ H that the video calls for, just use a 34″ W x 25″ H piece of fabric instead.
Up Next: Messier Jobs
For emergency spill situations, it’s a good idea to keep a bucket or drawer full of rags handy. You can pick up terrycloth rags on the cheap or use cut up old t-shirts for cleanup. Socks without partners that you’ve rescued from the dryer make excellent rags, as well.
These sorts of rags are great for heavier jobs, like cleaning the shower.
Up Next: On the Go
On the Go
When you’re out and about, it’s tempting to grab a paper towel to dry your hands after washing them, but is it really necessary? You can shake off the excess water and wipe your hands dry on your trousers to avoid using paper.
If drying your hands on your pants or skirt doesn’t appeal to you, you could keep a handkerchief or rag on you. Companies like People Towels even make handy towels designed to carry with you. Douglas Adams would be proud!
The only thing we still use paper towels for around here is cleaning the cat box. Cat waste is full of toxins, and I just don’t trust the washing machine to sanitize rags we used to wipe out the litter box. Do any of you use reusable rags for this? How do you go about cleaning them?
Paper Towel Tube. Creative Commons photo by CraftyGoat
Kitchen Towels. Creative Commons photo by Carissa Marie
Cleaning Supplies. Creative Commons photo by Chiot’s Run
Handkerchiefs. Creative Commons photo by maureen lunn