Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Going Paper Towel-less

I have not used paper towels in over a week.  I'm still a newbie, but I think I'm in it for the long haul.  I have become so tired of spending so much of our grocery budget on non-food items that are so stinking expensive.  Paper towels are on that list, along with laundry detergent, DIAPERS!!, ziplocs, cascade, swiffer refills etc, etc.  I've tried using Target's brand but I find the generic ones to really not work as well so I was buying Bounty with a coupon, which doesn't really help that much.  One of the bloggers whose blog I enjoy was describing how she lives sans paper towels.  I was really intrigued.  I probably used an average of 10 paper towels a day when I think about it, maybe more!  Between wiping the countertops, my glass kitchen table, and Parks face and drying my hands, we had a LOT of paper towel trash in our trash can every day.  Once I read her post, I thought I would give it a try.  It's definitely a frugally green concept.  Less waste and less money!  

The reality of living without paper towels means that you use several different cloths/rags every day for different purposes.  I'll go through what I have substituted for paper towels.  Every day, I get out 5 new clean cloths of different types.  It's important not to resuse them because they will start to stink.  It's happened to me before!

So this is the line-up!

1.  Every day I take out a cloth napkin to use for myself when I eat.  Jackson somehow never seems to need napkins so I don't take one out for him.
2.  The second is a white washcloth from Target (I got 2 packages on clearance from Target a while ago) that I use to wipe Parks face and hands after meals.  I can usually keep one for the whole day but if it gets too messy I'll get another one out.
3. The third is a "viscose" fabric rag from Trader Joe's that is a really absorbent kitchen cloth.  I use this for random, non messy wipe-ups like spilled water or maybe a small counter spill but not for heaving cleaning or counter scrubbing.
4. The fourth is a white barmop rag for wiping down the counters and any "dirty" kitchen jobs.  I like that they are white and I can bleach them if necessary.
5.  And fifth, a normal dish cloth for drying dishes and drying my hands after washing.

You could probably do without the viscose rag and just use the barmop rag for all wipe-ups and cleaning.  There are days when I don't really use the viscose rag very much.

For cleaning windows and mirrors I purchased microfiber cloths from the Target automotive section.  Apparently these are cheaper than the ones in the cleaning section.  I got a four pack for $5.  They also work great for regular dry dusting.  I've been pleased so far.

The only thing I have not found an alternate solution for is when I microwave bacon.  I suppose if this is truly the only thing I use paper towels for it's not so bad but I really want to find a way to not use them at all.  I don't really microwave bacon all that often but it's usually the way I cook bacon whenever I need it.  Any ideas on that please share them!

For any of you wondering, yes, using these rags does somewhat increase your laundry load, but not by a  whole lot.  It's maybe one small extra load per week.  It's still definitely a savings compared to shelling out $10 for paper towels every month.

So there you have it, another frugally green idea like the home-made cleaners (which are still working great by the way)!


Dana said...

i think it's crazy how much we have in common.....are you going to do cloth diapers??? :) we started with little man was about 6 weeks and LOVE it. we use pre-folds and some fuzzi bunz. and the occasional disposable. :) I used baking soda and vinegar the other day to clean and thought of you. loving your green posts.

Dana said...

oh and for bacon...have you tried one of these: We have a similar one we got for $2 at WM and LOVE it. it's great for microwaving anything!

MCD said...

Good for you! I haven't used paper products of any kind (napkins, plates, bowls or towels) in over 3 years! And I don't miss them at all.

As for the bacon I bake mine. 400 degrees for 17 mins. on a wire rack, It's yummy and crisp. I don't like the chewy bacon that comes out of the microwave. Maybe you could try it?

Sarah said...

Hey, I'm finally coming out of the woodworks as a blog stalker. I'm Jenny Collins' sister in law and I'm admitting to stalking your blog hehe. This may be a little backwards when you are getting rid of paper towels but, paper towels are cheaper than babywipes. Here is a recipe for what we call hippie wipes from my sister in law in Colorado.
Take a role of paper towels and cut them in half with a nonserrated knife. Remove the cardboard center. Add 2 cups of water, a tablespoon of baby shampoo and a dribble of baby oil (i use lavendar baby oil b/c it smells so fresh). Put them in an airtight container and you have baby wipes. I still use regular wipes in my diaper bag b/c these are too bulky. I have also found that they are gentler and help to prevent diaper rash.

my blog is