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)!