Replace Paper Towels with a Reusable Cloth Alternative

| 11/27/2019 10:48:00 AM

When I heard about "unpaper towels," my first thought was, My grandmother would be disappointed in humanity to hear dishcloths touted as a new invention.

For those who aren't familiar, "unpaper towel" are the reusable alternative to paper towels. They're the millennial version of dish cloths. And while we might be prone to blaming millennials for this idea that dishcloths are a new idea, we can hardly blame them when they grew up with parents who may have used single use products almost exclusively.

Trending Away from a Culture of Waste

I'm not blaming you, mom and dad. Toilet paper became popular in the 1920s, and paper towels followed behind in the 30s. It was convenient and "the thing" to do. For most of us (I'm nearly a millennial), our parents were the first generation raised when those products were expected to be kept in the house.

My grandma lived through the Great Depression. Her family moved back and forth between Quebec and New Hampshire, trying to make a go at farming in the different climates. They eventually settled in New Hampshire, where she raised my mom and her four sisters. She was cut-the-mold-off-the-cheese level thrifty.

By the time younger generations were born, disposable products were the norm and there was societal expectations working against reusable products. Mention you use cloth diapers? There's a good chance a friend or family member will offer to buy you disposables because they assume you can't afford them.

Bob lambke
1/30/2020 12:44:47 PM

We've been using old towels and rags for years. They work so much better than paper towels. Paper towels are saved for paint spills and a SMALL PIECE of paper towel to grease a cake pan or cookie sheet. Old Bath towels end up rolled up in a shelf in the garage They become "Car Towels" for drying the car, winter "rugs" over the car mats to soak up water, mud snow. The shelf is near the door to the house - convenient for Big Emergency spills. When the edges of the towel fray we run them through the sewing machine - it makes them last a long time. Old kitchen curtains get cut up and sewn for The "Rag drawer" in the kitchen. Everything is used until they fall apart and then they get relegated to "grease rags" for working on the car. Worn out cotton T-shirts and underwear get cut up into 4" X 4" scraps and put into a waste basket next to the work bench - used in place of paper towels and thrown out after one use. Wife has a beauty shop and uses hand towels for hair dyeing and drying. Garage sales always have bath towels for next to nothing, we cut them in half and stitch the cut side and they get used until they end up as "grease rags"....

1/30/2020 11:59:42 AM

I've been using towel pieces (instead of disposables) on my Swiffer, too.

1/30/2020 10:39:42 AM

So glad to see other people doing this, too! I don't use a wet bag, though. I use a plastic kitty litter bucket that I painted with leftover spray paint. (The previous one was decoupaged with fabric bits, like a crazy quilt, but it somehow didn't make the move from Texas to Arkansas a couple of years ago--always SOMETHING gets left behind somehow!) I no longer buy cat litter in plastic buckets, but I still have a half dozen or so of the buckets that I use for many other things. BTW: Worn out t-shirts, cut into various-sized pieces, work well as icky-mess-cleaner-upper-rags, too! Great article with some really nice ideas! Thanks!

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