I feel so guilty for being a paper towel user. My excuse is that I have 4 kids 5 and under...and so I clean up a LOT of bodily fluids everyday. I just can't bring myself to use only cloth. I tell myself maybe in 3 years I will be a little more green. :)
I am a diehard recycler but I still laughed at Jim Gaffigan's piece--so true!P.S. "Anonymous", many fewer kids around here so I won't presume that what works for me will work for you, but what I do is have a container--at kid level by the way--of cheap washcloths (the kind that are 12 for $2 or less at places like Big Lots) that we use for regular messes such as food, drink, wiping hands, placemats, etc. Once used I toss them in basket on top of washer and wash on hot with other towels, etc. I do not fold them once dry but just toss back in the container. I do use papertowels for the really gross (i.e. potty training messes or greasy pans) messes, but keep the roll stashed in a cabinet rather than out in plain sight.
Thanks for jumping in here, Alison.I do the same thing. Some of my cleaning cloths are the cheapo white washcloths (once too stained for company use); the rest are cut up old towels or other suitable fabric. I find that if a paper towel roll is left on the counter, everyone uses it for everything. I always know my mom has been here because she leaves wadded up paper towels all over the house afterward! I keep a basket of cleaning cloths under the sink and paper towels hidden even farther back under there : )
Forgot to add: I always bleach that load because of germs, another reason to stick to white washcloths or rags.
That was super funny! Thanks for the laugh!Great tip about the white washcloths!
If you already have colored washcloths or for some other reason don't care to use chlorine bleach, consider using "grapefruit seed extract" or "tea tree (essential) oil" for disinfecting. Tea tree oil is cheaper. I buy mine at Trader Joe's where it comes in a container without a built-in dropper so I transfer it to one with a dropper, then use about 10 drops per load. I also make sure the water is HOT at an adjacent faucet before turning on the washer. These tips work for disinfecting (including cloth diapers) in a front load washing machine, I don't know about a top loader.
Oops, cut off my own post...Thanks Meredith for letting me chime in. I love your blog and learn so much from it, it is very fun to be able to share a tiny bit of info with your other dedicated readers.
I spend about $8/month on paper towels. I consider it a good investment. ZERO chance of cross-contamination; plus, savings on hot water, labor; plus bleach and detergents are supposed to be naughty.I saw a Penn & Teller special on the some of the errors of recycling. It was full of profanity, but was fairly convincing, demonstrating that for household recycling, aluminum and perhaps cardboard are the only things that have a net benefit to the environment.Their point was, recycling takes a larger toll and creates more pollution than creating new things, at present, of plastics, glass, and paper.Food for thought.
thanks for the hat tip here Meredith.Nice blog you've got here. I'll be back for sure.
Marie, it's not the cost or the environment so much as the waste of paper towels that motivates me. My family will use five sheets for a few drops of spilled water. At that rate, it's cheaper to reuse the stained washcloths as cleaning cloths.
Meredith,A little cross-topic, but I wanted to say that I had watched Jim Gaffigan on Comedy Central months back when you recommended his show.I will say I hadn't laughed so hard in so long. The ending religious parts about God, Jesus and the burning bush were outright hysterical. Compared to most comics, I think he's rather mild - I rather enjoy him. Thanks!
Marie, I can see how paper towels are not a big environmental issue, heck even disposable diapers and cloth diapers are a wash, so to speak. But if you are ever wanting more info than comedic magicans have to offer but still with a sense of humour then check out "Ask Umbra" at www.grist.org. :)
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