Move over NutriBullet and InstaPot! I have a new kitchen helper these days – cloth napkins and microfiber towels! My family and I have officially made the switch. I know this may sound like an odd accomplishment to celebrate, but giving up the convenience of the “wipe and toss” paper towel was no easy feat. For years, I have secretly loved paper towels. I had a roll in my car for emergency situations, one in the kitchen for dishes and spills, and even one in each bathroom to dry my hands after washing. I knew disposable paper towels were not exactly great for the environment, but I just loved having them around. Plus, I couldn’t think of a realistic alternative. That was until a co-worker brought me cloth napkins as a housewarming gift. These adorable homemade towels perfectly matched my décor and actually motivated me to try them out. I had heard of cloth napkins, but I never really thought about investing in them or trying them in my own home. With a new sense of inspiration, I decided to slowly start incorporating cloth napkins into my home routine. While not completely giving up paper towels at first, I was able to objectively make a comparison between the two. Over the course of a few months I realized a few things:
Paper towels are expensive! I’m not just saying that because my first set of cloth napkins were gifted to me. I never noticed how expensive pnd on 6 towels with unlimited use however, I feel like I’ve been robbing myself for years!
Cloth napkins are fun. While I know paper towels have different sizes, textures, absorbencies and prints, they are in no way comparable to the fun pattern variety of cloth napkins. I actually found myself inspired by the various colors and types of cloth napkins. The creative flair adds a little personality to your home. You can choose napkins to match your décor or solid colored napkins for everyday use, but there are also, seasonal napkins, holiday napkins and special event napkins. The best part is when you are finished; you can wash them and use them again next year.
Inconvenience is in the eyes of the beholder. For years I shied away from cloth napkins because I thought it would be too cumbersome to deal with. What I have found is that inconvenience is only what you make it out to be. When I’m done with the napkin, I toss it in a basket until I’m ready to wash it. Cloth napkins have been such a big help to me. Think about it – you spill a glass of water all over the counter. What absorbs the water better – a thick piece of paper made with fibers or a cloth towel designed for absorbency?
I won’t say that my switch from paper towels to cloth napkins was immediate. It took me several months to wean myself and my husband from our disposable guilty pleasure, but I can’t imagine going back! Over time, I added several more styles of napkins to my collection. I have white microfiber towels for counters and cleaning, colored towels for wiping hands, and decorative towels for special occasions.
Not ready to take the plunge yet? Start slow! Grab a few cloth napkins from a local store and test them out by using them every day. When you run out of paper towels, try not to buy more! See if you have a noticeable, positive difference in cost and efficiency with cloth napkins. For me, it’s the greatest new kitchen helper around!
Blog contributed by Lacie Wever, Community Education and Outreach Specialist with HRSD.