Thursday, May 22, 2008

Frugal Friday: Paper-Towel Alternatives

I used to manage to go through a roll of paper towels in about 2 days. This not only created a lot of unnecessary waste, it was also not very frugal. However, I was opposed to looking into alternatives because paper towels were just so convenient. And also, how else could I clean glass and mirrors without leaving big smudges?

When my husband began operating our commercial cleaning business, we quickly realized the need to look into a less-wasteful, more-frugal alternative to paper towels. He purchased a few bags of cleaning rags. These worked great for his needs. As time went on, he also discovered that microfiber rags work perfectly for streak-free cleaning of glass and mirrors.

This was when I realized that I could just as easily make the switch from paper towels in our home. I now use cleaning rags for just about every cleaning job, and a microfiber rag for cleaning windows and mirrors. I use a variety of things in the kitchen. For liquid spills, my dishrag does the job just as quickly and easily as a paper towel once did. For any raw food spill/leakage, I use a rag that gets put in the laundry room immediately afterwards. I also use kitchen towels to dry my hands, cut-up receiving blankets for quick wipe-ups, and a cleaning spray and rag to disinfect. I don't know why I was so slow in making the switch. I definitely do not feel we need paper towels anymore. All of these things were purchased for less than $10 and will last indefinitely.

Even the washing is not hard and really doesn't add much extra to our laundry. Kitchen towels, dish rags, microfiber rags, and the cut-up receiving blanket squares get tossed in the wash with a regular load of laundry. Cleaning rags and the rags that I use to wipe up raw food spills are kept in a bucket until they are all washed in bleach. This is so simple I don't think we will ever go back to using paper towels.

For more Frugal Friday ideas, please visit Crystal's blog.


Laura 10:36 PM  

I really like this idea! Thanks Kate!

Stephanie@AHighandNobleCalling 7:10 AM  

I love this idea. I have been trying to reduce how much paper towels we use. I have some microfiber cloths that I will have to try on my mirrors. Thank you!

Jen,  7:18 AM  

Thanks've inspired me! The only thing I don't have a solution for? Smooshing the grease out of bacon & sausage....any ideas??

Gina 12:43 PM  

I bought several huge packs of white washcloths at Walmart when my twins were born, and they were used to wipe their face/hands after a meal, then the highchair tray, and then straight to the bucket for wash.

I still keep a few rolls of paper towels around for the nasties:

-smooshing grease (like you say above)
-vomit in the car (I have a child who gets carsick often, and it's bad enough carrying clothes/carseat into the house yucky, at least I can throw the paper towels away
-when all three kids get a stomach virus at once (d & v!) Fun!

Candace 1:36 PM  

I should do this too. We don't use a lot of paper towels here, but why not find alternatives and save some money. Thanks.

Niki 4:41 PM  

i really need to get more of those! i already ditched my swiffer duster for some and they are great!


Mary Ann 8:22 PM  

We hardly ever use paper towels anymore either. It's one of those things that after a while of doing without, you don't think about anymore! I still prefer paper towels for cleaning mirrors. I have a microfiber towel and I've used newspapers but I really like the paper towels better. So I occasionally get a couple of rolls when they are on sale.

As far as "smooshing grease", I have a couple of older cotton kitchen towels-not terry cloth- that I use for these specific purposes. I wash them really well and only use them for the yucky jobs and it works out great for me.

Crystal 8:58 AM  

I've been feeling guilty about using paper towels for a long time now but I haven't made the change to something else yet. You've convinced me that I can do it. I might keep a roll around just for when I clean the toilets, bathtubs and sinks. I can't bear the thought of the stuff I wipe off of my toilet going in my washing machine with anything! (I have a husband and 2 understand.)

Jennifer V 12:46 PM  

We use microfiber (E Clothes) for cleaning, mirrors etc.) We still use paper towel in the kitchen for putting bacon, hamburger, breakfast sausage etc on. Any suggestions for replaceing it in that use?

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