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lucillle

Dishcloths to reduce paper towel use?

lucillle
10 days ago

I'm putting in another order to Ikea, and buying some of their cotton dishcloths. They have all sorts of pretty prints. I go through a ton of paper towels and am hoping that the dishcloths will reduce that use, what has your experience been?

Comments (46)

  • sushipup2
    10 days ago

    Yes, I try to use clothes to wipe up spills, dry hands. I use for washed lettuce, too. We also use paper towels, but less often, usually for greasy things or more 'unsanitary' things, like when the dog gets sick in the middle of the living room rug. I've been getting the Trader Joe's dish clothes, which are wonderfully soft.

    lucillle thanked sushipup2
  • woodrose
    10 days ago

    We have always used dishcloths and dish towels along with paper towels. Paper towels and other paper products have gotten very expensive here, and I assume everywhere.

    lucillle thanked woodrose
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  • WittyNickNameHere ;)
    10 days ago

    I buy a pack of paper towels from Costco and they last over a year. I don't use them very much but my husband likes them. I use them mostly for cleaning my windows and picture frames with Windex. I grew up on dishcloths and use them the most for dishes, cleaning the bathroom, dusting, wiping my floors. And before I get schooled on how to clean: yes, I use a clean one for each thing. ;) I prefer the microfiber ones we buy at Canadian Tire. They're so inexpensive and they last forever. And yes, I know: it's a Canadian store but I"m sure I've seen similar in other stores. ;)




    lucillle thanked WittyNickNameHere ;)
  • beesneeds
    10 days ago

    I've been using dish towels, dish cloths, and fabric napkins for years. We still have paper towels in the house, but we don't use them very much. I like having a variety of cloths, and lots of them. I have floursack, most of them embroidered. Some terry cloth, some heavy cotton, a handful of microfiber.

    If you aren't used to it, make sure you have somewhere to hang up your wet cloths to dry out after use. Tossing wet cloths in the hamper ends up icky. Having a dedicated hamper for kitchen linens can be nice too.


    lucillle thanked beesneeds
  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    10 days ago

    I've always uses cloths, never paper. I get microfibre E cloths for most things. Cotton for teatowels. But I don't have puking pets. I might get some paper if I did.

    lucillle thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    10 days ago

    I use paper towels for very messy jobs.......like cleaning up after pets :-) And for draining items like cooked bacon or French fries. Otherwise, I use kitchen hand towels and a much used pack of cheap wash cloths (Walmart) for general cleaning purposes. I do use microfiber as well but generally only for dusting....don't like them when they get wet.

    lucillle thanked gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
  • Jasdip
    10 days ago

    I'm very much like Gardengal. I use microfiber mostly for dusting as well. I bought packs of bar cloths when Canadian Tire would have them for half-price; generally 3.99 for 8 cloths.

    Paper towels for cat yak and draining bacon. I wrap my lettuce in a tea towel and then in a plastic bag.

    lucillle thanked Jasdip
  • HU-929826674
    10 days ago

    I use dish cloths and dish towels. About the only thing I use paper towels for is to put under frozen things thawing in the fridge or on the counter, and to wipe up spills on the floor. I am a messy cook!

    I dislike the feel of microfiber cloths, so don't use them. However, those cheap washcloths from Walmart seem to last forever and are very serviceable.

    lucillle thanked HU-929826674
  • Patriciae
    10 days ago

    I use washcloths and handtowels that I get in huge bundles from Costco. They are super cheap. When they get stained I sort them when I wash them and keep the grubby looking ones for messier tasks. I use paper for cat ralph of course and to wipe out my castiron after pouring out fat but I drain fried food in a metal collander that nests inside a bowl. I use a spatula to swipe out the fat into my disposable fat container and wash the bowl. It saves a small fortune in paper products. DH is bad to just grab paper but he is not into cleaning

    lucillle thanked Patriciae
  • nicole___
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    I use paper towels for cat barf or wiping down a greasy pan. I like hand towels out of bath towel sets....in black. Turkish or Egyptian.

    lucillle thanked nicole___
  • maifleur03
    10 days ago

    Over the years I have purchased Ikea dish towels. Some I have been happy with as they are absorbent although a few have been over absorbent and become soggy too quick. There are others while pretty are still as stiff as when I purchased and absorb little if any moisture if you try to use for drying. There is a reason why restaurants do not use towels.


    I started reducing my paper usage then realized I was washing more therefore using more water and the soaps used went into the sewer system. The soap if it does not help form with the fat in the water do not form fat balls costs more and is harder to remove from the sewage so the water can be returned to the river. I reverted to wiping out pans with a paper towel before washing. While it can take years for the towels to compost having seen more than one dump site go from a size useful for a beginner skier to perhaps 200 ft tall with the new methods with air being piped into the dump sites decomposition is quicker.

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  • chisue
    10 days ago

    I might go through a roll of paper towels in three months. I use cheap cotton terry wash cloths from Costco as dish cloths, then as cleaning rags when they're too stained. Same with Costco hand towels in the kitchen. My dish towels are also from Costco, but there's little need for drying with a dishwasher doing most of the work.

    I avoid use and 'toss' products. Our landfills are FULL.

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  • Olychick
    10 days ago

    I use too many paper towels, I'll admit it. I've switched to bamboo towels (and TP) from HERE to try to be more eco-friendly. We have curbside compost and I put all the used ones in that; I think the commercial composters get them broken down fairly quickly.

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  • Toronto Veterinarian
    10 days ago

    I buy a whack of facecloths from Amazon or Costco and use them as napkins and for cleaning spills, etc in the kitchen. I also use recycled paper towels that become part of compost, but I only use them if there's no chemicals involved (eg cleaning fluids). I tried the bamboo paper towels from Who Gives A Crap that Olychick mentioned, but I couldn't stand them - they're hard and almost crunchy! I love their recycled toilet paper though and highly recommend them (though they no longer deliver to Canada, sadly).

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    10 days ago

    They are paper. Of course they will compost....even in landfills. That would not be a valid reason for me not to use them. But they are a recurring expense so easily replaced by a reusable option as required.

    It also helps to use those brands that provide smaller sheets for smaller jobs so you don't use as much. I often use them as a make-do plate for a piece of toast or a half sandwich. And they work so much better to grab for my almost permanently runny nose than wimpy kleenex!!

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  • arcy_gw
    10 days ago

    I grew up at the beginning of the Save the Trees, recycle, minimum footprint so one use anything isn't in my world much. It takes well over a month or two for me to use up a roll of paper towels. I only buy the one's that are perforated at half the usual size. I use them to collect my compostables in my sink when peeling potatoes and carrots mostly. The sweedish tish towels I have found to be the best product for clean up on the market. They can be spendy but they can also be found inexpensive if you purchase solids vs the super cute desgns.

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  • Elmer J Fudd
    10 days ago

    Paper towels like other wood and paper products should be considered as coming from a renewal resource. Many of the pulp sources are cultivated tree forests that have been replanted multiple times. Growing trees for pulp is a carbon capturing activity, a net plus for the environment.

    There's nothing wrong with the notion of using fewer paper towels and more washable cloths but it's more of a feel-good activity than a do-good one. Microfiber cloth in particular that many people use is an environmentally damaging product. In my water-shortage area, a situation more likely to get worse than better, minimizing laundry loads is arguably more environmentally friendly than concern about paper towels.

    I have a question for those of you thinking you're doing your part for the environment by minimizing or avoiding paper towels. Do you drive a large car, one that averages less than 30 mpg? If so, buying a smaller car will do considerably more for the environment than 10 years' worth of not using paper towels.

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  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    I don’t drive any car.

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  • lucillle
    Original Author
    10 days ago

    I walk :)

  • nicole___
    10 days ago
    last modified: 10 days ago

    I hand wash my pans and dry them with thick cotton kitchen towels. No environmental play here. But....it does reduce the number of paper towels I use....and replaces them with a better product.

    lucillle thanked nicole___
  • Cindy 7
    10 days ago

    I make my own dishcloths. I knit them on the diagonal using 100% cotton yarn. Everyone that I have given them to comes back for more.

    https://daisycottagedesigns.net/best-yarn-for-crochet-dishcloths/

    lucillle thanked Cindy 7
  • Patriciae
    9 days ago

    While growing the trees is a positive thing harvesting, hauling, processing, bleaching, making paper, more hauling, storing, distributing, buying, hauling, using, tossing, more hauling, and land filling sort of balances that out. And there is budgeting as reusable is budget friendly. This argument is an old one from the days of disposable/reusable diapers.

    My cloths just get tossed into the laundry with my usual limited loads. I dont do extra laundry. They dont take much space.

    I do not drive a huge vehicle and stay home. I limit my driving.


    lucillle thanked Patriciae
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    9 days ago

    I compost most of the plain paper waste we generate - paper towels included, as long as they weren't soiled with anything toxic to compost.

    And IMO, the invention of make-a-size paper towels was pretty genius - took 'em long enough, tho 😄

    lucillle thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • bpath
    9 days ago

    My mother saved all kinds of old cotton textiles to use as cleaning rags. Cotton sheets, towels, shirts, flannels, tees. One day her cleaner took several home, cut them to a couple of uniform sizes, and sewed them together to make double-sided rags. They are even better than before for wiping up or wiping down, dabbing up, anything. I should do the same to all my rags and keep a bunch in the kitchen.

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  • yeonassky
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    I primarily use cotton cloths. I try to use second hand material so I don't encourage access development. I also use paper towels for gross things. I worry about microfiber and anything with plastics out in them because of the water and microplastic. I still use them to some degree but less and less. The reason why I try to use second-hand t-shirts etc is because even though paper is renewable there is still a great deal of processing with it and with t-shirts that's been done and gone. At least I think that is sound thinking. Shrug. ....

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  • kevin9408
    9 days ago

    Not to pop anyone's bubble here but there is a power plant in England which burns 20 train cars full of wood pellets each day, made from wood cut down here in the united states. One plant is in Franklin, Virginia, with six others throughout the southeastern united states. So please don't feel guilty by using a few paper towels.

    They justify this practice as a renewable source. They say the wood releases carbon when it’s burned, but trees absorb carbon so the cycle ends up as carbon neutral.

    lucillle thanked kevin9408
  • Marigold
    9 days ago

    If you are a dishcloth person, how do you keep the cloths from smelling? I bought handwoven dishcloths and teatowels. They are beautiful, but just like every other cloth I have used in the past, they start to smell.

    I boil them with vinegar and water, but even so, over time I have got to the point where the musty smell comes back within a day. I think I am particularly sensitive to it, but do others have this problem?

    I hate to replace things when they are still functional. Do others just buy new ones every few months or is there a trick I am missing?

    lucillle thanked Marigold
  • functionthenlook
    9 days ago

    I also dislike the feel of microfiber. I use cotton tea towels and dish cloths. I don't use a lot of paper towels normally. I swear we must eat paper napkins an Dixie cups though.

    I'm just happy that you can buy printed paper towels and napkins again.

    Remember when everyone was "saving the trees ". Lol


    lucillle thanked functionthenlook
  • jane__ny
    9 days ago

    Well, I'll be the devils advocate.

    I am creepy about reusing cloth hand towels. Since I wash my hands numerous times a day, I feel the towels are unsanitary, even though my hands were washed. Others would use them to dry their hands. I never reuse a bath towel and feel the same about cloth hand towels.

    We use paper towels. I buy paper hand towels for the bathrooms. I use paper for anything greasy. I have cloth hand towels in the kitchen but wash them constantly.

    I use cloth towels for dusting/waxing, cleaning windows.


    Jane

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  • lucillle
    Original Author
    9 days ago

    I have cloth hand towels in the kitchen but wash them constantly.

    I think it is fine to wash kitchen towels frequently.

  • Patriciae
    9 days ago

    Jane, where do you draw the line on creepy? Never wear any clothes again that you have worn before. Never sit on the same chair-so creepy? This is kitchen table but....

    lucillle thanked Patriciae
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    We've always used a dish cloth to wipe counters down and clean up spills. We use a sponge with a scrubby side to wash dishes.

    We have separate towels...the terry cloth to dry hands and the cotton or linen to dry dishes.

    For house cleaning, we use old dish cloths and old dish towels.

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  • Toronto Veterinarian
    9 days ago

    " I have a question for those of you thinking you're doing your part for the environment by minimizing or avoiding paper towels. Do you drive a large car, "

    Yes, I drive a heavy SUV with comfy seats, good tech, and pretty reasonable cargo capacity. There's nothing wrong with doing a small thing in one area while not doing a bigger thing in another area (like giving up much needed cargo space in a car) -- every little bit helps. Do whatever things you're willing and able to do, but just don't go pretending a little thing makes you a virtuous god(ess) who can comment on what other people choose to do or not do.


    I don't use recycled paper towels because I think using them will save the planet, I use them because it's a small thing that won't make it worse. Not because my use is enough to make a difference, but maybe it will be enough so others will see me using them and possibly switch, and then maybe sales will increase and other companies will see business pressure pushing them towards change.

    lucillle thanked Toronto Veterinarian
  • beesneeds
    9 days ago

    I use cloth because that's how I was raised. My parents used cloth, my grandmas did too. Probably frugality on their parts more than anything else. But I just never got into the habit of using paper towels much. I also do the use fabrics to death thing they used to do.

    I don't usually have an issue with musty linens, and there's a few things that might be in play there. I hang them to dry between uses or before they go into their hamper. Bacteria buildup can happen quickly, particularly in dishrags that remain damp and have food particulate on them. Dishsoap buildup can also cause issues. Hanging to dry rather than draping over the sink divider can help reduce the growth rate. If I have a food cloth like cheese cloth, dough cloth, or strainer cloth, I tend to wash those up in the sink along with the dishes and hang them to dry before they get put in the hamper.

    I have a kitchen linen hamper. I have a variety of cloths that get used for different tasks around the kitchen. I use borax in my hot water washing. Sometimes oxygen bleach instead. It can depend on what the mix of linens is in the basket at the time. I line dry through as much of the year as possible. A good sunny day with a nice breeze is the best for linens. When I can't line dry, I don't use fabric softener sheets in the dryer- I use hard drying balls.

    I've never had to boil my linens. But I know some people do, and it's been discussed around here before. There was a lady that was a laundry expert, can't remember her name. Mama something. Or maybe it was something mama?


    lucillle thanked beesneeds
  • nickel_kg
    9 days ago

    MamaPinky was Queen of Laundry. (It feels nice to remember her once in a while, and think kind thoughts to her family :-).

    Marigold, it is possible that you are particularly sensitive to kitchen laundry smells. People do vary in their sensitivity and it's not always a blessing to be extra-gifted!

    As beesneeds mentioned, the longer a cloth remains damp, the mustier it will smell. I use old sweatshirts, tshirts, socks, etc as rags around the house. Kitchen rags get one day of use then are washed with regular laundry, or hung to dry until the next regular laundry load. I like them compared to sponges in that they don't shred into little bits as they wear out.

    No, it's not going to save Mother Nature as an individual action, but by doing one thing which I think/hope helps, it makes me more mindful in general.

    lucillle thanked nickel_kg
  • petalique
    9 days ago
    last modified: 9 days ago

    We like Bounty brand paper towels that come in half sheets. (We will not buy Brawny brand.)

    Because of the expense we try to limit them a bit to things like wiping out oil from a frypan so that it doesn’t go down into the drain. Cleaning up really obnoxious things that we want to be able to toss into the trash.

    We buy bulk cotton terry facecloths for 1) use as a dishcloth and 2) bar/counter wipe.

    These can be easily and frequently washed and cleaned up in hot water, soap and a bit of oxygen bleach so that they remain white enough and clean looking. We ring them out and let the individual ones at the kitchen sink air dry. They are sanitized, clean and do not smell (that would drive me bonkers).

    example (but we usually buy ours at local thrifty department stores):


    Older, worn but cleaned cloths get used for cleaning things like ovens, windows, and so on.

    I have a used overlock/serger that I bought from CL. Sometimes when I have older, worn towels, I cut out 12” squares (approximately) and overlook the edges to prevent fraying. Fun and easy. Everyone should have a serger or sewing machine.

    These re-fashioned terry towels make great cleaning cloths. If you make extra, pet shelters would find them useful, as they do any towels, washable blankets and bedding.

    For the most part, I do not like the feel and performance of microfiber cloths. However, they do serve a few purposes very well. With soapy water, they make quick work of renewing the clean shine to a stainless steel teakettle or appliance. Using soap, no scratch marks and the abrasive microfiber is just the perfect tool.

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  • Patriciae
    9 days ago

    I ditto borax as a laundry booster if your detergent isn't doing the job. My Grannie used to put her cloths in the dish pan and pour boiling water on them with some borax and let them soak. She used old t-shirts cut in pieces in the kitchen. She called it scalding them. The always got washed with the dishes two or three times a day and hung to dry. Scalding was about once a week.

    Even small things when multiplied by millions will make a difference. It is how we got in the mess in the first place only it was bad small things. So lets do good small things. It also saves money.

    lucillle thanked Patriciae
  • functionthenlook
    9 days ago

    All my towels (bath & kitchen) are white. I use hot water wash and bleach then thrown into the dryer. I don't do it to sanitize them, just to keep them white. I'm not a germaphobe, but I don't think much can survive that.

    lucillle thanked functionthenlook
  • Patriciae
    9 days ago

    interesting point is that bleach doesnt actually get rid of stains, you just cant see them.

    lucillle thanked Patriciae
  • functionthenlook
    9 days ago

    Bleach converts soils into colorless, soluble particles which are easily removed by detergents, then carried away in the wash water. Bleach can also brighten and whiten fabrics and help remove stubborn stains

    lucillle thanked functionthenlook
  • bragu_DSM 5
    8 days ago

    cotton towels

    lucillle thanked bragu_DSM 5
  • jane__ny
    8 days ago

    Patricia, I do draw the line with certain things but hand towels are used by other people besides me. I'm not sure how well they cleaned their hands both in kitchen and bathroom. I do not want to use them.

    I do re-wear clothes that is still clean because I am the person who wore them. I would not wear clothes that was worn by someone else unless I washed them.

    I sit on furniture because I am not naked.

    Cloth hand towels are unsanitary in my opinion. I buy the paper towels which are in small pieces. I buy paper hand towels for the bathroom which are thin and inexpensive.

    I do not feel guilty about it.


    Jane

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  • claudia valentine
    8 days ago

    I inhertited a stack of knitted dishcloths and I dont much care to use knitted or crochet cloths for washing dishes. And, I dont have a dishwasher and do hand wash in the kitchen But, I had a lot of them not being used.

    So, I decided to put these cotton knitted ones to use for random and varied tasks in the kitchen.

    I keep one to wipe my fingers when cooking, swab the countertops, clean the stovetop and also I put them under bowls to keep them from sliding around when I am mixing. I use them for all manner of general use. including to dry hands on.

    I dont normaly buy paper towels, although I do have some right now because I bought a two roll pack and I keep one roll in the car. I might buy one package of two that usually lasts me for at least a year. I just dont use paper ones much..

    Old towels can be torn into smaller pieces and used, too.

    My mom was the queen of reusing rags! She was so frugal! She was a kid from the depression era and she never wasted a darned thing!

    lucillle thanked claudia valentine
  • Elmer J Fudd
    7 days ago

    " Bleach converts soils into colorless, soluble particles which are easily removed by detergents, then carried away in the wash water "


    I don't believe this correctly describes how bleach works.

    lucillle thanked Elmer J Fudd
  • wcjo
    7 days ago

    It seems like I wash/dry my hands every 30 seconds while in the kitchen. Paper towels actually started to hurt my hands, so I bought a dozen white soft cotton bar mop towels. They are folded and sit on the kitchen counter ready to use. I grab the day's towel for drying my hands and replace as needed with a new one. I will also use one to dry a dish or mop the counter. By the end of the day they all end up thrown into a covered pail that's filled with water and a glug of bleach and get washed as needed. I now only use paper towels for greasy yucky stuff, and a fluffy white towel with a whiff of bleach has always said "clean" to me.

    lucillle thanked wcjo
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