I never thought that I would use less paper towels with two little ones around, but we have now started to use a lot less of the paper towel or napkin around the house. There was a time when I used paper towels to clean everything like it is going out of style. The one thing about being a stay at home mom is that I now take more time to actually examine what goes on in our home and think about it critically instead of going with habit or convenience as a default. Within the last year, we have switched over to a rags system and we have not looked back. We do still use the paper napkin or paper towel on occasion, but it is no longer the first thing we grab.
I started looking into the rags thing when my husband and I bought a house after having our son. It was also the first time in over a decade I have easy access to a washing machine. I have lived in apartments that have laundry facilities, but it certainly wasn’t as convenient as having your own laundry room inside the house! The truth is, though, I did not implement the rags system until I stopped working and was laid off from my job. I only started using rags once I became a stay-at-home mom.
Currently, our rags system includes old towels of different sizes, burp clothes, old cloth diapers, and even old t-shirts. Even if you don’t have those things to use as rags, they are incredibly cheap and you can buy 25 for $10 or so. I have a box under the sink, a kitchen drawer, and a few 3M hooks placed strategically around the house to store these rags so I can easily access them when I need them. I also have a trashcan that is meshed so that I can toss used ones in there and it is ventilated and won’t get moldy. I do laundry at least 2 times a week if not 3, so the rags get washed before they get nasty. I figure it easily saves us about $5-$7 a month. The best thing about it is that it is pretty painless to change this paper towel habit.
You might be surprised how much you won’t miss having paper towels. It is one of the easiest eco-friendly and frugal changes I have made. I actually prefer rags for cleaning up messes around the house. For kitchen messes involving food spills and such rags are much better for the task than paper towels.