Our journey from Paper Towels to Cloth Napkins!
As I’m reflecting on 2016 and folding a load of cloth napkins that were freshly laundered; I thought it would be time to look back at this journey we undertook four years ago.
We have now just bypassed our 4th year of using cloth napkins in lieu of paper towels during meal times. We actually still have several sets left out of the original ones we bought. For our family, we still love the idea of using cloth napkins and can’t imagine switching back to paper towels.
Have you ever thought of using cloth napkins at each meal instead of just using them for holidays? Do you think they are too expensive or too fancy to use at every meal?
Below is our cloth napkin journey and how this decision all started:
This is our original post from November 7, 2012:
In our effort to become more frugal and green, we are looking at different items we buy each month to see how we can save money and be more environmentally friendly.
I realized we were going through four to eight rolls of paper towels a month! We use them everywhere from meals (as our napkins) to when we wipe things up, to cleaning around our home. Usually you can find paper towel rolls for around $1. But in some cases they are closer to $2.
So what we’ve decided to do is go cloth! I have been watching clearance sales very close over the past month and I have picked up several cloth napkins for close to a $1 each. Yes, you have the initial investment, but how many meals will you be able to use that napkin before they wear out? I have enough of a supply now that I only need to wash them once a week. And I throw them in with the towels and washcloths that I am already washing. So no extra loads of laundry.
And as far as for cleaning, I just use older towels, washcloths, and dishtowels. They work perfect!
I know some who say what’s $4 to $8 a month, well what’s that over a year? Anywhere from $48 – $96 a year! What can you do with $48 – $96 over a year?? If anything, set the money aside out of each grocery visit, or whenever you would buy your paper towels and save it until the end of the year. That would be a great savings for a gift for your family, towards a family vacation, the possibilities are endless.
We will still have a roll of paper towels available but I’m hoping that one roll lasts for a long time. It’s definitely something to get used to when you are so used to just grabbing a paper towel, but it can be done.
Does anyone have a favorite brand of cloth napkins? I have found some that just don’t wash up very soft but they serve their purpose.
I did an update to our Cloth Napkin journey on August 23, 2013:
Do you use paper towels as napkins at every meal? We do and if you do too, think of how many paper napkins you use per week. Lets say five family members x three meals a day = 15 paper towels a day. 15 paper towels a day x seven days a week = 105 paper towels a week……….
Last year when we decided it was time to make some changes in our attempt to be more green as well as frugal, we researched switching to cloth napkins in lieu of paper towels. So last November, I started watching clearance sales and accumulated 7 days worth of cloth napkins. That way I only wash them once a week and I throw them in with our towels that I would be washing anyway.
Now we are almost nine months in and they are still holding up. I have to admit at first it was hard remembering to use those in lieu of paper towels but now its habit.
Don’t get me wrong, we still do use paper towels but just not as much as we did before. Now a roll of paper towels can last almost a month where as before we went through a roll in a week to a week and a half.
If you watch clearance sales, you can usually get a 4/6 piece napkin set for around $2. And if you want to add a variety of different colors check out the home decor department at Joann’s or another sewing store and look for their discontinued samples. They are cloth napkins size and wash up just as well.
We have now just passed our three year anniversary switching over to cloth napkins. We still have the original napkins that we purchased in 2012. I wash them once a week when I wash our other towels. They are still holding up really well.
Switching over to cloth napkins for our family has worked out really well. Have you thought about switching over? If you haven’t, think about these points:
Cloth Napkins always make your table look pretty!
Even if you have guests that stop by for last minute during the week, you can put a lovely cloth napkin next to their plate in lieu of a paper towel.
Cloth Napkins are reusable!
Instead of throwing the paper towel away, you can just add the napkins to your laundry pile (I have piles of laundry in our laundry room, I admit it!) Then once a week, you can wash them with your other towels.
Cloth Napkins are affordable!
The key is buying them on clearance! You would be amazed at the deals you will find on them! Especially after the holidays! My last purchase was for a set of 6 napkins from Kohls . They are Thanksgiving themed and priced a low price of $3.99 for 6 which made them about $.66 each. Then once the holiday is over; I will add those to our stash of napkins and we will continue to use them.
Cloth Napkins don’t get shredded!
Do you have dogs? If so, you know what happens to paper towels if they get dropped to the floor and have the remaining scents of food on them. They end up shredded under the table!
Cloth Napkins are like a sponge!
I’m sure you are like me and “never ” spill your water at the table! Or your kids are like mine and “never” spill their water/milk, right?! Right….I think I knock mine over as much as my kids do! If that happens, the napkins work fabulously at wiping up the spills without using multiple paper towels.
Cloth Napkins are easy to store!
I keep all of ours in one of our cabinet drawers. That way they are accessible!
Cloth Napkins work for any décor!
Has your family made any decisions to go green that worked out really well? Are you still doing that change?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”