Mar 18, 2011

Paper Prices Going Up: What to Do About It

My mom recently called to tell me about a news story she saw: The cost of diapers and toilet paper is going up. The first, I can deal with; it's time to start potty training, anyway! The second, though, I don't think I can do much about (unless I want to start saving junk mail to use for wiping).

However, this got me to thinking about other costs that must be going up. Some of my husband's friends are loggers and they tell us the price of lumber is up - way up. And that most of the wood is going to China. That means all American paper goods are going to increase in cost to the consumer. And, aside from toilet paper, the area where we use the most paper is paper towels.

For years, I've read about people switching to cloth towels in order to be more green. I never made the switch because we compost most of our paper towels and I felt the cost and energy of washing cloth towels wasn't worth it. However, I'm now rethinking my position.

I figure I need three or four different types of cloths: More washcloths for childrens' faces and hands, more kitchen towels, and some good cloth napkins. I normally use sponges for cleaning, but I may buy some cloth towels for this, too. My plan is to use each cloth for a full day, unless it's just too gross to do so. That means rinsing cloths out, when necessary, and hanging them to dry in the kitchen or bathroom. For cloths that are only used for wiping clean dishes dry, I may reuse for more than one day. Then into the washer they go!

So tell me: What kind of cloths do you use in your house? What do you most recommend?


  1. While there are tutorials for making cloth rolls to replace paper towel rolls, I recommend buying several inexpensive bath or kitchen cloths. Preferably white ones so they can be bleached. Set them in a basket beside the sink so the family can have quick access to them. I do not recommend sponges as they can harbor bacteria and can break apart in the washer.

    I use one cloth in the kitchen all day. I decontaminate the rag by soaking it a few minutes in hot soapy bleach water. Rinse thoroughly and use to wipe counter tops and appliances. Before washing, I also use it to wipe down the washer and dryer (mine are always so dusty!)

    When the kids were younger, I kept a couple of damp cloths in separate Ziploc bags when we traveled. Nothing to throw away and they could be rinsed out any place we stopped.

    As far as the toilet tissue.. let's just say the corn cob is not something I'd like to bring back, okay. :)

  2. I started using cloth napkins and I love it. They're tougher than paper napkins and can easily be used to clean up a spill, which is a daily occurrence here. I would like to sew some more.

  3. Teek, what kind of fabric do you use for your home made napkins?