Drinks/ HOME/ Natural Products/ Simplifying

Paper Towel Alternative

We have had a few spring like days here in Nebraska.  I love it!  It is making me think about spring cleaning!  I will be having radiation the next 6 weeks, so I will have to do mine in baby steps.  I am planning on working in a different “zone” of my home each week, 15 minutes a day.  Hopefully by the time I’m done with radiation my house will be de-cluttered and sparkling clean!!
I was inspired by this post at Clean Momma.  She is someone who knows sparkly clean!  I loved the idea of getting rid of paper products.  It kills me to spend money on paper towels, and we were going through them like crazy!  I do still keep one roll around for those nasty type spills, you know, like when you accidentally drop an egg?  Or when the raw chicken leaks onto the counter?  Yuck!
Both the jar and the cloths are from Target.  If I did it over again, I would get a more quality cloth, like these.  If you are an Amazon shopper, and want to buy the jar, here is a link.
 Clean Momma also got rid of paper napkins and cloths to wash her children’s faces.  She said she is saving at least $20.00 a month by not having to buy paper products!
Even though I am not a fan of bleach, I do occasionally bleach these white cloths.  I also started keeping the jar under my sink, as I wanted a bit more counter space.  If I had more room, I would for sure keep it on the counter, it is handy and I think the jar actually looks pretty!
Are you getting the itch to spring clean?
**I’m happy to be linking to these parties.
Tip Junkie handmade projects


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  • seo
    June 29, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Hey there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I
    really enjoy reading your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with
    the same topics? Appreciate it!

  • sasha
    April 12, 2014 at 2:35 am

    I love this idea. My teen girls and I do oil cleansing for our faces (you can learn about it here -http://www.crunchybetty.com/trying-and-troubleshooting-the-oil-cleansing-method-tips-for-flawless-oil-cleansed-skin) and the oil residue builds up on our cloths. I finally got a wash tub and filled it with water and a little homemade detergent (your recipe!!) and that works great. When we have a full load, I just wash normally and they come out super clean. I’m thinking we could toss the “paper towel” cloths in as well and avoid bleach.

  • Alexandra Pollock
    March 26, 2013 at 2:30 am

    Soak them in hot water with ivory soap before washing them.. you will be amazed at how white they turn out – i hate using bleach, esp on my children’s little white socks and leggings.. has to be ivory soap for some odd reason.. but it works amazing.

    • Cheri
      July 24, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Can you tell me which Ivory soap — bar, dish washing, or ???

  • Janice
    October 28, 2012 at 2:52 am

    Do any of you have alternatives to using paper towels to “drain” bacon? or other greasy moments? My darling husband drives me to distraction with his use of 4-5 paper towels when he cooks (and that is not counting when he cooks bacon), especially since I find them all over the kitchen. His answer is always ‘I wasn’t through with it yet’. My question is if you aren’t through with it yet, why do you have more than one?

    I’ve been trying to be more conscious of how much paper we’re using in our home. A couple of years ago I went to cloth napkins, my husband still doesn’t like them, and training visitors on their use is another thing… people really don’t understand that napkins can be used for more than one meal (and actually we frequently use them for several days). Messy little kids, messy food items (ribs?), and ill people are a different story, and I get that, but generally adults wipe their hands or lips once or twice a meal. When we lived in Europe years ago and stayed at ‘bed and breakfast’ type establishments you were expected to use your napkin for several meals. You cloth napkin users, what are your rules? Our kids are grown and out of the house so it is probably easier for me than those of you with little ones.

    • Viki
      January 16, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      Janice, use a rack or perforated tray over a dish to drain the bacon then scrape the grease into the trash or if you cook with it into you grease jar. We love cooking greens in bacon grease! I also make and use cloth napkins, love them and never had a complaint from guests and we do use them for several meals.

  • Anonymous
    July 10, 2012 at 11:09 am

    What happens when they get all stained and gross looking and grey…..not so pretty on the counter then.

  • Anonymous
    March 13, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Screw saving money, I’m more excited about the eco-friendliness of this. This is awesome.

    I’m actually kind of sad that nobody else is excited about this for the same reason… :(.

    • Anonymous
      June 26, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      With this method you end up doing more laundry and using more water so not as eco-friendly as you might think.

  • karlamcurry
    March 12, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    We’re pretty good at using rags for cleaning up messes… unless it’s an especially icky accident like raw meat or involves toddler poop. Mm. We have a small garbage bin on the landing going down to our basement, where our washer and dryer are, so when it’s full of rags I do a load.

    I cloth diapered my two kiddos, so we have a stash of cloth wipes which I use to clean their hands and faces. I hang it on the faucet during the day then put it in a wetbag which hangs in the bathroom.

    We DO have tissues for blowing noses, though. 🙂

  • emmitch
    January 26, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Re: Dirty Ones…we go through a roll of paper towels a week. I would say an average of 20+ per day. How do you dry your hands, wipe the babies nose, get the booger out of the cats eye, clean the counters, mop up a spill etc and just have one wash cloth hanging on the sink faucet over night?

    • emmitch
      January 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      Additionally, I don’t want to dry my hands on the same cloth that wiped up boogers or cleaned the stove top.

  • Amy Bowman
    January 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I hang it over the sink faucet, which allows it to dry overnight. I then have a small mesh laundry bag (very small, meant to wash socks or personals in, that I have hanging on a hook in my pantry. Works well. I need to get back to this habit. When I was in treatment we went back to paper towels since others were cleaning my house more than I was!

  • Whatev, Inc.
    January 11, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Amy – love your blog. Same question as above…how do you manage the dirty ones? I’ve been keeping a stack of rags under my sink in place of paper towels. I run into the problem of allowing each rag to dry out before placing it in a dirty stack on top of the washing machine. Thanks! Get your rest.

  • Anonymous
    December 29, 2011 at 5:11 am

    Any tried and true ideas for managing the dirty/used ones?

  • Grace
    July 19, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Great ideas! One other that might come in handy – especially for those households with more than one person in the house: Use color-coded napkins/hankies/towels. Have the napkins all be of a different design/color, so that each person is “assigned” one for the week. That way less get used and washed at the end of the week. 🙂
    http://www.RecycledGrace.etsy.com 🙂


  • Courtney
    April 19, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Thanks for your idea on this, I am writing a post right now on how your inspired me to get these dish towels!

  • The Homemade Renegade
    March 1, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Love the jar idea. Very practical, cute, and green — love it!

  • erin
    February 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Very cool look with the clever jar! We use so many paper towels. I have been wanting to try to buy less consumable things like that. We have switched to cloth napkins. I am going to give the cool jar and reusable towel thing a try. (I don’t think the hubby will be thrilled….he does love the paper towels….and he cleans up after every dinner…..I guess we can keep a roll around just for him…..wouldn’t want him to stop his after dinner routine for the sake of being green!) 🙂 I can not wait to Spring clean either. I look around my house and we have accumulated SOOO much this winter. Out it goes! I want to be a minimalist. AHHH. 🙂
    Great post. Thanks Amy!

  • Erin
    February 17, 2011 at 3:39 am

    I have tried this too. Not a huge success with the hubby, but since I am the one home most of the time it has really cut down. I LOVE the jar…now on the hunt for one too!

    Good luck with your radiation treatments, I continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

  • Amy Bowman
    February 17, 2011 at 4:44 am

    Love all the comments!
    I will try not to overdue with the spring cleaning–today was my first treatment and I have to say, I feel pretty tired tonight!!
    Erin, my hubs didn’t like it either. He still uses paper towels but not a big deal since I do most of the cleaning!:)

  • Carla G.
    February 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I have slowly started my family on a path of using cloth for napkins and to clean up spills – I know i am buying less paper towels and paper products which makes my wallet smile!! I also made small flannel cloths for my daughter’s lunchbox (and mine when I work) and they are so nice and soft to use…I would never go back to a paper napkin!!

  • Pamela
    February 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Just ordered the Amazon ones. Thank you for this idea. The jar makes is so, so cute!

  • Beth
    February 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I admit I use paper a ton more than the average person. I know because when I am at my friends’ homes, I never see paper towels. Still, white, cloth towels are so nice. The jar is a great idea. I just keep a huge bundle in a drawer.

  • Theresa
    February 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Great idea! I love them in the jar on the counter, our counters are small but I might have to try it anyway! I think I would still go with the Target ones, I think they are 100% cotton and not polyester which I would prefer not to buy. Take care and I understand the spring cleaning thing, but like Pat said, housework can wait. Theresa xoxo

  • Clean Mama
    February 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for the shout out! Check out the new paper towel alternative I talked about on my post today:

  • Corn in my Coffee-Pot
    February 16, 2011 at 4:28 am

    I switched to UNpaper towels (not my word; learned on the internet) last year–Like you I still have the paper for really bad messes and for when we have company– I’ve used cloth napkins for years– and don’t mind washing, not really extra, just toss them in with the towels.
    I’ve written about personal cloths and since retiring we use these too, in the bathroom.
    Gross by some peoples standards– but like I say, GROSS IS RELATIVE!
    Thanks for sharing–
    Don’t work to hard when your doing your 6 weeks– take time for yourself, the hubby, and the kiddos. Housework can wait.
    Luv ya!
    in Christ~

  • momphotographer
    February 16, 2011 at 4:04 am

    I stopped using paper towels, too…
    But this idea you have here it’s really awesome! Thanks for sharing. I’m stealing it from you 🙂

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