There's a lot of talk about switching from paper towels to something more sustainable, something that lasts a lot longer. And while our family made the switch to cloth napkins with relative ease, we were struggling in the paper towel department. Honestly, it just wasn't happening.
This is the country. The Southwest in fact. Can you say DUST and DIRT? Think old western movies and you're on the right track. Yes, I live in the mountains where there is a bit more vegetation, but it's still high desert territory and boy do we have the dirt to prove it! (I gave up on the floors a long time ago!) So you can imagine that a paper towel that I can throw away is so much more appealing when wiping up dirt and grime. But here's what I found...
The Eco Towels actually worked better!
How's that possible? Well, in a nut shell...
• they last longer before I have to get a new one (even though they are smaller in size)
• they can be easily rinsed out and used again (in certain applications)
• they are able to get in crevices that the paper towels can't because they're thin and pliable
• they are tougher than their paper counterpart
• they are lint free and don't leave bits of fiber behind
Here's an example of some of the dirt on a couple (I really did use these)...
And after washing... the edges curl a bit, but it really doesn't bother me as much as I thought it might. If you hand press these as they come out of the washer and THEN hang them up (something that doesn't typically happen with kids helping), then they might do better for you. Certainly doesn't change their effectiveness.
To get the most out of one cloth, I use a technique I learned from reading Speed Cleaning by Jeff Campbell and The Clean Team.
Fold into fourths. Use one side. Flip it over and use the other side...
Next, unfold it ONCE (see brown heart sticker so you have an idea of where the original side is in each photo)...
And then fold it back on itself.
Use both of these sides and then open it up completely.
Fold the dirty sides so that they are on the inside and repeat the steps above.
With paper towels, I never fold like this... I just wad them up and use them and then throw them away, so not every part of the towel is used. Not nearly as frugal in terms of usage.
So how does one really transition from paper towels to cloth?
Hide the paper towels for a while. Or stop buying them for a period of time.
Seriously. And get a big basket or large bowl or some other container, and fill it with lots of Eco Towels so they're handy and ready to go whenever anyone needs to wipe a spill, clean a window, or wash a dish (and yes, they can be used as wash cloths - no need for two products!). I also like to have a second basket in the laundry room so family members can toss them in there when they've used one up.
One more thing I want to mention... I liked the off white color a lot. Typically, I buy lots of those cheap white wash cloths some place like Target or KMart and we use these in the kitchen as wash cloths. But they get so stained and dingy. The Eco Towels seem to have that natural ecru color and they just look better for this kind of heavy use.
I think the hardest thing you'll have to over come is the fact that you may be accustomed to a thicker towel, but being thinner allows you to get into places you normally can't. You really need to buy a set and find out just how well they really do work. The price point on these is only about $1.10-$1.15 per towel, which makes them very affordable, especially since you don't have to throw them away after one use!
If you REALLY want to go green and stop the waste, then you really should consider Natural Linens Eco Towels! Just think... it's a great way to prep for a possible long term crisis when paper towels will dry up on the grocery store shelves. Maybe you should get more than one set!
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