The LA Times Recyclist blog has an entry today about a subject near and dear to my heart — cloth tea towels and napkins instead of paper.
First of all, I hate paper napkins — they’re thin and crumply and scratchy. My well-worn cloth napkins (average age at this point — 6-9 years) are soft and absorbant and nice. They don’t slip off your lap. They take care of even the messiest sauce. And when we’re done with them, they go in the hamper just outside the kitchen door. Like the blog poster, the key is quantity. Buy big packs so you don’t run out, and you don’t have to do the laundry that often.
Also, “tea towels” as Lynch calls them. I just always called them kitchen towels, but whatever, nomenclature isn’t the point. The point is, that cloth towels draped through the oven door handle, the fridge door handle, can take care of nearly anything paper towels would. My other trick is to buy cheap white washcloths by the 24-pack. They’re absorbant enough for almost any spill, and you can bleach the living daylights out of them if they get messy (I know, bleach is problematic, but I love bleach). The towels and the washcloths allow me to be a total miser with paper towels. I buy the ones that come perforated at half the width of normal towels, and pretty much all I use them for is wiping out my cast iron pans that I don’t want to use soap on. Or dog messes. Other than that, it’s a cloth towel or a washcloth, that you can rinse out if you need to before tossing in the hamper.
And of course, my clothesline jones is completely satisfied by the sight of cloth napkins, towels and washcloths lined up and basking in the sunshine, as the Sweetheart would say “like regimental Redcoats.”