When I realized my family was spending nearly as much on paper towels every month as we were on diapers, I knew something had to change. My family went paperless and we never looked back. We now rely mainly on bamboo and cotton “flour sack towels,” which can be thrown into a load of regular clothes to be washed without shedding lint all over the place like terry toweling does. (I found a good deal on a lifetime supply at the Towel Depot, but you can also find them on Amazon, eBay, and locally, if you care to shop around.) Bamboo for the kitchen, as they have some natural anti-microbial properties, and cotton in the bathroom. (They’re cheaper and we only use them for drying hands and wiping dirty faces, then into the wash they go.)
How many towels will get you through the week? For our family, about 2 dozen flour sack towels, plus a standard hand-towel size dish towel or two for each day of the week, plus a stack of cleaning cloths- at least four. You’ll also need either a mop or a few grungy bath towels stashed for “emergencies,” like when the toilet overflows or a pipe busts. Throwing the flour sack towels into the regular wash means no extra wash loads for us, plus it means no waiting for clean cloths to do the job, because with four of us we always have a full load.
About those cleaning cloths… go microfiber. Seriously. They clean like nothing you’ve ever used before. If you haven’t found microfiber cloths yet… well. You’re in for a pleasant surprise. I bought a bulk pack quite cheaply from Amazon, and we use them for shining up fixtures and appliances, wiping up spills, and scrubbing greasy cooktops. There’s nothing these won’t do. Usually a damp microfiber cloth is all you need.
As for what to do with your clean linens… well. I’m still working on an ingenious, convenient, and simple solution for the kitchen. I have a basket of hand towels in the bathroom for guests and one of cloth napkins on the kitchen table. (We find that about 15 everyday napkins get us through the week. You may need more or less, depending on how your family uses them.) Have you got a fabulous way to keep a towel at hand that saves space in the kitchen? Please do share it with us!