When Adam and I moved in together last year, we decided to go paper towel free at home. I was nervous at first because it seemed like a difficult change. I was accustomed to using paper towels regularly as napkins, and to wipe up spills. But actually, it's been much easier than I thought.
Paper towels consume trees and create unnecessary waste. We've gone paper towel free, and haven't looked back! Here are a few tips for going paper towel free in your home:
1. Keep Plenty on Hand
The key to going paper towel free is to make sure you have plenty of cloth rag options. We have about 25 cloth napkins, 25 cleaning rags, and 15 hand towels in the kitchen - and that works pretty well for just the two of us. When you have plenty, you won't feel bad using what you need.
We use cloth napkins at meal times, and try to use them sparingly. I'll reuse the same cloth napkin for a few meals until it's dirty enough to wash.
The cleaning rags are great for wiping tabletop and counter spills. We got a big bag of white cleaning rags from Costco. They tend to get dingy over time, but that's ok. We wash the cleaning rags separately every week or two.
Lastly, we use hand towels for drying hands and dishes.
2. Stay Organized
Living paper towel free is easy, but you have to get adjusted to a new cleaning "system". Instead of a paper towel holder on the counter, we have a drawer in the kitchen dedicated to cleaning rags and hand towels. Then we keep a basket of cloth napkins near the dining table. It's a minor adjustment, but having the right place to keep everything makes it so much easier to go paper towel free.
3. It's Not About Perfection
We have a mix of old things and new things, and they don't all match, but that's ok. Some came from the local swap meet, and others from a close-out sale at World Market. It's fun to build a collection over time.
Do your best to cut back on paper towel usage, but don't be too hard on yourself. Sometimes you just need a paper towel! Whether it's for a super gross spill or whatever, it happens. It's not about perfection - it's about doing your best to make more sustainable choices every day.