Save on Paper Towels

personspursuitJuly 28, 2010

Here is a little tip I use in the kitchen to save a lot of paper towels. We used to buy them in the 8 pack rolls and go through the entire thing in about two weeks. Crazy. And paper towels are kind of expensive if you are constantly buying them.

About a year ago I was folding those little kitchen towels and had an idea. I brought over this little canvas bin/basket (?) filled it up and put it next to the kitchen sink. No more using paper towels for drying hands, wiping counters, cleaning up spills etc. We just grab a towel and when we are done using it, we throw it in the "dirty" bag under the sink. I throw them in the washer and they are ready to use again.

I have nice ones set aside to hang up but the ones in the bin are for everyday use. Of course there are times when it works better to use paper towels but by doing this simple thing, we go about two months without having to restock our supply.

Also, since we can't recycle paper towels let's reduce the use! There are green paper towels out there, hmmm maybe something to consider in the future.

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Instead of paper towels...

1. In the kitchen we use two towels each day. The blue towels are for drying dishes and the red ones for drying hands, to help lessen cross contamination. At the end of the day, all wet towels and dish rags are thoroughly dried on a drying rack in the laundry room before being tossed into the plastic basket for kitchen towels, rags and dish rags. They are laundered once a week.

2. When we go out to eat we "pocket" the extra unused paper napkins they put on the table and use these instead of paper towels at home. One visit through the drive-thru at McDonald's for 2 ice cream cones got us 21 paper napkins. Teenagers are so generous....(LOL) I keep a napkin holder full of unused paper napkins from restaurants. They come in handy for polishing our stainless steel cookware with Cameo or Bar Keepers Friend or picking up that dropped egg (instead of using a rag), drain bacon or wipe out a pan. They are also used in brown bag lunches. At the table we use cloth napkins.

3. A stack of white bar towels, micro-fiber towels, as well as recycled towels, wash cloths and kitchen towels re-purposed as "rags" work for nearly everything else.

I buy a roll of paper towels about once a year - only because my paper towel holder is so cute. Most of the paper towels I use can be reused.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 8:35PM
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Ditto on what grain lady says. I have always used about one roll of paper towels year that I keep on my cute holder. They are used for wiping grease out of pans or something really, really yucky. I buy two grades of paper towels and keep both out handy to use. El cheapo, white, thin ones for jobs like wiping the cat's paws or picking up a wet, gooey hairball. And thicker, blue, 'shop towel' style ones that are sturdier, for tougher, really dirty, cleaning jobs like wiping the greasy dust off the back of the refrigerator or the greasy dust from the blades of the kitchen ceiling fan. The blue ones can be rinsed as you go, so one towel can do a big job and then be tossed.

I save money by buying super thick terry bathroom handtowels from Goodwill for drying hands in the kitchen. These expensive handtowels usually never got used much and were probably just put out as decoration and were donated when they changed the color of their bathroom. I buy ones that don't have bath themed designs and choose dark colors that won't show stains. They work so much better than those thin, cheap terry towels that are sold as kitchen hand towels in stores.

I have microfiber towels for wiping down the ceramic tile walls in the kitchen, and polishing countertops, and spiffing appliances both large and small. They clean without using dangerous chemicals.

When I do need to use cleaning solutions for cleaning the sink or washing the baseboards or something, I use a sponge that can be rinsed and reused.

Since I don't have a large family I don't need a basket for used towels in the kitchen. I just let them dry and toss them in the regular laundry basket to later be separated when sorting in the laundry room. I have a special basket in the laundry room for microfiber cloths and gloves since they cannot be washed with other towels without ruining them.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 1:16PM
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We use few paper towels but the ones that do get used are composted at our house...even the cardboard tube they come on goes in the compost.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 8:08PM
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Since you make compost I am assuming you garden. Those cardboard tubes can be cut short, filled with dirt and used like little peat pots. The bottoms are open so the roots grow down right away and the cardboard tubes break down and decompose in the soil.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 9:11AM
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dilly dally, you're right about using the tubes for planting. I'm lazy though so I use the TP cutting required. :) When I "plant" the tubes I leave about 1-1/2" of the tubes out of the ground. This seems to help with bugs (or, it could be my imagination!). By the time the transplant is established the tube has rotted away.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 6:53AM
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Interesting about leaving the tubes out for bug problems. Do you mean slugs?

I have read that leaving the tubes out of the soil partway serves to wick moisture away from the surrounding area and the planted seedlings suffer. I don't know if this is true or not and I have never experimented by using both techniques at the same time in the same area. I do leave the tubes out a tiny bit, but that is to sort of "mark" the area where I planted the tiny seedlings so I don't forget and step on them.

I live in a city and we are not allowed to grow vegetable gardens that can be seen from the road so I have to hide my edible planting in with my flowers since I live on a corner lot and my backyard can be "seen". (Oh, the horror of seeing vegetables growing!) This works well as some flowers such as marigolds and lavender, are reputed to be natural pest repellants. (Supposedly.)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 1:36PM
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In my area the bugs are normally cutworms. Don't know if squash vine beatles would be deterred or not.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 10:10PM
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Jo-Ann M

I'm like grainlady. I purchased a pack of 60 white terry bar towels from Sams for about $10. I keep about 20 of them folded in a drawer in the kitchen. This is what we use for all dish & hand drying, wiping spills, etc. in the kitchen. At then end of the day, I may have used 4 or 5 of them. These go into the laundry basket almost every day. Once a week, they get washed separately in hot water with bleach. When they get too dingy or ragged they go to the "rag" box. I realized that our paper towel usage went down to less than 1 roll every 2 weeks with these.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 10:34AM
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I had a bunch of towels button holed and have 6 of them hanging round the kitchen for hands. Change them all weekly.

Use cloth dish towels, no paper towels.

I cut paper towels in half and wash them if they are not that dirty.

For shop I load up on towels when I buy gas. They give them out free, so I take some extra for the road.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 8:25PM
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You guys are super cheap...1 roll of paper towels a year!

That is some feat.

Keep up the great work. That is a goal to work towards as we use much more than that.(But we have cut our family use about 60%)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 8:29PM
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I use about 1 roll of half sheets of store brand paper towes about every 2 months at nearly $1 usd ... but other than blowing my nose or wiping out a fry pan of grease.. they aren't often getting much use for anything else.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2010 at 3:08PM
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I never use paper towels to dry my hands unless I forgot to put out a cloth one in the kitchen then I grab a paper one. Paper products are the first things I cut if I am on a tight budget. In the bath room I use a wash cloth for a personal towel, a clean one every day. I also use it to wipe the faucets at the end of the day.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 7:39PM
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