Hey, you! Paper towel user!
Do you go through paper towels like they weren't made of precious trees, manufactured on machines powered by fossil fuels that spit out all kinds of bad stuff (greenhouse gas emissions, toxins, local air pollutants), and didn't cost an arm and a leg? If you do, consider switching to some colorful kitchen towels.
Things you could easily use kitchen towels for instead of paper towels:
- wiping your hands after washing them;
- wiping down the counter after cooking;
- random spills;
- wiping down the top of the range.
Plus, they are convenient for when you need to pull something hot out of the oven and can't find the oven mitt. And, you can just throw them in the wash when they get stinky.
In our kitchen, we have "nice" towels specifically to wipe justwashed hands (they are the really pretty ones) and then other towels to wipe up spills or wipe off the counter/table. If I use a towel to clean up the counter or tables, I will rinse it (or rinse any bits and pieces off of it) and hang it outside on my back porch to dry (but hanging it on a hook on the wall will work just as well). When they are too stinky (stinky=bacteria), I throw them in a bag near the washing machine for laundry day. However, if you can hang your towel in the sun to dry, it will kill a lot of the bacteria for you - but you should still probably launder it.
Sure, there are times when a paper towel comes in handy (pet accidents, for instance), but there are just so many opportunities to use a cloth towel instead.
And you don't need to buy anything new either. If you have old bath towels that have stains, just cut them up for use in the kitchen. There are also often plenty of vintage towels at thift stores - so check it out. Or, I have been fortunate to find plenty at yard sales.
But, if you must purchase some, here are some suggestions (these are all hand-made or made from sustainable materials):
Eco-Cloth microfiber towel. Microfiber towels are great because they are super-absorbent (no myth) and last almost forever (more info here). Yep, they are the ones that car washes have used for years because they work so well. They also are great for cleaning without chemicals. Buy them and read more here. $17.98 for 2.
Organic Cotton kitchen towels. Come in 4 colors. Find them at EcoKitchen. Towels are $7.99.
Super cute Swedish motif towel. Find it on Etsy. $8.
How can you not love these little tractors? Hand printed on linen towels (def. the "clean" hand towel). Find it on Etsy. $12.
Not just for the holidays! Choose a different colored thread and let the world (or at least your housemate and cats) know what kind of mood you're in today. Handmade in Atlanta. Find them here on Etsy. $20.
(first pic of towels and basket from here.)