The Paper Towel Blues

I recently had to purchase two rolls of paper towels for my daughter’s PK-3 classroom. As it has literally been years since I’ve bought paper towels, I was shocked – SHOCKED, I tell you! – by how expensive a roll is! I could not believe the grocery store charges $2-$3 dollars for a roll of flimsy paper destined for the garbage can.

We completely gave up paper towels nearly 10 years ago. I still remember the exact moment: we were living in our small vintage apartment in Evanston and I was smooshing the garbage down into the can to fit in more paper towels. “What am I doing??” I remember asking myself. It just seemed so silly, so wasteful, so unnecessarily indulgent. At that moment we quit cold turkey and we’ve never gone back.

We have a reliable stash of reusable cloth towels that do the job just fine, thankyouverymuch. Since I do at least one load of laundry a day, I always make a quick sweep through the kitchen for dirty towels that can be tossed into the wash. We never run a load of just towels – they always “ride free” with whatever else I am washing. Keepin’ it green.

My favorite towels are simple blue striped commercial grade bistro towels. A pack of 13 costs just $16.99 – about the same as I’d spend in a couple weeks on paper towels, but the reusable ones last muuuuuuch longer. These 100% cotton towels are super absorbent, heavy duty and easy to clean. I use them to wipe down the counters, pick up cereal messes, dry hands, clean faces. They are truly just as all-purpose as their paper counterparts – but with much less expense to our budget and the planet.

Here’s the link to buy them in case the paper towel blues are getting you down, too:

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3 Comments for this entry

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve always wanted to do this! I really only use paper towels for grease (to wipe out greasy dishes, clean off oily hands or spills, etc). Do you find that the grease comes out of the towels in the wash relatively easily?

  2. Jessie Jay says:

    I have also wanted to ditch tissues/Kleenex. Just as wasteful as paper towels! Have you found a good handkerchief that you use and would also “ride free” in the laundry? Thanks!

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