Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cloth Napkins

"You mean you are using cloth napkins like Avo (grandmother in Portuguese) did in the old days?" Yes, that is the reaction I got from my Mom when she visited our home and asked where the napkins were and I pointed her to these:

Hubby also poked fun when one day over a year ago I decided to "hide" the paper napkins and replace them with cloth napkins we already had lying around the house.  He was ok with it until the first time we had spaghetti for dinner.  One look at our kids with spaghetti sauce all over their face, hair, hands, and shirts and he said "no way are we using cloth napkins".  Obviously I won that argument because it's been over a year later and we are still using those same cloth napkins (with all spaghetti stains washed out).

I will admit, the particular cloth napkins I have are a thin cotton fabric and don't soak up spills very well.  But I refuse to buy new ones because after all, I'm trying to be green here, right?!  So why would I go buy new ones when I have perfectly decent ones already at home?  However, with a young toddler under 2 years old that drinks from regular grown up cups but still spills every once in a while, these thin napkins can be a problem.  That is, unless you have a drawer full of these:

I bought these washcloths in a huge pack for about $3 when Baby Girl A was born.  As you can see, they are in pretty bad shape after 5 years of daily use...wiping two kids faces and hands after every meal, wiping spilled milk off the table, etc.  I'm sure I would have spent much more than $3 in napkins or paper towels over the last 5 years if I didn't have these wonders in my kitchen drawer.  So not only am I avoiding disposable paper products but I'm also avoiding paying for those products that just end up in the trash (or possibly compost) bin.

What I can't figure out is why aren't more people doing this?  Tell me, why are you still using paper napkins or paper towels?  Is it just too hard to change the habit?  I know, habits are REALLY hard to change...I'm still working on some myself!  Is it the increased laundry that is overwhelming?  What is the toughest challenge in implementing cloth napkins in your home?  Perhaps we can help each other find a solution to our obstacles in living green day by day.

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