Wednesday, January 10, 2018

un-paper towels (a quick tutorial)

Hello friends, I hope 2018 is off to a good start for you all!

I'm not a fan of new year's resolutions as I tend to break them almost as soon as I think them up :),  but I did decide to focus more on producing less waste this year. My whole family is on board (which makes even small changes a lot more doable) and our first task is to work on reducing the amount of paper and plastic products we use in our kitchen.


To start things off, I decided to replace our paper towels with a bunch of fabric un-paper towels. I came across quite a few suggestions on how to make these - some were just plain fabric, others had little snaps or grommets attached. In the end I went with a simple combination of cotton fabric and terry cloth, not adding any hardware as I worried that it might scratch my dishes or counters.


I used some pretty fabric that's been sitting in my stash for far too long to make these. I even had some terry cloth on hand so the whole process was super quick and very, very satisfying.

We've been using these towels for about two weeks now and so far so good. I still keep a roll of paper towels in case we experience some super messy spills, but right now they are placed inside the cabinet instead of sitting on top as usual to help us remember to reach for fabric towels first. 
 

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In case you'd like to make some un-paper towels of your own here's how I made mine:

I used 1 - 10'' square of fabric and 1 - 10'' square of terry cloth for each towel, placed them right sides together and pinned around the perimeter. I then used 1/2'' seam allowance to stitch all the way around the edges leaving a 4'' opening in one side for turning. I pressed open the seam with an opening, and turned the towel right side out through the hole. I then pushed the corners out to make them nicely pointy and pinned the opening closed. I used 1/8'' seam allowance to stitch all the way around the edges of each un-paper towel stitching the opening in the side closed at the same time. I gave them all one last good press and that was it. Easy peasy.




I'm definitely planning on making a lot more of these un-paper towels in the next few days. And, I think I'll be using darker fabrics to help hide some stains this time :)


Thanks for reading friends. Svetlana


33 comments:

  1. These are a great idea and even a sweet way to recycle the good areas in stained dish towels or bath towels and use up fabric stash. Thanks! We all could stand will a little less waste :)
    Have a lovely day!
    Connie :)
    P.S. I'm celebrating my 6th year of blogging with a Give-A-Way, come join the fun.

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    1. I love the idea of recycling old towels to make these. Great idea. I'll be making some right away!

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    2. I have plenty of older towels that I could get 2 or 3 10" squares out of!! And the hoarder's stash of cotton fabrics! Great idea!! Thank you!

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  2. Awesome, Thanks, I've been seeing these on Pinterest and have wondered if I would like using them. {It bothers me to clean up food with cloth :)} I may have to give this a whirl.

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  3. Super idea! My sister uses cloth towels only and had been doing so for years. I can’t imagine living without paper towels (or paper plates) just yet but maybe someday I’ll get there.

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  4. I always wonder if while we eliminate one so-called problem (paper waste) we end up creating another one--laundry that uses more soap, water, and electricity.

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    1. I've been using cloth napkins for years, +40, and have heard this argument several times. The amount of soap, water, and electricity is negligible. I add the napkins to a wash load, never making a separate load for them. I am sure one could but I don't.

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    2. I wondered the same thing, but I then realized/learned it also takes water and electricity to make the paper towels, and like My Little Blue Dog below, I use one rag all day, not one for each spill. So I personally feel better using cloth, but since I was raised this way, cloth is normal for me, and therefore more comfortable.

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    3. Yes, I also did some research on that and it seems anything you can keep reusing is usually better than disposable items. I just throw mine in with laundry that I would do anyway, so I don't feel like I'm using up a lot more resources to clean them.

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  5. Good for you. It all starts small and then you can reduce waste. As for using more resources in laundering, mostly you can rinse them out and on waning day throw them in the wash they don't need to be machine washed each time they are used. You could always use a plastic tub in the sink for any washing of vegetables and things that need hand washing and then take the water and throw it on the garden. We do as we have lived on tank water for several decades... the upshot is tomato plants popping up in the garden in spring. Bonus.

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    1. such great ideas, thanks for sharing.

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  6. Very cute, I hate all the money wasted on paper towels... will give this a try... thanks for sharing...

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  7. great idea! I no longer buy plastic, but I would love to make some un-paper towels! We use cloth napkins too. I use only white towels that way if they get stained I can bleach them

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    1. yes, we use cloth napkins too. White does make sense for when bleaching is needed. Must remember that :)

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  8. Good point about the darker fabric! I have a big bath towel that needs to be retired because the edges are quite stringy. That would be a good tester for this un-paper towel. Thanks for posting.

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    1. love the idea, I have a few towels like that too :)

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  9. I cut up worn out towels and use washcloths for spill mop ups. Your unpaper towels are cute and decorative....something always welcome in the kitchen.

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  10. We keep all our old ratty dish towels for those big messes where you would love to use paper towels....they are stained and gross but no one sees them in the cabinet until the big mess happens!:) I can't remember the last time we bought paper towels or napkins.

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    1. Meant to also say those are adorable and would be a great gift!!

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  11. Great idea to use some stash fabrics. I focused last year on cloth napkins and love using them for meals. Guests look a off put sometimes, but they get over it.

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    1. I know, it always surprises our guests but then they are impressed :)

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  12. These are a great idea - and so cute too!

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  13. I was thinking about making something like this for when I move to my new house! Thanks for sharing the process, hoping to reduce my paper towel use too! 😊

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  14. I love the idea, I also use fabric napkins which I make! Guests are always looking for my paper towels to wipe their hands, we us the dish towel hanging. With this idea I can put a stack on the counter, in a pretty fabric "box" which I will make to fit the "wipe". A great idea for a hostess gift also.

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  15. I love this idea! We moved our paper towels to the inside of the cabinet door under the sink. It's amazing how easy it was to stop reaching for them when they were out of sight. We've probably only used five rolls of paper towels in the last year. Reusable non paper towels are the best! If everyone does just a little bit, we can make a difference! Thanks for sharing.

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  16. I've discovered these are also helpful to wipe down the seal and doors of front loading washers! I also add a couple drops of lavender essential oil to one and throw it in the dryer to give the clothes a fresh scent. My family can't handle fabric softener and dryer sheets, strong perfumes make everyone break out.

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  17. I thought this was a great idea. I made some up, but now the problem is they are so pretty I don't want to use them to wipe up spills! Its nice to have some new pretties for the kitchen - thanks for the tutorial!

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  18. Those are so pretty, Svetlana. In India we always use cloth napkin and kitchen towels and we still use handkerchiefs too. I live in small town and very recently, kitchen towels and tissue papers are available in supermarkets, but not in smaller shops.

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