What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Towel Solution

We have been trying to find eco-friendly solutions for keeping the household running smoothly. When we bought the extra capacity washer and dryer (more here) the main consideration was energy efficiency and low water usage. An unforeseen problem I quickly learned was it took a long time to generate enough whites for a load of laundry. During heavy canning sessions this was a huge problem because I could easily soil half of my T-towels! Two days of heavy canning would leave me with no T-towels yet not enough whites to run the washer. At the same time and while I still do use paper towels, I was looking for a way to reduce paper towel usage. Another consideration was the cost of buying more T-towels that really add up in price when buying a lot. The final consideration especially when canning but also for some spills is staining is almost a given. With all of this in mind I was off to find a solution.

cotton towels and clothsCotton Towels & Cloths

Our next shopping trip I found a bundle of 25 - 100% cotton wash cloths on sale for $4.99. They were nothing fancy and some would say even cheap looking because they were obviously considerably thinner than the nicer wash cloths. I saw them in a different light though. First they were 100% cotton so that meant over time they would basically be reduced to nothing. The size would be perfect for cleaning up all kinds of spills reducing the need for paper towels and staining would not be a huge concern. So I bought a package.

At our second stop (Sam's Club) I found a 24 pk of bakers & chefs bar mop (bar keepers) towels for $10.36. These were also 100% cotton and measured 16" x 19" so a bit smaller than some T-towels but more than suitable for what I needed. So I bought a package.

Armed with my purchases I was ready to set my plan in motion. I finally had enough whites to include the new purchases then washed them. I did not use any fabric softener as that interferes with absorption. I have been using both the wash cloths and bar mops for over 2 years now. Our paper towel consumption has been reduced to under 1 roll per month. I don't use bleach when doing a white load as bleach is not only damaging to fabric but can be a trigger for those with respiratory problems. When folding the freshly washed cloths I sort them into lightly stained, medium stained and heavily stained. The heavily stained wash cloths are great for easily clipping into the Swiffer® wand for quick floor mopping and wiping up spills on the floor. They make great damp dusters as well as any other cleaning chore. The cloths have also made their way to the garden and garage. My husband really likes the bar mop size for washing the vehicles and he keeps a couple in the vehicles for wiping his hands after adding any fluids. I keep them stacked in the utility room bringing out what I need for kitchen use each day. I just bought another package of the wash cloths and will pick up another package of the bar towels the next time we are at Sam's. I'm quite pleased with how this eco-friendly solution has worked for us.

Garden Gnome