How to Make EASY Unpaper Towels---Reusable Cloth "Paper" Towels
This article is all about going green with your use of paper towels! Find out how to make unpaper towels and why you should consider using and re-using cloth instead of trees.
I admit. I am a tad lazy when it comes to making some things....like those ultra cute items that only crafty people can make. I am just not crafty. I would rather be outside getting dirty in the garden or the barn than be inside making "cute."
Don't get me wrong! I love, love, love cute things! But I just don't like to make them. So, when I ran across the idea of "unpaper" towels, I was intrigued! These are basically towels that you can wash and reuse instead of wasting paper towels like crazy. (Like we have been guilty of doing for years!)
I can't stand wasting things, and the way we go through paper towels has seriously bothered me for a long time. Plus, they are expensive, and I figured this would just be one more way to save some coin! Here is my experience making Unpaper Towels!
So first of all,.....I had to tackle Mr. V. I explained the concept to my husband, and I asked him if he would be willing to try out these reusable towels. He gave me "The Look." You know---the one that says, "Another cray-cray idea, babe?" But he agreed. (He likes to save money too.)
To make him a bit more comfortable, I took our paper towel roll, which used to sit by the sink, and I moved it far away across the kitchen---that way, he could still grab one if he really felt the need! It wasn't like going completely cold turkey on the paper towels, right?
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How to Make Un-Paper Towels
What You Will Need to Make Un-Paper Towels
Old kitchen towels OR 100% cotton flour sack dish towels. I used both just to test them out.
So here is my version of EASY Unpaper Towels---No sew. No sweat. Just cut up, use, wash, and reuse. Repeat! Yay!
How to Make the (Unpaper) Towels
If your towels are unused from the store, wash them first in case they shrink or change a bit.
Lay them out flat, and cut them in fourths. I am not a big measurer---so mine are close enough for me! (See EDIT below: You may want to consider sewing up those edges after all!)
Fold them neatly and place them into your cute basket. Keep the basket near places you would usually use paper towels! I have one next to the kitchen sink.
Have a handy container (I use a different cute basket under my sink) to hold the dirty towels. As you do your laundry, just toss them in!
What About Fraying? And Lint?
Well, as I mentioned above, I don't sew. (That’s on my bucket list of things to learn how to do, though.) Although I do have a sewing machine, I admit to using it only once. I don't even know if I could remember how to thread it, it's been so long.
Sooooo.... I just took the chance with the two types of cloths. Here's what happened after a wash.
The flour sack towels hardly frayed. Yes, there was some---but not too big a deal. Since I threw them in the dryer to be extra tough on them, maybe they will do better if I hang them out to dry. But I am seriously not concerned either way.
The old kitchen terry towel frayed a lot more, and even left some threads on my jacket, which I threw in the wash with them. But these came right off. No biggie.
If you are concerned about fraying, just sew along the edge before using! Ta-Da! I may get motivated to sew them up one day....we will see. I'm sure the final product will be prettier, but I am more into functionality anyway.
EDIT: After two or three washes, the threads are still coming out on some of the towels! So...I hate to say this, but I will probably be breaking out my sewing machine to sew up the edges next time I make these!
SECOND EDIT: Finally, the fraying will stop. BUT, I have since sewed up the edges on some new ones, and they are the BOMB!
After a Week and a Half of Using Unpaper Towels—Final Thoughts on the Paper Towel Substitute Experiment
What I love about Unpaper Towels:
1) They work great!
2) They save a ton of money!
3) Unpaper towels help our planet! Every little thing helps, right?
4) They look nice on the counter top.
5) Easy to clean and fold up---takes no time at all!
6) I can cut them into different sizes (which I did), for different things. Very versatile!
7) Did I say they save a ton of money? :-) We even use them as napkins now!
Challenges with Unpaper Towels:
1) Continued washing
2) Where to put dirty towels—- This was easily solved. I just got another basket and kept it under the counter for the dirty ones.
3) Fraying. That’s also easily solved by sewing up the edges.
I have to say I am a fan!
I didn't know if I would be, actually. I half suspected we would be right back to wasting our paper towels again. However, I am very pleased to say that my husband got right on board (he loves saving money---who doesn't?), I got used to it too, and we are using NO paper towels wastefully any more.
Does this mean we will never use paper towels? Well, I won't go that far, because for some really nasty things, maybe I won't want to rewash a towel, right? For nastiness, maybe a paper towel or two might be better.— But so far----we are sold on Unpaper Towels!
They are cute, practically free, reusable, highly absorbent, and best of all, they are great for the planet and save us tons of money! Win-win-win!!! SCORE!
Final Thoughts on Unpaper Towels & Green Living
I hope you will consider giving these a try! I had to reach the point where I was just so sick and tired of wasting lots of dollars ($19 for a bundle of paper towels at Costco every few weeks) on paper towels, and feeling a tad sick about the waste of the trees it took to make the paper towels too. And I am SO glad I tried this!
Here are some other eco-friendly and green living type posts on the website you may enjoy:
Let me know what you think in the comments—— Have you made your own unpaper towels?
Here are other articles you may just enjoy too:
Hugs, Health, & Self-Reliance--
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