At homebasics101, Em and I both want to share with you even the smallest things we’ve tried to help simplify our lives. One of the first things we decided to tackle was to start reducing the amount of disposables we were using, in particular, disposable cleaning cloths. With our last post on green cleaning, it’s a pretty natural transition into using DIY cloths, and it’s such a simple process to move to, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
So to start with we looked at the different kind of disposable cloths we used and had a look to see what kind of alternatives there were for them.
The first one we completely replaced was the kitchen dish cloth. Em has been crocheting her own dish cloths for years using 8ply 100% cotton she bought from Spotlight. They can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Em made me a heap of cloths as a gift and they’re the best – I absolutely love them. She’ll do a post soon with some instructions if you’ll like to have a go yourself. The best thing with these cloths is that they’re natural, they dry fast, and you just throw them into your washing machine to clean. They can then be used again and again, and when they get too tatty to keep using, just throw them onto the compost!
If you don’t crochet (or knit), I have found the microfiber cloths fantastic. I use them in the bathroom, laundry and for dusting and use different colours for different areas of the house. These cloths work brilliantly, and again, all you do to clean them is throw them into the wash. So simple, and so cheap. I purchased mine from a cheapy store for $2.00 for a pack of 4.
When it came to the paper towel, I admit that it was too handy to get rid of completely, but I now opt for an eco-friendly brand. Paper towel usually takes a few months to fully decompose once it’s been thrown away, and can also be put into your compost bin. I primarily use the paper towel for the super-disgusting clean-ups like puppy wee or when they’re sick on the floor typically right after I’ve mopped. They’re a blessing then. But I do try and keep my use of this to a minimum.
For the slightly less disgusting clean-ups I use a microfiber cloth, with a dedicated colour for the floors, not the blue bathroom one! Em uses old terry cloth nappies (they weren’t used – don’t freak out) that she cut into quarters and hemmed. They’re made out of cotton and are super absorbent, and were free. She keeps them in a rag bag in the laundry and uses them for the floor spills which are pretty regular with 3 kids. With either of these options, you just throw them into the washing machine to clean, and then they’re good to go again.
Making even a small change can have a big impact on the environment. Imagine what a difference it would make if everyone on the planet stopped buying disposable cloths? Why not look at one disposable cloth you buy regularly and see if there’s another alternative? Let us know how you go!
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