Welcome back to the 12 Days of Sustainability – Day 11 Washable Cloths
If endless rolls of single-use paper towel have become a cleaning staple at your house, you’re not alone. The U.S. spends nearly as much on paper towels for use at home as every other country in the world combined.
Luckily, for anyone looking to reduce their household carbon footprint, there’s a sustainable alternative that’s so simple, chances are you already have the material to make it right this moment: the humble cloth rag.
Consider What You Can Repurpose
The greenest cloth rags are ones you can make with what you have. A great place to start is with your faded but usable towels; they’re already super absorbent by design. Once you decide on your material, you can cut it to your preferred size. Many cloth enthusiasts favour about 16 by 16 inches (like an average tea towel, by no coincidence), but if you’re a super keener, you can prep small, medium and large rags, so you’ll have options for whatever task you need to tackle.
Once you hop on the cloth towels bandwagon, you might find yourself leaning into your new low-waste lifestyle: Don’t toss that worn-out T-shirt—chop it up! (Cotton makes for excellent dishcloths.)
Set Up a System
Clean and folded rags should have an official home in your kitchen; dirty ones can have a dedicated bin, too. It’s ideal to have separate rags for separate tasks—one for hand drying, one for wiping down dishes, another for cleaning countertop spills—to minimize your chances of possibly transferring germs.
Keep Em’ Clean
Microbes thrive in moist, warm environments exactly like your kitchen, so it’s a good idea to toss rags into the laundry daily. Since cooking cloths often come into contact with bacteria, wash them in hot water and avoid mixing them in with your other laundry. Similarly, be careful if your rag is soaked with hard-to-wash-out substances like cooking oils—this may be a job for the occasional paper towel. A dash of baking soda in the wash cycle will help cut grease, and you can add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle for extra deodorizing power.
What are some of your favorite ways to #gogreen and
benefit our environment during the holidays?