On being green…..

In this family, we believe we should walk lightly on the earth. This was easier for me when I was a stay at home mom. When I returned to work, things like hanging washing on the line, and making everything from scratch became harder and harder to accomplish. We still keep our temps set high (summer) and low (winter) and recycle. But convenience and speed win the day throughout most of the year.

Summertime, however, is the time to return to slower ways. I had pinned a couple of reusable paper towel tutorials on pinterest this past year, and kept getting drawn to them.

Out of towels once again.
Out of towels once again.

Here they are:


And here are some ready made: http://www.etsy.com/listing/95598071/tree-saver-towels-reusable-eco-friendly

I dearly wanted to make some – not sure why – just felt the urge. They are very attractive – see the ones with the green lambs in the etsy shop – would have ordered those right away but no longer saw the green lambs as a fabric choice – bummer. We do go through a lot of paper towels, and I have begun to rely on the Clorox wipes quite a bit. So easy to quickly wash down a counter with the wipes.


I wondered how useful these would really be – I would still want paper toweling for draining bacon, or cleaning up spilled grease. And for general counter spills, why not just use the cotton kitchen towels I already had?


But I saw some terry cloth on sale and went for it. I made 9 towels from each of 2 fabrics – I bought a yard of each. The towels were cut 12 x 13 inches.


Some reflections:


  • Easy to make – a beginner sewist could do this.
  • Can coordinate with your kitchen – fun.


  • Terry toweling and good quality cotton is not cheap. ( I wondered about using double fold diapers instead of terry cloth. I love using the old ones we have for cleaning – they are so wonderful and absorbent…)
  • A tool for the snaps is expensive – this could be an expensive set of towels, meaning you would need to use them until they were shreds – which is another habit we should return to. Use them until they begin to fall apart – then refashion them into smaller cloths or rag clothes for messy jobs, until they finally do just fall to threads.
  • They will never be as pretty as they are today again – stains, wear and tear will soon have them looking a bit ragged.


  • Fork out for the high quality cotton and terrycloth. You don’t want to go to all the work just to have it all fall apart in 6 months.
  • Consider using a serger – I don’t have one, but think the serged ones look very nice and finished – and of course, would be faster.
  • Consider alternative ways to store – I decided not to get a snap setter – I don’t see my guys snapping them back together after each wash. I can change my mind and add them later, but for now, I am experimenting with different ways to store them on the counter. This round container was one option – but again, rolling them to put away would probably not happen except by me. Folding them in fourths in a basket is the way I am going for now.





P1100127P1100116So, we shall give it a go. I almost hate to start using them. I made 18 all together, and am considering setting aside 5 or so for “company” days – but really, who am I kidding. We need to use these. Whether they will be better than grabbing a tea towel, or will hold up to kitchen cleaner on the counter (whether vinegar based homemade or Spic N Span or an organic brand) or if the stains will come out (mustard, ketchup, meat juices, beet juice?) – who knows? And in the end, is washing them better for the environment than buying paper towels – I guess, if I air dry them, that will cut down on the carbon footprint.

But at least I got the urge out of my system. Now, onto other pinterest items on my list!



One thought on “On being green…..

  1. Those are beautiful! I tend to just tear up my dish towels and towels when they become ratty and throw them away when they are used for something truly dreadful. I have a roll of paper towels which I use for bacon and when the dog loses it 🙂

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