Frugal Tuesday – Cloth Napkins

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cloth-napkinsI have to say, my husband was skeptical when I brought home our first set of napkins.  He wondered if we would really use them.

Well, almost a year later, we use them a LOT more than we use paper towels.  I do admit to still using paper towels for some things; I cannot bring myself to use another towel to wipe grease out of a pan (the one I used has never been the same… or anything resembling what it used to be).  But, for the most part, we use table napkins for our meals, and the girls have a wash cloth to wipe their hands and mouths if needed.

It has not been that big of a change; instead of ripping a sheet (or two, or three) off of the roll, we simply open the “napkin drawer.”  It has involved our 5-yr-old even more in setting the table; she pulls out four napkins without any help.

Now, for the “frugal” part of using cloth napkins.

:: First of all, after the initial cost of purchasing the napkins, you really are not out that much money.  If you wash the napkins with other clothing, towels, or pajamas, you are not adding a new load.  And, you don’t have to iron them… unless you are {anal} like me.

:: Even if you choose to use paper towels – as I do – you will be purchasing them A LOT less often.  Your stockpile will add up quickly, and stay stocked for awhile.

:: You need to make a commitment as to when and for what you will use a paper towel.  Once you make that decision, do not stray from it, because it can become really easy to slide back into the old routine of ripping one off the roll.

:: Use the napkins more than once… as long as they are not messy.  We normally use our napkins for 3-4 meals, depending on what was served (and if the girls get ahold of them!).

Are cloth napkins better than paper towels?

:: Cloth napkins are reusable; most paper towels do not last after the first use.

:: Trees are not being killed to wipe up spills.

:: A table set with cloth napkins looks nicer and more dressy than a table set with paper towels.

:: It is less expensive (even with washing them regularly) to use cloth napkins a majority of the time.

Are there disadvantages to using cloth napkins?

:: You might be less likely to wipe up spills with cloth napkins.  The alternative?  Have old dish towels on hand to clean up spills and messes.  They are washable, and you do not care if they look nice when you are finished cleaning!

:: Mother is more likely to find the peas you didn’t eat if you hide them in your cloth napkin instead of a paper towel.  Wait…. Wha????

Do you use cloth napkins?  What do you like about them?  Dislike?


  1. says

    I’ve actually bought the cloth ones…just haven’t gotten in the habit of using them. Maybe once we get in the new house. I think they’re actually still packed right now.

  2. says

    Ooh, good topic! We have some cloth napkins, but I’m so afraid of staining them. Which is just silly because I got cheap ones on purpose from Ikea…

    I have wondered what people who give up ALL paper towels do when they have greasy bacon or something like that. I just can’t imagine taking care of that with a thick cloth that might leave fuzz behind or a thinner one that might end up permanently stained from the grease…

    Going to pull ours out for lunch!

    Mandi’s last blog post..All About To-Do Lists: Decoupage a Notebook

  3. says

    Yup…use ‘em here. I have a “nice” set for when company comes over, but for the most part, we use “old” sheets, washcloths, or cloth place-mats. It saves a lot of money and since I’m using “old” items, I could care less if they get stained.

    Britt’s last blog post..Easy Meatballs

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