Kitchen Towels Vs. Paper Towels

Dear Home-Ec 101,
I use way too many paper towels and kitchen wipes.  Part of the problem is that it drives me crazy to have to wash all the kitchen towels separately! Do I have to wash them separately, or can I wash them with everything else?
Signed,
Bounty-ful

wash kitchen towels separately

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

The paper towel and wipe companies have a lot invested in making you think that you really need their products, but you don’t, I promise. I mean, yeah, there are some times when a paper towel is the best choice (like cleaning up kitty diarrhea or greasy messes) but you can mostly use your kitchen towels/rags to clean up just about everything.

laundry tips and tricks

Click the picture for more tips!

Now, if you’re using your kitchen towel to wipe your hands or counters after handling raw meat- put that immediately in the laundry pile. Don’t reuse those. But you don’t have to wash them separately. If you’re really concerned, you can always wash them with your whites and use bleach accordingly, but mine just go in with the towels and underwear and I wash it on hot.

So, no, you don’t have to wash your kitchen towels separately- go ahead and wash them with the towels or whites and it’ll all be fine.

Send your domestic questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.



5 Comments

  1. Jennifer Drower on January 16, 2011 at 8:16 am

    If you're concerned about sanitation issues, keep a bin/basket in the kitchen and one in the bathroom to toss the dirty ones and wash as needed. I also will hand wash single ones with my enviro-friendly cleaner, then soak in 10% bleach/water solution to disinfect (soap kills the disinfecting properties of bleach – always wash first & thoroughly rinse, then use bleach if you want to disinfect, otherwise you're only whitening) that I've used to wipe -up raw meat residue. Additional note on bleach use: I use vinegar distilled from grain, not petroleum – check your labels! – mixed with various pure essential oils (many are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, & antimicrobial, lavender being one of my favorites) for much of my cleaning & disinfecting needs. I keep my use of bleach to the bare minimum. I use it as above because I'm still researching if vinegar & specific essentail oils will kill the dangerous raw-meat residue. Anyone who knows, please share! Other option: return to being a vegetarian again 🙂



  2. Jennifer Drower on January 16, 2011 at 8:14 am

    I, too, have purged (mostly) paper towels. I do keep a roll in the house, but it lasts for weeks because I use rags & micro-fiber cloths for just about everything. My rags consist of white cotton towels picked up at a yard sale, old tee-shirts & flannel pjs cut-up into various sizes, cotton socks (either the remainder of the "lost one" or one with holes), old bath/hand/face towels, & basically anything that I can no longer wear, is color-fast, absorbent, etc. I wash them in hot water along with my towels or dirty jeans. Rags are the way to go: they absorb better, clean better, are gentler on your stuff (they won't scratch sensitive surfaces like paper [as in the paper in paper towels] will – I can even use the clean, soft cotton or micro-fiber ones on my eye glasses with no scratching), they hold -up to heavy duty scrubbing, whereas paper towels end up in small, wet clumps, especially on carpeting and rugs…I could go on, but I think I got my point across.



  3. angel on December 19, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Carye could try tying your daughters hair like a pony tail. if she ever works in a cafe or fast foods she'll have to do that. also I agree with ivy. we have stopped using paper towels all together. for greasy messes i use the black and white part of a sheet of newspaper. when i have too much grease in my cast iron pans (before hang them back up) i use newspaper sheets. there's always left over newspaper somewhere and it won't hurt you a bit. i say don't listen to the ads and use your rags. that's what homesteaders of the past used to do.



  4. Carye on March 24, 2008 at 12:19 am

    I abhor overuse of paper towels and tend to agree with both of you, but I have a different issue. My daughter has long hair and it seems to get on EVERYTHING, even my kitchen towels. I must do them separately from everything and even that doesn’t always work. While I hate the paper towel addiction, it seems to be the only way to avoid the hair on the counter situation. Any ideas?



  5. Margaret on March 21, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Totally agree with you, Ivy. I also keep unmatched cotton socks in with the rags and throw them away after one use. I figure if I washed them, I wouldn’t remember that they are singles and they would end up back in a drawer waiting for a non-existent mate! And also, I’ve squeezed another use out of that sock while avoiding the paper towel addiction.