cloth napkins

8 Nov

The thought has crossed my mind to make the switch from paper to cloth napkins. We’re kind of big napkin users in our house…I can’t stand eating a meal without a napkin available for greasy fingers or the random lip crumb. So we go through a lot of paper napkins. It seems like such a waste throwing all that paper away, but I’m not really sure the switch to cloth would be feasible in our household.

Does anyone have anything to say on this topic? Do you use cloth napkins on a regular basis? How often do you launder the napkins? After each and every use?

I’ve used cloth napkins in restaurants of course, and at some nicer dinner parties at people’s homes. I really can’t imagine having to launder a cloth napkin after every use. I do have a stash of them…wedding gifts never used, and a few other sets that I’ve accumulated over time. The one instance where I used cloth napkins on a regular basis was when I lived with my host family in Spain. They only used cloth napkins, and their system went something like this. Each person would have their own cloth napkin, and that would be theirs for the week. The napkins were identified by different napkin rings…I think my host father’s napkin was always tied in a knot so he’d know which one was his. Anyway, after about a week all the napkins would be laundered and a new set would be brought out for the next week. Could I make this work in my house?? We could try it I guess. I just feel like the napkins would get pretty nasty by week’s end.

Your thoughts on this one- much appreciated!!


12 Responses to “cloth napkins”

  1. Jackson November 8, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    I’ve also thought about using cloth napkins instead of paper but I would not want to use them more than once without washing them. At this point we are still using paper.

  2. jen November 8, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    I think you could make it work. I don’t think they would last a week but at least a couple of days. I use ours anytime we have guests, but not normally for Brette and I. I might have to start though – I can’t see a reason not to.

  3. Fav Sista November 8, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    We use paper. We use cloth for company though. I like using paper.

  4. Ann November 9, 2009 at 7:54 am #

    paper, I don’t own cloth ones. I hated ironing my dads hankies growing up and I am thinking I would hate ironing napkins as well. Plus, it’s just one more thing to treat with stain remover, because it will get stained with something and then I won’t want to use them. The whole thing is starting to stress me out….funny.

    • anne November 9, 2009 at 9:25 am #

      I would NEVER iron cloth napkins!!! I never iron anything!

  5. Liza November 9, 2009 at 9:57 am #

    We made the switch a couple of years ago. We were killing lots of trees with our use of paper napkins and paper towels. We bought a bunch of really cheap white ones at IKEA. We use those for everyday and use our nice ones for guests. We don’t care about the everyday ones or their stains. We can usually go 2 full days with the same napkin depending on how messy our meals are. It has been no problem at all. Good luck!

  6. Crystal (Cafe Cyan) November 9, 2009 at 10:17 am #

    We started using cloth napkins a few years ago and we LOVE it. We felt so wasteful using paper towels and considering I used one at each meal, we went through a lot.

    So, I bought a bunch of fabric on clearance at JoAnn’s, cut squares and sewed the edges folded over. They are very small, about 8×8 and are perfect. We launder them with our kitchen towels and keep a little bin in our kitchen for the dirty ones.

    We still buy paper towels (recycled ones), but barely use them.

    Do it!

  7. beanski November 9, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    We use cloth napkins and wash them periodically. I mean, I don’t have a schedule, when they are dirty, I wash them. The key is to get a lot of cheap ones so you aren’t waiting for the laundry.

    I have washable paper towels too. That took me a long time to get used to but I have. Saves money!

  8. Jessa November 10, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

    I’ll do it if you do. I’ve gotten rid of paper towels, and switched to cloth diapers. . . totally love it. Cloth napkins seem like a no brainer. You can make your own!

  9. Lee November 11, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

    I only use cloth napkins and wash them after every use. I usually find most at estate sales and on sale at the end caps at Target. One year at Thnkasgiving I bought fabric and stitched up enough for the first Thanksgiving dinner in my new home.

  10. Jen L November 14, 2009 at 9:43 pm #

    John uses kitchen towels instead of napkins so I guess a switch to cloth napkins would be easy for him. Maybe I’ll give that a whirl…


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