Friday, April 01, 2011

Cloth Napkins

For the past year or so, we've been using cloth napkins instead of paper ones. There are lots of reasons to make the switch - they're cheaper in the long run and they're better for the environment than paper ones. The exception to this, of course, is if you're using napkins made from 100% recycled paper. I don't know about you, but I don't really see that kind much. Also, there's the issue of just plain being wasteful that you have to deal with when using paper.

A lot of people say oh, but cloth napkins are too much work! I don't want to do extra laundry! I have a surprise for you - they're not really extra work. In our house, we pull them out, use them, then toss them in the hamper with everything else. Napkins are very small and three or four extra ones tossed in a load doesn't make a very big difference. Use biodegradable, phosphate-free soap and line dry your clothes, and your environmental impact is really not very big on these and the work is minimal. If you want to wash even less, you could do like SouleMama does and assign a cute napkin ring to each member of the family. Since the napkins rarely get very dirty at one meal, you can just tuck them in the ring and leave them until the next meal. If they do get dirty, well, switch them out! We don't do this, but it could work for you.

I've been adding to my collection here and there, with the bulk of my napkins coming from Goodwill. I feel like this makes them an even greener choice, because I'm reusing something instead of buying new. Also, I save a LOT of money on these. Have you seen the price in a regular retail store for one cloth napkin??? They're usually several dollars each. I get them at Goodwill for about 70 cents each, and on half price days, 35 cents. That's a serious deal!

Don't think you can't find anything nice there either. Check out my napkins!

These are white linen and have a lovely scalloped edge with the sweetest little floral embroidery in the corners. They would be perfect for tea with the ladies or for another special occasion. Big sets like these are not a very common find, so I was totally doing a happy dance when I found a dozen of these on half price day!

These are white linen as well. This design is classic. I've seen these sell for as much as $54 for a set of six! That's insane! The nicest thing about buying secondhand linen is that it tends to be kind of stiff when new, but gets nice and soft after it's been washed a whole bunch of times.

These are very special to me and I have never used them. I may never use them, in fact. My grandmother crocheted the edges onto these plain white napkins and I would hate for anything to happen to them.

These are cotton, I think. Linen is a greener choice than cotton (organic cotton being the best, of course) but I feel like the fact that these were bought second hand offsets some of that. At least, that's what I'm telling myself! I love the contrasting edge on these. They're nice and neutral too so they'll go with lots of different types of settings.

This was my very first set of cloth napkins. I loved that they were white, but had the fun flowers woven into the cloth so they're not plain. However, these are polyester. YUCK. They are not absorbent at all and rarely get used. I keep them though because they can always be layered for an impromptu table runner.

I think these are just the prettiest things! They're simple cotton. Normally I will skip napkins if there are less than four, but I liked these so much I made an exception. It was a total bummer though that there weren't more!

These are cotton as well. Actually, they're probably a cotton/polyester blend. They're just bright and festive and fun! I know I have more of these but they're probably in the wash.

Another bunch of fun napkins. Again, there are more of these but they're probably in the laundry pile.

These are a heavier cotton. The color is a brighter green than it shows up here. I had put myself on napkin buying hiatus, but I broke it for these.

Easter napkins! Yes, there are only three, but if it's just my little family, it's enough. Also, they can be used as table runners or for other spring decor. I think it was the fringed edges that got me on these.

Another set of polyester napkins. They're horrible for use as napkins, actually, these are the worst of all I own. Liquids bead up on them and just roll right off! My mom gave me these and I keep them around for Christmas decorating.

Cotton Christmas napkins. I paid a little more for these because I bought them at a holiday craft boutique right before Christmas last year. There was a matching table runner, but I don't really care for traditional runners so I left it behind. It was $8 for this set of six, which is a LOT more than I would normally pay for napkins. However, I liked how these were Christmas-y without having holly, snowmen, Santa, poinsettias, etc on them.

After I paid for them I noticed this:

Holy moly. I thought they were handmade! They were brand new. That means I got these for 66% off, which is not too shabby in the grand scheme of things. I was very pleased with myself that day.

So, if you don't use them already, think about giving cloth napkins a try. They're fun to collect and make you feel a little more classy when you sit down to a meal.



Blogger Katy said...

We use them! Although, I must admit that my compulsive need to iron them before putting them on the table is a hassle. ;)

4:16 AM  
Blogger Dorie said...

I use cloth too!! And they really are easier than people think. Ina Garten (barefoot contessa) doesn't iron hers and it gives them such a casual look. I'm with Katy though, I iron them:)

11:52 AM  
Blogger Tracey said...

I use cloth napkins too. And I will use one for several days, because it usually doesn't get messy very quickly... when they do finally get obviously dirty, I throw them in with my pile of kitchen towels to wash. not a problem!! :)

1:36 PM  

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