Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days: Day 5 - Swish, Swipe, Repeat...Repeat...Repeat

If this is your first visit I welcome you to my little corner of the world! You might want to start at the introduction of this series. It explains what 31 Days of Change is, and has links to each day's post as they occur. Just click on the 31 Days to Slash Your Budget Painlessly button at the top of my sidebar on the right. many paper towels do you use per day?  How many rolls per week?  I really didn't know for sure, but I guessed I use about 1 roll per week.  I did a quick check online, and it seems the average consumer uses 1.5 to 2 rolls per week.  Since I don't have the time or the inclination to stand at towel bar and monitor paper towel use...I'm going with 1.5. 

In case you hadn't noticed, the price of paper products is on the pretty much everything else you buy.  But I've always cringed at the price of paper towels, and I don't even buy the more expensive brands.  I use Sparkle brand.  They do the job for me.  
Am I going to quit buying paper towels?  No, not altogether.  They have their when the cat reverses his digestive process on the floor.  Not going there.  Other uses will include camping, cleaning the toilet, and cleaning any other really gross stuff.  But for average spills and cleaning, I'm going with cloth rags.

With cloth, I can reuse the same rag many times throughout the day, unless the mess is particularly yucky.  Just rinse and reuse.   I'm not talking about using these on the kitchen counters after wiping the floor...just want to clear that up.  That would just be gross!

You could easily use any old cloth rag and hide them under the sink or in a drawer or bin, but I like my "towels" out where I can see them and grab one quick.  The thought of a pile of ugly rags on my counter just doesn't cut it for me.  So I thought about what I could use that would be attractive and cheap.

I've recently discovered flour sack, or hucking towels.  I love them for drying dishes.  They are roughly $5.50 at Walmart for a 5 pack, and they are huge.  I figured since I loved their absorbancy for drying dishes, they ought to make great rags too.  I priced just buying the fabric and making them, but it was cheaper to buy the towels.

I didn't want big huge towels for rags though, so I cut each towel into four.  Actually, to save some time hemming, I cut them in half first like so:

Then I hemmed the long edge I'd just cut on both pieces. 

Once again I cut these in half, 

and hemmed all cut edges. 

You can see that these are just a little larger than a paper towel.

I used a little metal basket I already had to store them in.  

From 1 package of 5 towels, I got 20 rags.  I think that will hold me between washings.  If not, I will get more.  I plan to keep a bucket in the laundry room sink with a little Oxiclean in it to throw the dirty rags for presoaking before washing.  

Since I will still use some paper towels, I'll figure I will use 1/4 of a roll of paper towels per week.  Now subtracting that from an average use of  1.5 rolls per week, means I will use 1.25 rolls less per week.  

I buy Sparkle towels from Dollar Tree in the 6 roll pack of regular size (45 sheets per roll).  They cost me $5, so each roll is about .83 cents.  This should save me $53.80 per year or about $4.50 a month.  You can see that the savings almost pays for the towels I bought in one month.  The towels should last at least a couple of years.

If you use a more expensive brand of paper towels, than your savings would be considerably more.  The size and number of sheets in different brands varies a lot, so you will have to calculate your own savings.

Now some people would add in the cost of washing them, but I rarely have a load of whites larger than a small load, so even if I run a medium load, my water is free (well water), I  will wash in cold, and I would have been running a load anyway, so no more electricity than normal.

I will be back with another money saving tip tomorrow that could save you an average of $165 per year. I will keep up a running tally of my savings at the bottom of each new post. Just scroll down to the bottom to see. Come on back now y'all...ya hear?

If you are benefiting from this series, I’d love it if you would grab my button from the top of my sidebar.

My tally so far:  (Hey...I'm already 1/4 of the way to my!)


  1. We use microfiber for cleaning. The only time we use paper towels is for when I make homemade baby wipes. I cut the rolls in half and get two tubs of baby wipes out of one roll. :) I can make paper towels last a long time! :)

  2. I use the flour sacks all the time too! K-Mart also carries them for about the same price.
    To keep them white...I hang them on the clothes line for the sun to bleach out.

  3. I also use rags for cleaning. About the only time I use paper towel now is to clean up after the dog. I use cut up old tshirts for the most part. I have two baskets under my kitchen sink. One is labeled clean and that is where the clean rags live and the other is labeled dirty and that is where the dirty ones go until laundry day.

  4. This is a great idea!!! I have paper towels in my kitchen, but I keep them in an inconvenient place, so that I don't use them too often.

  5. These white rags I use in the kitchen mostly. I have lots of old rags I use around the house for dirtier jobs. I had to hide the paper towels so I wouldn't automatically reach for them LOL!

  6. Great idea! I have been using the microfiber clothes too but these would be less expensive. Great ideas!!! I am catching up on your savings. :)


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