I have been trying to get rid of our disposable kitchen items over the last few years and it has been a slow and painful process. I’m no longer purchasing paper towels, paper napkins, paper plates and cups – basically anything that gets used once and thrown out or composted. Paper napkins were the last to go and have been the hardest disposable to part with. Paper napkins are just so darn easy and inexpensive!
These cloth napkins for the kitchen are absorbent and cute but that doesn’t change the fact that having a new routine in the kitchen is hard to get used to. Change is hard especially when it means trading convenience for saving money and the environment.
This was my criteria for dropping the convenience of paper napkins for cloth napkins.
- I am willing to do it if I don’t have to buy something new, including fabric.
- I don’t want to waste more resources – as in more loads of laundry.
Cloth Napkins for the Kitchen
Here’s the outcome of the cloth napkin switch over…
- The cloth napkins were all made with fabric that I already had on hand (YES! using those scraps is good in the kitchen and the sewing studio – love it!)
- They can be tossed into the washing machine with other loads – meaning I don’t have to add to our laundry piles.
- Each person has their own napkin which is a different fabric and you’re not to use someone else’s (gross).
- Each person gets to decide when their napkin needs laundering. I’ve been known to gather up cloth napkins after barely a smudge on them. This was not helpful.
- Each person in our family gets at least 4 napkins. Messier people can request more.
- After breakfast (or whenever, really), your napkin gets
neatly foldedjammed into the drawer for the next eating time.
- Be my guest and use the “guest cloth napkins” – yes, I made a couple extra in case friends come over for after school snacking – which seems to happen often.
- We also needed enough so that we had spares as the just washed napkins were line-drying after washing. Household furnishings (and clothing) lasts a lot longer if it’s line dried. These single layer napkins line dry in almost no time.
We don’t actually have a table in our little kitchen but do have an island with two stools and mostly eat dinner in our dining room. We have different cloth napkins for dinner dining and I switched those a while ago. The dining room cloth napkins get laundered once-a-week on Sundays. We keep those tucked away on our chairs and if we switch seats, everyone is sure to grab their napkin! (I just re-read this and laughed! Perhaps too much information here!)
These cotton cloth napkins are all different sizes but basically are 12” to 18” squares. Some are rectangles but about that range. I used my serger and did a rolled hem. They are single layer. If you’d like to do fancier cloth napkins, I have double-layer napkin directions here. There are also instructions for making napkins with contrasting fabrics.
This is the last time the drawer will look like this so we need to live it up.
If you don’t sew and would still like to transition away from paper napkins, check end-of-season sales at Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Cost Plus. They seem to have plenty to choose from and maybe you can find a few gingham napkins, too.
Are you a cloth napkin or paper napkin household? Are you inspired to switch?
Go Gingham related links:
A dining room table table-cloth for Flag Day – many of my festive scraps came from this project!
How to tutorial on the dining room table ping-pong – what our dinner table looks like
Why I use an inside laundry line and not an outside laundry line