Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Getting Clean and Going Green (without cleaning out your wallet) Pt.2: Paper Towels, or Lack Thereof

Thanks to Wikipedia Commons for providing this photo for defacement 

Sorry for the lack of posting last week.  Work was kind of hectic and *insert mutliple excuses here*.  Pretty much, I forgot in the midst of trying not to procrastinate and such.  It was one of those death loops of procrastination that only exists when you seemingly have a lot to do but can't pinpoint out exactly why it was so important in the first place.

This week, I'm going to rant a little about paper towels.  Who doesn't love a paper towel?  After all, they're handy, they can soak up some amazing messes, they're convenient, you can use just the right amount for the job, and when you're done, you can throw them away, right?......Wrong! (Fooled you for a second, didn't I?)

Paper towels are honestly like an addiction for me, and probably everyone that has ever used one (Please agree with me.  I need the closure.).  Once I start using them, before you know it, I've gone through a half of a roll in only a few days.  Not only does this fill up my wastebasket and the ever-crowded landfills, but I find that some months, I spent A LOT of money on paper towels.  Once upon a time, I would buy a bulk size of paper towels at Sam's Club.  I actually found that their Member's Mark brand was just as good or better *gasp* than Bounty, and also came in the convenient select-a-size format.  Every two to three months, minimally, I spent $15.98 or so on a 12 pack of paper towels.  That's a lot of paper towels in that amount of time.

Luckily, I kicked the habit, and you can, too.  I bought my last bulk pack of paper towels so long ago, I can't even remember when it was.  I know it was shortly after our move to our new two bedroom apartment, which was in April 2011.  So, I've definitely been milking that pack of paper towels for over a year.  The only times I use these delightful little sheets of wastefulness for nowadays are for two reasons:  1) Washing my hands after handling meat products in the kitchen and 2) Cleaning up really disgusting bouts of cat puke.  Since I have cut down on our meat consumption significantly in the past year or so, reason 1 is pretty obsolete, and reason 2 doesn't happen as much now that I switched my cats to a food that doesn't result in as much intestinal distress for them (and therefore, myself, as well).  

So what do I do instead of going for the good stuff?  A couple of years ago, my husband bought a 24 pack of microfiber towels.  Why?  Firstly, a thing I've yet to tell you about my husband is that he is really into anything automotive.  Microfiber towels are one of those common cleaning items that you can walk into an auto parts store and they're EVERYWHERE.  Second, he's really into buying stuff we don't need, or things I don't think we need.   Well, write this down in the history books.... because I am about to tell you I was wrong.  Not a casual wrongness in the sense of "Oops, I made a mistake in thinking I didn't NEED that", but wrong in the sense that I have never experienced something material that has fulfilled my life with so much purpose and has greatly fed the joy I receive when going through a bout of angry cleaning*.  

These towels are my new crack.  They are not just amazing in that they soak up almost ANYTHING liquid I lay them on (I literally soaked up an entire quart of apple juice that fell out of the fridge and of course landed on the one spot that would shatter and cause liquid leakage with ONE of these).  They also leave virtually no streaks on my granite countertops, glass smooth top range, glass windows, mirrors, or my stainless steel appliances.  Even more, they are the perfect size for me to stash in my car door compartment for roadside cleanup or to pinch into the handle of the fridge door for quick clean ups around the kitchen.  

The best part? I have been using these things for two years straight and have NEVER had to throw one away because it was worn out, and I've only put a dent into the package.  I literally have at least half a pack (12) of these cloths left, completely brand new and never used.  Granted, I had a few random ones laying around from my husband's auto obsession.  So, you know what I do?  If I know someone who's getting married or moving into a new home, I stick one or two of these bad boys in with their gift.  At first they may go, what the heck is this in there for?  Then they realize... I have just given them the pure gold of home and automotive cleaning.  You are very welcome!

My favorite thing about these cloths is that when used with my favorite semi-enviro-friendly store-bought cleaner, they get up all the nasty stuff I let fly around the kitchen when I am cooking.  Ask my husband.  The kitchen should literally be declared a disaster area when I start cooking up a storm, but when I'm finished and have time to clean up the gunk, there's not a spot, thanks to God's gift to housewives everywhere.  In my defense, my cooking is fabulous (more recipes to come).  

So after I've thoroughly soiled on of these things, which is hard... believe me... I just throw it in the wash with my usual weekly loads.  They take up a very small amount of space in the wash, so the added cost of laundering is negligible.  Of course, being sort of a clean freak during my bouts of angry cleaning and having access to well over 24 microfiber towels, I have to resist the urge to clean a couple of things and grab a fresh one. 

So, go buy a pack.  Okay, maybe not a 24-pack, but start out small with a pack of 3 and work your way up if need be.  Believe me, it's worth the investment and you'll save some green... trees AND money!

*Note:  Definition of "angry cleaning":  I am notorious for viciously cleaning the absolute crap out of my house when I am worried, frustrated, anxious, bored, premenstrual, stressed out, and/or straight up pissed the *insert inappropriate, misguided, and vulgar word, here* off.  

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