We switched to using reusable cloths in the kitchen a few years ago. I loved the convenience of using paper towels, but I didn’t like paying for them month after month! It took me a couple of tries to make it work for us. Mainly, I didn’t like how they left tiny specs of residue on mirrors and dark furniture (I’ll tell you how I deal with that below!).But now that I have a mix of different types of cleaning cloths, I’m comfortable with our current system and don’t miss the disposables at all!
Have More than you Need
The reason most of us love using paper towels is because reaching for one is mindless and there are always plenty in supply! I think it’s best to approach switching to cloth the same way – have more than you need on-hand and it’ll be almost as easy!
If you’re constantly running out and having to wait until the laundry is done to clean something, it’ll start to feel like a chore! I recommend keeping at least 20 on-hand for kitchen/general cleaning purposes. I know it sounds like overkill, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll likely go through half of that in a day!
You can get started for free by cutting up old tee shirts, for about $5 by going the wash cloth route (18 to a pack at Walmart!) or go with microfiber cloths for about $20 (I use these, comes 36 to a pack and has three different colors so I don’t get the bathroom and kitchen ones mixed up!). I have wash cloths, dish cloths and microfiber cloths and I add to the stash every six months or so.
Have a System in Place
Where do you store ready-to-use cloths?
Where will you stash the dirty ones?
How often will you wash them?
Answer these questions before switching and it’ll make the process 10x easier!
I’ve gone through a few ways of doing it over the years. Currently, I keep my clean cloths in a basket on the counter and I keep an extra stack of under the kitchen sink. I toss my dirty cloths in a lingerie bag hanging from a kitchen cabinet (classy, I know). I wash them when I’m running low (not completely out!). I just toss them in with our towels (lingerie bag and all). Keeping them zipped in the lingerie bag while washing/drying makes it super simple to fetch them out of the dryer and quickly fold because you don’t have to sort through the laundry basket to find each one!
Separate their Uses
This may be just a personal preference but I don’t like the thought of cleaning my kitchen counters with something that has cleaned my toilet! I recommend keeping separate stashes for different purposes. I have a stash for the kitchen. A stash for the bathroom. And a smaller stash for general house cleaning. I bought my microfiber cloths from Amazon and love them! I use the yellow ones in the kitchen, white ones around the house and the blue ones for the bathroom, so they’re easy to tell apart. I have also purchased great microfiber cloths from Home Depot (in store), but they were more expensive at $8 for three!
Know their Limits
If you have darker surfaces in your house, you may want to spring for microfiber cloths. Cut up tee shirts and wash cloths tend to leave tiny bits of lint behind. For mirrors, we actually use crumpled up newspaper from our junk mail. It’s free and if it was good enough for my grandmother, it’s good enough for me!
Buy Darker Cloths
If you use white cloths only, they will eventually get stained. I’m not too fussy about this, but I do recommend keeping some darker cloths on hand to handle tougher messes. I’m kind of a whiz at removing stains (I do use cloth pads, after all, so I’ve picked up a few tricks here and there!), but there are some things that I prefer not to use my reusable cloths to clean because I don’t wash them everyday, so they tend to stain with certain messes. If stains bother you, it may be best to keep a stash of dark cloths or even keep one lonely roll of paper towel for the occasional mess that calls for it.
If you use reusable cloths in your kitchen, please share your tips in the comments below!