Paper napkins nevermore

January 12th, 2008


In addition to silicone baking cups, I also received cloth napkins at Christmas.
I have a few cloth napkins that are still like new after being in my possession for 10 years, but I needed more so I could just wash one load of napkins a week. My previous cloth napkins (with farm animals!) had pretty much only been used for wrapping bread in a basket.

My new cloth napkins are casual, machine-washable cotton in neutral, creamy colors like beige and light olive. I have a separate little mesh basket that I throw the dirty napkins in, and I do a napkin load about once a week.

Not a bad deal at all. Cloth napkins can be no hassle. Who wants shiny, ironed formal napkins to wipe their spaghetti sauce on anyway?

If you make the switch to cloth napkins, just pick some durable cotton napkins in colors you can live with. Don’t iron them! Go with organic cotton if you can.

For storage, I was able to reuse a wire basket in which I received a Starbucks gift package. It looks nice and it saves me drawer place.

Best of all, I don’t have to buy paper napkins anymore. I’m producing less trash and using fewer resources. And, cloth napkins don’t crumble in your hands!

This is a small step that feels good, literally. Paper is never so soft as cotton.

10 Responses to “Paper napkins nevermore”

  1. ldaley on January 15, 2008 2:42 pm

    Good post, Chocmoon. Thank you.
    Tell me, please, where one can find organic cotton napkins. Don’t think I’ve ever seen them.

  2. Sonya on January 15, 2008 6:26 pm

    They’re not organic, but I use paisley-print handkerchief/bandanas for my napkins — they are colorful and durable and super-cheap.

  3. chocmoon on January 16, 2008 8:10 pm


    My napkins aren’t organic. They were a gift and I didn’t specify organic. I think they may be harder to find in the stores, but they are available online. However, don’t let the organic option factor in on your decision too much. Regular cotton is still better than paper napkins. Here’s a post Jennifer at Tree Hugging Family did on cloth napkins She posts some links to places to order them.

    Sonya, great idea!

  4. ldaley on January 17, 2008 12:03 am

    Last night, I dug some cotton napkins out of the ironing basket (I think I did some ironing last year–maybe it was the year before) smoothed them out and put them on the dinner table. My husband was impressed. Looks like no more paper napkins for us.

  5. chocmoon on January 17, 2008 12:21 am

    Yay, Laverne. That makes my day. I also found a cloth napkin in my husband’s lunch box last night. : )

  6. Virginia Lee on January 17, 2008 4:41 am

    I love the idea of using cloth napkins, but here in the NC Triangle we are in the midst of a bad drought. So the caveat is, do I save a few trees or do I use extra water to wash napkins?

    Being green isn’t easy sometimes . . .

  7. chocmoon on January 17, 2008 4:53 am


    I try to use the same napkin throughout the day (unless I get it really messy). So I keep it for lunch, snacks and dinner. That might help a little.

    You could maybe throw a few in with your towels as well? I do one larger napkin-only load once a week because I don’t want to mess with it more frequently. Even if you just use a few, that still helps.

    I hope the drought is over soon.

  8. Dawn on January 17, 2008 10:42 pm

    great blog!! I had the same question as Virginia Lee, though. Does it really help if you use have to use water to wash the napkins? Which is more environmentally friendly?

  9. Washing cloth napkins vs. using 100 percent recycled paper napkins « Light green stairs on January 17, 2008 11:33 pm

    […] vs. using 100 percent recycled paper napkins Posted January 17, 2008 In comments on my Paper napkins nevermore post, blog visitors Dawn and Virginia both asked about the impact of using water and energy to wash […]

  10. chocmoon on January 17, 2008 11:46 pm

    Hi Dawn. Thanks for coming by. I decided to answer your question in a new post dated today.

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