HHH Blog

“Rag Revolution!?”


Many years ago and much to my chagrin, my Mother was horrified to find cloth rags in our kitchen instead of paper towels when she came to visit my newborn daughter. She stated that we were bound to poison our child! Well, my teenage daughter is a very healthy 14-year old. And as you may already know, cloth rags have been used in households all over the world for over a thousand years. But since 1931, Americans in particular, have the world’s strongest habit of using paper towels (1).

However, now is the time to remember that “…every day more than 51,000 trees are cut down to support North America’s paper towel habit. The paper industry consumes more water than any other single industry on Earth. And 254 million tons of paper towels are discarded globally every year.”(2)

We can help right from home. We can choose to use our Consumer Superpowers every day to collectively heal our planet.

Cloth rags are washed repeatedly preventing waste and eliminating the need to purchase paper towels. We create ours by simply cutting up old bath towels. But you can buy bathroom washrags in coordinated colors if you prefer or lovely patterned versions from Etsy :-). While there are guidelines about sterilization (3), our family has lived over 20 years with a “one-use” rule for anything beyond wiping water; we add our cloth rags to our regular laundry. Here are the simple, inexpensive tools we use to make this daily healing choice easy!:

A Wall-Mounted, Three-Arm, Cloth, Rag Holder, options: https://tinyurl.com/yx8uucnf
A Wall-Mounted, Plastic, Grocery, Bag Dispenser, options: https://tinyurl.com/pbj6mnb4
“Unpaper Towels”/”Cloth Wipes”: https://www.etsy.com/market/washable_paper_towel

HHH Tip!: Mount the three-arm, cloth, rag holder adjacent to and over your kitchen sink; the bag holder on the inside of your kitchen cabinet door, under the sink. These “close-to-use” locations make cloth rags easy-peasy to reach and manage.

1. https://burkettsoffice.com/history-paper-towels/
2. https://www.norwexmovement.com/9-reasons-pass-paper/
3. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/cleaning-rag-cross-contamination-255702

Michele Chalice is the owner of Keene-based, Healthy Home Habitats. She designs family and pollinator gardens. She is also a bit obsessed with finding and sharing ways to decrease household resource consumption with creative ideas that collectively help to heal our world from home. 🙂

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