Using disposable products for cleaning around the home has been getting more and more commonplace lately. It’s as though the fear of germs not only extends to using antibacterials in just about all soaps, but to using all cleaning materials just once to ensure that the germs don’t stick around at all.
I get it some ways. I know about the science projects kids can do to show how many germs grow in kitchen sponges and so forth. But a certain amount of germ exposure is a good thing, and for the rest, why not use a cloth you can wash after using rather than throwing the cleaning cloth of whatever sort in the trash after just one use.
Take a look at these products:
Kleenex Hand Towels
These are the monsters that set me off. Bad enough using paper towels to dry my hands off in a public restroom when they’re the only choice, but to use them at home, voluntarily? Yuck!
Really, the germs on your bathroom hand towels aren’t going to grow all that fast, at least not any of the ones you might rationally need to worry about. Just wash your hand towels regularly and you’ll probably be fine. Plus you’ll have less trash than if you’re using the Kleenex Hand Towels and save money because real towels last for years and years.
Paper towels have been used in the kitchen for a while now. It’s hard for many people to picture their kitchen without them. But you really and truly can live without them.
Get a few more kitchen towels. Microfiber ones work great for cleaning in the kitchen and bathroom. If you aren’t concerned with appearances, you can also tear up old bathroom towels for cleaning rags.
Paper towels are easy. I’ll give them that. But so are kitchen towels once you get used to reaching for them rather than paper. Toss them in the laundry when they get dirty and they’ll be ready for use again the next time you do laundry.
Sure, it’s easy to toss some paper napkins on the table so that the kids have some way to handle the inevitable mess. Know what? They do that pretty darn well with cloth napkins too. And cloth napkins can handle bigger messes.
I don’t know about your kids, but with mine that can be a huge plus.
Whatever happened to a plain old broom? Is a broom and dustpan really that hard to use.
And when it comes to mopping, I love my steam mop. No cleaning chemicals required, and the microfiber pads are washable and reusable. It’s so easy my kids do the mopping for me. Until I made it a regular chore they’d even argue over whose turn it was to mop.
If you own a Swiffer already, just stop using the disposable cloths you have to buy for it and attach a washcloth or microfiber cloth to it for your cleaning routine. It will do the job well enough and you can just toss them in the laundry when you’re done. No need to replace it just because you’re trying to be more eco friendly. You can spray your floor with vinegar rather than use their cleaning liquid.
Okay, I’ll grant that in some situations you’re going to need to use disposable diapers unless you’re the most determined cloth diaper parent around. Lots of people who use cloth diapers don’t like to deal with them for travel, where carrying them around and washing them is a bit more effort.
And I’ll grant that most daycares won’t deal with cloth diapers either. So I understand that some people do indeed need disposable diapers.
But if you can fit them into your lifestyle, cloth diapers are so much nicer to use than disposables. Just an extra load of laundry washed with a little extra care. In return you get reduced odds of diaper rash and improved odds that your child will potty train at a younger age. Plus all the money saved.
Don’t forget the cloth wipes. You’ll be washing the diapers anyhow!
Plastic Grocery Bags
This is one of the most challenging items in my experience. It’s not always easy to remember to grab your reusable bags when you’re heading out to the store. Plus you’re using something you had to buy, while plastic grocery bags are currently free.
Have you ever noticed how fast the damn things add up in your kitchen? It’s ridiculous.
While many grocery stores have recycle bins for plastic grocery bags, the simple truth about any plastic is that it’s not all that recyclable at this time. Plus rather few plastic grocery bags actually get recycled.
There are plenty more disposable products that people use that they don’t really need. Which ones drive you nuts?