Biggest Kitchen Table - Disposables

5 July 2009

My latest dishcloth, finished yesterday.

Please read this old post first.

Today we'll talk about getting rid of 'disposable' paper products, dishcloths, menstrual pads, baby nappies/diapers and plastic shopping bags. This is one area where you can make a big step forward in one quick swoop. Making a commitment to not buying a number of the products you may buy now, like paper towels and paper napkins, will help you on this path. When you start on this you'll realise it's easy and once you start, you might get rid of all your 'disposable' products. If you decide to replace menstrual products or nappies/diapers with homemade alternatives, I recommend my sponsors on the left side bar as a good place to buy from.

Our cotton napkins sit on the kitchen table so they're always in reach and available.

Apart from the obvious environmental problems these products cause, using your own homemade alternatives is cheaper and I think using knitted or crocheted dishcloths and cotton napkins makes the home more like a real home. You replace the mass production that is so common nowadays with something that you've thought about and want enough to put your time to making. If you do that with a lot of things that can be replaced around the home, piece by piece you'll build a beautiful home that is unlike any other. Looking around your home to replace disposables can be an exercise in homemaking as well.

The down side of disposables.
Free patterns for dishcloths.
Free patterns for shopping tote bags.

Use plates and bowls creatively to cover food in the fridge.

Doing my audit I realised we have been using the cloth napkins and homemade dish cloths and face cloths as if we've always used them. It's normal for us now, and always will be. We still buy toilet paper, paper tissues and plastic wrap and I doubt we'll stop using them, although we are careful with their usage. I'll revisit that statement whenever I do an audit such as this, but for now, they're staying.

Increase your chance of using rags, cotton napkins and tote bags by having them ready to use and easy to find. We keep our tote bags in the car so they're always with us when we go to the supermarket.

I'm still using rags to clean with and I think you increase your potential for success if you have all these things ready to be used. Don't expect to make up rags when you spill something, you'll just go back to the paper towels. Go through your linen cupboard and find an old terry towel. Cut it up into squares with pinking shears and put them in a rag bag near your cleaning kit. Mine hang in a rag bag in the laundry. Everyone knows where to get them and that they are washed after use for most things, but if it's wiped up cat pee or something similar, it's thrown out.

Little olive oil candle.

Of course, you could also replace your paraffin candles with little oil lamps. Replacing paraffin, which is a petrochemical, with a sustainable oil like olive oil or rice bran oil, will make your home a little bit greener and safer. Olive oil burns clean with no smoke or smell. I made this small test lamp, it is running on olive oil, and as soon as I test drive some new home made wicks, I'll do a tutorial on it.

I am making no changes in this part of my audit at this time.

Some things to think about:
  1. Are you ready to stop buying disposables?
  2. If you are, use up what you have at home, and start preparing rags and making napkins and dishcloths and whatever else you want to try.
  3. Remember, there is no guilt in the audit. If you can't let these things go now, promise yourself you'll think about it again later in the year. You might be ready then.
  4. These activities make a powerful statement - for the environment, for your purse and for the life you intend to live.


  1. We've recently started trying to eliminate many of these products, particularly paper towels. The problem we've run into is that my husband really prefers bacon made in the microwave to bacon make in a frying pan, but I can't find a way to cook it without using paper towels (to soak up the grease). I tried using a dishcloth, but it was completely destroyed and I had to throw it out. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? I know it's a little thing, but he insisted that we buy some paper towels yesterday, and now that they're back in the house, I'm not sure we'll be able to avoid using them for other things, too.

  2. We've also eliminated most disposables, but since we have an old dog that has started to occassionally wet the floor again I've had to start buying some paper towels. I noticed that once I hung the paper towels up on our old dispenser that is right by our kitchen sink, my husband and children started using them for drying their hands and just about everything else...just like old times! What I did was move the dispenser to an out of the way place in our laundry room. It's still easily accessible for when we genuinely need it for the doggy mess, but it's not convenient for any other use.

  3. I began going paper-towel-less about 9 months ago. When i say the above term i do mean LESS. I haven't stopped using them & i've quite a supply on hand that i had already bought before i began this attempt/quest/project. I've still a lot left, & the way i'm going i'll probably not run out of them for a year, or more.

    I began with napkins. I found some lovely napkins at a thrift store & purchased them (about $1, i think). Found i liked them & bought more whenever i saw some i liked at a thrift or consignment store. I've enough now. Most i just wash & fold. I've a few that are very nice that i iron to keep on hand for company.

    I also took the flour sack tea-towels, cut one into quarters, hemmed them, & use them for towel-like things in the kitchen. I also took some of these quarters, folded them in half & sewed them so that they are about the size of half a large paper towel, but double thickness. These are the ones i use for wiping up, cleaning mirrors & counter-tops, etc.

    I would say that doing these things have cut our paper towel/paper napkin consumption by 90%. Sometimes i'm better at it than others. But it is like forming a habit. When i first began to use re-usable bags for my groceries, i forgot to take the bags with me about 40% of the time. Now it is a habit & i remember to take my own bags about 95% of the time. It has become natural.

  4. I use cloth diapers on my daughter; we do buy disposables for occasional use, but I aim for the "environmentally friendly" ones. I don't have any 'sposies in the house right now, but will probably buy some for going camping later this month.

    I try to use cloth towels instead of paper, but the ones I have aren't absorbent enough for the jobs I need them for. I need to make or otherwise acquire some more effective ones.

    I very much want to make cloth moon pads, but so far have not been successful in finding the sewing time.

    I love using hankies, but have slacked off in my making them. I have a stack in my handsewing basket just waiting for their edges to be rolled.

    DH is leery enough of my "hippy" ways - which he generally supports anyway - that I don't see myself even broaching the subject of family cloth. I may simply make a few wipes to just start using for myself, however, since he usually uses only minimal paper. I'm thinking, make enough for 2-3 days, throw them in the laundry with the cloth diapers, done!

    Making anything is difficult with a toddler, though!

  5. Laura, there's a special little plate you can buy for cooking bacon in the MW. It has ridges which hold the bacon up, and the fat drains away into the bottom of the plate. No paper towels needed!


  6. I can't tell you how excited I was to see that oil candle. Imagine how handy that would be if the power went off for an extended period. ("real" candles won't last for an unlimited time, after all...)

    Hmmm.... maybe I need to get out more!!

  7. Can strained grease from meat be used for a candle too? That sound kind of gross but what else might that stuff be good for? Any ideas?

    1. Yes, they are called Tallow Candles.

  8. Until I started reading your blog (18 months ago) I had never thought about knitting my own dish and face clothes. I now have a large pile of both and love using them.
    I already had a good supply of cloth napkins but didn't use them regularly until I found a basket to put them in and leave them handy in the kitchen.

    Disposibles are convenient and if you want to stop using them you must make your alternatives convenient.


  9. Oh yes I forgot to say I love the oil lamp.


  10. Hello everyone! You're all doing well with your disposable alternatives. Deb, thanks for sharing. Laura, I hope you can find one of those little MW plates.

    LOL Frogdancer. I think you should stay home. : - )

    Kpickles, your home would smell of meat whenever you lit your meat grease lamp. Maybe not a good idea for indoors. I save meat dripping to make gravy but it only uses a very small amount. Does anyone have any ideas for pickles?

  11. Love the oil lamp and can't wait for the tutorial. I stopped using paper towels about 6 months ago. I have a pile of rags made from old clothes, bedding etc. We also have dogs and I find old newspaper will soak up any liquid and then I clean with a rag.

    Colette UK

  12. Wow... that's a hard one. I think I need some more time to take this one into my daily life. But just as I did the first ones, I really gonna try this one!

  13. When I first started reading you blog Rhonda, I went to Spotlight and purchased two balls of knitting cotton to make dishcloths. At over $3 per ball I found it a bit expensive. Since then I have found lots of knitting cotton at the op shops. It is all 4ply so I just knit two strands together. Much of it is white so I put that and a colour together. I now have a good supply for next to nothing and all the different colours look great together.

    Cheers. Karen near Bundaberg.

  14. I love the idea for knitted dish cloths, have just roped my 9yr old daughter into doing a knitting project with me and making a couple. I already use cloth menstrual pads and haven't bought a packet of disposible nappies for about nine years. I used them when my daughter 9 was young and I had to spend time in hospital...I have had two other children since then!

    I don't buy plastic wrap any more but wrap sandwiches and things in waxed paper or I save mushroom bags and other paper bags from shopping.

    What sort of wick do you use for the oil lantern? Is it the stuff you buy for kero lanterns? Is there something else one could use?

    Love this informative site.

  15. I've been itching to sew something. Napkins will be a fun project. Thanks for the suggestion.

  16. the only paper product left in our home is tp and only half the household uses it...the rest of us use cloth wipes and hankies. now that i use them, i can't stand tp. it falls apart when i try to use it...yuck! i prefer a cloth that won't crumble while in use!

    now that we are out of diapers, i use them (chinese prefolds) to wipe up spills and clean the floor. they are wonderful for that!

  17. I read an article some time ago, in a magazine written by professional house cleaners in the U.S who charge a small fortune to totally deep clean houses, every nook and cranny!... we are talking thousands of dollars, anything from $1000 US to $30000! They said the best cloths to use for cleaning were cotton diapers/ nappies - never sponges. I picked up a pile of about 30 terry toweling nappies for $5 at a garage twin girls were out of nappies by the age of 2, so did not need them. The cleaners were right..they are the best cleaning cloths, brilliant for mopping up spills. We also use them to walk across the tiled floors after mopping to dry them off to save a repeat mopping to remove the inevitable footprints.

  18. You can freeze the lard from the meat and cook all your dinners with it. I just saw a product that says on the packet "The way a roast should taste" - all it is is the lard from the meat, sold for way more than it's worth. Roast potatoes taste wonderful with it.

    Hey Rhonda, I was wondering why you would throw out the rags that wipe up cat pee? It would wash out very easily and it seems the same as washing out nappies or cloth menstrual pads. I guess washing out dirty nappies has totally changed my view - I handle many things I originally would have thrown out.

    I was about to use a tea towel for getting the excess fat from deep fried chips but my mum came over with new paper towels for me! I was grateful but almost disappointed that I have to wait to see how they work :)

  19. In the past year we have incorporated cloth napkins, I started crocheting dishcloths, and for draining bacon I now use newspaper. We've also been using newspaper as weed barrier in our garden rather than the expensive screening they sell.
    We have a good supply of shopping bags now, but I have to be mindful of taking them to the store each time. I like your idea of keeping them in the car.

  20. My daughter is house sharing and setting out on her own.
    She said to me the other day how frustrated she was that everyone else had throw away dishwashers - not like the hemmed old towels I have had for many years.
    She hates it that she either has to pull out a new one everytime, or find one int he sink that is slimey, or full of gunk (yes it is a share house).
    She loved the fact that eveytime you used a cloth, you could throw it in the wash, and pull out a nice clean one to use next time.
    I think i got this idea from my mother - so it has gone down the generations...

  21. Anonymous, cat pee was my euphamism for vomit, poo etc. Our cat never pees in the house, thank goodness. I agree that you get used to most things you do on a regular basis, no matter what they are but it's easier for me to throw those rags out instead of trying to reuse them. It saves my sanity.

  22. I totally agree and have implemented many of the non-disposables in our home.

    As for cloth napkin use, I just wanted to say that you didn't mention the best reason to change. They work better! After using a paper napkin, I always feel like I need to wash my hands. I don't feel any inconvenience not using paper because a cloth napkin is so much better.

    Thanks for all that you do with your blog.

  23. I have slowly been eliminating disposables from my home. So slowly that hubby isn't aware of it. The only disposable paper product we have in the house is toilet paper, and I don't see hubby wanting to give that up.

    I have two kids and neither of them have worn a disposable nappy. I use modern cloth nappies and they have saved my sanity. I think I would have resorted to disposables if I had to use terry squares and pins.

    I have just invested in a lunette menstrual cup and made myself some cloth liners, I no longer have to buy disposable sanitary products.

    I do still use plastic wrap for the fridge, but I am currently looking at alternative. I am just taking it one product at a time, and I will soon be rid of them all!

  24. Thanks for the tip, Deb! My grandma had one of those plates when I was growing up--I can't believe I'd forgotten that! I'll have to see if I can dig one up!

  25. We've been gradually switching away from disposables. I've found it helpful to begin the switchover while I still have a good supply of the disposables (paper towels, for example). This gives me a little time to experiment with finding the best cloth alternative while still having a backup in case it doesn't work. We're now using cloth for all our general cleaning (athletic 'tube' socks, once their elastic is gone, make great dusters and cleaning rags). Pet messes still call for paper towels, but I suspect that once some of my rags reach the nearly-worn-out stage, I'll use those for the pets and throw them away. Next challenge for us is a total switchover to cloth napkins. I need to make a few more then hide the paper ones!

    I'm at a loss for a compelling (reusable) alternative to plastic wrap and plastic freezer bags. Any thoughts?

  26. Please do emphasise care to be taken when having an oil lamp on, so many house fires are caused by people leaving candles or lamps on in unsafe places or unattended. While a good idea I think safety with this really needs to be stressed.

    I would never think to leave a candle burning unattended but am alsways suprised when seeing a story about it on the news and wondering more care is not taken by others. Or worse still if small children get hold of these things.

  27. I'm really curious about the olive oil lamp. We haven't been using our lights, as an experiment. Someone gave us a bunch of free candles so we've been using them. However, when they run out, I would like to use olive oil (the regular oil in our emergency lamp is nasty) but I'm wondering if it's cost prohibitive?

  28. Okay, I already use the cloth napkins, mama cloth (cloth sanitary pads) and cloth diapers. Now what I really want is a tutorial how to make that great little olive oil candle! I LOVE THAT! I am envisioning several of them being made on my upcoming maternity leave to be given as Christmas gifts (not to mention making a few for my own home, too).

  29. I am really enjoying these posts Rhonda, and am learning so much from them....I have got rid of most disposables in our home but there is always paper towels this is an area I need to work on.....
    I have been joining in on my blog and posting about the differant topics as well....

  30. I love the oil lamp and can't wait for the tutorial. Even if I only save them for black outs, what a great idea!

    We too are slowly weaning out disposables. The hardest is paper towels as hubby goes through them like crazy and so does my father in law who resides with us (he is 82).

    I just picked up a whole lot of very nice material at a Goodwill shop and plan on making lots of napkins.

    I have started a rag bag and all old clothing that is only good for the trash is placed in there. I use those rags for spills that cannot be washed easily.

    I do have shopping bags and don't have to worry about diapers or menstral pads so I think we are doing quite well.

    Thanks to everyone with all their wonderful suggestions. :)

  31. For frying bacon and other meats, why not use brown paper sacks to drain the fat? That is something that many have used before there were paper towels. Great way to recycle those bags too.

  32. So far so good..doing most of these things, I made napkins and paper towel use is almost down to zero. I'm intrigued by the little olive oil lamps. Would be neat to learn to make my own wicks.

  33. Ah yes, a weak area of mine. Early this morning I piled up the old towels the dog chewed through when he was a puppy ready to throw them out. I'll cut them up as you recommend. I use far too many paper towels and need to think about this.

  34. I stopped using paper towels and napkins, plastic wrap, baggies, and aluminum foil, started making my own household and bath soap, household cleaners, shampoo, deodorant, and lotion last Feb and haven't missed them at all. We still buy toilet paper, and will probably continue. I may try to replace tampons with a diva cup, but am a little hesitant. As for the oil lamps, they look lovely, but another option I recently started using is those outside solar lamps, brought inside for the evening.

  35. My son had pj pants he grew out of (quite literally, last time he wore them they tore because they had gotten too tight). They've made lovely rags and I love the skull and crossbones print. Not bad for something I paid $5 for and that he got 2 or 3 years wear out of.

    For Laura, I'd probably stick with paper towels for the cooking of bacon. You could go for the expense of buying that plastic bacon platter but who wants more plastic? - I just donated my one. The paper towels would stop the fat splattering all over your microwave and save you the extra work. Just look for more environmentally sound paper towels.

    I am definitely going to try the oil lamp, recently I got some glass tubes that were supposed to be from hurricane lamps. They would be perfect to put around the lamp for extra safety. Best of all they were free because the lamps were long gone.

  36. This one is easy for me. I love fabric and I love to sew! I make my own cloth diapers and knit wool covers to go over them. I make my own baby wipes as well (just serge 2 scraps of fabric together). I make flannel handkerchiefs and cloth menstual pads. I knit my own dishcloths and sew cloth napkins. I use cloth tote bags for shopping and plan to make some small mesh bags for buying produce. I use family cloth, but I'm the only one in the house who does :)

  37. I am enjoying this Kitchen Table Series and have linked from my blog to yours.
    We have eliminated paper products except for tp in our home.
    I am currently knitting a supply of dishcloth for a wedding gift, as well as writing out recipes for frugal cleaners.
    I Love reading what the other ladies are doing

  38. I only have 2 knitted dishcloths atm, but really enjoy using them. They're a good talking point when guests want to help with the dishes. :)
    We're well past the cloth nappy stage, but I still have several around for cleaning rags and accidental spills. ** Whilst nursing, I also used a few older nappies to make my own nursing pads: cut the nappy (or used facewashers) into rounds, covered by a round of flannelette for comfort.
    I began making my own menstral cloths about 2 years ago. Any old flannelette sheets, cut into several layers and sewn together. Nothing too fancy, but they do the job!!
    Looking forward to the oil lamp tutorial. Would you have an idea of how often you'd need to replace the oil? I assume it'd be virgin oil?
    I like the idea of using the outside solar lamps! :)

  39. Wow, I feel challenged. We use heaps and heaps of paper towels, and I always feel wasteful about it. But you all have inspired me to finally do something about it.

  40. This is an area that we do pretty well on. We haven't used paper towels in ages - we stopped mainly to save money but enjoy the other benefits as well. I have two sets of rags for use - my nicer kitchen ones and the ones that are used for cleaning are kept on the shelf in the basement.

    We use cloth bags for shopping - I can't believe how much they hold compared to the plastic ones. I also have two net bags that I use for produce.

    My dd (18) uses a Diva cup and loves it. I don't have to worry about that anymore.

    We use cloth napkins at the table and also keep them in a pretty basket on the table.

    Another thing that I do is use old sheets for bandages. You can bleach an old sheet and cut it up into sizes appropriate for bandages. I keep them in a gallon zip-lock bag in preparation for an emergency or a time when I wouldn't be able to get regular bandages. You can also take an old sock (like a tube sock) and cut the foot part off. The tube part is great to fit over a hand or ankle and hold one of your homemade bandages on more securely. I also cut up old mattress pads (the quilted type) into smaller rectangles and use them for changing pads for babies or for burp clothes.

    Make sure before disposing of old clothing that you cut off anything that might be usable - buttons, zippers, hooks, etc.

    Charlene in VA

  41. I am always on the lookout to eliminate something disposable, especially plastic. I recently sewed myself some produce bags to take to the co-op and I like them so much I am making them for gifts. One side of the bag is nylon net and the other side is fabric left over from larger projects. Double stitch the bottom for strength and add a drawstring at the top or simply attach a wrap-around tie (old shoe lace, pajama drawstring) so you don't lose it, and you are done. The net side is so the checker can scan the tag stuck to the produce or see what is in the bag. The ones I am doing for gifts I am embroidering, appliqueing, personalizing.
    I also sewed cloth sacks in different sizes to take to the co-op and fill with oats, rice, nuts, or whatever.
    I am so excited to have found this blog and all the kindred spirits who comment here. Thank you, Rhonda Jean.

  42. rhonda ~ this is an incredible series you are doing. i didn't officially join in as it was a little hectic this week here and i knew i wouldn't be able to focus on it entirely. but i am following along and will be coming back to this information more formally very soon. thank you!

  43. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post!
    I can't wait for the tutorial for the olive oil candles.

  44. I like your little olive oil lamp...need to try that!

    We're doing some of these things already. In fact, I've never heard of disposable dish cloths here (USA) but we are using far less paper products overall than in the past. We use mostly cloth napkins and menstrual products (along with the Diva cup), cloth diapers at home and for shorter outings, and old towels for cleaning up spills and the like.

    As for the doggie dilemma, we simply use some very old towels, then wash them. Though I try to be sparing with bleach usage, I do use it when washing those kind of loads.

  45. As with all parts of this audit, this has really made me think and recognise areas I can change.

    Your blog provides great information - I look forward to reading it each day :)

  46. I blogged about this topic here:

  47. As I've been doing, I posted a blog on the disposables, too. I also added several links to my other blog which is about quilting and sewing. The links are tutorials with photos on making potholders, cloth napkins, and linen dish towels.

    There is a method to make candles called 'hand dipping' and the melted 'wax' is not a petrochemical. One of the 'wax' bases is actually tallow (animal fat). The other is beeswax (from bees....duh). Tallow can be found via a butcher shop. Hand dipped candles are absolutely beautiful and the colors can be layered with the various sessions of hand dipping.

    Hope this helps!

  48. Over a period of a few months, I have reduced the amount of disposables we use. I quit buying paper table napkins, I have a bunch of fabric ones and they get tossed in the wash but they don't really add to the number of laundry loads. After a lot of retraining, I finally convinced my husband that he should use a kitchen towel to dry his hands insteat of 4 or 5 paper towels at a time. I do still use some plastic bags in his lunch, but I'm using less of them and more plastic containers that can be reused. It's an ongoing process, but one that I'm going to keep working on. I don't think I'll be able to completely stop using disposables, but I have managed to cut down the amount greatly.

  49. I haven't bought paper towels in about a year or so......we have very good dishtowels for the dishes of course, and the new fibers are very absorbent..when they get stained, they go one grade down and become cleaning rags, after that the lowest grade become rags for the garage, then thrown son works at a dog rescue and they are given tons of old towels, he brought home a large bag of them, I cut them up and use them as cleaning rags too.....
    I've used cloth napkins to cover microwave cooking with good sure to use 100% cotton...we cover our kitchen leftovers with glass bowls and I've been trying to find the old glass covered kitchen storage containers..have several.

  50. I have to say that I am also doing a lot more recycling and therefore a lot less waste. I'm able to see that by the amount of garbage that we put at the roadside for pickup each week. It's really a shame that we have a very small bag of garbage (YES, ONLY ONE SMALL BAG) for a family of five and we still have to pay a monstrous amount to the garbage collector. We recycle or compost everything else.


  51. It was already said here to take in the solar lights from outside and use them at night. I saw on a blog that those people place them in a quart canning jar so they stood up. Take them out in the morning to recharge! :) This was new to me just a few days ago but especially for an emergency who would have thought how nice they would be...No flame at all. We have always used cloth napkins and such but just recently started using even less paper towels. We only used 4 rolls a year of the cheapie towels but still wanted to use less. I haven't made any dish washing cloths. Don't knit or crochet yet. If I don't have any wash cloths I can use to wash dishes I buy a darker colored thin ones in the bundles to use for dish washing. Using the dark color helps to hide stains and thus less soaking and detergents to get those stains out. I was wondering where we will find the wicks for the candles. Please describe and photo the wick for us along with the information so we know what we are looking for. I take it the oil could spill out if the jar got upset. Thankyou for showing us another new idea. I love this too!! If you want to know how to use less or no paper products ask someone 60+ years old. I know growing up we only had wax paper and paper bags. No plastic bags or wrap. We wrapped our food scraps in newspaper rolling it up like the butchers do meat and placing it seam side down in the trash can. Our cans were all metal then. Now of course we would compost most of that food scraps. We took off all buttons, zippers etc from any clothes and reused them later. We used the cotton clothes pieces for dusting and cleaning. If the piece had good places they were used i quilts or a yolk of a dress etc. When towels got a very worn place in it it was cut out and patched or the good places from several towels were sewen together to make a hand towel. We turned collars and sleeve cuffs when they were worn. Newspapers also were used to clean windows. Wax paper..or a glass container with glass lid was used for sandwisches or leftovers. They used the dishes in the fridge like Rhonda does. I think we drained out any fat from bacon etc onto newspaper too and wrapped and threw that away. Now of course you are torn if you should recycle the newspaper or use it thus!! When plastic diapers came in I was just having my first child. They seemed weird as did non leather shoes etc. I used cloth. I would ask people older than me what they did and used. They have much information that will be lost when they are no longer here. Write their stories down along with the information or tape them. You will wish ou did later if you didn't. They have much to share and tell us. They are just waiting to be asked. Also read books about families of years past. They have many ideas we could all use. This community here is so great in helping all our families live better. I always find new ideas to use!! :) Jody

  52. It was mentioned using the old fashioned glass refrigerator containers with the glass tops for the fridge of course. I saw some just like the old ones at Walmart. I live in U.S. Anchor Hocking produced them. They had a square and a loaf style one. They also had a loaf pan without a top that was etched on the side like the older style. It was a light blue glass. Not that I want anyone to rush out and buy anything this week! :) I don't know if the cost is prohibative either. Your system of stacking the plates we already have works great already. I am sticking with the old ones I have and stacking plates as you do. Jody

  53. Your blog is just amazing and I have added it to my favourites. I am a beginning green house keeping person so love your stuff.

  54. Another advantage to using cloth menstrual pads instead of tampons is it may decrease menstrual cramps. When I used tampons I had unendurable cramps each month, but when I went back to pads I still had cramps, but much less severe. Since I have to work full-time I use disposable pads during the day, and use the cloth ones at night and on weekends. They are much more comfortable than disposables.


  55. Susan, I've had the same experience when switching to a Diva cup, with cloth pads as backup. I don't know why it should effect flow or cramps though. It's been a great switch for me and I hope my three daughters grow up knowing no other way.

    For my pads, I just used cloth diapers that I'm done with and some scraps of flannel from sewing pajamas, layered them about four thick and serged the edges. Couldn't have been easier. And because of the flannel, they don't seem to slip out of place at all. I feel much more secure, dry and comfortable with this approach and don't dread my period at all anymore.

  56. I still use paper towels to grease my cast iron pan after use. I've thought of using a rag for this, but wonder if it would be too greasy and so the rags, as well as the rest of my laundry, wouldn't get clean enough? I use the pan often, usually at least once a day, so that would be lots of greasy cloths to add to the load. (I'm alone, so I only wash a load of clothes, a load of towels and my two sets of sheets every other week.) Maybe it would work if I used more soap, and/or hot water. Has anyone tried this for their cast iron pans and has it worked?


  57. Susan: My father owns his own machine shop and uses cloth rags for everything out there. Generally the cloth rags got their own laundry basket and get washed in their own load every couple of weeks, but he occasionally got grease on his jeans and shirts and etc. Since he only wears dark colored shirts, the "darks" loads often have greasy things in them. She just treats the stains and everything comes out fine. Granted, this is not food oil, so it keeps better between washes, and we never cared what the rags looked like. :p

    Another alternative for your pans would be to wipe the grease in with your fingers - but I don't grease mine nearly as often, so I don't know how much of a hassle that would be. :)

  58. It's interesting that I should come across this post today as I just placed my first order for cloth pads!

    We currently use cloth nappies for Erin so cloth pads isn't a bit jump for me, it's been something I've thought about for a while but not done because of the expense--also my husband isn't keen on the idea which is a bit of a dampener. I tried making my own but found that my machine didn't cope well with the waterproof backing and the snaps on the wings often pulled through or went rusty.

    So, anyway today I finally decided to shell out for some made by a WAHM Aussie mum and I'm kind of excited! I may even have a go at knitting my own dusting cloth lol.

  59. I love the way you make us think without making us feel guilty about it all. A very gentle suggestion!


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