This has been a years-long battle for me. When I was cleaning homes professionally 8 years ago it was just so easy to ask clients to provide 4-5 rolls of paper towels for a deep clean and use that to wipe, dust and polish everything.
Rip, wipe, trash, repeat.
At first I thought it’s ok to use paper towels as long as I buy plastic-free (not wrapped in plastic) and recycled or bamboo paper towels. “They compost so fast and will be gone after a few rains in the landfill.” I thought. Side note: we had already stopped using plastic trash bags at that point. I had this happy image in my head of how our paper trash bag and mound of paper towel wads melt away in the rain.
But then I read a children’s book about landfills and found out that they get sealed up and no air or rain gets to them after being sealed. A newspaper that gets sealed into a landfill can still be read in 40 years! I could not continue using paper towels after finding that out. I had to minimize what I do send to landfill and paper towels were no longer allowed to be in that list.
I started out by being conscious about all the uses we have for paper towels:
*Quick wipe of the counters or stove top
*Quickly dry your hands
*Blow your nose
*Dry a cutting board.
*Dry and oil the cast iron pans
By now I had already given up using paper towels for housecleaning. We switched over to microfiber cloths long ago so luckily for us that was not something to re-learn. Absolutely everything that I cleaned with paper towels can be cleaned and polished with microfiber cloths. Just took me some time to get used to it. I also switched to using 70% Isopropyl Alcohol or pure vinegar instead of cleaning products. That helped eliminate residues or streaks.
Step one: I removed paper towels from our kitchen. I filled a small basket with microfiber cloths, box of tissues and small cut up pieces of an old t-shirt (for seasoning the cast iron pans). I also hung a hand towel where the paper towels used to be.
Step 2: I placed an empty bucket under the sink. That’s where we collect the used cloths. If they’re wet then we hang the cloths on the side of the bucket, don’t want them to get stinky.
Step 3: It took us about a week to be totally retrained on using microfiber cloths instead of paper towels. I now decided to get rid of the basket (I want counters CLEAR of everything) and put the cloths in a drawer.
We are from Europe, from a beautiful little country called Estonia .
We were raised with strict principals and beliefs. Hard work and quality have always been honored,-these are also the main keywords in our business.