9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products

By Ashley Marcin on 11 February 2015 0 comments

Do you find yourself continually spending money on paper products for your household, then tossing them in the trash after just one use? What a waste! (See also: How to Clean Everything With Just 3 All-Natural Cleaners)

There are a number of reusable, cloth options out there that can replace most of your paper mainstays, so consider swapping to save some dollars (and trees).

1. Reusable Paper Towels

My parents and in-laws always have their houses well stocked with rolls of paper towels. You, too, might find the habit hard to break. However, we've been a nearly paper-free house for years and use tea towels instead. If you'd rather make something specific, these DIY reusable paper towels don't even require a sewing machine. Do some straight stitching, apply snaps, and get cleaning!

2. T-Shirt Rags

This one couldn't be easier. If you have a stash of old t-shirts that you plan to donate, consider cutting them up into rags for a variety of cleaning purposes. We have a whole bag of t-shirt rags that are great for dirty jobs like cleaning kitchen counters, wiping up spills, and even blowing our noses when we're sick. If you don't have t-shirts, you can buy these guys at your local hardware store in the paint section.

3. The Handkerchief

Speaking of tissues, back in the day if you needed to wipe your tears or blow your nose, you'd use a handkerchief. Now? We toss countless tissues into the trash. Of course, you can go out and buy a hanky, but you can also make a handkerchief from simple squares of fabric.

4. Washcloths

They aren't just for soaping yourself in the shower. We use washcloths for heavier cleaning jobs because they scrub extremely well. A white set can be bleached and sanitized, too. Bonus: We have a few large ones that fit perfectly onto our Swiffer, and we have made cleaning our floors far less expensive this way.

5. Cloth Wipes

Yup. You guessed it: We did the whole cloth diapering thing with our daughter. Along the way, we decided to add cloth wipes to our routine, since they only required a toss in the wash. We were gifted our wipes, and there are many good brands out there, but making them out of squares of flannel fabric couldn't be easier.

6. Napkins

Paper towels used to be our go-to for wiping hands after meals. We've since changed our ways with a stash of cloth napkins and tea towels. Handcrafted cloth napkins would make an awesome gift, too. This handy napkin tutorial shows you how to cut, iron, and stitch your way to success.

7. Toilet Paper

This one's a little adventurous, but I once saw the concept on that Extreme Cheapskates show. If you'd like to greatly reduce your paper consumption, consider cloth toilet paper. The instructions note that these wipes should be used for urine only, since it's sterile. Hey, I'm providing all the options today!

8. Burp Cloths

We have a huge stock of burp cloths left from when our daughter was a baby. We stashed some away for a future child, but we use the rest for general cleaning purposes. Basically, if it wipes and otherwise soaks up messes — you can use it instead of its paper counterpart.

9. Disinfecting Wipes

Then there are times when sickness spreads through the household, and all I want to do is wipe and toss. There's a no-paper solution: DIY disinfectant wipes. Mix together some vinegar, water, and essential oils in an old wipes container. Drop in t-shirt rags and let soak before using.

What are your favorite cheaper, greener alternatives?

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