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Our family has been learning new ways to live a less environmentally wasteful and polluting lifestyle. One easy change that we made was to use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins everyday, and for every meal. We already had some cloth napkins at home, some are luncheon size and some are dinner size, made of vintage linen, cotton, or a linen and cotton blend. They’re so soft and are a great way to save money.
Where to Find Cloth Napkins
Cloth napkins can be found at:
- Estate sales
- Yard sales
- Thrift shops
- Antique shops
- Church rummage sales
- Sewn yourself
- Purchased online or in-store
- Other sources
I have found beautiful vintage linen tablecloth and napkin sets, as well as individual linen napkins, in new or almost new condition. Someone who sews might enjoy making their own, maybe using organic cotton or linen fabric, or making them using a vintage tablecloth. Linen fiber is strong and absorbent. The more linen is used, the softer and more luxurious it becomes.
Sewing them yourself gives you the advantage of making the napkins a custom size to fit your family’s needs. If your preference is to purchase new, there are many options in-store and online. I found some beautiful new cloth napkins online, such as these organic cotton ones, and these white linen napkins. We have enough for each family member, for all the meals we eat at home for a week, and enough for the lunch box, 5 days per week.
Cloth Napkin Storage
Our cloth dinner napkins are kept in a kitchen cabinet drawer that is near the table. We keep a small hamper under the kitchen sink, where it’s convenient to put the used napkins after each meal. We don’t have a large kitchen, but this system works well for us. There are many creative options for storing clean napkins, and used napkins, depending on your space and preferences.
Cloth Napkin Cleaning
We wash our napkins once a week, using a phosphate free laundry soap, which is also free of fragrances, dyes and artificial brighteners. We dry them on a folding drying rack, which is attached to the wall in our small laundry area, instead of putting them in the dryer. Since we air dry them, we are conserving energy. We don’t iron them, which also conserves energy.
Then they are folded and put in the kitchen drawer, all clean and ready to reuse. We have been able to save money by not purchasing paper dinner napkins, and by conserving energy by air drying and not ironing the napkins.
So far we have really enjoyed the switch. It feels pretty special using cloth napkins for all our meals! 🙂
Have you tried using cloth napkins?