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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cloth Napkins, Hankies, and Milk Jugs

I'm always looking for ways to cut down on spending. One of the things that I have tried to cut down on is household consumables. A few years back I decided to make some cloth napkins and hankies.

To do this, I went to Walmart, when they still had their fabric department, and bought some inexpensive flannel. I then surged around the outside to make squares. I ended up with stripped wash cloth napkins, pink hankies for Hannah, and blue hankies for Caleb.

These have worked out really well. The napkins are great for cleaning spaghetti stained faces, and the kids can keep their hankies in their pockets or on their dinner chairs. They can go through as many as they would like, and if one get's left around, there's no guessing as to who's germs it holds.

I've tweeked the laundering of the napkins and hankies a bit to keep laundry hampers from becoming musty and gross. I now have a milk jug (easy to toss when needs replacing) under the kitchen sink that these napkins get dropped in. I put a touch of vinegar in the water, which keeps the water a bit more fresh and have a drip protector under the jug in case the kids don't get a cloth in all of the way and it wicks water out.

I also have a post it note sticker on my warm wash cycle, so whenever I do a load of warms I remember to retrieve the milk jug.

This seems to work out great for our kids, and it has really cut down on the paper napkins and kleenexes that we buy.


homestead mommy said...

This is a good idea..I have made kitchen napkins but I should make hankies for my kids. That is what makes us go through paper towels so fast.
Have you thought of making your own detergent? I have a couple recipes on my blog. I have been making my own detergent for over a year now and it works great. It is only 3 cents a load too.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks - I have considered the detergent a few times. I have two reservations about it.
1) I have heard that it doesn't keep whites as white.

2) I have heard it is not good for septic systems - which is my biggest concern.

Any thoughts on these?

Katie Barksdale said...

I too make my own cloth napkins and found they are so much superior. I used yardage that I'd had for years, then branched out to all the fun fabrics I found at Wal-Mart. Fabrics I thought were so cute, but would never wear. I have napkins for all the seasons, and just fun prints. My grandsons love them. I just use 100% cotton for the napkins.

For hankies I too use flannel, after a few washes they are so soft on the nose.

I even make my own pads with flannel. No more rashes or leaks, and the bonus...they fit me.

As for the homemade detergent...I have found it so easy to make, and easy to use. I tried the liquid when I first started, now I simply make the powder. I like it much better. My daughter uses it also, and has found it keeps her husbands white shirts whiter, and gets out the stains that other detergents leave. So much cheaper. Fels Naptha is the wonder soap. She became a convert to homemade detergent after she saw my great success.

Mathias Creighton and Emma Kate Jackson said...

What a great idea. I do not have a washing machine and have trouble figuring out how to deal with re-constituted snot on hankies (gross!) or rags that have washed floors or dirty messes. Any ideas for handling/washing other kinds of rags?

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

I haven't had to do that, but how about a bucket and a designated plunger? (Not one used for toilets!)

Laryssa Herbert said...

Great idea!

~Sara said...

I switched to cloth napkins last year. I picked out some clearanced fabric from Wal-Mart and made my own. I love the idea of popping them in to the jug after use!

Little T said...

I just found your blog through Quilted Simple. I have started to cut down on our out going waste and this is the perfect solution. Love the idea of color coded napkins/hankies. Thanks for the idea. Also makes old clothes have an appealing rebirth in the house

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