Unpaper Towels – Do they Save Money and Time?
I couldn’t decide whether to name this article Unpaper Towels, Learning How to Think or “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?
I discovered a new thing yesterday called unpaper towels and I am still shaking my head over it and trying to decide what is this world coming to? But, before I get ahead of myself, let me explain what an unpaper towel is for those of you who like me hadn’t heard about them.
An unpaper towel is a rag to use in place of paper towels, which is supposed to save you time, money, energy and the environment.
Sounds like a winner, huh? Ahh, but read on. Like so many other simple things and ideas of times past, leave it to this generation to make it as difficult, complicated and expensive as can be and then slap the phrase it will save the environment on to it to insure it’s success. With that “winning” combination, before you know it, everyone is jumping on the band wagon singing its praises.
One of the things I have always tried to do on this website is to help our readers to learn to think for yourselves and not to have a herd mentality. I will often say, “Don’t do exactly like I do it but adjust or change it to fit your needs. Think about things. Ask yourself ‘Does this really make sense?’ before you do something.”
Let’s do this with unpaper towels and compare them to using rags as I suggest in our article on How to Save on Paper Towels.
“They” say you save money, time, energy and the environment by using unpaper towels. Let’s see what you think.
Regular rags – Zero expense because you use old clothing and linen that would be tossed in the trash anyway and, because of that, if you get something gooey or greasy on it you don’t mind just throwing it away as you would a paper towel.
When you need to replace rags it costs nothing because you just use more old clothes.
Unpaper towels – You buy 2 yards ($6-$10) of fabric for 9 of them and, of course, thread. Those who recommend unpaper towels also suggest you can buy snaps to put on them to hook them together and some people buy special items to make a cone to put them on. If you get something gooey or greasy on them, don’t worry! Use lots of hot water to rinse them before before washing. You now add gas and water costs to the expense.
After a certain period of time you have to replace them, which means you have to spend money again.
Regular rags - 60 seconds or less to cut up one t shirt into about 9 rags.
Unpaper towels – I don’t have an exact time on this but I think you will get the idea by the time I am through.
- You make a trip to the fabric store to get fabric – for me this would take at least an hour with driving and everything.
- Cutting and sewing – 45 minutes to an hour. Depending on your skill and different things.
- Once the unpaper towels are sewed, you need to add in the time it takes for you to rinse grease out of them by hand after they are used and then wash them.
After reading the above paragraphs I think you can see it takes way more energy to make and care for unpaper towels than rags. In fact, part of the reason for using regular paper towels was to save energy. If energy and less work is why you use paper towels then you may want to keep using paper towels or rags. Unpaper towels, themselves, make work for you.
Save the Environment
You know me when it comes to saving the environment. I don’t worry about it a bit but probably save it 10 times more than the most die hard environmentalist because I am careful with what I have and use up what I have on hand.
An environmentalist often reminds me of a little child who wants to make the play room clean and better for mom. He picks up each individual toy and makes trip after trip one toy at a time placing them in his toy basket instead of bringing the basket to the toys or carrying an armload at a time to make things easier. He takes the longest and hardest way to pick them up. He then stacks them so high without thinking that they all come crashing down and makes a bigger mess for mom to clean up than he started out with.
It seems that so many people come up with these great ideas to make things easier, to save money and the environment without thinking it through or looking at the long term and practicality of it.
Rags – You use items you already have on hand and will be throwing away anyway.
Unpaper towels – you use gas to go to the fabric store. Consider all of the energy the factories use to make the fabric and the energy the fabric store uses. I could go into more detail but I think you get the idea.
One of the reasons people like to use unpaper towels is that they look pretty, which is fine, but most of the time they are stored in a drawer out of sight so for the expense and work, is it really worth it? If you want something pretty, why go through all that work? Just go to the Dollar Tree and buy a package of washrags or something similar for just a few cents.
Let’s put our thinking caps on. If you have a lot of time on your hands or like fun craft projects then the unpaper towels may work for you but if your goal is to save time, energy, money and the environment, go with good old simple rags.
P.S. I may go back to using paper towels, though, if that handsome Paul Bunyan dude will show up at my door the way the commercials say he will.
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photo by: faungg