Hardier than normal dishcloths, better for the earth than paper

By Margaret Eby
October 18, 2018
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Are you freaked out that about the effects of climate change and the choices we've made as a society that seem to have set us hurtling towards our demise? Haha! Me too. And while I am well aware that my own individual actions to stop drinking from plastic straws and diligently recycle beer bottles might not be enough to stop the icecaps from melting, well, it feels like doing something and maybe not actively contributing to the problem.

So I am trying to cut down on the stuff I do that is bad for the planet. Among those things? Using a whole lot of paper towels, made from trees, those beautiful green things that help suck carbon from the atmosphere. Trees are good! I could probably cut back on paper towel use to keep a few from dying, right?

So I set out to find a suitable paper towel replacement. And yes my friends, I know about dishcloths. I love and employ dishcloths all the ding-dang time! But I also live in an apartment in New York City with limited access to laundry, and I have cats, and sometimes they puke on the floor, OK, and it is not great to wipe up cat puke with a towel and have to wait a week to wash the towel, you know? I was on the hunt for something that could tackle the truly gross messes of my life without the carbon footprint, and I stumbled on something that has really helped me out: Swedish dishcloths, a.k.a. "eco-friendly cleaning cloths" or reusable sponge cloths

Usually made of cellulose, these cloths are like sponges but thinner and with a much wider surface area. When you wet them, they become as flexible as a regular cloth or a paper towel. They're hardy enough to wipe up the most horrible messes, but easier to maneuver than a sponge. And you can put them through the dishwasher or laundry machine. They're cheap and cheerful and will last you months and months—I just reluctantly let go of one after many months of service, and I'll use it as a rag in the bathroom next. It's not much, but it's a little something to help keep those trees alive.