DIY Reusable Kitchen Towels

Reusable Kitchen Towels

Reusable kitchen towels are nothing new at all, but I only recently saw on Pinterest towels that snap together to make them as convenient as paper towels. So, I made some.

A lot of my friends create Pinterest boards with titles like “Must Make” or “DIY for My House.” I don’t know a lot of people with time on their hands, though, and I’m one of them. You probably are, too. A DIY project has to really catch my interest to inspire me to get up and do it. This is so clever that I just had to sew my own kitchen towels. I thought you might find this one of those eco baby steps that is easy to take as well.

Make Your Own Kitchen Towels

As always, I recommend you use what you have on hand. I happened to have some Harmony Art organic cotton fabrics that I had yet to find a use for. My fabrics were a range of weights from heavy twill (like jeans) to thin plain weave (like sheets). I decided that it might be useful to have wipes available in different thicknesses, so I used all of the fabrics, giving each a different color of snaps and trim to make it easier to tell the difference between weights as I was reaching to clean up a spill. For the absorbent side, I used brushed French terry that was too flawed to use for clothes but was fine for towels.

What I did takes no special skill at all. If you can use a serger, you can make towels.

  • 1/3 yard each of 4 decorative, cotton fabrics at least 36″ wide (or use the same fabric for all)
  • 1 yard of absorbent, loopy fabric to do the dirty work – cotton terry or birdseye are perfect
  • Decorative thread (optional)
  • 24 4-part sets of snaps

Wash your fabric before you start. You don’t want to make beautiful towels only to have them shrink and distort after washing. Pre-shrink to avoid this. I also ironed my fabric to make sure I was cutting evenly.

Cut 12 11″ x 11″ squares of the decorative fabric and 12 more of the absorbent fabric. I also rounded the corners to make sewing really fast.

Match up the cut squares with the absorbent, loopy side out and the decorative side out if you are going to have decorative serging that shows. You can also put the absorbent and decorative sides in, if you plan to turn and top-stitch your towels. If you want to keep it simple, just serge.

Sew each towel together.

Place snaps—two male and two female on each. I had writing on mine, so I carefully paid attention to which side had which snaps so the writing would always go the same way.

Total time for 12 wipes: 40 minutes

But What If I’m Not Crafty?

If you don’t have time or you don’t sew, how about just buying cotton towels to ditch the paper towels? My mother-in-law still uses 40-year old diapers as kitchen towels. In my house, we have a stack of old prefolds that we use as dog cloths, since I can’t quite bring myself to put the used diapers in the kitchen. New cotton prefolds make great kitchen towels because they are very soft and absorbent.

That’s what you need for spills. Nothing fancy. Just a little cleverness and a lot of absorbency, and you have washable, reusable towels, and you won’t miss paper towels.

Following up on a couple of weeks of cloth diaper focus, I’m covering other reusable products you can easily introduce into your family’s routine. Last week, it was reusable sandwich bags and wraps then DIY reusable baby wipes last Tuesday. Do you have favorite reusable products that you use? Drop by the Parenting by Nature Facebook page and tell us about it.

Plant an Indoor Kitchen Garden If You Just Can’t Wait!

Indoor kitchen garden potted herbs

I know from Facebook comments on our garden planning post that there are at least a few of you who are really anxious to start gardening. I’m here to tell you that you can start right now. Plant a simple garden in your kitchen to give yourself year-round fresh ingredients for your meals.

A kitchen garden is generally the area of your outdoor garden dedicated to growing herbs and vegetables. Yes, do that, too, but I’m suggesting that you actually start gardening indoors.

You could keep this as simple as a few potted herbs on the window sill or as complicated as taking over a portion of your house with a structured area complete with grow lights. From simple to complex, here are a few ideas where you might start.

Herb Pots on the Window Sills

Scope out window sills to see how much sunny space you actually have. You will need at least five hours of sunlight a day to grow herbs well. Start with just 1-2 pots of the herbs you use or like the most. A lot of fresh food aisles in the grocery stores have herbs for sale in pots, but where is the fun in that? Buy soil-less potting mix or make your own from peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. (Bringing in soil from outdoors could mean bring in creatures you don’t want inside.) Especially with children, growing from seed gives you more of the experience of gardening that is likely to lead you toward a bigger garden.

Fill Your Window with Green

If you want to grow more than just a pot of herbs, you could build your own hydroponic window farm with a few recycled materials and a pump. This is a great way to grow lettuce and other greens.

Make Your Garden a Feature

If you are ready to embrace your gardening, why not make it a feature in your decor. If you move your garden away from the window, you will need grow lights. You can buy shelves with lights built in or get creative with the way you arrange the plants. Put your favorite plant at about nose height in an area you walk by frequently. Imagine yourself rubbing the sage or peppermint leaves for a little aromatic boost during your day. If you have curious toddlers, put the plants high enough that you won’t find them tipped out onto the floor.

Serious Indoor Gardening

Herbs and lettuce are easy, but what about vegetables? You can grow some vegetables indoors. Tomatoes, radishes, and beans can all be grown in pots, but you can also get very serious about your indoor gardening with a deep and wide shelving system complete with lights. These look similar to cafeteria tray holders, and you could build your own system from cafeteria shelving. When you are growing indoors, it’s a challenge to give your vegetables enough room for the roots. If you buy or build shelves, an adjustable system is ideal to accommodate large and small plants.

When your kitchen begins to look like a greenhouse, it might be time to actually build a greenhouse. For now, for the anxious late-winter gardener, survey the kitchenscape to see where you can plant your little patch of green.