Cloth napkins are the bomb dot com. They are better for the environment. They are soft on your face. And, oh, did I mention that they are cheaper than paper napkins? Today’s experiment: Cloth Napkins.
We used cloth napkins growing up, not because my mother is “green,” but because she is super thrifty. It always made dinner feel classier too. My natural choice of napkin after getting married was cloth all the way. My husband was skeptical at first, but soon began to praise the wonders of a cloth napkin.
I did not make my own cloth napkins. I went to Salvation Army and found some. I think they cost 25 cents a napkin. Not bad at all, folks, considering they are still in use today and going strong.
So how many napkins do you need? If your budget is watertight and you can’t afford much, start off simply using the money from your regular paper napkin purchase and putting it toward the purchase of cloth napkins. Generally speaking, it is nice to have one cloth per meal per family member. Does that make sense? So I have a family of three. That means I’ll need nine. Add on from there so that you aren’t washing cloth napkins everyday and you’ll have enough when company comes over.
Really, you aren’t going to need to use a new napkin at every meal, unless you are insanely messy when you eat. In my family that had six children, we were allotted one napkin a day. We made it work over three meals just fine, especially since the messier meals (i.e. spaghetti with red sauce) tended to be at dinner.
If you don’t want to purchase new cloth napkins, or if you don’t have any thrift stores in your area, consider sewing them yourself.
I found a neat tutorial with great photos here: http://chezbeeperbebe.blogspot.com/2009/09/tutorial-and-pattern-cloth-napkins-5.html This lady endeavored to go paperless with her napkins and sewed forty cloth ones. That is commitment. Check out the pictures. They look great.
Here’s another link for making cloth napkins: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/04/20/make-your-own-cloth-napkins/. This one features many detailed pictures.
One last note. We wash our cloth napkins with our towels so that they get washed in super hot water, killing any germs. Cloth napkins are great, as long as you aren’t spreading disease.