Thursday, March 17, 2011

Frugal Friday: Eliminate Disposable Products to Save Money

Disposable products are convenient but they are expensive and not good for the environment.  Our grandmothers used very few if any disposable products and they survived! We can too.

There are 3 disposable products that I have eliminated from our house:  Swiffer Refills, Paper Napkins & Paper Towels.  This has saved us a lot of money and waste over the years.  Here is what we have done to eliminate these money draining disposable products from our house.

1.  Swiffer Refills

I love Swiffer sweepers, mops & dusters. I don't like the price of the refills or that they end up in the trash! I have ordered handmade reusable Swiffer refills from and I absolutely love them(I ordered from the seller here and here). Everything I have purchased is very high quality and I have reused and washed them over & over again.

I save a lot of money using the reusable dusters, mop pads & floor cloths and it simplifies cleaning. They are also good for the environment since they are reusable.

2.  Paper Napkins

We switched to cloth napkins almost 2 years ago and  have never looked back!  They are so much nicer than the paper disposable napkins. 

Cloth napkins can be very expensive to purchase so I had an idea. I started collecting fabric from remnant baskets at stores and from Thrift Stores & Garage Sales. This is a great way to get fabric cheap! My Mom then made this fabric into the beautiful napkins pictured above. 

I have also purchased cloth napkins at Thrift Stores and Garage Sales for $.25 or less a piece.  We now have a variety of cloth napkins to use everyday as well as some for holidays & seasons. There are not any napkin "sets" just a mish mash of fun and decorative prints. The point was not to have all matching napkins but to have enough to use for 3 meals a day.

3.  Paper Towels

 I have to admit that this was the most difficult disposable product to eliminate and we did not completely eliminate paper towels.  I still use them to cook bacon in the microwave and we have a cat (if you have a cat, you understand) so we do still use paper towels but we have gone from using 1-2 rolls per week to using 3-4 rolls per year!  That is a huge savings.

Instead of using paper towels we now use white washcloths that I purchased at Wal-Mart for around $3 for 5 cloths.  These are great for cleaning kitchen counters and just about every other surface in the kitchen & bathroom.  They are also great for cleaning up spills & children.  Most of the time, I wash them with our towels each week but once a month I bleach them to keep them white.

What disposable products have you eliminated (or would like to eliminate) from your house?

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  1. I really like the knitted Swifter products. I'd love to find a pattern. My daughter uses one of those huge flat mops for her hardwood floors. I wonder if anyone has ever made one for those?

    I've used cloth napkins for years and rags instead of paper towels. I only use paper towels to drain bacon. :-)

  2. You can purchase the Swiffer patterns on


  3. I love this post! Great ideas for getting cloth napkins cheap. My most recent change is to use reusable food baggies -- I ran out of Ziplocs many months ago and never bought them again. I am gradually trying to switch from disposable to reusable in as many ways as I can, one change at a time...

  4. I love the swiffer reusables! We have been using cloth napkins and rags instead of paper towels for a couple years. (I save the paper napkins you sometimes get with carryout to use for my bacon grease otherwise I use a clean piece of cloth that I then just pitch).

  5. I use paper towels because I dont like wet, dirty rags hanging around and dont like to put things with food stains/particles in the wash with my other items. Also I have a cat, so yes I do understand paper towels are often a must! I do use cloth napkins and I dont use Swiffer products. I re-use or recycle plastic cups and utensils from restaurants instead of throwing them away after one use.

  6. CJ,
    I don't like wet dirty rags either so I bought enough to use a clean rag each time I clean. After I use a rag, I rinse it out and I have a place in my laundry room to hang it to dry. Once the rag is dry it goes in the towel laundry hamper so I never have wet dirty rags laying around the kitchen.

  7. Great post, Amy! My family is slowly trying to incorporate green practices into our lives - and I have been interested in the swiffer resuable pads.

    Does the knitted pad work well? I would think like a microfiber pad or something else would work better? Just curious!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Michelle,
    I love the knitted pad!!! It works so much better than microfiber. We have a cat and the knitted pad is the only one that picks up all the cat fur. It is also great at picking up dust bunnies (not that I have any of those ;) I toss it in the washing machine to clean and it has held-up well.

  9. I have used cloth napkins for about 10 years now. We received some for a wedding gift and have used them ever since instead of paper. I don't usually buy paper towels either. I keep one roll on hand and it usually lasts about a year. I'm going to go check out the etsy. Thanks for the tip.

    I started a new link-up on Wednesdays, Kitchen Economics ~ Cost Cutting Tips to Save Money in the Kitchen. I would love for you to stop by on Wed and link up. Thanks.



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