With summer approaching, I thought it would be nice to do a post on reusable cloth napkins! As much as we use them all year-round, I find they are particularly useful in the summer. So today, I’m sharing 7 ways you can use your cloth napkin to help reduce waste and enjoy the numerous benefits they offer.
Use #1: Replace paper towels with them at the dinner table
The first suggested use is the most obvious: swap paper towels for cloth napkins around the home. I’ve already covered the subject in length in this article, so if you’d like to learn more about how to integrate them in your daily life and how we store them between meals, be sure to take a look.
Simply put, each family member has its own cloth napkin colour, to avoid mixing them up. Another great way to tell napkins apart is to get them each embroidered with a name or a monogram.
We have a few backups, so when a napkin is soiled, we simply toss it in the wash and grab a fresh one. Of course, the frequency varies – my husband and I change ours about once a week, while our youngest kids often need a fresh set every second day.
Use #2: Wrap your lunch or snack
I started using my cloth napkin to wrap sandwiches a little while back, once I became fed up with washing our reusable beeswax wraps… And I find they actually work much better than the wraps after all!
I basically place the sandwich in the middle of the napkin, facing a corner rather than the edge, and I roll. The sandwich stays snug and doesn’t become unraveled, and the napkin can serve to cover my knees or a doubtfully clean surface if I eat on the road, in my car or a random table while I’m away.
The reusable napkin also works for snacks – to wrap a juicy pear, a croissant, a few crackers or whatever you most like to munch on when you get hungry. Yep, I’m a snacker – eating tiny portions all day long is really my jam, so I often pack snacks to avoid getting hungry when I leave the house!
Use #3: Enjoy a picnic
If you like to picnic, you’ll want to bring cloth napkins along for the day. Yes, to wrap sandwiches and the likes – but also to wipe your hands and mouth once you finish eating. The main advantage I see to preferring cloth to paper is that cloth being much heavier, it doesn’t fly away in the wind as easily! This will allow you to blissfully enjoy your picnic without running after your flying paper towels!
Use #4: Deal with spills
Making it a habit or taking cloth napkins everywhere with you will ensure you are never left empty handed when disaster strikes. If you have young kids, you are most likely very familiar with spills and unexpected messes – and that’s when the reusable napkin comes in very handy.
Did you stop for ice cream on the way home? Your reusable napkin will be your best friend. Spill some coffee in the car? Enters, your best friend, the cloth napkin. And so on.
Use #5: Wrap bread to keep it fresh longer
If you have nice thick cloth napkins, you’ll find they work wonderfully to keep bread fresh longer. Wrap a leftover loaf after a meal and enjoy a fresh slice later, as your reusable napkin will help keep the bread moist.
Use #6: Use as a coaster
I used to live in a house where coasters were not needed, but my husband being the vintage buff that he is, we’ve started having nicer pieces of mid-century modern furniture that he wants us to keep looking great. Of course, most of these are in areas of the house that the kids don’t use, but nevertheless, coasters have become a thing.
I found some super cute handmade coasters with a terrazzo pattern, but I find that in certains cases, it’s much more convenient to use a cloth napkin. For instance, on my bedside table where I keep a jug of water to sip during the night, or close to my computer when I’m distractedly grabbing a hot drink as I type away another idea to share with you!
Use #7: Cover fruit in the summer to keep out fruit flies
I DESPISE fruit flies! And since we always have a bowl of fresh fruit in the kitchen, they always become a thing in our house. A few years back, Thomas and the kids tried to make traps for the flies, but it rarely worked. So now, I find the best solution is simply to cover fruit with a cloth napkin. It doesn’t solve the problem completely, but it does help!
Bonus Tip: ALWAYS keep a reusable napkin on hand
At home, on the road or when you are traveling…. A reusable napkin will ALWAYS be useful! My husband and I recently took a lovely week off from our life, heading down to Florida to rest near the ocean, soak up some sun, read, exercise and eat out. A blessing!!! (Thanks, grandma!). But, one day into the trip, I realized that I forgot to pack a few cloth napkins and I really missed having some around on a daily basis!!! First, because we had to use paper towels when we ate in at the little place we rented… But also when we carried snacks around to take with us at Crossfit or at the beach… And in the car!
So there you are! Seven ways to use the reusable napkin. Now tell me: do you use them at home? If not, would you give them a try? Let me know in the comments below!