Among our fave eco-friendly habits to adopt, cloth napkins are at the top of the list! Beautiful, soft, absorbent and easy to care for, they help you reduce your consumption of paper napkins without changing your daily habits significantly.
But how to make this new habit appealing to the whole family? And how to ensure the transition is a success? Here are 3 helpful tips to get you started!
Tip #1: Have spare napkins on hand
To avoid going back to paper at the first hurdle, you should consider having a spare “set” … and even two if you can afford it!
This way, when one of your napkins gets soiled, you can put it in the wash with the rest of your clothes, linens or towels—without having to rush to wash everything before the next meal!
Tip #2: To each their own
To avoid putting all the napkins in the wash after every meal because no one remembers who has what, it’s important that each member of the family has their own cloth napkin and that it’s easily recognizable! There are several ways to do this:
Differentiate by fabric colour
A simple way to make sure everyone knows which napkin is theirs is to assign a colour to each person. For example
Differentiate by stitching colour
A more subtle way to differentiate the napkins while maintaining a certain coherence in terms of design could be to vary the colour of the napkin topstitching. For example, you could adopt a black napkin and have the black stitching replaced with different coloured stitching for each family member:
- Mom: black napkin with pink stitching
- Dad: black napkin with blue stitching
- Son: black towel with green stitching
Differentiate by the pattern on the cloth napkin
Aside from colour, a pattern can help easily differentiate everyone’s cloth napkin! For instance, you could consider a set of Japanese-inspired cloth napkins, with:
- Mom: yellow napkin with KIKKO pattern
- Dad: blue napkin with NAMI pattern
- Girl: white napkin with ASANOHA pattern
Differentiate with custom embroidery
This is probably the easiest and most obvious way to identify everyone’s napkins! Just have each napkin embroidered with the first name of the family member. In our family, we would have…
- Mom: Marion
- Dad: Thomas
- Son: Santiago
… Or you could have fun by embroidering on each napkin a little affectionate name, like
- Mom: Mams
- Dad: Paps
- Son : Mimi
Get creative! We’re here to make your craziest personalized embroideries come to life :).
Tip #3: Each napkin in its place
To avoid removing and tossing all the napkins in the wash after each meal, it’s a good idea to have a place to store them when the meal is over.
At our house, there is a little basket where everyone throws their napkins after each meal. And, before each meal, a family member takes out the napkins and puts them back on the table.
You can also gently fold each napkin and place them on the back of each chair after each meal… At our house this doesn’t work, because with our little 3-year-old tornado, they all end up on the floor in less than 5 minutes, but if you are alone or your children are more docile, this is a good option, too!
How long before washing your cloth napkin?
It’s similar to handkerchiefs: it all depends on your tolerance level… But also on the menu! In our house, a napkin can usually be used between one and five meals.
Our older children usually manage to keep a napkin in acceptable condition for 2–3 days, unless they are served sushi or pasta bolognese!
As for our little guy, he still uses a mini-TSHU (small cotton towel lined with bamboo terry), which we give him wet with warm water so he can wipe himself several times during the meal. Needless to say, we change his little bamboo washcloth every day!
How long do cloth napkins last?
In our home everyone has their own napkin. The oldest ones are probably more than 8 years old. Some are still in pretty good shape, while others look like old rags—depending on who they belong to in the family!!! It may be the same in your household: one of our children (who will remain anonymous!) wears out his things like you wouldn’t believe, despite our best efforts to encourage him to be more careful… But that being said, Thomas’s and mine still look very nice!
Choose your cloth napkins wisely
If this is your first time using cloth napkins, sky is the limit! Some people prefer to stick to one pattern for all the napkins—and others (like us) prefer each family member to have “their” own colour or pattern. We even have a dedicated guest colour at our house. Of course, we chose colours that work well together to keep the table looking cheerful and pretty every day!
Personalize your napkin
Would you like to personalize your cloth napkins? We offer two options:
A personalized napkin with your initials embroidered
To get your initials embroidered on one of our cloth napkins, simply contact me! We can discuss your project and I’ll help you design the perfect monogrammed napkin for your needs.
A personalized napkin with your first name embroidered on it
To get embroidered napkins with your first name on them, a word or even a little nickname, you can also reach out to me and we’ll decide on the ideal font and thread colour for your project.
Tell us about your personalized napkin project!
To ensure that your personalized napkin project is a success, don’t hesitate to ask us for advice! We’re always happy to discuss which napkin designs are best suited for everyday life or grand occasions, and advise you on the thread colour of the embroidery so that the result is to your liking!