Probably one of the easiest zero-waste alternatives to introduce to your lifestyle, cloth napkins are both practical and pretty! They come in a variety of colours and textures so that you can adopt one that perfectly fits your taste. And don’t let yourself be swayed by tradition—you can start consuming less without spending a fortune. Start by treating yourself, then your family or loved ones… And eventually, your guests! You truly don’t need to buy 20 cloth napkins right off the bat.
Are you curious to learn more about inviting cloth napkins in your life? Here are a few of the questions I am often asked!
What are cloth napkins made of?
You can find cloth napkins made of all kinds of fabrics out there including natural and synthetic fibres, but personally, I prefer natural fibres. Here at TSHU, we make cotton napkins with high-quality cotton, so that your napkins feel sturdy and luxurious—and they last forever or at least until you get tired of them and want to revamp your collection! In my home, we’ve had ours for nearly 10 years now…
What size are the cloth napkins?
Most cloth napkins are rather large in size, so that you can fold them neatly onto your lap, and wipe your mouth and hands in a clean corner every time.
Here at TSHU, our standard sized cloth napkin measures 42.5 × 45 cm—which, in my opinion, is the perfect size and folds up nicely on the table, too.
For our younger clientele, we also make slightly smaller children’s cloth napkins. These measure 34 × 34 cm each.
How to use cloth napkins?
Cloth napkins are probably the easiest eco-friendly swap you can use, since they don’t involve huge compromises on your part. Instead of pulling out paper napkins for every meal, you simply take out your set of cloth napkins, store them after the meal and re-use them until they need a good cleaning.
How to wash cloth napkins?
To wash your cloth napkins, I recommend adding them to your laundry load and washing them in the machine in lukewarm water. To ensure optimal durability, I always prefer to hang them or lay them flat to dry—and I generally avoid the dryer. Just like pretty much any article of clothing, you can soak or scrub them if your napkins becomes stained with beet juice or tomato sauce, but honestly—even with 3–4 kids in the house, I’ve pretty much never had to do this and our napkins still look fine!
Patterned or plain cloth napkins?
Of course, the first thing to consider when choosing cloth napkins is your personal taste and home decor. This will help you determine the colour scheme that works best with the ambiance you are trying to create and your personality. But there are also some practical aspects to consider, such as who will be using the napkins and when. For instance, if you have young children—you know that meal times can get messy. So a napkin with dark colours and patterns will last longer since the stains won’t be as visible on them.
With such a large family in tow, I like to opt for patterned napkins! But hey, I’m not the kind of person who can wear white and stay clean on a daily basis.
Good news is, whatever you prefer, we do both! And if you can’t find what you’re looking for on the shop? We might be sold out at the moment—but feel free to reach out and tell me about your dream cloth napkins. I LOVE making dreams come true so if I can make the perfect cloth napkin for you, I sure will!
How many cloth napkins do you need?
The minimum I would recommend is two cloth napkins per person in your family—and perhaps a few extras if you like to have guests over from time to time. In our family, we have 4 per person—my husband and I usually keep ours 4–5 days, but the kids tend to swap every second day because their napkins need a good cleaning more often!
How are the cloth napkins made?
Everything you’ll find on the TSHU online shop—including our lovely cloth napkins—is entirely handmade in Montreal, in our small family-owned workshop. I personally make all the napkins myself and pride myself on using quality materials. I take great care in making the napkins, so that they will last a long time in your home. I would much prefer you to come back to get more because you adore them or because you’ve fallen in love with a new style than because your napkins haven’t aged well!
Can I save money by using cloth napkins?
Definitely! Just consider this: our family of 5 has been using cloth napkins for the past 10 years or so. Which means, we’ve had over 50,000 meals together. Let’s say that each paper napkin costs 3 cents… That would be more than $1600 worth of disposable napkins (not to mention how much waste that would have created!!). Let’s say your average cloth napkin costs $18 and you have 2 per person… That’s a mere $180. So yeah, I’d say this eco-friendly alternative is also the most budget-friendly option!
My personal tip for using cloth napkins wisely in your family
A tip that I have found useful when adopting cloth napkins is to attribute one colour to each family member. In our family, my husband has yellow, my eldest son has green and his younger brothers pink and blue. I inherited the brown napkins, because the kids wanted to swap all the time and hey, I choose my battles 🙂
In any case, this makes it easier to remember whose napkin is who’s and I find it’s more convenient than using napkin rings! Another option to tell the napkins apart is to get them personalized with embroidery.
How can I get personalized cloth napkins?
Easy! Just add our embroidery options to your cart. If you want four cloth napkins embroidered, add as many options! I can do a monogrammed napkin, or a napkin with a name. I can also do a few words.
Here are the options if you’d like to take a look:
As per colour and font, I have quite a few options for you! Let me know the thread colour you would prefer in a little note with your order, and choose from 13 fonts (see the embroidery listing for photo!).
Of course, if you have any questions before making the leap or if you want to brainstorm different options, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m here to help and I’ve seen my share of cool ideas, including “VIP” embroidered napkins for guests 🙂
Where to buy cloth napkins?
Take a look at our line of cloth napkins right above on the online shop! We make single napkins and sets which are even more budget-friendly.
And if you can’t find what you are looking for, just write me a message and we can create your dream napkin together.
Giving cloth Napkins a trial run
If you’re not convinced that you’ll fall in love with cloth napkins right away, it’s ok! I understand that changing your habits can be intimidating, which is why we have sample cloth napkins available at a much, much lower rate. How come? Well, when the products aren’t 100% up to my standards because they are stained, imperfect or simply because I’ve decided not to put up a certain style for sale or I’m not happy with the quality of the fabric), I turn them into “orphans”—meaning that they are available at a reduced rate so you can test them out.
One cloth napkin = one tree saved, and another planted
One last thing you might want to know about cloth napkins—and more specifically TSHU cloth napkins is that for each napkin or set of napkins you take home with you, we commit to planting a tree. Learn more about this commitment on our ABOUT page!