A Washcloth A Day Keeps Bacteria Away

Stop going through paper towels like there is no tomorrow. I mean I get the draw, because some kitchen cloths are scary. S.C.A.R.Y. You usually know the scary ones by their extremely repugnant smell. That smell is bacteria growing in the dishcloth that you could potentially spread on all the surfaces of your kitchen. Do not use a smelly dishcloth!

There is a better way than paper towels. I’ve used this technique for years. It is so easy, you’ll wonder why you haven’t thought of it yet.

Step 1) Have a drawer or place to stash a ton of kitchen cloths.

Step 2) Get yourself in the habit of reaching for a new cloth, pretty much at every meal time to clean up. These are the same cloths I do dishes and dry them with as well.

Step 3) Before you grab a new dishcloth or dish towel out, put the used one in a bucket under your kitchen sink. Since I got rid of my toxic cleaners, I have lots of room under my sink!

Step 4) When you are about to run out of wash cloths, run the wash cloths through the wash. I do mine once a week on Wednesdays.

Bonus tip: I use my mop bucket to hold the wash cloths, so every time I do the wash, I mop before I fill up the bucket again. This way I’m not storing 2 buckets in my kitchen. Before I load up dirty cloths again, I spray some Basic G in the bottom of the bucket so it doesn’t get moldy down there. {Buy Basic G here – one bottle of Basic G will make 75 gallons of germicide that mixes easily in a spray bottle.}

Doesn’t that sound super easy? We go through a roll of paper towels maybe every few months. Otherwise, I would have to use at least a roll a week to make up for how often I need to wipe surfaces in my kitchen. Save a tree and use re-usable wash cloths for all your kitchen needs. And seriously, a wash cloth is so much better to use than a paper towel. For real.

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47 thoughts on “A Washcloth A Day Keeps Bacteria Away

  1. Super smart Mary. I think I might have to start doing this as well. We go through way too many paper towels and it drives me nuts. So do you also use the microfiber clothes with your cleaning products or do you just use the wash cloths? Do you dust with these cloths too? Thanks! :)

  2. I have 2 baskets under my sink. One is for dirty cloths & towels like you do, and the other is for dirty cleaning rags. I like to keep them separate. It saves me time not having to run them down to the laundry room every day. I wash them once a week or as needed. I do wish I had a larger drawer for the clean ones! :)

  3. Ok, I have to ask where you got your floral cloths from? I have some wall decals like them and would love to get some to match. I love your idea, I just have to get my hubby to stop using two paper towels every time he washes his hands! I might convince him to use the cloths for drying off his hands if he knows it’s a clean one.
    Also, do you have a catalog for all of your cleaning supplies?

    1. I did this a while ago. To make it an easy transition I did three things; 1- move the paper towel holder to a less convenient spot (inside the pantry instead of on the counter), 2- put a cute basket of washcloths where the paper towels used to live, and 3- put the dirty rag bucket next to the garbage. No one can say it’s a hassle to use a rag now because everything is in the same spot as before and the only thing that has changed is swapping paper for cloth.

  4. I love this idea. My main problem is finding washclothes I like that are affordable and not so cheap that they fall apart. Where do you buy your washclothes?

  5. Or…by a Norwex envirocloth. Wipe, rinse, hang up, done. Wash when it smells (which will take a while to happen). Again, I think Norwex is a great compliment to your Shaklee lifestyle. :)

  6. I keep my clean towels under the sink and throw the dirty ones out in a container in the garage(just outside the laundry room) every night before I go to bed. I can’t believe how empty your sink cabinet is. Mine is full with a tub of rags, recycling and kitchen cleaning products. @ Jen, Target sells thin white washcloths that can be used as rags. If you use white, then you can bleach them

  7. I have a similar system set up but in my laundry (there’s no room under my kitchen sink!) .Putting them all through the wash together is also handy and hygienic too. Thanks for sharing your tip.

  8. Clever! I switched from paper towels to cloths about a year ago and am loving it; but I never thought to keep a bucket in the kitchen for the used ones. Ingenious!

  9. I do the same thing with my kitchen rags! But, I still have one problem… what about the rags that are really wet when you’re done using them? Seems like ours always are when we get done sanitizing counter tops. Where do you hang them to dry if there is still a week left until it’s time to wash all the rags? You know, so they don’t start growing?

      1. Sounds like a great idea. My pipe isn’t convenient for that because it hangs over my cleaning bucket, but I think it is a great idea.

      2. In the laundry room next to my kitchen, I have a tall plastic open-weave laundry basket just for dish towels and hand towels from the powder room. At the end of each day, I hang the damp towel(s) over the sides of the basket. They’re dry by the end of the next day when I put them into the basket and hang the newly damp towel(s) over the side. This keeps them from getting smelly before they’re washed. At the end of the day, after the kitchen is tidied up and I’m ready to turn out the lights, I put out one or two clean folded towels on the counter for the next day. At least there’s some order in that one little corner of my life.

  10. How would I get the product specifications for that Basic-G? I’m interested in buying it for our office, but need the specifications of what it is actually certified to kill, and any product warnings, such as skin irritant, etc. Thanks in advance! Can you contact me by email?

  11. I like that tip! I do something similar, but I just change mine once a day (or more often if I do something gross). The rag dries out overnight, then I change it in the morning. I never put my rags in the bucket wet. I let them dry out first.

    Also I rinse and wring out my rag well each time after I use it.

  12. Great tip – I love using real towels instead of paper towels, I just feel like they do a better job (probably just in my head) – I love the tip about the double-duty bucket!


  13. I love this, I keep a nappy bucket full of water and a little peppermint oil under the sink for bibs and cloths. I have never heard of basic g though. I will have to check it out. Paper towel is such a waste!

  14. I use those “shamwow” (?) orange towels in the same way. I cut them in 4, and have a stack of clean ones and a pail with dirty ones. at the end of the day I let the used one dry, and in the morning I put them in the pail…to avoid mold problems (which you might not have with your cloth ones)

  15. I’ve been using rags for some time. I never have figured a way to manage the dirty ones (too icky to throw in regular hamper). Your bucket idea is great. I’ll give it a whirl!

  16. I’ve been meaning to start a system like this. I’m pretty hyper-clean when it comes to dish cloths, but then the used cloths end up hanging around until laundry day. I love the process with the mop bucket. Thanks for sharing this. I’m going to try it!

  17. Mary: You are incredible!!! seriously I’m so impressed! You’re right. So very simple and SMART!

    Thanks for linking up again at mercyinkblog.com! we’re blessed by your inspiration!!!


  18. I love this tip. (I think I remember reading it back on your old family blog years ago?) I finally put it into action after we were going through so many wash cloths with our messy toddler. It’s so simple, yet brilliant. It’s made our kitchen cleaner and easier, so thank you!

  19. This is so helpful! My husband hates using dishcloths because they start to smell. I will definitely be changing my ways. Thanks for sharing at Snips and Spice Sunday Slice.


  20. I like to use microfiber cleaning cloths and a mop with microfiber pads. I keep a mesh laundry bag just for those hanging in my laundry room on a couple of command hooks. When I run low, I close the bag and throw it in the washer. I think I’ll do the same for dish cloths under the kitchen sink, maybe over a bucket to catch any drips. I like the mesh bags because wet things get some air flow and dry out instead of getting musty.

  21. How often do u change the dish cloths? I don’t have a dishwasher so i have to hand wash. Should i change the cloth every day? Also some (well ok most) of my dishcloths smell even after i wash them. What should i do? Unfortunately i can’t afford to buy shaklee products. Should i soak them in vinegar? Also my dishtowels have food stains on them b/c my hubby uses them for napkins (annoys the heck out of me!) How can i get out the stains? Some of them have already been through the dryer. Please help!

  22. This is such a good idea! Ehy did i never think of it?!?
    Unfortunatly i used to reuse my dishcloths for awhile before i changed them and now they smell if used only once. How can i get rid of the smell? Soak in vinegar?
    Do u wash (and store the dirty ones) ur cleaning cloths seperatly from ur dishcloths?
    My husband has used my dish towels as napkins and wiping his hands on while cooking. It drives me crazy! How can i get the food stains? Some of them have been through the dryer w/ stains.

    1. A really hot wash with some basic G would help with the smell! I store my kitchen cloths in the kitchen and my cleaning cloths in the laundry room. I don’t like to picture toilet cloths cleaning baby bottles in my sink, even if I sanitize them. :)

      You can find Basic G here: http://maryjohanson.myshaklee.com/us/en/products.php?sku=00525
      And the laundry soap I use here: http://maryjohanson.myshaklee.com/us/en/category.php?main_cat=HomeCare&sub_cat=GetCleanLaundry

        1. I actually got some last month so that I would be able to give an honest review. It is awesome! I’ve had one person tell me they like it more than the liquid. I’m still a liquid-preferring person, but the powder is great.

  23. I love your method except for using the same bucket to mop. You are placing germy rags in the bucket, so the bucket is germy, right?! Then you spread those germs all over your floor when you mop!! Gross! Might want to change that part of the plan.

    1. I clean the Mop Bucket every time I empty it. I don’t want weird things growing in there. So, you don’t have to worry about my floor being covered in germs. ;)

  24. When you store the dirty rags for a week, do you ever get any mold/mildew? I love this idea but I am a little scared of what the rags might look like after a week under the sink.

    1. If you’d feel more comfortable, you could use this same idea and wash twice a week. I’ve had mildew before, but that doesn’t seem to happen if I hang the rags to dry on the edge before pushing them all the way in the bucket. And I always spray the bucket generously with Basic G in between washes and sporadically during the week.

  25. I have a small hamper that I inherited from my M-I-L. I keep it in my laundry room. I throw all my kitchen cloths and cleaning rags in there. Wash them once a week

    1. I think if my laundry room were close my kitchen, I would definitely use my laundry room instead of under my sink! A cute small hamper sounds adorable!

  26. In addition to changing the cloths and towels daily in the kitchen, I switched to cloth napkins as well. I have a special basket on the dryer where my family puts their used ones. (Convenient for us bc our laundry room is right by the kitchen.) I have tried to make it fun by having different baskets of napkins for each season. I haven’t purchased any at full price. I found all of them at thrift stores I wash them on the sanitary cycle each week. My entire 5 season spring, summer, fall, Christmas, winter) stash of cloth napkins probably only cost what 5-6 large packs of paper napkins costs. And, we’ve been using them for years, so they’ve paid for themselves!

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