The Return of Paper Towel Emergencies

Back in my childhood, paper towels were regarded as an expensive commodity, to be used rarely, if at all, and only on the most spectacular of spills. For a spill to be worthy of a paper towel, a Paper Towel Emergency had to be declared unanimously  by all present. Otherwise, we were supposed to use the kitchen sponge or a dish cloth to wipe up the offending area.  

Over the years, it’s been my opinion that our household has gotten way too lax in our use of both these items. Channeling my dad, I see the paper towels come and go, and I think, how could we use so many paper towels?  But we do.  Same with kitchen sponges. I was raised in a two sponge household — one for disgusting messes and one for dishes.  I am sorry to report that that this rule is not strictly followed in our house. Consequently, we go through more kitchen sponges than I consider appropriate, especially at the new going rate of a buck a sponge. 

Well, times have changed. The coronavirus grocery shortages have put an end to the casual use of just about everything. We now have half a roll of paper towels and one, groty kitchen sponge to hold us until we find some more.  

This makes things complicated. Just this morning, I was forced to decide whether the little pile of cat vomit that greeted me on waking justified a paper towel. After a brief debate, I decided it was too early for that nonsense, and used a single half sheet of along with a spatula to scrape up the remains.  

Sometimes it’s the little things that bring it home to you — those moments when you realize, we’re not in Kansas anymore.  For me it’s paper towels.  Meanwhile, here at the homestead, not only are we starting to be out of things, we’re afraid to even go to the store to look for them!

Comments | 4

  • Try these!

    For about $20, you can get a stack of microfiber “towels”, about 12″ square. My family bought 24 of them and use them all the time. They absorb well (no fabric softener) and you just toss them into the wash with your towels.

    I realize that if you don’t have laundry equipment in your home, this idea is less than convenient. But if you do, it’s great.

    But while I have your attention, can we please put pressure on the dishwasher soap people to pull that ad suggesting that you run your dishwasher every day — even if it’s not full? It seems to think that you’ll wash by hand (thus wasting water) if you don’t run the machine. I try to only run it every other day, and only then if it’s full. Why would you waste the power, water and soap if you didn’t need to? Makes me angry every time I see it.

  • Back in the day...

    We never had paper towels until I was a teenager. There were rags in buckets for different purposes, and sponges that, like in your house, were for dishes or cleaning. Dusting? Old facecloths in the linen closet. Big spill? Old towels or get the mop. Oily or soapy spill? Pour the box of salt on it, sweep that up, clean with a rag. Cat or dog oops? Newspaper and rag. To this day I also debate if something justifies paper towels but not so sternly. I’m old and life is short.

  • Ouch!

    You’ve brought my already-existing guilt to the fore! I mean guilt over all the paper towels I use. I’m one of those who have no home laundry or dishwasher, so using rags or sponges means holding onto the filthy ones until I can get to a laundromat (a dying entity in itself). BUT – you’re right!

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