We’ve talked many, many times about using cloth towels and rags in place of paper towels, and despite sounding like a smart idea, it has never taken hold (with me).

This time we (Marsh) bought like a 50-pack of towels, bar-mop style towels. When they arrived, they seemed smaller and flimsier than we’d been picturing, but I think that worked to our benefit.

Because they seem so unimportant, and there are so many of them, I made the switch readily this time, and I’ve only had to fetch paper towels once or twice (bodily fluids only is our rule). Meanwhile it feels very freeing to reach for one of these cloth rags for simple spills — sometimes just water — and chuck it in the laundry when it becomes untrustworthy. Of course we use soap or sanitizer as well on food preparation surfaces.

It feels a little weird to acknowledge how acculturated I had become to a particular and quite narrow definition of value with regard to a certain reality of life: spills and messes. How resistant I was to questioning even a tiny shift in the balance of cost/availability/disposability. And I think of myself as a creative (at best) or chaotic (at worst) personality!

It’s also a fun thing to notice. It almost doesn’t matter what the actual data would say. I suspect someone has studied this and discovered the sweet spot for economy, convenience, and environmental consciousness, and it’s not paper towels nor cheap cloth towels, probably made in China. Or maybe Canada. Or it is *PLOT TWIST* paper towels! I don’t know. I’ll probably have to go look it up now.

But finding a hitherto unknown blindspot? Priceless.