So, why should you use cloth napkins? Is it that big of a deal anyway? Well, I have gathered together 10 good reasons why it might be of value to you, along with a little help from my lunch packing friends:
1. It’s fun for kids to have their own cloth napkins. You know how fun it is to pick out a new lunch box and backpack when shopping for school? Yeah, cloth napkins can be like that too. And you can get a lot more styles and colors for very little money. Even grown ups appreciate a great lunch – including a nice cloth napkin 🙂
2. napkins can fill in gaps in lunch boxes. When you take the time to pack a bento lunch, you want it to still be in one piece by lunch time. Napkins can help keep things from shifting around if you have a kid who likes to swing their lunch box as they walk. Cristi, from BentOnBetterLunches, describes this very nicely in this post, My Bento Packing Secret!
3. Choosing a cloth napkin to go with a holiday, birthday, or whatever your child’s current interest is another way to show your kids that you love them and are thinking about them when they’re away from home. Kendra, from Biting the Hand that Feeds You, shows how she used a cupcake ring as a napkin ring in this adorable Easter themed lunch: Simple Easter Lunch!
4. When you eat away from home, you don’t always have control of how clean the table or other surface is when you sit down to have your lunch. Spread out your cloth napkin and use it as a mini table cloth, so at least you have a small clean surface if you need to set down your fork or your apple between bites.
5. Cloth napkins are so soft! They just feel better, sturdier, more homey. Who wants a flimsy paper napkin with its papery lint? So cold and unfriendly! If you’re packing a homemade lunch anyway, you should top it off with a soft cloth napkin. As you wipe your mouth with it, you might smell a little of that fabric softener you use, and it will remind you of home… and then you can use it to wipe that small tear that may escape from the corner of your eye, if you really love your home that much 🙂
6. They can be tossed in the wash with other loads, so you don’t have the added burden of wondering when you’ll have time to wash them all. They are small, so even a dozen napkins can fit in with any regular load of clothes or towels. * Kendra, from Biting the Hand that Feeds you, keeps a bag in her kitchen to toss the used napkins in – then empties the bag in the washing machine. No sweat!
7. Paper can’t hold up to most spills like cloth can. Once my husband, son, and I were riding in the car. I had packed us all bento lunches, which included small containers of ranch dressing. My son’s exploded when he tried to open it, and it ran all over his hands and arm ( you can read about that here). I tossed him one of my cloth bento bags and he cleaned it up quickly, and nothing spilled on the car. Okay, I know that was a bento bag, but a cloth napkin would work just as well!
8. It doesn’t cost much to buy cloth napkins to match whatever your child is into at the moment. It can be a big commitment to buy a lunch box or back pack with a specific theme, though. How can you be sure your child won’t get tired of it halfway through school? It may help the back to school shopping negotiations if you agree to buy some special themed cloth napkins for lunches, and in return your child can tolerate a plain colored lunch box ( which can last more than one year and save you money in the long run!)
9. It saves money. Did you know that the average person uses 2400 – 3,000 paper towels at work every year? You could buy a set of cloth napkins from my Etsy shop for $11.25. Using those at lunch time will cut down on the money wasted on paper towels, and they’ll last for possibly hundreds of uses – as opposed to those one-use paper towels.
10. It’s so much better for the environment. According to Going Green Today, 42% of all global wood harvested is destined to become paper. And did you ever consider that the typical takeout lunch consists of 1/3 paper, 1/3 plastic, and 1/3 food? It just makes more sense to pack lunches in lunch boxes and use cloth napkins! Erin, of Feeling a Little Lunchy, describes how she has replaced paper with cloth in this post: feeling a little earthy
Now that you have some good food for thought, if you are starting to think some cute little lunch-sized napkins might be just the thing you want to buy… I can help you out! I now sell cloth napkins in my Etsy shop, and you can find them here: Beneficial Bento