It is easy to save money in the kitchen through following the examples of our ancestors. Before paper towels were invented, people would use cotton hand towels to clean messy spills in their homes. In 1931, Scott Paper Company created the first roll of paper towels for use in the kitchen; however, people successfully cleaned spills in their kitchens with bath towels, or soft pieces of terry towels, long before this date.
In 1931, when the first paper towels were introduced, the public scoffed at these frivolous fineries that would create ongoing unnecessary expenses in the home. The act of buying expensive paper sheets to throw away instantly was a luxury that most homes could not afford while their sturdy Egyptian cotton household towels would last for many years. The general public did not embrace the use of paper towels until after World War II.
Modern housewives are misunderstanding the term: kitchen rag. When World War II drew to a close, women were working in war-oriented establishments. As the men came home and retrieved their jobs, females remained employed outside of the home. Many believed that there was little time to hand-wash their messy cloth kitchen rags; however, most people do not hand-wash their bathrobes, bath mats or towels today.
Historically, women did not use rags in their kitchens. Most women took pride in the appearance of their homes and used brand new eco-friendly cotton towels to mop away household spills. Thrifty housewives would purchase one large bathroom towel, tub mat, or absorbent waffle bathrobe and cut these items into sizes that worked for their cleaning needs. Luxurious Turkish bathrobes/towels or kids robes became the new cleaning rags.
Women would keep their soiled kitchen rags in a covered bucket or jar of soapy water that was kept under the kitchen sink. The strong soapy water allowed the towel to refresh between small kitchen uses. Today, many households spend $5.00 each week on rolls of paper towels that are not necessary. Organic cotton spa towels, bathroom towels or hand towels can be used to replace a paper towel habit for hundreds of dollars in savings.