Posts tagged "napkin"

How can I reuse or recycle yellowing napkins?

napkinWe’ve had an email from frequent commenter Caroline:

I love your site and am always on there looking up new ideas. You have me rescuing other people’s umbrella’s from bins and saving all sorts of stuff that I previously would have thrown away. And sometimes I add my ideas but this time I am stumped.

Someone (knowing I like to reuse things) gave me a bag of yellowed cloth napkins. Some have the odd spot on that looks like the napkin served it’s duty but most just seem to have turned yellow all over. How can I reuse them? I could use them for rags but I save lots of other scraps for that. They are a sort of damask satiny material so not sure if they would dye? Could I bleach them? Would love to hear any ideas you have for reusing them.

The bleaching/dyeing question depends on what type of fabric they are – it’s best for napkins to be cotton to allow for furious washing/boiling out stains but of course that doesn’t mean that they all are. How Stuff Works has a pretty comprehensive guide to removing yellow stains from fabric but again, it depends on what type of fabric it is. Apparently the best way to identify fabric is to see how they burn – while it might be worth burning one to allow you to work with the rest, does anyone have any less destructive suggestions for finding out what fabric they are?

Any suggestions for reusing them – as things other than rags – in their current condition? I imagine the yellow is not uniform enough to pretend they’re supposed to be that colour – but any suggestions where the colour doesn’t matter?

(Oh and off topic but what the hey, frequent commenter and friend of Recycle This, Three Beautiful Things‘s Clare got married on Saturday – congrats to Clare & Nick, and I hope you have a wonderful life together. :))

How can I reuse or recycle disposable nappies/diapers?

Disposable nappyObviously the greener option is to use reuseable nappies but Katie emailed to say:

Did you know that the new disposable nappies are full of ‘swell gel’, it’s the same stuff you get from the garden centre to add to compost to retain moisture and costs around £5 a box.

I have started to re-use my grandson’s nappies, just the wet ones! Rinse them in the shower until all the ‘yellow’ has gone and they don’t smell.

Rip one end and squeeze them into your compost and hey presto, compost that doesn’t dry out. Ideal if you live in an area that has hose pipe bans every summer.

To be honest, I’d be worried about throwing all those petrochemicals into my compost heap because my compost heap is used pretty much entirely for my veg bed but I like the idea – but I could imagine using them at the bottom of flowers tubs in the garden.

Any other suggestions for re-uses? I suspect there will be some overlap with the sanitary towel suggestions but I think the size/shape might lead to some new ideas too.

(Photo by pascal79)