Back in 2011, I was inspired by Oprah's "Favorite Things" episode to do my own version highlighting some of my favorite kitchen and cooking-related items that make great gifts during the holdays. This year, I've decided to expand the idea to include some general household and organizing items that I find useful or indispensable. Happy Holidays!
When I worked in the restaurant industry, one of the things I got to really appreciate were "Bar Mops." They're simple white terrycloth towels that are used to wipe-up all manner of spills and kitchen messes, clean countertops, and even serve as makeshift potholders (albeit not as safe).
Bar mops are really a workhorse in the commercial kitchen and replace most of what paper towels usually do in a home kitchen. The reason they're able to do this is because they're usually provided by a linen company that drops-off a few bundles each week and picks-up the dirty grimy greasy ones to be commercially cleaned so they're as good as new.
It turns out that Bar Mops are easy to get for your home kitchen. They're usually sold by the stack (6 or more per package) as "Automotive Detailing Towels" in the automotive section of your favorite box store or wholesale warehouse. At less than 50 cents each, even if they only last a handful of uses, they're still a better bargain than blowing through rolls of paper towels. Also, they keep the grease out of your good kitchen towels so they stay absorbent for drying dishes.
There is one caveat. It's difficult to reproduce the cleaning power of a commercial linen laundry when trying to clean your bar mops at home. I've found that a heavy-duty degreaser detergent like this extremely effective, natural orange oil one from PurePro or less espensive but smellier Simple Green Citrus work pretty well and extend the life of your bar mops. Just add a quarter cup of the PurePro in place of detergent or a quarter cup of Simple Green in addition to detergent and a half-cup of bleach in the bleach dispensor of your washer. Wash on warm, not cold or hot. I typically keep a bucket or a basket in the kitchen just for bar mops and cloth napkins and I do a batch of bar mops when I've accumulated enough.
Disclaimer: All opinions on these products are my own and I've
purchased these items myself or received them as gifts from friends and
family. I don't even receive a kickback from Amazon for the links, so
feel free to buy from your favorite local kitchen supplier. They'll
appreciate the business!