Tenugui - The Truly Remarkable Cloth - 6 Ways we Use Them at Home - tortoise general store

Tenugui - The Truly Remarkable Cloth - 6 Ways we Use Them at Home

Posted by CreativeR Collaborator on

Tenugui cloths are colorful, hand-dyed, 100% cotton, traditional Japanese cloths with a multitude of uses.  Truly ubiquitous in Japan and treasured for their durability around the home, tenugui cloths seem to be handier than ever during this safer at home period when simple things like paper towels are running short.  Here are some ways we're using them in our home.

1. Wrapping lunches, cleaning hands, wiping faces with Tenugui

Tenugui is a resilient tool when caring for kids. Pictured above are two stacks of tenugui cloth that are each over 10 years old.  If you have kids, you know they require a lot of wiping, cleaning, drying and repeat.  Wrap up their snacks with a tenugui cloth instead of using a ziplock bag, have a tenugui handy for wiping faces and little fingers before they eat.  Then when they're used, give them a quick wash and rinse under the kitchen sink and let them hang dry.  They'll be ready again before you know it.  

2. Cleaning and drying our fresh produce

We are all taking an abundance of caution washing fresh produce when we get them home from the supermarkets and we've started drying them off with our tenugui cloths.  Tenugui cloths have unfinished edges so once they are wet, they air dry quickly!  Since we have so many of them, they are always in abundant supply for our monthly big hauls.  


3. Preserving the food we have

Once we have the food we need, it's important to keep the food fresh and well preserved.  Many root vegetables like garlic, potatoes and onions should be stored in cool spots in the kitchen - well ventilated and away from sunlight.  Tenugui cloths are beautiful to look at it, and the patterns are uplifting.  We can cover things up with them that we don't want to see, like unsightly cords or snacks we need to stay away from, but they are also great at covering food we need to keep fresh.


4. Tenugui can be cleaning rags for the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom - anywhere!

While disposable paper towels are convenient, they are also wasteful and in limited supply.  Tenugui cloths can be great when you need to wipe down a counter or sponge up a spill.  Yes, they may stain - but often times, they do not - if you wash them quickly under hot water in the sink and hang dry.  Once you get your tenugui cloth used to hand washing, you can also easily throw them into the machine for a thorough cleaning.  No problem!


5. Tenugui is the perfect napkin.

Tenugui cloths are narrow and long, but they can be cut in half to become the perfect sized napkin.  Mix and match patterns and enjoy how they liven up the table.  Functionally, they're less precious than fancy napkins, and also infinitely softer as you use them.  Once you start using tenugui cloths as napkins, it's hard to use anything else.


6. No-sew face masks for kids and adults

These multi-purpose cloths have quickly become a go-to option for easy face-coverings.  When a non-medical face mask became an essential item, the NY Times shared a tutorial on how to sew a face mask at homehowever many of us don't know how to sew.  Tenugui cloths can be folded and tied to fit the face, and can be easily washed after each use.  Tutorials on how to do this easy folding mask can be found here - as demonstrated by the makers of these tenugui cloths!


There you have it - tenugui cloths are a truly mulit-purpose gem!  Available in many fun patterns - you can purchase them here on our online shop.  

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