Normally, I hate paper towels. I use cloth towels or rags in the kitchen. I keep a clean handkerchief with me at work to dry my hands after washing up. And I no longer make bacon or fried potatoes (for health reasons). Napkins and paper towels just fill up the trash or compost bucket too quickly.
But lately I’ve been washing my hands several times throughout the day and using a fresh paper towel to dry my hands each time. And it comes down to one of the few reasons that can make disposables worth the waste–health.
You see, since we moved into our new house, I’ve been occasionally going out back to pull some of the poison ivy. I’d wash my hands and arms once I got back inside and didn’t have any ill effects. Everything was working so well. I felt invincible!
Unfortunately, I must have gotten a bit overconfident. In this past week, what I at first thought were bug bites on my arm multiplied and spread after scratching them. And there are more of the little bite-like marks now across my arms and wrists, just begging me to scratch them. I even have some redness and itchiness on my abdomen and belly button. Overall, it’s not bad for me compared to horror stories I’ve heard about poison ivy, and I’m pretty sure some of the itchiness is psychosomatic. But it’s made its point, and I’ll be more careful in the future.
For this week, though, in case the urushiol oils are still around somewhere, I’ll be doing a bit of cleaning, rewashing clothes, and throwing out a paper towel every time I wash my hands.