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The Making of an Eco-Friendly Kitchen Cloth

Posted by Julia Schaffer on

It was a good kitchen cloth I was after. I thought about it many times a day. In fact, every time I reached for a cloth to wipe something up. I wanted an alternative to the non-biodegradable micro-fibre cloth made from petroleum-based products and shipped in from China.  Something natural that worked well - how hard could it be? Then in 2009, on a visit home to Canada I was reminded that the cloths we used growing up had been hand-knit either by my grandmother or my mom or picked up at the flea market.  This is the story of The Posh South African Kitchen Lappie.

Hand-Knit Production Creates Home-Based Employment

My grandmother knit a prototype that I brought back to South Africa and gave to a fantastic group of knitters living in Manenberg, on the outskirts of Cape Town. Working from home, they are able to generate an income and still be available for their families and communities. 

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South African Grown and Processed Cotton

The Posh South African Kitchen Lappie is made from super-absorbent South African grown and processed cotton yarn. Not only does this support its tiny carbon toe print, but also makes them gracefully biodegradable. Wash your Lappie on the top shelf of your dishwasher with your dishes eliminating the need for bleach, which is a nasty pollutant and will shorten the life span of your cloth and be sure to keep away from knives. Cared for properly, your lappie will last for

The Posh Lappie Get Its Name

When I first started making the cloths, I thought the best way to introduce the idea was to sell them at markets. So there I stood with a trestle table full of what must have looked like knitted squares. A curious passerby stopped and after I had presented my well-rehearsed sales pitch, she looked at my table of cloths and said, "Oh so it's just a posh lappie."  

Lappie is a South African word for anything that you would wipe with. It comes from the Dutch word lapje meaning a small cloth or rag.

The Scrub 

Then along came The Scrub, hand-knit from the natural fibre sisal. One can see sisal growing wild in South Africa, brought here from Mexico long ago. It is naturally tough and makes a good rope.  The scrub also washes nicely in the dishwasher and lasts a long time  - but not too long - like a plastic kitchen scourer which never fully breaks down. The Scrub is a perfect kitchen tool when you need a little abrasion without scratching.