Old School: Napkin Rings

Old School: Napkin Rings
February 29, 2016 Christina Mullin

Recently, I started using napkin rings again. It’s something I haven’t done in decades, since I was a child, living in France. Then, napkin rings were a holdover from the days before washing machines, when table linens were not washed after every meal and it was necessary to use personalized rings to identify which napkin had been used by which family member so they could continue using the same one until it was washed.

These days, if you happen to live in a part of the world (like I do) where water is becoming an increasingly precious resource, every small effort to save water makes a difference. I’m trying to reduce the amount of laundry my household produces each week, because even one time use cloth napkins pile up fast.

When shopping for napkins, I try and choose cloth napkins that are easy to wash, and preferably don’t need to be ironed. Some of my informal napkins are made from old tablecloths I cut up into napkin sizes. When I can find them, I’ll buy linen napkins, which are made from the fibers of the flax plant, which are more environmentally friendly than cotton, which uses a lot of water and chemicals to grow.

When washing napkins, wash them in cold water, using a biodegradable and phosphate free laundry detergent and whenever possible, line dry them.

I found these plain wooden napkin rings and added them to my store. They come in a bag of 25 and are ready to be painted.

Did you know…Napkin rings are an invention of the European bourgeoisie, first appearing in France about 1800 and soon spreading to all countries in the western world.