Julia August 19, 2021 9 min read
Look around your kitchen and think about all the little spills and big messes that always happen in this room. Do you usually use paper towels to get rid of them? If the answer is yes, you might want to rethink your habits and consider switching to reusable paper towels instead! You’re probably wondering why. Come along, and we’ll explain it all to you!
Paper towels cause a lot of waste when used all the time. That’s because they are single-use, and you rarely use just one to clean up a mess around the kitchen or even the house. The Environmental Protection Agency asserts that paper and cardboard waste – which includes paper towels – make up the largest percentage of wasted material globally. Plus, we cut down 110.000.000 trees per year just for good that includes paper, toilet paper, and, you guessed it right, paper towels.
Being eco-conscious is more than just a way to think, it’s a way to act and live by. We are so used to things that have been in our everyday lives forever, like paper towels, that we don’t realize their negative impact on the environment. It has been proved that starting a more green way to live in the kitchen is the way to go since it’s easier to root sustainable habits when they’re close to food preparation.
So, filling up your towels stock with reusable paper towels is a great way to start. Since they’re reusable, you will get to save money in the long run since you won’t have to buy new ones all the time. It will also save you work since you won’t have to keep remembering to restock. And, of course, the best part: you will decrease your trash accumulation and help the planet by thwarting deforestation.
But what are they exactly? Let’s dive into that!
What are reusable paper towels?
Basically, they are just like paper towels but are made with paper substitutes, more sustainable materials. They can be made of bamboo, cotton, cellulose, or even wood pulp. And the best part is that the swap from regular paper towels to reusable ones is very easy and painless since they are so similar.
The difference stands in the fact that reusable paper towels are much more strong and resistant than conventional ones, plus most of them are compostable and biodegradable, which makes them even better for the environment.
You can use the reusable paper towels just like you would regular ones: to clean spills around the kitchen, messes around the house, large spills in the bathroom, a surprise your pet left you in the living room carpet, and so on. Plus, they can be used with all-purpose cleaners on glass, tabletops, countertops surfaces, and floors.
And, of course, they are reusable. You can use the reusable paper towels as many times as you want during the period designated by the brand, which can go from a week up to two years. Even the ones that only last up to a week will make you save dozens of regular paper towels. All you have to do is rinse them and hang them to dry in between uses. They are very quick to dry and way more absorbent than conventional paper towels.
The reusable paper towels usually come in packs and in different patterns and colors, which can help you be more organized. You can designate which design will have which purpose in the cleaning chores.
- Different kinds of reusable paper towels
- Bamboo: This material is sustainable and has been used to replace paper in many ways. The reusable paper towels using this material are made with strong bamboo fibers that are tree-free. They usually last up to a week.
- Cotton: The reusable paper towels made with cotton are very similar to cotton kitchen towels, but they are made with recycled or scrap fabric. They are biodegradable, so even though they last longer than paper towels, if you use them just once and throw them out, they will still be less harmful to the environment.
- Cellulose Dishcloths: These kinds of reusable paper towels can be made from straight-up cellulose or a cellulose-cotton mix. They are super absorbent, almost like a sponge, super-strong like cotton paper towels, plus they are biodegradable. It can be used on wash machines, dishwashers, and microwaves.
- Microfiber towels: You can use these kinds of towels for months, maybe even years, just by rinsing and wringing them out with water, but they are not disposable. Check out an article we made about microfiber towels here.
How to use reusable paper towels?
Now we’ll walk you through how to use, clean, and store reusable paper towels.
First, you replace the regular paper towels in your kitchen with reusable ones. They can come in a roll, like conventional paper towels, or in singles in a pack. You can place them in a regular towel holder if they come in a roll, just like paper ones. If they come in singles, you can place them in an empty tissue box and use that as a holder.
Then, you can use them just like you would regular paper towels. Grab one square for light jobs and multiple squares for heavier duty cleaning chores. Make sure you understand the absorbancy of reusable paper towels to identify how many you’ll need for each chore.
After using it, you can either hand wash them or throw them in the washing machine. Again, check for the specific instruction on the reusable paper towel you got. Rinse them thoroughly, wring them out and hang them to dry. They dry quickly and are ready to be used again.
The durability also depends on the brand and material of the towel. As we said, they can last from a week up to 2 years. In any way, you can toss them as you would a regular paper towel, they will biodegrade or compost naturally.
You’re probably wondering if reusable paper towels are really worth it and not just annoying.
Aren’t reusable paper towels inconvenient?
We’re not going to lie to you, it can be hard to get used to reusable paper towels after using regular ones your whole life. It’s tempting to just run back to conventional paper towels because they are easier to use. But that doesn’t mean reusable paper towels are hard to use or completely inconvenient.
Since they come in packs, we advise you to try only using them for a whole week. Here are some tips on how to make the best out of it.
- Have at least 3 towels on rotation in your kitchen at all times, so you’ll never be left hanging;
- Quickly rinse them or wash them and hang them to dry right after you use them, so they are always ready to be used again, and you don’t have to leave the mess waiting while you wash the towel to use it;
- You can put them in the microwave for a minute in between washes to further disinfect it;
- They are more absorbent than regular paper towels, so you can usually use just one, even for large spills;
- Try splashing some water on them before using, they tend to soak up more when a little damp.
By the end of the week, you will have an empty landfill and the feeling that you are helping Mother Nature. Plus, seven days is more than enough time for you to get the hang of it. Believe us, you will never go back to regular paper towels ever again.
What to look for in reusable paper towels?
Make sure the reusable paper towel you get is compostable, biodegradable, and non-toxic. Also, check for green product certification labels such as Green Scale, Rainforest Alliance Certified, and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). All that will ensure you that you are indeed making a change that will have a positive impact on the environment.
The material which your reusable paper towel is made of will let you know how absorbent they are. Cotton usually soaks up better, and hemp usually retains more moisture than bamboo, for instance.
The 5 best reusable paper towels available on Amazon
Swedish Wholesale Cellulose Reusable Paper Towels
Made of cellulose and natural cotton, the Swedish Wholesale reusable paper towels come in a pack of 10. Each towel has an 8 x 7 inches dimension, and each has an absorbency power of 20 times its original weight.
The brand promises that each cloth can be used over 50 times, which means a pack with 10 units can last for approximately a year. That is long enough to replace 150 regular paper towel rolls.
They come in a variety of colors and are very easy to clean. The reusable paper towels can go on the washing machine, and they dry pretty fast, being ready for the next time you need to use them.
Safe for marble, stainless steel, tile, and wood surfaces, you can also use it to scrub, dry dishes, cups, mugs, sinks, and tubs. They are even more versatile than conventional paper towels.
You can find it on Amazon, as the best seller, for $20. The price per towel is $2.
Scotch-Brite Reusable Paper Towels
The cheapest item on our list, the Scotch-Brite reusable paper towels, is only $5 on Amazon. Coming in a pack of 5, each towel costs $1, which is a pretty good deal. Each cloth has a 10 x 19.8 inches dimension, which makes them larger than most.
These are a good option if you’re just starting to let go of regular paper towels. You can use them to try something new around the kitchen and the house before getting more high-end products.
They are very absorbent, being able to clean big messes and soak up large spills on refrigerators, bathrooms, and crafting spaces. Plus, they have a lightweight design, so they dry super quickly, which also makes them odor-resistant.
The Scotch-Brite towels are very easy to clean, you can wash them by hand or toss them in the washing machine. The downside is that they are made of polyester, so they aren’t compostable.
Marley’s Monsters Rolled Reusable Paper Towels
The pricier set on our list, the Marley’s Monsters reusable paper towels, are $65 on Amazon. The higher price is explained by the quality of the product, though. Each towel is handmade with 100% natural cotton flannel, which makes it fully organic. They are made with serged edges to prevent fraying and also to make the product even more durable.
This set comes with 24 towels, each with a 12 x10 inches dimension. They also come in different patterns, which makes it easier for you to designate which belongs where. Also, they are very aesthetically pleasing, making your kitchen even more beautiful and classy.
Marley’s Monsters is a brand certified as “true zero-waste,” which gives you the certainty that their products are eco-friendly and good for the environment. Plus, it even is committed to “commercial composting.”
They come with a roll, which makes them super easy to use and store. Besides that, the brand promises that the absorbency of the towels improves and increases after the first few washes.
Made with a blend of sustainable bamboo and organic cotton, the Mioeco reusable paper towels might be the most eco-friendly item on our list. That’s because not only is it made with biodegradable organic materials, the production of these towels is made with carbon-neutral manufacturing. This process causes a minimal environmental impact and is 100% GOTS verified.
It comes in a pack of 10 and is the size of a full conventional paper towel, having a 10 x12 inches dimension. That allows it not only to be used for the regular cleaning chores you would do with a paper towel but also for you to use it as a napkin during meals.
The brand promises that the absorbency of the towels improves as they are used and washed. Plus, it is very effective at removing tough stains and grease, a field regular paper towels aren’t so good in.
They have serged edges for durability and for preventing fraying. Besides that, the Mieco reusable paper towels are very easy to clean since they are machine washable and dry pretty quickly.
Lola Products Wowable Reusable Paper Towels
If you want longevity, this is the product for you. The Wowable, by Lola Products, comes in a set of 30 reusable paper towels, and the brand promises that each cloth can last up to 2 years. That way, the full pack can solve your kitchen’s and house’s problems for you for almost a lifetime.
Made of 70% wood pulp and 30% unbleached non-GMO cotton, the towels don’t have any kind of harmful chemicals. With these materials, the cloths can go on the washing machine and on the dryer without any problem. Plus, they are very easy to rinse between usages.
The brand promises that the reusable paper towels are 350% more absorbent than the average and 450% stronger. They can be used everywhere you would use regular ones and more, such as kitchen, bathrooms, windows, garages, and floors.
They come in 5 different colors and are arranged in a roll, fitting standard towel holders, making it even easier for you to make the switch. You can find it on Amazon for $20.