Paper towels are a quintessential household good across the globe. Over the past few decades, these all-convenient absorbing tools have ousted sponges, napkins, hand towels, kitchen towels, tissues, bar towels— you name it!
We’ll give you this: paper towels are super versatile, surprisingly effective, and extremely easy to use. Just tear a few squares, clean up your mess, and chuck it away in the trash. Out of sight, out of mind.
But for the mindful few out there, the question arises: should you be using something other than a paper towel?
From an environmental standpoint, the case for paper towels doesn’t look too good. But even if you ignore the environmental concern for a second, sometimes using paper towels is simply too inefficient and very wasteful— especially in terms of money.
On the other hand, alternatives to paper towels can be much better— both for the environment and your pocket.
Top 6 Paper Towel Alternatives
These paper towel alternatives will do everything that a regular paper towel does and do it just as well. In fact, you’ll find that some actually do it better.
1. MioEco Reusable Paper Towels
- Certified by Global Organic Textile Standard
- Made from a cotton-bamboo blend
- Highly absorbent
MioEco reusable paper towels are not only a waste-free alternative to traditional paper towels; they are also much more versatile.
These paper towel alternatives are made from a blend of soft cotton and bamboo. Bamboo fabric is rising in popularity because of its sustainable production and life cycle. The resulting fabric is bleach-free, recyclable, biodegradable, no-odor, and highly absorbent.
Thicker than regular paper towels, the MioEco paper towels can absorb liquids up to five times their weight. Not only that, but the product claims to improve its absorbency over multiple uses. Whatever the case, you can use these for drying, washing, or cleaning up any mess.
The best part? You won’t have ended up using an entire roll of paper towels to, let’s say, deep-clean your microwave. Think about how much money you’d be saving!
Moreover, the cotton-bamboo blend can withstand multiple washes in the machine. Instead of throwing it away in the trash and adding to your household waste production, you can simply throw them in the washer.
2. Wowables Reusable and Washable Paper Towels
- Made from 70% wood pulp and 30% cotton.
- Each roll has 30 sheets.
- Fits standard paper towel holders
The Wowables reusable paper towels are the perfect fusion of sponges and paper towels. They come on a paper towel roll holder and look exactly like paper towels.
However, these reusable and washable paper towels are much more durable and far more absorbent than their traditional counterparts.
Made from a blend of wood pulp and unbleached, non-GMO cotton, these paper towels act more like a sponge. As such, you can use them to clean virtually all surfaces of your house. Moreover, these towels can also double as a mop or sweeper.
In contrast with standard disposable paper towels, these reusable alternatives can give you over two years of usage. According to Wowables manufacturers, that’s over $500 dollars you would have otherwise spent on disposable paper towels.
3. Bamboo Kitchen Dishcloths
- Made entirely from bamboo
- Multi-purpose kitchen cleaning
These bamboo kitchen dishcloths remind us why bamboo is booming in popularity as a sustainable fabric alternative. Like regular kitchen towels, the highly absorbent bamboo dishcloth is good for general cleanup and drying the dishes.
But these tough and thick bamboo kitchen dishcloths go the extra mile by removing tough residue from pots and dishes.
Similarly, you can use these bamboo kitchen dishcloths for everything kitchen-related. And unlike traditional paper towels, you won’t have to go through rolls and rolls of paper towels for something as simple as wiping down the counter or drying your hands.
In fact, with these packs of six kitchen dishcloths, you can easily use each square for specific tasks around the kitchen.
Since the kitchen is a highly spill-prone zone with lots of bacteria, these bamboo dishcloths are bound to become dirty and gather bacteria. But you can easily throw the dirty dishcloths in the washing machine with a little bit of detergent, and you can use them all over again.
Not only that, but the pure bamboo fabric actually becomes softer, fluffier, and more absorbent with each wash. This is due to bamboo fabric’s natural tendency to retain its fullness as they don’t have any loose, fraying threads.
4. Simply Reusable Paper Towel Rolls
- Made from 100% cotton flannel
- Comes with a kraft tube for rolling and mounting the paper towels
The Simply reusable paper towel rolls are a true paper towel alternative— tube and all. These reusable paper towels come in a roll of 15 10×10 inch cotton flannel sheets.
The flexible sheets themselves naturally roll around a kraft tube, much like regular paper towels. Not only that, but they come in different hues and patterns, adding a decorative flair to your kitchen.
Another good thing about the durable kraft tube is that you can re-roll the paper towels onto them. This way, you won’t have to leave them scattered around the kitchen or hanging over the edge of the sink.
Of course, these reusable paper towels can do everything a regular paper towel can. Since cotton is much more absorbent and durable than paper, you can clean up big messes much more effectively.
After a few uses, you can toss them in the washing machine with the rest of your laundry. After it finishes drying, you can easily roll the cloth back onto the kraft tube and reuse it continuously.
5. Aidea Reusable Cleaning Wipes
- Made from polyester and viscose
- Machine-washable and reusable up to 25 times
- Pack of 80
The Aidea reusable cleaning wipes give you the best value for your money. A single pack contains 80 individual wipes, each measuring 12×24 inches. This is equivalent to 30 rolls of paper towels!
Not only that, but you can rinse and reuse each wipe up to 25 times before having to discard it. As you can imagine, this will significantly reduce both the waste that you produce and the money you spend each week on paper towels.
The polyester-viscose blend is super absorbent, being able to absorb 15 times its weight. You can use them for a variety of purposes around the house, from wiping the table to dusting the decor.
Moreover, the fabric is highly durable and can withstand machine washes. However, users report that they prefer hand-washing the wipes instead.
6. Mizu Towels
- Made from bamboo-cotton blend
- Features Imabari Towel craftsmanship
- Color-changing strips detect impurities
- Can be used as a hand towel, kitchen towel, and face towel.
Mizu Towels are a hi-tech alternative to traditional paper towels, wipes, tissues, and even towels in general. Featuring Japanese Imabari towel craftsmanship, Mizu towels offer unparalleled durability and absorbency.
The towels can hold up to 5× its weight in water. At the same time, they can dry 3× faster than water, so you can use them multiple times before having to toss them in the washing machine.
What’s more, the silver threads of the towel are naturally self-cleaning by preventing the buildup of bacteria. Between their quick-drying and anti-bacterial properties, they don’t need to be washed too frequently.
Speaking of which, the towel itself lets you know when it needs to be washed. Each towel has a lining of solvatochromic dye strips that change color from blue to red, signaling that it’s time for a wash.
With Mizu towels, your paper towel use in the bathroom as well as all over the house will significantly decrease.
Other Tips To Reduce Your Paper Towel Usage
If you are concerned about how much paper towel you are using, there are plenty of changes you can make and alternatives you can turn to. Here are some ideas:
- Reuse old, recycled clothes to make cleaning, wiping, drying, and dusting rags. These rags won’t be as absorbent as other paper towel alternatives, but you will still be reducing your overall waste.
- Use brown paper bags for absorbing oil and grease around the kitchen. While using brown paper bags
- If you still get newspapers or magazines, you can reuse those papers for a variety of purposes. This includes cleaning glass tops, windows and absorbing oil from foods.
- Start keeping small rolls of toilet paper around the house. Since toilet paper rolls are smaller than paper towel rolls, you’ll force yourself to use less paper.
- Start using hand towels for cleaning and drying your hands instead of paper towels.
Remember: the point is to stop overusing paper towels. As such, you can gradually wean yourself off paper towels by slowly incorporating other alternatives.
Paper towels are an extremely convenient and versatile tool to upkeep your household’s hygiene and cleanliness.
However, they are just as equally damaging to the environment. Not only that, but they’re also extremely wasteful in terms of money.
Luckily, there are countless paper towel alternatives already available in the market today. Unlike regular paper towels, these alternatives are long-lasting, reusable, and simply more effective.
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