Paper towels are so yesterday!

by Amanda Hearn · 13 comments

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Paper towels are so yesterdayPaper products can be terrible environmental offenders. From the use of virgin pulp, the manufacturing and the worst – the disposal. When it comes to household paper products, they are all disposable. What an awful waste of a tree!

One easy change for you (and big change for the environment!) is to replace your paper towels with washable ones. Not only is it better for the environment, it’s better for your wallet and for cleaning. The nap on cleaning cloths helps pick up dust, dirt, and debris – while paper towels tend to push around unless you work on cupping your hand.

There are so many options when it comes to these. There are beautiful unpaper towels that some vendors sell on sites like Etsy. Some even snap together so that you can put them on a roll like traditional paper towels.  They come in a variety of colors, prints, and styles. Some vendors will even make them custom to your taste.

However, if you’re like me, you can’t afford to outfit your kitchen with spendy paperless towels.  Not that I wouldn’t love some.  It’s just not something needed right now.

So what did I do?  Well, one day while at the store I spotted a huge rack of 18-count washcloths.  They were about $5 a pack.  For $10 I have 36 perfectly usable and scrubby cloths to use to tidy up my house.  They work well, wash well and I couldn’t be happier with them.  Especially since they were so affordable.  I store mine under my kitchen sink for easy grabbing. (I’ve had these for FOUR years now, and many of them are still as scrubby as ever.)

And look, even my kids like them 😉

When I’m done cleaning I toss them in with my regular laundry.  If you like to keep things a bit more tidy (or if you like accessories) you can even get one of these great kitchen wetbags to store them in until laundry day.

Regardless of what you choose to get, you’ll love the switch from paper towels.

Have you made the switch?  I’d love to hear what you think and if you purchased unpaper towels, what brand you recommend.  It might help someone else choose.

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Amanda Hearn

Amanda Hearn

Founder of The Eco-Friendly Family, design geek, serial tanktopist, content creator, mother, coffee addict, & lover of fun. I am also a partner at Green Child Magazine & Put A Cup In It!
Amanda Hearn

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Josefine June 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I guess we have been doing this for a while without thinking about it! We cut up old towels and cotton T-shirts and use them for cleaning. Works great!

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Tatiana June 23, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I totally switched! I even stopped using napkins and my favorite swiffer wet pad thingies (which I admit was very hard for me). But I'm super glad I did. Now I just have to wait for the paper towels that I bought in bulk to run out (hopefully over a very long period of time), so that I can stop using them all together. It's a little too tempting to have them on the counter so I keep them in my closet and use in emergency situations only.

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Sydnii June 23, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Since I moved out of my parents house three years ago, I've gone through maybe four rolls of paper towels. When I ran out of my last roll, I didn't buy any more. Towels or dishcloths work just as well for cleaning up spills or wiping down sticky children!

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hattonlife June 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Great Idea, I use recycled paper towels (7th generation products) but will be using this more, if I can get my husband to do this when he is working on the farm, it will be a huge cost savings as well as much more eco-friendly.

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Cheri June 30, 2010 at 12:20 am

About 2 years ago, I cut up some flannel fabric I had and sewed quick and easy "hems" and created cloth napkins for my family. I keep them in a basket on the kitchen table. Then for cleaning, I bought a huge package of microfiber cloths that were retailed for cleaning cars. I bought them at Costco and split the pack with a friend. I use these bright yellow one for cleaning and dusting. They are fabulous getting up the dust! The only roll of paper towels we had was one made by seventh generation and rarely used. My husband recently bought 2 rolls of regular paper towels!!! At least we have yard-waste that we can put them in for composting. He got an earful from me about that purchase!
We also have been using Seventh Generation TP and I've noticed that the price has come down since we first started using it!
Thanks for a great post! I hope more people start doing this easy switch!!

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lizhasalife July 5, 2010 at 4:15 am

Great idea…I've been wanting to buy the cute unpaper towels but these would work great!

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Liz July 5, 2010 at 4:15 am

Great idea…I've been wanting to buy the cute unpaper towels but these would work great!

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Michelle July 9, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I haven't totally given up the paper towels but we have significantly reduced our use of them. I cut up a bunch of old dish towels to use instead.

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Katherine March 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm

We started using cloth towels and cloth napkins about a year ago and I love it! There are a bunch of different types from various vendors on etsy, but of course there are a bunch of cheaper alternatives. We have hooks on our laundry room wall and just hang up used (wet) cloths/napkins until they dry and can go into the regular laundry basket.

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Stephanie March 2, 2014 at 2:29 pm

One suggestion for readers… I have learned that I shouldn’t wash my kitchen cloths with my regular laundry. I’ve gotten oil spots (from cheese or other foods, I assume) on my clothes. So they get to be put in a special bag and washed by themselves when I’ve accumulated a loads
-worth.

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Lacey NB November 4, 2014 at 11:21 pm

I purchased some huck towels for this purpose, but they are so large and unwieldy! This post has inspired me to cut them into smaller sizes so they are easier to use. And I love the idea of the kitchen wet bag!

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Star December 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I used some old towels that got ripped up from age or the dogs, not sure how; but they make great hand towels for the kitchen. Plus the bigger one are great for those big spills.

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