Did you know down that we cut down between 3.5 billion to 7 billion trees a year just for consumer goods? Disposable cleaning supplies like paper towels are used in large quantities, piling up in landfills all across the nation. Cleaning up messes is something most of us have to deal with daily, but as useful as these absorbent wipes are, they’re not kind to the environment.
Apart from leaving a glaring carbon footprint, these single-use kitchen cleaners can get expensive and add up over time. Instead, look for a reusable option that allows for more than one cleanup session, or lets you spend less per sheet. Reusable paper towels are preferable to rags, which need to be washed after every usage and are known to harbor bacteria.
There are fabric-based options and biodegradable ones. Some resemble cloths, while others look more like a traditional paper towel roll. They’re also made of sustainable materials like cotton and bamboo. Bamboo grows in only a few months and is frequently used to make reusable alternatives to products like cotton swabs and produce bags. The next time you’re running out of paper towels, order one of these substitutes approved by us instead of heading to the store.
1. Earthly’s Unpaper Towels Reusable Napkins
Earthy’s reusable towels double as napkins and help buyers live a zero-waste lifestyle. They offer a lemon print and a terrazzo pattern, both made with 100% cotton. This unbleached flannel fabric can retain quite a bit of liquid and is durable enough for multiple sessions. The wipes are thick enough to tackle any dirty surface, like wood, glass, and bathtubs. They’re delivered wrapped in a chic recyclable box, making these a lovely housewarming gift as well as a functional household purchase.
2. Enviro Safe Washable Bamboo Paper Towels
At first glance, Enviro Safe’s roll looks just like the traditional ones found in stores. In reality, they are biodegradable bamboo papers that can be washed off easily. Enviro Safe’s eco paper towels come with both regular sheets and scrubbing sheets, both of which are thick and perforated. The scrubbing sheets allow you to generate light friction on stubborn counterstains or pots and pans. Frequent hand-washers will rejoice over the long shelf life of a single paper towel.
3. Mioeco Reusable Bamboo Unpaper Towels
These organic bamboo sheets are available in a 10-pack and 20-pack. They’re a classic white color and resemble dishcloths, but contain at least 95% organic fiber and are produced in a mill with a high social and environmental standard. One buyer successfully used them for a serious grease mess that would have taken an “entire Bounty roll of paper towel” and even attached photo evidence. It’s not pretty, but it is undeniable proof!
4. Well Earth Goods Flannel Notpaper Towels
Well Earth Goods is a zero-waste, plastic-free, and 100% sustainable company – even their packaging is recycled. Their handmade Notpaper Towels come in a 12-pack and are made out of soft, absorbent flannel. They’re available in classic colors and neutrals, giving an elegant and coordinated look to any kitchen. Notpaper Towels are pre-washed, meaning they won’t shrink down after multiple uses and cycles in the washer and dryer. Reviewers use them all over the home, from counter wipe-downs to daily dinner napkins.
5. Marley’s Monsters Unpaper Towels: Solids
Marley’s Monsters is based out of Oregon and one of the leading brands in reusable paper towels. Their paper towels are upcycled or created from existing scrap fabrics. This rainbow stack is made out of single-ply 100% cotton flannel, with serged edges that prevent fraying. They also carry a rolled version that mimics a more conventional look, and offers convenience. They also donate fabric scraps to local organizations. Marley’s Monsters is loved by many worldwide for its playful colors and prints, which makes tidying up a little less boring.
6. Three Bluebirds Swedish Dishcloth, Herbs
Three Bluebirds make it impossible to choose from their whimsical but classy screen-printed designs. They offer a cacti dishcloth and a fungi-themed one for mushroom lovers, but our favorite is the herb dishcloth, which illustrates common cooking herbs alongside their name. The affordable cloths are biodegradable, compostable, and made of 70% cellulose from FSC-certified forests and 30% cotton. Customers of Three Bluebirds appreciate a high absorbency, and that there’s no moldy smell lingering after usage. Plus, they donate 1% of sales to environmental causes.
7. AM NoLimit Trade Reusable Bamboo Paper Towels
AM NoLimit Trade’s paper towels look just like the real thing. Each roll has 20 towels and costs $5.95 per roll, which is ideal if you’re hesitant about investing in a bulk pack. Constructed from lint-free bamboo that’s also organic and biodegradable, AM NoLimit Trade joins the fight against deforestation, and delivers a great reusable paper towel at the same time. Unfortunately, they can’t be put back on the roll once used, but can be folded and stacked, or stored in an old tissue dispenser. One Amazon reviewer said she went from using 10-15 single-use sheets a day to only one reusable sheet that lasted up to three days.
8. Wowables Reusable & Biodegradable Paper Towels
Wowables has a niche offering in renewable cleaning supplies – offered in four bright colors, these ultra-absorbent paper towels come with 260 pieces that stand up to multiple messes. The base is wood pulp and non-GMO cotton that is unbleached. It can even be washed in the dishwasher or washing machine and is commonly used as an alternative to Swiffer pads thanks to their resilient strength. One user calls them a “cross between a sponge and paper towel.”
9. If You Care Reusable Paper Towels
Are you a fan of composting? This compostable and reusable 12-count pack by If You Care contains cloths for all kinds of surfaces, which the company claims are resistant to tears and abrasions. They’re made from a mix of cotton and cellulose, and pride themselves on the fact that, unlike bamboo competitors, no fibers remain on surfaces with these wipes. One towel can be used for up to a week and can absorb up to 16 times its weight in water. Disinfect them by simply boiling or microwaving them.
10. Nicole Home Collection Eco-Friendly Reusable Cleaning Cloths
Nicole Home Collection is our top perforated pick, with 30 easy-to-tear sheets and hundreds of praise-filled five-star reviews. As one consumer puts it, “I am saving money and the landfill at the same time.” They have heavy-duty durability, making this eco-friendly solution well worth the price. They’ll last for ages, but when you do finally have to throw them out, knowing that they are biodegradable will ease any guilt.