Reusable paper towels are known by many names. So, what’s the one thing that they, unpaper towels, washable paper towels, and reusable dishcloths have in common? They’re all paper towel alternatives that are better for the environment!
They’re a beginner-friendly way to clean up everyday spills, wipe down counters, or dry dishes without all the guilt that comes with single-use paper towels that get tossed away after. In the United States alone, we use over 13 billion pounds of paper towels every year.
Globally, discarded single-use paper towels account for an astounding 254 million tons of trash every year. And their after-effects aren’t the only problem. Making one ton of paper towels pollutes 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water.
As anyone who has ever read about or participated in the eco-friendly movement knows, single-use products are some of the worst for our environment. From plastic bottles and straws to paper towels and cups, they’re nothing more than pollutants.
And thankfully, we don’t need them anymore. Let’s talk about why.
What are Unpaper Towels Made of?
Many natural items can be used for eco-friendly cleaning at home. Our unpaper towels are made of biodegradable cellulose and cotton. That’s all there is to them – 70% cellulose and 30% cotton. You’ll find that simple products have short ingredient lists.
And because these unpaper towels are reusable, those simple ingredients can help reduce or even eliminate single-use consumption at home. They are particularly helpful to have in the kitchen, but there are uses for them in every other room, too.
What Can You Use Them for?
Reusable paper towels are ideal for eco-friendly household cleaning. You can use them to do everything you used to use single-use paper towels and cleaning sponges for. Use them to wash or dry dishes, clean up spills, scrub counters, or clean mirrors.
Use them to dry your hands, scrub a stain, or clean a window. These reusable dishcloths can be used on glass, granite, tile, ceramic, or stainless steel. And you can use them with just water, your favorite eco-friendly soap, or a zero-waste cleaning spray.
Because they’re non-scratch, they’re safe to use on all surfaces. Many people choose to keep one or two in the kitchen and one or two in each bathroom. This helps reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Reusable Paper Towels vs. Single-Use Paper Towels
So, now that we know what they’re made of, let’s talk about why they’re better than single-use paper towels. More specifically, what are the environmental benefits of reusable paper towels? Well, we mentioned before that single-use paper towels create an annual 254 million tons of trash.
Reusable paper towels could be the solution to that number, helping us all cut down on the tons of trash we produce each year. Reusable options can also help cut down on the thousands of gallons of water and trees that are wasted while making single-use paper towels.
Washable paper towels are a great easy way to get started when you’re looking for ways to make your life and home eco-friendlier. And they’re an ideal, sustainable choice for those who are already living an eco-friendly lifestyle, too.
How Long Do Reusable Paper Towels Last?
Our reusable paper towels are functional and durable. Just one could last as long as 15 rolls of paper towels! Unlike disposable sponges, they air dry quickly, so they’re less likely to breed bacteria and create unpleasant odors.
And unlike single-use paper towels, they absorb 20x their weight and dry quickly, so you can use them again when you need to. They are sustainable, sturdy, and as a bonus, stylish! The four print options (flowers, avocado, lemons, and herbs) add some cheer to doing your chores.
Each is screen printed with water-based ink, which is important for a couple of reasons. Water-based inks, which are free from chemicals, are safer for the people using them, the machinery, and the environment.
But they also last as long as the garment does, so you don’t have to worry about them fading, bleeding, cracking, or peeling. And water-based inks are thinner, so they sit deeper in the threads of the fabric and make it easier to print in higher detail.
Our eco-friendly products are eco-friendly from beginning to end, including what they’re made from, how they’re made, how they’re shipped, and how they’re disposed of when the time comes. Sustainable alternatives, from water-based ink to reusable water bottles, are always worthy of our attention.
How Do You Clean Your Washable Paper Towels?
To make the most of your washable paper towels, keep your cloth clean between uses. When done right, each reusable dishcloth can be washed and reused up to 200 times. Here are some suggestions for caring for your reusable dishcloths:
- Squeeze out any excess moisture after use (avoid wringing them out so they hold their shape and don’t wear out faster than they should.)
- Wash the cloth in the dishwasher (on the top rack only) or the washing machine next time you’re ready to run it. Between lighter cleaning sessions, you can also wash them in a clean sink with warm/hot water and your preferred dish soap or detergent.
- If handwashing, be sure to rinse the cloth thoroughly and squeeze it out again.
- Let the cloth air dry on a drying rack or dish rack; don’t put it in the dryer.
That’s it! Just squeeze out the cloth, wash it, and let it air dry. Like we said before, each reusable cloth can be cleaned and reused up to 200 times. On average, that’s the equivalent of 15 rolls of paper towels.
So, using washable paper towels not only helps cut down on single-use paper towel waste but also saves you money and time.
Sanitizing Your Towels and Finding the Right Cleaning Remedies
If you want to sanitize your reusable paper towels, just microwave them while damp or briefly boil them. You can also use bleach if that is your preference. Many people choose to wash them in hot water and soap between uses and find that this is enough to keep them clean.
But how and how often you clean them is entirely up to you. You know your process best, and you know that cleaning some rooms and areas of the house will get them dirtier than others. Use your best judgment to keep them and your home clean.
And keep in mind that they’re not prewashed, so when you clean them, there may be a slight amount of shrinkage. But don’t worry, despite any potential shrinkage, the absorbency of our reusable cloths only increases after the first few washes.
Are Unpaper Towels Recyclable, Biodegradable, or Compostable? And What’s the Difference?
Did you know that many recyclable products, even when we put them in the right bins, still don’t get properly recycled? Some experts estimate that only 9% of recycling actually gets recycled. And when things aren’t properly recycled or recyclable, they end up in a landfill.
Or worse, they end up in a waterway or ocean, where they can cause more damage to the marine life and environment. Many recycled products slip through the cracks, get rejected due to simple contamination, or are simply mismanaged at the sorting center.
Our reusable paper towels are better than recyclable. They’re biodegradable and compostable. And that’s not only better, but it’s easier, too. When you compost, you know exactly what happens to the items you’re getting rid of.
Composting What’s Compostable
Most compost bins contain items like grass clippings, tree leaves, and vegetable food scraps. But you can also put coffee grounds, eggshells, potato peels, banana peels, cardboard, empty toilet paper rolls, and printer paper or carefully ripped up junk mail in there.
And you can throw reusable paper towels into the compost heap, too. If you’re new to composting, we’ve put together an easy step-by-step guide to help you get more familiar with it. Click the following link to read our blog post about composting for sustainable living.
Many people think that biodegradable and compostable are the same, but there’s an important difference. Compostable materials are biodegradable, but they boast the added benefit of also being good for the environment as they decompose.
When you dump your compost pile, it can help create an environment that is full of nutrients and won’t leak anything unwanted into the ground. Nature returns to nature, and our eco-friendly hearts remain happy and guilt-free.
There’s a long list of compostable items. We go over many of them and break them into categories and rooms in the article listed above. We also talk about what is not compostable in the article because it’s important to avoid just throwing any kind of trash in there. Good intentions can still lead us to do more harm than good if we’re not paying attention.
Dabbling in DIY – How to Make Your Own Alternatives
Paper towel alternatives come in many forms. The most important thing is that they’re there when you need them, and they’re not single-use, like regular paper towels, or plastic-containing, like traditional kitchen sponges.
And for some people on the incredible journey to an eco-friendly lifestyle, trying to make some of the products yourself is half the fun! So, for all you DIY lovers, here are some suggestions for making your own paper towel alternatives:
- Stitch together two old (and clean!) cloth diapers.
- Cut up an old tee shirt or robe you don’t wear anymore and were planning to get rid of.
- Use old rags or dish towels that may not be attractive anymore but could still be useful for cleaning.
- Cut an old, worn towel into cleaning strips.
Which Fabrics Work Best for DIY Paper Towel Alternatives?
Flannel, cotton, and terry fabrics work well for everyday household cleaning in many different areas of the house. If you choose to DIY your unpaper towels, we recommend following the same process of cleaning them between uses.
This is a great way to repurpose something that is no longer useful, so it doesn’t end up in a landfill. But after a while, most people find that these DIY cleaning rags serve better as short-term placeholders than long-term solutions.
Our dishcloths, covered in dancing avocados, light-bursting lemons, fun flowers, or happy herbs, are the ideal solution to single-use paper towels. And every step we take in the right direction is one step closer to a more sustainable planet.
The Best Reusable Paper Towels
We could just continue to tell you why our reusable paper towels are the best ones out there, but now we’d like to show you. By sharing real words from real customers, we hope you’ll find the confidence you need to make the leap!
- “I love these things and so do all the people I’ve given them to. I can’t tell you the last time I purchased a roll of paper towels – maybe 12 years ago, or longer. Before finding these I’d use rags but these rinse clean and dry quickly. They make a nice hostess gift wrapped around a bottle of wine 😊”
- “I love how soft and absorbent they are. I just throw in the washing machine to clean or microwave. I keep one in my kitchen and another in my bathroom. Who needs paper towels? Not me!”
- “I hardly ever write reviews for products but this dish cloth is life changing. I don’t understand why these aren’t the only things people use to clean anything. I love them sooooo much.”
- “I have found the reusable dishcloths extremely good for general household cleaning and now that it’s spring cleaning time I’ll be using them for window washing.”
- “These work well for cleaning and drying faucets, counters, etc. Very absorbent, holding up well to daily use.”
These are a few of the most recent reviews on our website. You can read more by scrolling to the bottom of our reusable dishcloth page. Like many of our other eco-friendly products, this one has earned 100% 5-star ratings.
When you choose to build an eco-friendly lifestyle, you choose natural ingredients over chemicals, recyclable and biodegradable finishes over plastics, and products that don’t need gimmicks, fancy catchphrases, or million-dollar marketing campaigns.
This is clean, pure and simple.
More Home and Kitchen Low-Waste Products
Reusable papers towels make it easy for us to ditch wasteful single-use paper products. They’re long-lasting, sustainable, bright, and fun. We love them, and our customers love them, too! But unpaper towels are just the beginning.
If you’re wondering where to go next, we recommend browsing our eco-friendly home and kitchen collection. It contains a wide range of incredible products, ranging from laundry detergent sheets (learn more about laundry detergent sheets here) and wool dryer balls to reusable produce bags made of organic cotton and cruelty-free candles!
Bamboo soap dishes, natural loofahs, and soap saver bags help round out the list, with plenty of other options in between. Home and kitchen products are some of the ones we use the most. Why not choose ones that are better for the people and the planet?
And if you’re looking for even more options, this might be a good time to browse our zero-waste bath and beauty collection, too. From zero-waste shaving kits to everything balm moisturizers, and deodorant cream we’ve got all your beauty bases covered!