9 Practical and Stylish Alternatives to Paper Towels for an Eco-Friendly Home

Are you tired of constantly buying and throwing away paper towels? Do you want to reduce waste and save money on household supplies? As someone who has tried multiple alternatives, I can confidently say that there are many great options available. Here’s a guide to the best replacement for paper towels based on personal experience and additional tips from the Reddit community.

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Why Should You Look for an Alternative to Paper Towels?

Before we delve into the best alternatives for paper towels, it’s essential to understand why you should consider switching to a more sustainable option. Here are some reasons:

  • Environmental impact: Paper towels are made from trees, and their production leads to deforestation, which has a severe impact on the environment.
  • Waste generation: Paper towels are disposable and cannot be recycled, which means they end up in landfills, leading to waste generation.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Replacing paper towels with eco-friendly alternatives can save money in the long run.

Reusable Paper Towels

Reusable paper towels are a great option for those who want a product that looks and feels like a traditional paper towel but can be washed and reused multiple times. You can make your own by cutting up old towels or t-shirts, or purchase reusable paper towels made from sustainable materials such as bamboo and cotton. These towels are often very absorbent and durable, making them a great investment for long-term use. I recently tried out the If You Care Reusable Paper Towel , and I have to say, it’s quickly become my go-to replacement for paper towels in the kitchen. Take a look for yourself here.

Tip: Be sure to have a designated place to store used reusable towels until it’s time to wash them to avoid cross-contamination with clean towels.

Unpaper Towels

Unpaper towels are similar to reusable paper towels, but they often come in a roll or stack that can be easily torn off. They are usually made from cotton, flannel, or bamboo, and can be washed and reused many times. Unpaper towels come in a variety of colors and patterns, making them a stylish addition to any kitchen. Here are the towels from Marley’s Monsters, look how colorful they are!

Tip: Look for unpaper towels that have snaps or other closures to help keep them securely on a towel rack or holder.

Old T-Shirts

Old t-shirts are a great option for those who want to make their own reusable paper towels or cleaning cloths. They are soft, absorbent, and often readily available. Simply cut the t-shirt into the desired size and shape, and you have a homemade paper towel replacement that can be washed and reused.

Tip: When cutting up t-shirts, consider using pinking shears to help prevent fraying around the edges.

Swedish Dishcloths

Swedish dishcloths are a newer alternative to paper towels that are becoming increasingly popular. They are made from a blend of cellulose and cotton, which makes them very absorbent and reusable. These cloths are also very versatile and can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks, from wiping up spills to cleaning countertops. I personally liked these ones, but you should try it for yourself, there are plenty of cool brands out there.

Tip: Swedish dishcloths can be washed in the dishwasher or washing machine, but it’s important to avoid using fabric softeners, as they can damage the cloth.

Tea Towels

Tea towels are a classic kitchen accessory that can also be used as a replacement for paper towels. They are typically made from lightweight cotton or linen and come in a variety of colors and patterns to match your kitchen decor. Tea towels can be used for drying dishes, wiping up spills, and other general cleaning tasks. I just ordered these ones to try them out, but the reviews are pretty good, so must be a good option.

Tip: Be sure to wash tea towels regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and odors.


Washcloths are a smaller option for those who prefer a more compact cleaning cloth. They are often made from soft, absorbent materials that are gentle on surfaces. Washcloths can be used for wiping down counters, cleaning appliances, and other small tasks.

Tip: Consider using different colored washcloths for different tasks to prevent cross-contamination.

Beeswax Wraps

Beeswax wraps are typically used as an alternative to plastic wrap, but they can also be used as a paper towel replacement. They are made from cotton fabric coated in beeswax, which makes them waterproof and easy to clean. Beeswax wraps can be used to wrap food, cover bowls, and even wipe up spills. I highly recommend this Set of 6 Organic Wax Wraps from Natissy as a practical and eco-friendly replacement for traditional paper towels.

Tip: Be sure to wash beeswax wraps with cool water and mild soap to prevent the beeswax from melting or wearing off.

Linen Napkins

Linen napkins are a great option for those who want a paper towel replacement that is both stylish and functional. They are typically made from high-quality linen or cotton, and can be used for wiping up spills, cleaning surfaces, and even as a napkin for meals. Linen napkins come in a variety of colors and patterns to fit your personal style.

Tip: To prevent stains and odors, soak linen napkins in a solution of cool water and white vinegar before washing.

Flour Sack Towels

Flour sack towels are a versatile option for those who want a multi-purpose cleaning cloth that can also be used as a replacement for paper towels. They are made from lightweight cotton and are very absorbent. Flour sack towels can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks, from wiping up spills to cleaning windows and mirrors. Here is the flour sack towels brand I’m currently using and I like it very much!

Tip: To increase absorbency, wash flour sack towels with a small amount of fabric softener before first use.


Overall, there are many great alternatives to paper towels that are more sustainable and cost-effective in the long run. Whether you choose to make your own or purchase from a store, there is an option that will fit your needs and preferences. By using these alternatives, you can reduce waste and create a more eco-friendly home.