The 7 Best Reusable Paper Towels - Including a Comprehensive Guide

Looking for an alternative to wasteful paper towels? Check out our list of the 7 best reusable paper towels - made from sustainable materials and easy to wash!

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The 7 Best Reusable Paper Towels - Including a Comprehensive Guide

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Although there are a lot of cloth towels and beautiful sponges, it is difficult to resist the urge to use paper towels. Paper towels are great basically because they are easy to use, and you do not have to reuse them. However, it is evident that they are bad for the environment and create a lot of paper waste-- they are single-use and are made out of trees through a chemical-laden process, and are often chemically bleached.

So, it is preferable to make use of eco-friendly towels. Reusable paper towels, or unpaper towels, unlike regular paper towels, are eco-friendly and do multiple cleaning which is a great way of saving money. And as a result, also limit the number of paper towels you dispose of, thereby reducing your personal impact on the planet. They are made from cotton, cellulose, or bamboo, and replacing single-use paper towels with reusable can deplete your household trash. Here is an overview of everything you need to know about reusable paper towels.

Are Reusable Paper Towels Good?

Paper towel alternatives are everywhere, but are they effective and eco-friendly? Reusable paper towels are eco-friendly, more durable, super-strong, absorbent, and are most compostable, and biodegradable than standard paper towels which makes them the best alternative for regular paper towels. 

Benefits Of Reusable Paper Towels To The Environment

One of the ways to make a big difference with zero waste products is by using reusable bamboo paper towels.  Even though some paper pulps are made from recycled materials, paper towels are not responsibly made from paper sources.  Hence, the strong environmental benefits of reusable paper towels of which include:

1. Improved Sustainability

The environmental benefit of unpaper towels can firstly be seen in their ability to reduce the destruction of trees. Reusable paper towels are made from wood pulp(cellulose), bamboo, cotton which are grown, and extracted in the environment, and fewer raw materials which makes them sustainable in production. On the other hand, regular paper towels are made from wood pulp gotten from forests and timber plantations, causing a huge reduction in the timber industry.

Improved Sustainability

The U.S census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey show that 318.4 million Americans used paper towels in 2019, and this could increase to 328.07 million in 2023. This is equivalent to 13 billion pounds of towels used by Americans annually which simply means 270 million trees are thrown out every year. Using reusable paper towels will drop the figures rather than increase them over the next few years and also save trees which are needed to mitigate the effects of global greenhouse gas emissions. Though, they are sustainable only if you reuse them. 

2. Reduced Carbon Generation 

CO2 is a harmful gas that leads to a variety of illnesses such as headaches, asphyxia, convulsions, and many others.  Its major threat to the environment is the greenhouse effect which is a result of excessive CO2 that creates a cover that traps the sun's heat energy in the atmospheric bubble, warming the planet,  and the oceans. One of the high sources of CO2 generation is paper towels as they generate about 0.06lbs C02 each.

Reduced Carbon Generation 

This increases as the use of paper towels also increase such that if you use 20 paper towels in a day then your paper towels would have generated 438 Ibs of CO2 in a year which if summed up in population has a huge negative impact on the environment. However, reusable paper towels reduce the number significantly because they can be used multiple times, thereby reducing carbon generation.

3. Reduced Waste

Unpaper towels are not made from trees but rather made from bamboo which grows, compost, and biodegrade faster than trees. Reducing the number of paper towels you trash might seem small but makes a huge difference. Paper and cardboard waste of which paper towels are a major contributing factor that makes up the largest percentage of waste materials. So, using bamboo paper towels is a tremendous solution to reducing the waste burden on society and the environment. 

Reduced Waste Paper

Paper towels cannot be recycled because they are low in fabric so you have to put them in a compost heap to break down ( ensuring that they are free of plastic and have not been used with harmful cleaning chemicals). This in itself is still considered waste when you put the raw materials and energy into consideration. And when trash sits in landfills emits methane which is a greenhouse gas that accumulates more heat than carbon.

So, instead of having to trash multiple paper towels each day, using reusable towels should be adopted as they last for a while and if finally disposed will biodegrade naturally with no traces of harmful substances. 

Best Way To Use Paper Towels

Unpaper towels are often not as convenient to use compared to regular paper towels, and it can be tempting to give up on them but they eventually get cheaper on the long run.

Here are some tips on how to use them perfectly:

  • Purchase about 2 to three bamboo towels, so you can switch when you have one washed.
  • Slightly wash with dish soap and dry on a flat surface after every usage.
  • They can accumulate bacteria quickly, so ensure to disinfect with either disinfectant when washing or by putting in the microwave for a few minutes.
  • You could pop them into your dishwasher whenever it's running if they are safe there.

How To Wash Reusable Bamboo Paper Towels: are they machine-washable?

Unpaper towels are of different kinds and it is best to always check the instructions on the packaging. Most times instructions on best wash are usually written which could be a dishwasher, hand wash, or washing machine. Once you are done washing and rinsing, just air dry and hang dry the towels to avoid a foul smell. See below some of the washing methods to keep your paper towels clean and hygienic.


Fortunately, reusable paper towels are dishwasher safe. The set of paper towels that you can place in a dishwasher is usually more durable and comes out cleaner due to the heat that is generated by a dishwasher. But be very careful to place it in the upper rack as it could get damaged if placed in the bottom rack.

Washing Machine 

Bamboo reusable paper towels are best to wash here. They are the most sustainable alternative for a regular paper towel. You could soak it in a disinfectant to prevent bacteria build-up before putting it in the washing machine. 


After using a paper towel, you can handwash it with lukewarm water, rinse thoroughly and then spray with a bit of citric acid to kill off any germs. This isn't eco-friendly as you will end up using a bit of unnecessary hot water. After handwashing, you can wring it out and place it on a drying or dish rack.

How To Store Reusable Paper Towels

Storing reusable paper towels depends on what you find more convenient. You may want to keep a paper towel holder that will need clingy flannel or a set with snaps or velcro. You could also consider using a basket without the snaps or velcro.

How To Store Reusable Paper Towels

How Hygienic Are Reusable Paper Towels?

Paper towels harbour bacteria and research show that these bacteria can be transferred to your hands, mouth, and face. Hand washing is an important part of hand hygiene. But Toby Saville, Dyson microbiologist says drying your hands is equally important". And these bacterias contained In paper towels are rubbed straight onto your hands.

However, most studies have found that paper towels can dry hands efficiently, remove bacteria effectively, and cause less contamination of the washroom environment.

Can You Compost Paper Towels?

A compost pile needs both green and brown organic matter to function properly. Unpaper towels made from bamboo or cotton, and free of chemicals compost easily and naturally with no traces of environmental effect when trashed, as the bacteria or food on them will break down during the composting process. While paper towels used in cleaning grease, chemicals, food wastes, body fluid, etc are not easily compostable.

Can You Compost Paper Towels?

This is a result of the fact that grease and oils have a way of pushing out air from your compost bin and this creates a comfortable home for anaerobic bacteria running your compost and giving it a terrible smell. Ensure you do not even put paper towels made of chemical products or used in cleaning chemical products in the compost bin. The chemicals will affect micro and microorganism and may kill or diminish bacteria development. 

Reusable Paper Towels vs Traditional Paper Towels; Regular Paper Towels

We've all been there before - we reach for a paper towel to dry our hands, and we end up using two or three because they're so thin. Regular paper towels are wasteful and not very effective at cleaning up messes. Unpaper towels are a great alternative to traditional paper towels. They're thicker and more absorbent, so you only need to use one to dry your hands. And since they're reusable, you're not contributing to the mountain of paper towel waste that ends up in landfills every year. Paper towels account for about 2% of America's landfills which when decomposed release methane, a greenhouse gas that cause great harm to the Earth's surface. Meanwhile, regular ones are like wasteful paper towels.

Reusable Paper Towels vs Traditional Paper Towels; Regular Paper Towels

So, what's the best reusable towel? It depends on your needs. If you're looking for something that's more absorbent, reusable paper towels are the way to go. When you put cost, versatility, and environmental impact into consideration then clothes towels are simply the best, though using a paper towel is convenient and saves time. Unpaper towels now have a great customer perception such that it makes a business appear more polished with its designs and colours, creating an upscale feel for customers. Reusable towels are the eco-friendly way to go! Find out stylish reusable paper towels that you can buy below!

7 Best Reusable Paper Towels In 2023

Our top seven picks of the best reusable paper towel alternatives in 2022 were carefully selected according to essential factors. When you want to pick a paper towel, you must first look out for some vital physical properties, such as its strength, scrub strength, durability, thickness, plastic-free, and absorbency. You must also consider its water filtering capacity and environmental concerns like the paper towel's recyclability and biodegradability. With all these factors in mind, we've compiled a list of the seven best reusable paper towels in 2023:

Plantish - Swedish Sponge Cloth Set

Inspired by the freshness and stress-relieving nature of houseplants, these dishcloths bring a touch of nature into any kitchen. The set includes three designs - Cactus, Plantopia, and Eucalyptus - each one as charming as the next. What sets these dishcloths apart is their incredible absorbency. They can soak up to 3/4 cup of liquid, making them perfect for cleaning up spills or drying dishes. The quick-drying feature is another bonus, as it prevents that unpleasant dishcloth smell.

The durability of these dishcloths is impressive. Depending on use, one cloth can last between 6 to 12 months or up to 200 wash cycles. This means they can replace up to 17 rolls of paper towels, which is a huge win for the environment. Speaking of the environment, these dishcloths are made from 100% vegetable cellulose from sustainably sourced wood and cotton. They're not only super absorbent but also 100% compostable.

The Plantish Floral Bursts Swedish Sponge Cloth Set is a fantastic addition to any kitchen. It's effective, durable, and eco-friendly - what more could you ask for in a dishcloth?

Notpaper Towels - Flannel - 12 Pack

Notpaper Towels - Flannel - 12 Pack

Say goodbye to regular paper towels forever with Notpaper Towels! These ultra-absorbent, 100% cotton flannel towels are perfect for cleaning up spills, wiping down counters, and even work great as makeshift napkins. Each towel measures 10 inches x 10 inches and they come in a pack of 12, so you'll always have a clean one on hand. Plus, they're machine washable so you can reuse them over and over again. Notpaper Towels are the eco-friendly, zero waste option that will save you money in the long run.

Three Bluebirds Swedish Dishcloths

Three Bluebirds Swedish Dishcloths

The Three Bluebirds Swedish Dishcloth is second on our list of best reusable paper towels because it is the perfect reusable option for all your cleaning needs! Featuring a cheerful bluebird print, this dishcloth is absorbent, durable, and stylish. Whether you're wiping down counters, scrubbing dishes, or polishing glass, this dishcloth can handle it all. Additionally, the Three Bluebirds Swedish Dishcloth is a sustainable alternative to disposable wipes, so you can feel good about using it again and again. So ditch the paper towels and make the switch to this reusable wonder!

Tree Free Paper Towels - Public Goods

Tree Free Paper Towels - Public Goods

Looking for a more sustainable alternative to ordinary paper towels? These tree free bamboo paper towels are made from fast-growing non-GMO grasses (bamboo and sugarcane) rather than hardwoods, making them ultra-absorbent and sturdy enough to tackle any mess. Also, they’re soft on the skin, biodegradable and 100% animal-free!

Papaya Reusable Paper Towels

Papaya Reusable Paper Towels

The Papaya towel is the perfect replacement for regular paper towels. If you're looking for an environmentally-friendly option for your paper towel needs, look no further than the Papaya Reusable Paper Towel! It's made from tough paper that can be reused over and over, and it's also all-natural, anti-bacterial, and compostable. More importantly, it's 20 times more absorbent than a regular paper towel!

If You Care Reusable Paper Towels

If You Care Reusable Paper Towels

If You Care Reusable Paper Towels are the perfect solution for your cleaning needs! Made from a blend of cellulose, non-GMO unbleached cotton, and mirabilite, these towels are extremely absorbent and will leave your surfaces streak-free. Unlike cotton towels, If You Care Reusable Paper Towels do not leave fibres on the surface even after multiple washes. Moreover, they're produced in a patented process that makes them environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Five Two Compostable Sponge Cleaning Cloths

Five Two Compostable Sponge Cleaning Cloths

Made in Sweden from plant fibres, these sponge cloths are printed with water-based ink and will decompose within six weeks in a home compost. These versatile sponge cloths are perfect for cleaning tubs, countertops, dishes, tiles, mirrors, and any other surface in your home. They’re available in a variety of colours to suit any job, and they’re super easy to care for – just rinse and dry after each use. Most sponges are made from plastic or other harmful materials, but these compostable sponge cloths are eco-friendly.

Check them out at Food52

Grove Co. European Dish Cloths

Grove Co. European Dish Cloths

Lemon or blue and yellow? No matter which colour you choose, Grove Co. European Dish Cloths are sure to make cleanup a breeze. These highly-absorbent, reusable sponge cloths are a great alternative to paper towels and sponges and are available in two cute prints: a cheerful lemon pattern and an arc pattern in blue and yellow. Made of biodegradable cellulose and cotton, these kitchen towels are machine washable and eliminate single-use consumption from your home, providing a more eco-friendly solution for household cleaning. So ditch the standard paper towels and switch to Grove Co.'s European Dish Cloths - your kitchen (and the planet) will thank you! Goodbye conventional paper towels, hello reusable dish towels!

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Reusable paper towels are a great way to save money and reduce your environmental impact. There are many different reusable paper towel options available on the market, so there’s sure to be one that suits your needs. Whether you’re looking for something absorbent, durable, compostable, or simply eco-friendly, there’s a reusable paper towel out there for you. So, reduce your carbon footprint by ditching the disposables and make the switch to reusable paper towels today! Your wallet (and the planet) will thank you. Green Hive is here to guide you to make that move today!


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