Using Too Many Paper Towels? Three Easy Ways to Cut Back

September 29, 2021

Can’t Eliminate Paper Towels? Start cutting back with simple swaps that work. I find that every time I want to trade something for another, it is difficult to make the switch unless I have a trade that is as good or better than the original. There are more than three uses for these swaps, but let’s focus on finding swaps for these three areas.

Typically, paper towels are used for:

  • Dry hands
  • Wipe counter
  • Clean surfaces

I think the key to replacing paper towels is to be easy to find the the right switch for your home and cleaning needs. I use a variety of paper towel replacements in our house and I doI will share what I use for what purpose. Think about what you are currently using paper towels for, then think Above what would work for you to swap. Switching to paper towels is worthwhile for several reasons. You won’t run out of paper towels, it’s more economical (processing 4-8 rolls per month can save you up to $ 20 + / month), and you’re taking a step towards more sustainable and reusable housewares.

Here are my favorite paper towel bags and the ones I use around our house every day:

I get a lot of questions from readers about the wipes in my store that I use to clean different areas of our home. I thought it would be fun to share all of the ways I use the Clean Mama cleaning wipes and towels around our home. After years of using, testing, and making textiles, I am still finding new ways to use reusable items in our home – that’s exactly how I use it Clean mum towels and towels, you may have other options – if it works for you, go ahead!


I started using bar mop towels as a substitute for paper towels in the kitchen years ago. I keep a glass next to the sink where there would normally be a paper towel holder and then I can just use one instead of a paper towel to wipe the counters.

It was the first item I wanted to wear in my shop. I use these instead of paper towels – just roll up and put in a container next to the kitchen sink. I only use the Premium Bar Mop Towels in my shop (they won the Good Housekeeping Award 2021!) I also have a 100% cotton bar mop towel – they work great too!

I use them to wipe down counters and the kitchen table. Place a damp saucepan next to the stove while cooking to mop up spills and keep everything clean and tidy. I also use them for general cleaning like baseboards and doors.

How do I wash kitchen towels? I rinse them out after use and let them dry over the kitchen sink overnight and then put them in a trash can under the sink. When this container is full, I throw that load in the washing machine. I use Oxygen Whitener, laundry detergent spray, and 1/4 cup of white vinegar in every load of kitchen towels. The Oxygen Whitener removes all stains and keeps them white and white and the detergent spray cleans these wipes thoroughly. You can find the Clean Mama detergents in the shop.


Swedish tea towels are environmentally friendly, quick drying kitchen towels. Each Swedish tea towel replaces 15 rolls of paper towels. They’re like a sponge in that they transform when wet and can be used to wipe counters and dishes. I love that they are thin and fit in tight spaces for cleaning. Bonus: You are safe on all surfaces.

At the end of the day and when we’re done with the dishes, I put any sponges or Swedish tea towels in the top basket of the dishwasher, drain the water when the cycle is complete, and let them air dry.


outstanding quality and cleaning effect. Use them in the kitchen to wash dishes, clean countertops, stoves, sinks, bathrooms, and anywhere you need a little extra scrubbing power. Safe on ALL surfaces – even oven glass and sinks. Dishwasher safe AND machine washable – air dry


If you don’t use flour sackcloths, you are missing out on something. These old fashioned towels have so many uses, but my favorite is laying out on the counter so the dishes drip dry. I also use them for hand drying dishes – they’re so light they dry in about an hour. In addition, they are lint-free and are ideal for cleaning windows and large surfaces.

You can find all these cloths + towels in the Clean Mama Shop.Are you trying to reduce the consumption of paper towels? Have you already saved paper towels?

What’s your favorite replacement towel?

Are you looking for more cleaning inspiration?

Get access to Clean Mama’s free Quick Clean Printable

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2 thoughts on “Using Too Many Paper Towels? Three Easy Ways to Cut Back”

  1. This is a great article about cutting back on paper towels! I find it really helpful to have ideas for simple swaps that still get the job done. I’m going to try using a dishcloth or rags instead of paper towels and see if it makes a difference. Thanks for sharing!


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