If you want to make a resolution to implement a zero-waste lifestyle because you’re concerned you’re destroying the planet without even realizing it, we’re here to help. The easiest place to start is by eliminating the use of paper towels. From reusable bamboo paper towels to microfiber cleaning cloths, there’s a variety of alternatives that’ll make a believer out of you. Not only will you help lead the charge toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle, you’ll also have a new budget-friendly solution to all your cleaning needs.
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Published December 13, 2020, Updated December 19, 2021
Bamboo Paper Towels
If you’re looking to cut costs and move toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle, consider substituting traditional paper towels for the bamboo variety. Not only are they extra absorbent, they’re also more cost-effective in the long run. Bonus: You can reuse bamboo paper towels a handful of times before composting. You can also check out these innovative ways to upcycle household plastics. Bamboo Towel Roll, The Green Jar, $15.
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
The average microfiber cleaning cloth can absorb more than seven times their weight in water, which is pretty impressive in itself. They’re also scratch-free, lint-free and streak-free, making them ideal to use on any household surface. Once dirty, simply toss them in the washing machine. You can also check out these all-natural cleaning products to make at home. Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Amazon, $19 (pack of 8).
Biodegradable and enormously eco-friendly, these versatile (and adorable) dishcloths can be used hundreds of times. (Yes, really.) Skip paper towels entirely and make Swedish dishcloths a part of your regular kitchen cleaning routine. The environment (and your bank account) will thank you. Swedish Dishcloths, Amazon, $21.
Double Ply Unpaper Towels
At first glance, one roll of unpaper towels might appear to cost an astronomical sum of money… until you consider how much cash you throw away by constantly purchasing eco-unfriendly paper towels. Made from 100% cotton flannel, these handmade neutral beauties are so soft and the perfect size for cleaning up messes (10″x10″), while their many perks (reusable, easy to wash) more than justifies the cost. Two-Ply Cotton Unpaper Towels, Etsy, $18.
Linen Bread Bags
How often have you grabbed a piece of paper towel to rest your snack on instead of grabbing a plate? By introducing a linen bread bag to your kitchen, like this one from Vancouver-based company Kasandy, you’re not only reducing the amount of plastic in your household, but you’re cutting back on all those tempting little moments throughout the day where you reach for paper towels. Linen Bread Bag, Kasandy, $25.
Cotton is a durable and breathable material, making it an obvious choice for a paper towel alternative. Keep it simple with basic colours or have a little fun with it by selecting cute patterns and unique designs to liven up your cleaning routine. Trust us, these triple-layered machine-friendly versions are exactly what you and your kitchen needs right now. Cotton Paperless Towels, Etsy, $34.
These handy little sponges check all the right boxes if you’re looking for alternatives to paper towel. Upon purchase, they’re compressed into flat, thin rectangles that look like little sticks (which makes them easy to store). Once ready for use, submerge the sponge in water and watch as it expands in size. Highly absorbent and soft on kitchen appliances and hardware, these sponges are made of all-natural cellulose and are organic and compostable. We love to see it! Norpro Pop-Up Sponges, Amazon, $27.