September 29, 2021

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

Can’t eliminate paper towels? Start by cutting back with easy swaps that work. I find that anytime I’m looking to swap one thing for another it’s difficult to make the switch unless I have a swap that is just as good or better than the original. There are more than three uses for these swaps but let’s concentrate on looking for swaps for these three areas.

Typically paper towels are used for:

  • Drying hands
  • Wiping counters
  • Cleaning surfaces

I think that the key to finding a swap for paper towels is finding just the right switch for your home and cleaning needs. I use a variety of paper towel replacements in our home and Ill share what I use for what purpose. Think about what you currently use paper towels for and then think about what would work for you to swap out. In the case of paper towels, the switch is worth it for a number of reasons. You won’t run out of paper towels, it’s more economical (if you go through 4-8 rolls a month, you could save up to $20+/month), and you’ll be making a step towards sustainable and reusable home goods.

Here are my favorite paper towel swaps and the ones that I use every day in our home:

I get a lot of questions from readers regarding what cloths in my shop I use to clean different areas of our home. I thought it would be fun to share all the ways I use the Clean Mama cleaning cloths and towels in our home. After years of using, testing, and manufacturing textiles I am still finding new ways to use reusables in our home – these are just the ways I use Clean Mama cloths and towels, you might have other ways – if it works for you, keep doing it!


I started using bar mop towels years ago as a replacement for paper towels in the kitchen. I keep a jar by the sink where a paper towel holder would be and then I can just grab one instead of a paper towel to wipe down counters.

They were the the first item I wanted to carry in my shop. I use these in place in of paper towels – simply roll them up and put them in a container by the kitchen sink. I exclusively use the Premium Bar Mop Towels in my shop (they won a 2021 Good Housekeeping award!) and absolutely love the texture and feel and effectiveness of this towel. I also have a 100% cotton bar mop towel as well – they work great too!

I use them to wipe down counters and the kitchen table.  Put a damp one by the stove while you’re cooking to wipe up spills to keep things neat and tidy. I also use them for general cleaning like baseboards and doors as well.

How do I launder kitchen towels? I rinse them out after using and let them dry over the kitchen sink overnight and then put them in a bin under the sink. When that bin is full I toss this load in the washing machine. I use Oxygen Whitener, Laundry Detergent Spray, and 1/4 cup of white vinegar in each load of any kitchen towels. The Oxygen Whitener removes any stains and keeps white white and the Laundry Detergent Spray deep cleans those cloths. You can find the Clean Mama Laundry Products in the shop.


Swedish Dish Cloths are eco-friendly, quick drying kitchen cloths. Each Swedish Dish Cloth replaces 15 rolls of paper towels. They are like a sponge in that they transform when wet and they can be used to wipe counters and dishes. I love that they are thin in shape and can fit into tight spaces to clean. Bonus: they’re safe on all surfaces.

At the end of the day and when we’re done with the dinner dishes, I put any sponges or Swedish Dish Cloths in the top rack of the dishwasher, ring out the water when the cycle completes and let them air dry.


superior quality and cleaning efficacy. Use them in the kitchen to wash dishes, clean counters, ovens, 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 aren’t using flour sack towels, you’re missing out. These old-fashioned towels have so many uses but my favorite is for laying out on the counter for dishes to drip dry. I also use them for hand drying dishes – they are so lightweight that they dry in about an hour. They’re also lint-free and great for cleaning windows and large surfaces.


You can find all of these Cloths + Towels in the Clean Mama Shop.Are you trying to cut back on paper towel usage? Have you already cut back on paper towels?

What’s your favorite replacement towels?

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Clean Mama Shop, Cleaning