May 4, 2020

Paper Towel Alternatives

If you are looking for alternatives to paper towels, it can be difficult to make the switch but 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 more sustainable home goods.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 5+ years of testing and production of 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!

MICROFIBER – cleaning and dusting – 80% polyester/20% polyamide

Microfiber cleaning cloths are great for cleaning. They have ‘micro’ fibers that grab the dirt and germs and hold on to them in lieu of spreading them around as you clean. A common misconception with any cleaning cloth that you wash and reuse is that it might not be clean or that you might spread germs around from the cloth as you clean. I think that’s what holds people back from switching from disposable cleaning wipes and paper towels – maybe you can relate?

I carry two different types of microfiber cleaning cloths in the shop – All-Purpose and Polishing. The all-purpose cloths are soft and fluffy and have a loop texture to that grabs dirt and holds it. I use the all-purpose cloths for cleaning bathrooms and for dusting. I love how they pick up dirt, clean surfaces, and can be rinsed while I’m cleaning. I always barely dampen the all-purpose cloths before using them – I find that this helps the cleaners work a little better. This technique also helps if you aren’t a fan of how microfiber ‘feels’ on your hands. The Polishing cloths I use for windows and mirrors (the All-Purpose will work for windows and mirrors too) and for stainless steel. The Texture is smooth and soft and works great for any surface that needs to be polished.

Microfiber cleaning cloths should only be laundered with other microfiber cleaning cloths and you should not use any fabric softener with them as it will coat the fibers. Check out this post for how I clean and care for microfiber – it also talks about some common misconceptions with microfiber and the environment if you are interested.

BAR MOP TOWELS – my favorite paper towel replacement – kitchen counters and general cleaning – 100% cotton

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 general 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. They have a scrubbing texture which make them perfect for cleaning up big and small messes, yet they are also soft on skin and great for drying dishes.  

I love using 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. I carry these in two colors – white and aqua and in two sizes. The Petite Bar Mop Towels (white) are a traditional dish cloth size at 12x12 and great for washing dishes. The standard size Bar Mop Towels (white and aqua) are 16x19″ and larger in size making them great for cleaning large areas like kitchen counters.

How do I launder kitchen towels? I 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 Super Powder, 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 Super Powder deep cleans those cloths. You can find the Clean Mama Laundry Products in the shop. This post details this kitchen cleaning cloth process a little more. 

REVERSIBLE TERRY TOWELS – kitchen and bathroom hand towels – 100% cotton

I love the Reversible Terry Towels for hand towels. They’re soft, absorbent and have two textures – a terry side and a decorative reverse weave side. I use them in the kitchen and in the powder room for hand towels but they also work well when you’re cooking and baking.

I’ll use one over a bowl of dough that’s rising or under a mixing bowl so it doesn’t slide. They’re better than just a hand towel and they look pretty too.

FLOUR SACK TOWELS – drying dishes, baking, general cleaning – 100% cotton

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.

Are you trying to cut back on paper towel usage? Have you already cut back on paper towels? What’s your favorite replacement towels?

You can find all of these Cloths + Towels in the Clean Mama Shop.

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Cleaning