The Best Kitchen Towels for Replacing Paper Goods

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One of the most common paper goods used in North America is paper towels. The Norwex Movement (an initiative of the “green” cleaner manufacturer of the same name) estimates that 51,000 trees are felled every day to maintain American paper towel consumption – even if many people have many sustainable alternatives on hand. Switching from traditional disposable rolls to the best reusable paper towels in your kitchen can not only save trees, but also conserve the water used in their manufacture.

When choosing the best kitchen towels, consider the natural resources needed for the materials, as well as for style and durability. (If you’re not a fan of upcycling materials or just not ready to go without paper towels, there is still a more sustainable alternative that uses bamboo and sugarcane fiber instead of trees to make the product.) This guide is the Market for you and summarize various eco-friendly options.

Our top picks

Balance the eco-friendliness, affordability, effectiveness, durability, and personal style when buying the best kitchen towels to replace your paper goods. The products in this manual combine a multitude of these important properties and help you make the permanent change to cleaning up dirt in an environmentally friendly manner.

The best option for kitchen towels: Swedish cellulose sponge towels made from tea towel

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These Swedish tea towels impress with their packs of seven different colors, an absorption of up to 20 times their weight and the ability to be machine washed up to 50 times. The material consists of cellulose sponge and cotton. Each pack of 7 “by 8” sheets eliminates up to 150 rolls of paper towels and is wholesale so customers don’t overpay. The brand estimates that a single pack will last up to a year. With a quick dry guarantee, these towels are primarily used as napkins and paper towels rather than for washing dishes.

The best option for kitchen towels: AIDEA cleaning wipes, multi-purpose towel reusable

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AIDEA cleaning wipes are a bargain when it comes to reusable towels. These versatile towels can absorb, dust, scrub, and even line the table to catch spilled material. The material is easy to cut through so you can create customizable squares to extend the life of your bearing. They can also be machine washed up to 25 times each. For the best value for your money, these are the best competitors. However, make sure to air dry these cleaning wipes after washing instead of throwing them in the dryer. The towels measure 12 “by 24”, but can shrink or even melt when exposed to such high heat.

The best option for kitchen towels: Caboo Tree Free Bamboo Paper Towels

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Caboo Tree Free Bamboo Paper Towels earn points for how they source the materials for their product. This company sees itself as “panda friendly,” which means the bamboo they source is not from the bear’s food source. Bamboo trees can grow up to 3 feet per day, which makes this product more sustainable than paper towels made from trees, which can take up to 30 years to fully develop. Additionally, these are a safer alternative for those with sensitivities as bamboo is inherently hypoallergenic. Caboo Tree’s manufacturing facility is even accredited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These kitchen towels offer a stronger and more resilient tear than normal paper towels. Each roll contains 75 sheets that are 9 by 11 inches. Even if you’re not ready to make the environmentally friendly switch to reusable towels, the transition to 2-ply bamboo paper towels is a respectable first step.

The best option for kitchen towels: reusable Mioeco paper towels

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Paper towels are spun from unbleached organic cotton of the highest quality. The source for this material is a super soft cloth with high absorbency and no odor. This brand is even certified as a socially responsible option with the Global Organic Textile Standard, an international set of standards that covers the harvest of materials through manufacture and distribution. The size of these towels is a plus and measures 10 “by 12”. Use the soft towels as napkins, paper towels or even as towels for toddlers. These kitchen towels are easy to wash, but the cotton can shrink in the dryer. Follow the care instructions carefully to avoid waste.

The best option for kitchen towels: MR.SIGA microfiber cleaning cloth, 6-pack

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Mr. Siga microfiber cloths are thick, non-abrasive and versatile to clean the whole house. Wipe bathroom floors, dust blinds without any lint residue, achieve streak-free windows and much more. These 13.8 x 15.7 inch microfiber cloths can adapt to virtually any surface (including cars). Microfiber material is known to be absorbent and quick-drying, which makes these wipes ideal for vacuuming up dirty debris. You can machine wash these up to 500 times and toss them in the dryer, or just rinse them in water for quicker cleaning in the same task. They come in a two-tone gray and teal pack and are high quality for a low price.

The best option for kitchen towels: Zeppoli 24-pack flour sack towels

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Flour sack cloths may seem old-fashioned, but they are greatly underrated as a cleaning agent. Zeppoli sack towels dry dishes and clean large surfaces such as windows well. You can even double their usefulness by swapping paper napkins for these flour sack towels. These towels are made from 100 percent natural ring-spun cotton and are machine-sewn along the edges. They are designed to resist shrinkage in the dryer after thorough washing. If you hang up these sackcloths to dry, the lightweight material will dry in less than an hour. Each square towel is available in sets of one or two dozen towels and measures 31 “by 31”.

The best option for kitchen towels: Sticky toffee cotton terry kitchen towel

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Available in 15 color options, these cotton terry towels are thick, highly absorbent and helpful for many kitchen tasks. Sticky Toffee Cotton kitchen tea towels are made from 100 percent cotton. Use them to replace your paper products while drying, cleaning, and scrubbing the kitchen. They last up to 500 machine washes, but can shrink to less than 30 cm when heated with heat. Wash with like colors, and watch for dye leakage from the bright colors onto the cotton.

The best option for kitchen towels: Bee's Wrap Reusable beeswax food wrap

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If you have a tendency to use paper towels for wrapping food and keeping them in the refrigerator, consider Bee’s Wraps as a unique alternative to disposable paper (or plastic). Made in the USA, these eco-friendly wraps are made from organic cotton, harvested beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. This product can last up to a year and only needs to be washed in cold water with a mild soap to use over and over again. Avoid heat and air dry these wraps. These are best for sandwiches, snacks, fruits, vegetables, and dry goods, but not meat. They are not intended for cutting, but each pack contains three sizes: small (7 x 8 inches), medium (10 x 11 inches), and large (13 x 14 inches).

Laundry tips for kitchen towels

Although most reusable kitchen towels are durable enough to last for several years, it is important to machine wash them daily or every other day so they don’t turn into petri dishes contaminating the meal preparation area can. Kitchen towels are often great for cleaning up spilled liquids, crumbs, dust, and more, for cleaning windows and polishing furniture. Here are some introductory tips on how to properly clean your kitchen towels:

  • Pre-treat grease stains with detergent and warm water before throwing them into the laundry.
  • Wash all kitchen towels with a mild detergent on a cold water cycle to avoid staining.
  • Use chlorine bleach or a detergent for washing to keep the whites bright. For paints or pattern fabrics, use powdered oxygenated bleach to remove stains.
  • Tip: Store as many kitchen towels as you may need to get through the week (maybe two) so you have a new one every day – even if the laundry day is at the end of the week.

FAQs about kitchen towels

Here are some frequently asked kitchen towel care questions that provide the best care for reusable towels.

Question: How big are tea towels?

Tea towels vary in size depending on the manufacturer. They can range from 7 inches by 8 inches to 32 inches square.

Q. Where should you hang kitchen towels?

Spread them indoors on a drying rack near an open window that receives lots of sunlight, or near a heater if a window isn’t available. Alternatively, you can hang them on a clothesline outdoors.

Question: How do you clean white kitchen towels?

If you only wash white towels, wash the towels as normal and add chlorine or non-chlorine bleach (also known as “color safe”) to the bleach container.

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