Saving Money on Paper Towels

A thrifty way to reduce garbage is to use less paper towels, and consider using washable fabrics. This guide is about saving money on paper towels.
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February 22, 2008 Flag

Tips for saving money on paper towels from the ThriftyFun community.

Use Washcloths

Buy washcloths or dishcloths and use them as napkins. You can get them cheap at dollar-type stores or Wal-Mart/K-Mart/Target. When they are dirty, toss in the washing machine. That's what we do.
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By Ann

Bar Towels

I stopped buying paper towels all together. I bought a stack of white bar towels at WalMart and we use them for everything from drying our hands, to scrubbing the sink, to wiping up spills. Of course, after they have been used on the floor, they go into the wash.

By Katie

Recycle Old Clothes

I have found that cutting up an old cotton tee shirt, sheet or a flannel sheet has worked great at making cheap napkins. I keep them folded in a little basket on the kitchen table so we just pull one out when we need it. Now if I have company at the table I break out the good napkins. When I have bought paper towels, on sale with a coupon, I take my serrated knife and cut the roll in half and that give me twice the towels for one price. Of course, you have watch yourself and not just use more from the halved roll.
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By Cookiepom

Kitchen Towels

I keep a tea towel hanging near the sink. It would never occur to me to dry my hands with a paper towel. My grandmother and my mother never had paper towels. They always had 2 towels hanging over their sinks: one terry cloth for drying hands and one lint-free for drying dishes. Use the dish cloth for wiping up spills and for wiping counters after doing the dishes. No need for expensive cleansers either; just use your soapy dishwater. Before you go to bed each night, put the kitchen linens in the laundry and replace with fresh, clean ones.

By Kathy

Dish Rags from the Dollar Store

I realized one day that I used a lot of paper towels for little things. This not only used up money but also produced a lot of trash. At the dollar store, I bought a 15-count package of dishrags for little money. I keep them in a drawer and use them instead of paper towels for little spills and other things. In my laundry room, I have a bucket that the dirty ones go in so I can wash them all at once.

By Leigh Ann

Chefs Don't Use Paper Towels

I have been doing that with towels my whole life. My mother and grandparents never had paper towels in the home. People always look for them when they come to my home. Also as a chef, it is too costly to have them at work.
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By Lou

Toilet Paper Dispenser for Small Spills

Save a empty cube tissue box, carefully open one side without making any tears. Pull out the center cardboard tube in a one-ply roll of toilet paper. This is done by just firmly pressing one end of the cardboard and pull the paper away from the tube. Repeat this on the other end. Now carefully pull out the cardboard tube. Insert the toilet paper in the tissue box. Either tape up or glue the side of the tissue box to contain the toilet paper. You can also make a slit on one side of the flap and insert the other flap, like a sealable cereal box. When you do this, the same box can be reused without having to re-tape and re-glue each time. Pull the toilet paper from the center of the roll. It is very easy to do. This is good for those small spills or to wipe foods from plates before putting in the dishwasher.

By Mike

Paper Bags for Bacon

I cut brown paper bags down into plate size squares. Cut down the sides and then the bottom and split the large size into 2 to do a good job of this. Then when I have a pile of them from 3 or 4 bags, I set them in an upright napkin holder near the stove. Place 3 or 4 of these underneath only one paper towel to put bacon on, or other fried foods!

By Melody_yesterday

Smaller Paper Towels

My husband was using paper towels galore! Usually, it was just to wipe up a few drops of water on the counter, or to wipe his hands. To slow down this waste of money, I moved the paper towel holder to another location, and tore some into quarters. I placed the quartered paper towels where he is used to reaching for a whole paper towel. It works great, and my DH can still grab something quick to clean up.

By Zballoongirl

Use A Serrated Knife For Cutting The Whole Roll

I just tested cutting one in half. A serrated bread knife works but an electric knife works much better. IKEA also has a paper towel and wrap holder that has a serrated edge that will cut your paper towels in half.

By Susan from ThriftyFun

Newspaper for Cleaning Windows

I used to clean a car dealer's office. He had me use newspaper to clean door and window glass. I thought at first he was too tight to buy paper towels but actually they do a great job. They stay drier, hold up longer and leave no lint. The Swiffer mitts you buy are great for getting up spills, and other odd jobs for which you might use a paper towel. Just toss them in the washer with other rags (from old sweatsuits, undershirts, etc) dry and reuse. Money Saved!

By Sharon

Use Paper Napkins Instead

My kids used way too many paper towels for small spills, so I began buying napkins. They are "single serving" so my boys don't use half a roll. And paper napkins are cheaper than paper towels. I can buy a 200 napkin pack for a dollar at the dollar store. Paper towels cost 50-75 cents for a 40 sheet roll.

By Lisa

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April 25, 20080 found this helpful

If you feel that using sponges, rags and handtowels are unsanitary, simply put one in the microwave (damp---never dry) for one minute. It kills the bacteria. I NUKE my sponge before I use it each day.

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December 5, 2016 Flag

I use a cheap toilet roll instead. It's very absorbent for mopping up grease, and will not scratch like kitchen paper. It costs 20p where kitchen roll costs about £1, and lasts longer. You can't use it for big cleaning jobs, but using kitchen paper for these is very expensive anyway and the job is better done with a cloth.

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December 9, 20161 found this helpful

Helen,

Funny, I thought I was the only one to do this. Well, I use to. Now, I've found something even cheaper. I don't know if there are Dollar Tree stores where you are. Here they sell a 160 count pack of large paper napkins for a dollar. They work really well. I like to wipe as much grease as I can from a pan before I put a soapy dish cloth in it. I try not to let any grease go down the drain.

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12 found this helpful
January 13, 2011 Flag

We use paper towels in our house. I really don't like using a germy towel, so I buy recycled towels and if people only use the paper towel to dry their washed, clean hands off, we put them in a pretty little basket.

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12 found this helpful
April 1, 2011 Flag

I use washcloths to clean up spills instead of paper towels whenever possible. This saves a lot of money and the washcloths can just be washed when doing laundry. Try it! You'd be amazed.

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October 19, 2010 Flag

Every time I wash my hands and use a paper towel to dry them off, I use the fact that it is wet and give a quick clean-up swipe to either the splashes of water on the sink and counter top or another small spot of dirt that could use the ol' once-over.

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8 found this helpful
July 27, 2011 Flag

To stretch the use of your paper towels, obtain a net bag. After using a paper towel to dry hands or wipe water off counter top, place the paper towel in the net bag to air dry.

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19 found this helpful
January 21, 2011 Flag

If you use paper towels, think about going green and switching to rags. You can make your own non-paper towels with your own old t-shirts, baby blankets, flannel shirts, etc., or you can find them cheap in thrift shops.

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August 2, 2011 Flag

I save a bit on paper towels and the trash they create when I am draining fried foods. Rather than using several layers of paper towels, I first place a few pages of an expired telephone book on the plate, then only one or two towels.

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March 8, 2011 Flag

I buy the good paper towels, like Viva, and halve them. Half of one of these is better than two of the cheaper kind.

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1 found this helpful
December 23, 2004 Flag

After washing your hands, use a paper towel to dry. Once you're done, use that same paper towel to clean the counter and sink and faucet. You'll always have a clean sink. By Vonetta

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1 found this helpful
July 25, 2013 Flag

If you are going to use paper towels the most obvious savings are to always buy the "select-a-size" where there are already perforations for a half a sheet.

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0 found this helpful
December 22, 2000 Flag

I recently read a tip from a reader who rinsed out her paper towels to see if she could use them a little more before reaching for another towel. I believe I can do her one better. I save the old towels, washcloths, dishcloths, etc. that are too thin or ragged for their original use.

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December 16, 2008 Flag

I hardly ever buy paper towels any more. Instead, I buy packages of handi wipes from the dollar store. I buy a package of 8-10 for a dollar. I can use them for all my cleaning and in the kitchen and they last a long time. I just rinse them out and reuse. This has saved me a lot of money.

By Kim from Franklin Park

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December 18, 20080 found this helpful

Auto supply store and stores like Walmart carry "shop towels" in a roll. They are blue and packaged like paper towels but I use them instead of Handi-wipes. They are thicker than Handi-wipes, and, like them, can be rinsed (I've even machine washed them by mistake...and they held together). I use Handi-wipes in the kitchen, but shop towels for all the cleaning when I don't want to use rags (that last even longer).

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