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Alternatives to Paper Towels

What are some alternatives to using paper towels? - Nancy J.


Alternatives to Paper Towels

Here a few alternatives to paper towels:

  • For mirrors, windows and glass use crumpled newspaper. Down-side is having to really wash your hands after as they get covered in ink. The ink is good for glass as it coats it with a fine oil that makes the glass shine like mad.

  • For spills around the house just use rags. These can be made from old shirts, dress with the buttons removed or tees, old towels, old blankets or pretty much any old scrap of cloth that would just be thrown away. The best thing here is they can be washed to be reused over and over again or thrown out if just too nasty.
  • Dusting: Use an old sock turned inside-out. It can get in all the little grooves that your fingers can. You could also use any type of cleaner or polish with it. Then just wash or throw out if too nasty.
  • Soaking up a spill: On a plain floor use newspaper or a rag. On a carpet lay a rag over the spill then put newspaper on top blot.
  • Wiping down counters: use a rag or cloth to do this instead of a handful of paper towels. I use kitchen towels everyday. They get their own load of wash each week. The only thing I like to wipe up with paper towels is poultry mess. I then scrub the counter down with plain old soap and water, then rinse it by wiping it down with a rag with vinegar on it to sanitize.

  • Start a rag bag by cutting up old clothes and towels that can not be donated to a clothing shelf due to stains or holes. (The clothing shelves throw these out as they are not useful. I know, I volunteer at the local clothing shelf and we toss out entire bags of rags every week. We understand that just because people need to use the clothing shelf for clothes, which we do not charge for, does not mean that they should be made to wear rags.)
  • To soak the grease out of fried foods, lay a single paper towel over a stack of newspapers. The newspaper soaks up the grease better then the paper towel, which is why they are used for street-foods all over the world, you might not care to have the newspaper touch your food.

It is just a bit of trivia but, when a baby is being born and there is nothing to wrap the baby up in they say to use a clean unread newspaper as it is as sterile as can be.


Mrs Kathy C. Northfield, VT (08/23/2001)

By kcohenvt

Alternatives to Paper Towels

What I use instead of paper towels is Bar Rags. You can buy a bundle of 18 at WalMart for $5 and they last forever. I use them for drying dishes, then hang them nearby to dry. When there is a spill, I grab the bar rags and then wash and dry them with my dish cloths. I use hot water and bleach, but vinegar would work to disinfect them too. I very rarely buy paper towels; probably wouldn't at all if I could convince my husband that a soft cloth works just as well!

I also buy a $4 bundle of plain white wash cloths for my kitchen to use to clean my 3 year old's face and hands before meals and when he comes in from outside. When they start fraying on the edges or getting too worn/stained, then I convert them to cleaning rags. My kids and husband hate to throw out t-shirts (the best alternative!) so I let them keep them and use the bar towels and washcloths.


The Bar Cloths (same size as dish cloths) work great for dishes because of the nubby texture; it helps eliminate the need for all the extra sponges/scratchies, etc. cluttering the sink/counter! (03/08/2005)

By Connie Williamson

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