Reusing Paper Towels and Napkins

Category Reusing
If you are not ready to quit using paper towels, one way to reduce waste is to consider reusing ones that have been used perhaps to wipe up water or dry your hands. Relatively clean ones are perfect for a spill on the floor or other messier jobs. Remember reduce, reuse, and recycle.


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January 13, 2011

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. I use them to Windex the TV, glass, clean out ashtrays, clean the sink area, clean up a spill, and the list can go on and on! Seems like I'm always finding a new use for them!

So I feel like am doing part, granted a small part, but I believe that if we all just make small changes, it will add up to something much larger! Small steps are easier for a lot of us to make and to stick with. By doing this little trick, I cut my purchasing of paper towels in half.

By RoamingEskimo from Vanceburg, KY

Comment Was this helpful? 12

For those of us who still find paper towels a necessity, try this to get more out of them. Every time I wash my hands and use a paper towel to dry them off (especially in flu and cold season!), 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. It makes me feel a bit better about using paper towels in my house!


By Brianna Southworth from Dutch Harbor, AK

Comment Was this helpful? 5

To stretch the use of your paper towels, obtain a net bag (such as onions and other produce are stored in). 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. Towels in the bag can be used to wipe up other dirty spills. Of course then the towels can be thrown away.

By Diane from Myrtle Beach, SC

Comment Was this helpful? 8

In our household, if you opt to use paper towels/napkins to dry your hands after washing then the paper towel/napkin should be used for at least another 2 times.

Here's how it works:


  1. Wash your hands and your hands are clean just wet, so you need a paper napkin to dry off.

  2. Once you finish drying off your hands, soak the napkin in water and squeeze excess water out.

  3. Allow paper napkin to dry on the counter and the following day, you'll have the napkin(s) to use.

  4. We usually repeat once again then the third time use to wipe down the tables, clean any messes/spills or accumulate for cleaning the restrooms mirrors, vanity and such. This process will only work if the paper towels/napkins are the durable kind. If they are the flimsy ones like the ones you receive from fast food restaurants, those won't work.

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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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December 23, 2004

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

Comment Was this helpful? 1

December 22, 2000

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.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes


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January 13, 2011

If you don't have a salad spinner and use paper towels to dry lettuce, reuse the paper towels! Just drape them over a drying rack.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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