Saving Money on Paper Towels

February 22, 2008

Saving Money on Paper TowelsTips 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.

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.


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 Kathryn Aqua

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.

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

Read More Comments

10 More Solutions

This page contains the following solutions.

April 1, 2011

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.


July 26, 2018

In our family, if we use a paper towel to dry out clean but wet hands, we put the unwrinkled flattened wet paper towel on the counter to dry. Then we can reuse the relatively clean and now dry paper towel in the garage to check oil levels, clean tools, greasy hands, etc.


April 10, 2018

I was one that enjoyed using my sewing machine a few years back. At this moment it sits in the closet. I am unable to use it due to pain in my hands.


I was working on changing my life to become better with waste and money saving.

A soft shammy to use instead of paper towels.


Bronze Answer Medal for All Time! 155 Answers
December 5, 2016

I use a cheap toilet roll instead. It's very absorbent for mopping up grease, and will not scratch like kitchen paper. 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.


March 8, 2011

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


July 25, 2013

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.


December 16, 2008

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.


June 26, 2017

While incredibly handy, paper towels are wasteful. Pretty much every task that a paper towel can be used for, a cloth rag can do the same job without having to be thrown away. This is a page about use rags instead of paper towels.

A pink cleaning rag.

September 12, 2019

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.

A roll of paper towels.

April 10, 2018

Paper towels can be costly and feel wasteful as they can only be used once. Keep the paper out of the landfill by investing in an alternative. This page contains alternatives to paper towels.

Hand using cloth towel to clean a wooden table

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