The Best Reusable Paper Towels for Soaking Up Spills Sustainably (and Saving Money)

Americans use more many paper towels than anyone in the world. Reusable paper towels are an excellent economical and eco-friendly alternative.


Apr. 26 2024, Published 3:24 p.m. ET

Reusable paper towels on a roll
Source: Marley's Monsters

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I remember as a child being reprimanded by a family friend for using too many paper towels to wipe up a spill. It hurt my feelings, but now as an adult, I understand: Single-use paper towels go fast, and the cost of constantly replacing them adds up. My family had always burned through paper towels, and it turns out it was a very American habit: we use more paper towels than anyone in the world. Aside from the expense, the biggest problems with paper towels are deforestation, wildlife endangerment, and greenhouse gas emissions.

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There's a simple solution, though: reusable paper towels, aka "unpaper towels." Not only are they economical and eco-friendly, they're also pretty darn cute. Unlike the white-paper kind (yawn), my favorite reusable paper towels come in fun colors and patterns — think fruits, flowers, and geometrics.

They resemble microfiber cloths, but they're made of planet-friendly materials like organic cotton, bamboo, and plant-based cellulose. Reusable paper towels are ultra absorbent can be easily popped in the wash with your regular towels.

Get your hands on these picks starting at just $12.

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Marley's Monsters Washable + Reusable UNpaper Towels (6 count)

Marley's Monsters has made a splash on the reusable paper towel scene with its happily hued cotton flannel UNpaper Towels, which have reinforced edges to keep them from fraying. Believe it or not, they actually get more absorbent the more you wash them. One user wrote, "The craftsmanship is stunning."

$20 at Marley's Monsters

Zero Waste Store Reusable Paper Towels (12 count)

If you're a fan of more muted hues, Zero Waste Store has reusable paper towels in earth tones, grays, and whites. These are made of 100 percent organic cotton and even come pre-rolled, so you can put them on your paper towel dispenser. When you're ready to replace them, throw them in the compost bin.

$25.99 at Zero Waste Store
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FEBU Reusable Paper Towels (5 count)

FEBU is just one brand that makes a popular kind of reusable paper towels called Swedish dishcloths. They're a staple in Scandinavia and are typically made of plant-based, compostable materials. These are 100 percent cellulose and each towel is built to last up to 50 washes. At $3 a towel, that's a smart investment. One of thousands of five-star reviewers wrote, "These leave the countertop truly clean and not smelling bad. I’ve even washed them in the washing machine and they hold up fine."

$12.70 at Amazon

Grove Collaborative Swedish Dishcloths (2 count)

I believe in Swedish dishcloths and your hunger for well-designed home products enough to throw another option into my list of favorites: Grove Collaborative's adorable Swedish dishcloths, which makes these reusable paper towels in fun fruit patterns. And these are designed to last — brace yourself — up to 12 months!

"They last a really long time and don't stink," one shopper confirmed. "Easy to throw in the wash or dishwasher when done. A cheerful kitchen addition."

$11.19 at Grove Collaborative
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BOJUST Reusable Paper Towels (12 count)

These cotton flannel reusable paper towels come in a sweet sunflower pattern that'll cheer up your kitchen. They're designed to roll right up on your paper towel dispenser, which is cool, but not even the coolest part of these. The company claims they can be used up to 100,000 times!

You be the judge, or take it from this shopper: "When I first received them I thought they were too pretty to use. But they wash up really well and haven’t held any stains! I don’t like using up paper towels and using a larger hand towel seemed a waste. These fill that gap! My paper towel use is way down which was the goal."

$19.99 at Amazon

KitchLife Reusable Paper Towels (40 count)

If you're a paper towel traditionalist and want to transition into the reusable paper towel life, these by KitchLife are perfect. The bamboo towels come in a roll like the ones you're used to and they're reusable around 20 times before they need to be added to your textile recycling pile. "The quality is great, they can be rinsed out and reused multiple times," a shopper wrote.

$9.99 at Amazon
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