Paper towels are a staple in almost every American’s home. They are incredibly convenient, but they also are very wasteful. If you want to be more eco-friendly, you may wonder what to use instead of paper towels. With how easy paper towels are to use, it can be hard to imagine how to stop using paper towels! However, there are several different options for eco-friendly paper towels and alternatives. If you want to have a more eco-friendly household and stop wasting paper (and money!) read our favorite best reusable paper towels and eco-friendly paper towel alternatives of 2021.
Short on time? No worries. Check out our list of top picks, below:
Our Top Picks
|Best Overall: Rolled Unpaper Towels|
These paper towel alternatives are available in cute designs, are washable, and can be rolled onto a tube just like real paper towels!
|Best Budget Option: Reusable Unpaper Towels|
Made of organic cotton, these biodegradable paper towel alternatives are designed to help you clean up your home on a budget!
|The Green Pick: Notpaper Towels-Flannel|
Handmade in the U.S. and packaged ethically, these biodegradable flannel towels are perfect for your home.
|Most Absorbent: Papaya Benny|
These reusable paper towels are made of 70% cellulose, so they absorb 20x their weight, making them the most absorbent option on the list.
|Best Bamboo Alternative: Washable Bamboo Paper Towel Alternatives|
These incredibly eco-friendly bamboo towels are soft, absorbent, and the perfect paper towel alternative.
A Closer Look: Best Reusable Paper Towel Alternatives
There’s no reason to clean through the mess of other lists, as we’ve got the best of the best down below.
1. Rolled Unpaper Towels
The best reusable paper towel alternative overall
Brand: Marley’s Monsters | Material: 100% Cotton Flannel | Count: 12 or 24 | Price: 💰💰
These cute, eco-friendly paper towel alternatives from Marley’s Monsters are perfect if you want to keep your home clean without wasting paper. The towels are meant to be washed before use so that they can shrink to fit the cardboard tube that they come with. You can easily roll each towel around the tube, and there are no snaps because the towels naturally cling to each other. These come in various patterns to fit any decor, as well!
Buyers are obsessed with these paper towel alternatives. They love how durable the cotton fabric is and how fun and cute the patterns are. One thing they especially appreciate is how easily the towels roll onto their tube, sans-snaps. These cotton reusable paper towels don’t have any negative reviews, so it’s safe to say they are a fan favorite!
- The patterns are great
- They are highly durable
- Easy to reroll after washing
- Price is too high will little trade-off
- Some rolls don’t seem to absorb much of anything
2. Reusable Unpaper Towels
The best budget paper towel alternative
Brand: Mioeco | Material: 100% Organic Cotton | Count: 10 or 20 | Price: 💰💰
These paper towel alternatives from Mioeco are made of organic cotton. They are a good basic towel if you don’t want the other ones with patterns on this list. The fabric is soft, absorbent, and so eco-friendly! The simplicity of these towels makes them elegant yet understated, and they all come in a neutral off-white color. These are available in a 10 or 20 pack and aren’t expensive, especially when considering how much money you won’t have to waste on paper towels.
Overall, buyers were happy with these eco-friendly paper towel alternatives. They loved how durable the cotton fabric is, as well as how absorbent it is. Many noted that these cloths are perfect for replacing paper towels in their home. A few did mention that these towels weren’t absorbent enough, and a couple noted that theirs shrunk in the wash. It is worth noting that cotton does tend to shrink somewhat in the wash, especially if heat is used on it!
- Very absorbent
- Towels are highly durable
- Perfect paper-towel replacement
- Not absorbent
- Shrunk in wash
3. Notpaper Towels-Flannel
The best eco-friendly paper towel alternatives
Brand: Well Earth Goods | Material: 100% Cotton Flannel | Count: 12 | Price: 💰💰💰
These paper towel replacements are made of 100% cotton flannel and are highly absorbent to keep your home mess-free. They are ideal for wiping up random messes and are washed before you buy them, so they shouldn’t shrink much, if at all. We love that these are machine-washable; just throw them in with your other laundry, and you’re all done! These flannel towels are hand-made, and Well Earth Goods uses no plastic in their manufacturing and packaging.
Buyers loved these paper towel alternatives, overall. They found that they are perfect for cleaning up all kinds of messes. They’re very absorbent, and their 100% cotton material is highly durable. There were a few who thought that these towels weren’t absorbent enough, and a couple of others noted that the towels were too small for their purposes.
- Highly absorbent
- Good quality fabric, durable
- They’re perfect for cleaning up
- They are too small
- Towels are not absorbent
4. Papaya Benny
The most absorbent paper towel alternative
Brand: Papaya | Material: 70% cellulose, 30% Cotton | Count: 4 | Price: 💰💰💰💰
Papaya Benny has some adorable reusable paper towels, which are made of 70% cellulose. These towels can hold up to 20x their weight in liquid, making them perfect for cleaning up spills or other messes in your household. The towels are biodegradable, so when you’re ready to get rid of your old ones, they don’t contribute to pollution. However, these towels should last you a long time! They are washable but should be hung to dry. This purchase only comes with 4 towels, but it also has 2 hanging hooks.
Most buyers were beyond thrilled with these reusable paper towels. They love how absorbent they are, which they found made these the perfect paper towel alternative. Buyers also loved the fun patterns on the towels. The only negative thing to note was that some wished there were more patterns!
- Very absorbent
- Very cute, fun patterns
- Perfect paper towel alternative
- Wished there were more pattern options
- Discounts for renewed purchases could be higher
5. Washable Bamboo Paper Towel Alternatives
The best reusable bamboo paper towel alternative
Brand: Eco Being | Material: 100% Bamboo Fibers | Count: 10 | Price: 💰💰💰
These paper towel alternatives are made of bamboo fiber, making them very eco-friendly and biodegradable. They are available in a pack of 10 and are all white, so if you want something with colors or designs, look at the first options on this list! The bamboo is soft, and the way these towels are designed makes them sturdy and durable. Of course, these are machine washable, or if you need to reuse them quickly, they can always be hand washed.
Most buyers were extremely happy with these paper towel alternatives. They loved how soft the bamboo towels are, and were pleased with the absorbency levels, as well. Another thing that they appreciated was how easy to clean these towels are. However, a few were disappointed that the towels shrunk upon being washed, and some thought the material was not high-quality.
- Easy to clean
- Super soft towels
- Towels are very absorbent
- Not high-quality
- Shrinks after washing
What to Look for in the Best Reusable Paper Towels and Paper Towel Alternatives
As you search for the best reusable paper towels, there are a couple of aspects you’ll want to consider.
There are several materials that your reusable paper towels and towel alternatives can be made of. The best, most common options are cotton and bamboo. These can be organic, or not, depending on who you buy from. Generally speaking, both cotton and bamboo are great materials because they biodegrade. These are also good choices because they can be washed and used over and over again.
We do have one option on this list, which is made primarily of cellulose. This is not a common material in reusable paper towels, but it is a good one, nonetheless. Cellulose is very absorbent when combined with cotton, making it an ideal fabric for a paper towel alternative.
Caring for Reusable Paper Towels and Alternatives
When it comes to caring for your reusable paper towel and paper towel alternatives, for the most part, you can wash them with the rest of your laundry. Some specifically need to be washed before use to shrink, and others may need to be washed with cold water or dried on low heat to prevent shrinking. You can also hand wash towels if you need to quickly reuse them, or if they aren’t super dirty.
It can be challenging to clean in an eco-friendly way. So many products have harsh chemicals and are not sustainable. However, you can slowly make product changes and eliminate plastics and other wasteful, harmful products from your cleaning lineup. Starting by eliminating paper towels and switching to reusable paper towels or other alternative products is a great way to start this process!
For this guide on the best paper towel alternatives, our team spent 8 hours researching the most popular options from over 16 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred and ten user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each paper towel alternative. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 5 paper towel alternatives on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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