Peas will know. Paper towel alternative...

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Posted 1/29/2013 by KeithUrbanLovinPea in NSBR Board


PeaNut 29,932
February 2002
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Loc: Houston, Texas

Posted: 1/29/2013 12:14:28 PM
I go through a zillion paper towels, mostly to wipe up my hands and the counters as I cook/bake. I'd love to find an alternative. I don't mind spending money on good towels, but I have two requirements. One is that it has to be absorbent. I hate buying something and then finding out the absorbency sucks (I have some bar mop towels that don't absorb worth shiz). The other is no micro fiber. I don't like the way my dry hands catch on the fiber loops.

Peas have any links to something they like?

Lisa in Texas/KULP
Mommy to two beautiful girls and Urban Crazy since 2004!

terri k

PeaNut 411,419
February 2009
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Posted: 1/29/2013 12:22:27 PM
I haven't tried them yet, but I have seen Bamboo paper towels in some health food stores. The packaging claims they are very absorbent and last a long time. I plan to try them some day.

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PeaNut 216,153
July 2005
Posts: 4,345
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Loc: Texas

Posted: 1/29/2013 12:26:09 PM
Walgreens sells some bamboo toilet paper (just referencing the bamboo paper towels, not saying you want to use tp!). I've used it. It's an odd texture - feels kind of "hard" like normal paper to my hands, but it feels fine down under, and absorbs fine. It is kind of thin, but that doesn't seem to impact its strength or absorbency.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming, lol.


Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 260,865
May 2006
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Loc: Northeast

Posted: 1/29/2013 12:32:07 PM
I've seen homemade cloths that snap together and go on a paper towel roll that looked really awesome. you just wash and put them back. looked just like a roll of paper towels and when you want a new one you just grab and pull it off the roll just like a paper towel

I buy cheap washcloths and use those to wipe things up then wash and re-use


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PeaNut 224,352
September 2005
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Posted: 1/29/2013 12:33:53 PM
Cloth diapers. Seriously!

They are not terribly absorbent or feel thick the first few times, but after that, they are SUPER absorbent and thicken!!

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PeaNut 25,620
December 2001
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Loc: Sweet Home Chicago

Posted: 1/29/2013 12:39:38 PM
Plain white flour sack dishtowels. They're fairly big so you can cut them in 1/2 and hem the cut ends. They are super absorbent after a few washings, can be bleached, and you can find them cheap. Whatever you end up getting do not use fabric softener in the washer or dryer with them. That cuts down on the absorbency.

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PeaNut 96,097
July 2003
Posts: 10,463
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Loc: North Alabama

Posted: 1/29/2013 12:42:04 PM
IF you can find them, 50% cotton 50% Linen are hands down THE best kitchen towels on earth. SUPER absorbent, light weight, etc. I've seen them at IKEA (and have been kicking myself for not buying more when I found them).

ETA: I see you are in Houson, so y'all have an IKEA (our closest one is 200 miles away) - these are the towels I have:


PeaNut 267,146
July 2006
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Loc: NC

Posted: 1/29/2013 12:42:46 PM
These are some of the cute reusable ones on Etsy. towels
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PeaNut 40,147
June 2002
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Loc: Flowood, Mississippi

Posted: 1/29/2013 1:02:24 PM
Another vote for the flour sack towels
I got mine at Williams-Sonoma but I'm sure lots of places carry them.


Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 174,400
October 2004
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Posted: 1/29/2013 1:06:22 PM
i would just get 12 packs of white or colored washcloths.

Thrift Ninja

PeaNut 226,011
October 2005
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Loc: Rite Aid

Posted: 1/29/2013 2:05:12 PM
I hardly ever use paper towels because my mom never did. I make (or buy on etsy) handmade washrags. I just use those.

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PeaNut 92,987
June 2003
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Loc: With my dogs

Posted: 1/29/2013 2:06:34 PM
The terry cloth shop towels from COSTCO, you find them with the shop and automotive stuff. Big plastic wrapped pile of cotton washcloths.

I like to wash them first, then use from wiping surfaces, cleaning spills, drying dog paws and wiping baby bottoms. We use them to dust, clean.

You wash in hot water, rinse with some bleach (sanitize) dry and reuse.

I draw the line on some oil based stuff, and feel no guilt tossing out.

One package lasts over a year with us.

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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 211,902
June 2005
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Posted: 1/29/2013 2:48:15 PM
I try to use paper towels as rarely as possible. I think I'm going to try the Costco ones Sandy mentioned. Thanks!

sunny 5

PeaNut 472,024
June 2010
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Posted: 1/29/2013 2:59:55 PM
split the job..linen towels or cotton --flour sack--for hands
microfiber ones for counter and cleanup...wash after one have a stack.
throw out all sponges (just hold germs...microwave won't kill all germs).

let dishes air dry if at all possible...towels will add germs.


PeaNut 555,199
May 2012
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Loc: Michigan

Posted: 1/29/2013 3:59:51 PM
I agree with the package of bar towels from Costco. We use them for everything from hot pads to cleaning rags. They are easy to clean/bleach and I have no problem tossing them when they get too bad. We have them everywhere, cars, camper, craft room etc.
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PeaNut 463,585
April 2010
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Posted: 1/29/2013 4:10:07 PM

I buy cheap washcloths and use those to wipe things up then wash and re-use

This is what I've used for the past 30 years. Baby washcloths are the size/texture/thickness I like. I keep a small plastic bucket of them under the sink and use about 4-6 a day. I wash them with bleach or OxyClean in very hot water with the white socks.

I do have paper papertowels in the kitchen and use them for some things, but we only go through about 2-3 rolls a year.

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PeaNut 109,681
October 2003
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Loc: so. california

Posted: 1/29/2013 4:25:10 PM
Another vote for 100% cotton dish towels. That's all we used growing up and I've kept on using them. I like flat weave and not bath towel weave. The towel texture is too thick and never dry. That's just an ongoing wet environment for bacteria. It getting harder to find that flour sack kind.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 183,099
January 2005
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Loc: Willamette Valley

Posted: 1/29/2013 4:29:00 PM
A little over a year ago I made these to put a halt to my over-usage of paper towels:

I made plain white ones for "paper towels" and another set with a pattern for napkins. They're all the size of a Bounty Select-a-size towel. I LOVE using them! I got the idea from the ones sold on Etsy. I liked the idea, but knew I'd need WAY more than a dozen or so. I think I have about 40 of the white ones and plan to make more so I don't run out as quickly. I use about 10/day, sometimes more!

Here's my blog post about making them, if it interests you:


Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 43,893
July 2002
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Posted: 1/29/2013 5:28:38 PM
Washable bamboo kitchen towels by 3m

I love mine, they absorb so much. Wash well and last ( I have had my oldest ones for over 2 years now )
I have these ones

But I think the newer ones are just a lighter color and new packaging

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 231,164
November 2005
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Loc: Midwest

Posted: 1/29/2013 6:08:38 PM
It takes me a long time to go through a roll of paper towels. I use the flour sack dish towels and regular dish wash rags and haven't had any issues with those. Paper towels are mainly for something super gross like when the bacon grease spilled all over or the cat barfs.


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PeaNut 29,932
February 2002
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Loc: Houston, Texas

Posted: 1/29/2013 7:32:47 PM
Thanks everyone! Lots of great ideas I need to research.

Lisa in Texas/KULP
Mommy to two beautiful girls and Urban Crazy since 2004!

Peas-okay; Queues-not so much

PeaNut 56,451
November 2002
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Loc: Caribe or Cali

Posted: 1/29/2013 8:53:06 PM
Bar mop towels and/or cloths for cleaning counters only
Flour sack type towels for the rare occasion of drying dishes only
Other Costco towels for hands only
Paper towels for other or gross cleanups
Old teeshirts for cleaning windows, dusting wood tables.

Ooh, if I saw bamboo cloth things, I would probably get some. We have some bamboo sheets for the guest room and am always surprised when people comment on how soft they are (not telling ahead of time what the sheets are made of).

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PeaNut 548,462
March 2012
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Posted: 1/29/2013 8:59:47 PM
Luv*to*scrap - I love what you showed us on Etsy. I made the switch from paper napkins to cloth ones about a year ago. I LOVE IT! I love not having to fill the darn napkin holder. And its only my husband and myself. I love love love the idea of being able to wrap the fabric towels around a paper towel holder. Even if I don't think about the ecological advantage to using reusable towels, I still LOVE the idea. Thank you!!!!!!!!!


PeaNut 259,367
April 2006
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Loc: Midwest

Posted: 1/29/2013 9:11:49 PM
My MIL uses old cotton underwear. You have to get past the thought, but you get used to it and then feel like it makes so much sense.


PeaNut 997
July 1999
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Loc: Kansas City, MO

Posted: 1/29/2013 9:16:32 PM

.towels will add germs.

which is why I have no problem with paper towels! I buy them by the bale at a club discount house.

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PeaNut 163,613
August 2004
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Loc: *Sunny Southern California*

Posted: 1/29/2013 9:41:19 PM
I buy the white shop towels in the automotive aisle at Costco. I think I get 40 for around $15. I have 80 I keep under my kitchen counter.
I use several everyday.
They are bleached once a week in one big load.

We don't buy paper towels and haven't in years.
The only time I regret not having any is when I make bacon and wish I had paper towels to drain on.

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PeaNut 219,350
August 2005
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Loc: Phoenix

Posted: 1/30/2013 8:47:04 AM
We started using cloth napkins and keep them rolled up in a basket on the table. We have tons of colors and rotate them depending on the season/holidays.

When people first come over, they don't want to 'mess them up', but then they end up liking them. The stains come out easily if you get 100% cotton. You could actually cut them in half or quarters and sew up the sides and they would work great as paper towels.

When our dd was a baby, we used SAHM-made cloth wipes and they were the BEST! I think we bought a hundred or so. When she was out of diapers, we used them for everything (esp. dusting) and they lasted for years. They were flannel on one side and towel material on the other. Super absorbent.

Pixie Pea

PeaNut 41,800
July 2002
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Loc: Arizona

Posted: 1/30/2013 8:56:56 AM
Ugh! I hate microfiber cloth for the same reason. I hate that feeling when they stick to my fingers.

I love the floursack cloths. I use them all the time.


PeaNut 30,457
February 2002
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Loc: Texas

Posted: 1/30/2013 9:59:06 AM
<---- Paper towel freak... mainly because I have a small kitchen, so not much room to store cloth anything. I would love to have a place to hang pretty/useful cloths. There is only me, therefore I do not have to do laundry very often, so used cloth rags would add up... plus, I buy thick pt and reuse them until no more...

When I go to visit my son out of state - he says, don't worry...we have stocked up on paper towels ! Yup, I am officially an old lady.

~~ Marianne ~~


PeaNut 577,311
January 2013
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Loc: Texas

Posted: 1/30/2013 10:15:06 AM
I keep a steady supply of small bar towels. they're only $4 or $5 for a good sized pack of them at Target. I have a hanging basket in my laundry room where the dirty ones get tossed in it, when it gets full (or stinks ) I run a load of towels. they're all white so I bleach them and they come out white again.

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PeaNut 38,256
May 2002
Posts: 648
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Loc: Central Va

Posted: 1/30/2013 11:22:08 AM
I have a basket with the left overs of cut up tee shirts from making a memory quilt. The fabric is soft, lint free and doesn't fray....I wash with vinegar instead of fabric softener so they absorb great...and you can hit up Goodwill for a few old shirts in colors that suit if necessary...A case of paper towels usually lasts a year here because I use these for everything...


PeaNut 40,147
June 2002
Posts: 24,330
Layouts: 2
Loc: Flowood, Mississippi

Posted: 1/30/2013 11:40:27 AM

My MIL uses old cotton underwear. You have to get past the thought, but you get used to it and then feel like it makes so much sense

I don't see any way this can make sense. I can't imagine someone coming to my home and seeing me using underwear to clean my kitchen.



PeaNut 522,402
October 2011
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Posted: 1/30/2013 12:13:00 PM
It takes us about two years to go through a roll of paper towels, we use them that infrequently. We have a good collection of normal dish towels, microfiber towels for larger spills (I sewed some pretty fabric on one side of some of my microfiber, because I also don't like the feel of the microfiber), flour sacks, cloth diapers, and some cotton knit/crochet dishtowels. We also use cloth napkins, so all of it just goes in the wash with our bath towels weekly.


PeaNut 406,102
January 2009
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Loc: Texas

Posted: 1/30/2013 1:04:23 PM
I use the towels sold in the automobile section at Target. (I prefer the non-microfiber ones though they have both). I use them for everything and throw them in the wash (with bleach when necessary). You can also buy a bigger package of them at SAMS.



PeaNut 508,737
May 2011
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Posted: 1/30/2013 1:50:53 PM
The things you learn on 2peas!! I was wondering the same thing, so glad the OP asked!

I think a trip to Costco is in order! thanks!


PeaNut 329,106
July 2007
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Posted: 1/30/2013 2:13:20 PM
Great ideas.

I use an obscene amount of paper towels.

"The difference between ignorance and apathy?
I don't know, and I couldn't care less..."


PeaNut 563,786
August 2012
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Posted: 1/30/2013 2:28:26 PM
I just use wash clothes. I bought some oversized ones at walmart, and keep a drawer full. I use them mostly for my hands, I use a sponge dedicated to countertops/stove to clean up any messes there.
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