No More Paper Towels in This Household…

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Sent from reader, Nicole:

I love following the deals on Hip2Save and try to get a great deal on my household essentials! I recently realized I skim over the paper towel deals because we use very few of them. I keep a stack of microfiber cloths under my sink for spills & cleaning.

I have a second stack of washcloths for kid wet wipes/napkins – each location has a different style or color to make putting away easy (i.e. bathroom is pink).


I launder both with my regular laundry and got both sets free after rebate at Menards! It is super easy, eco friendly and frugal. We only use around 4-5 rolls of paper towels a year!


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Comments 76

  1. Jen

    Cut them out 4 years ago do not regret having to purchase them in bulk. My kids use rags and are more conscience of what they are doing now no doubt!

    • apartment dweller

      I guess its opposite for some apt dwellers. I used to have lots of rags & didnt have to purchase paper towels often. However, since i live in an apt with no provision for wet laundry hanging, I transitioned into all paper towels except for bath towels. I placed a shower curtain rod on top of my bath tub and hanged wet rags there, but it made me feel like im living in a third world country. I hated it. I would love to go back to cloth rags and use less paper towels. If anyone has any brilliant idea to solve this predicament, I would appreciate it. TIA

  2. Kelly

    agreed! haven’t used paper toweling in years, we also only buy 3 rolls or less a year. we keep a whole drawer of kitchen hand towels for drying hands and we also use Norwex microfiber cloths for cleaning their amazing! gotta love being green 🙂

    • Janell

      I second the Norwex. That’s what I use too trying to cut out so much paper towel use. Love it!!!

  3. DSch

    OMG, I have some of the exact same towels! (The blue and green ones in the top picture and the brown one on the right side of the second picture.) We have them scattered throughout the house. Only thing is my infamous spouse sometimes “forgets” to replace them.

  4. M

    The only time I get paper towels is if they are free. I also just use kitchen towels works wonderful and saves me lots of money.

  5. Just passing through

    I don’t buy them but my husband occasionally does.
    I’m usually saying that’s not what a paper towel is for to the point that I’m not sure what mess qualifies paper towel use 😂. I use towels or napkins from take out

  6. weigella

    Cutting out paper towels is a great way to clean green and save the environment. Norwex microfiber is the way to go! Norwex removes bacteria without using cleaners, only water. If you want more info or looking for a consultant, email me

  7. E

    We use a handful of rolls of paper towels a year. Maybe one a month or every six weeks. Messes get wiped up with rags. We also do mostly cloth napkins. It’s not too much more laundry.

  8. Frecklelily

    I cut up a king sized flannel sheet set and use them as clean up clothes throughout the house. I put them in a mesh laundry bag for washing. It has really cut down our paper towel usage.

  9. Ihearthip

    Thanks for this helpful tip. I have been wondering if the savings were worth it. I tend to use paper towels for things like lining a serving plate when cooking fries/other greasy foods, covering up dishes to keep flies or gnats away, and as a help when preparing fruits/veggies/herbs. If I could wean myself from these I could do without them.

    • Nicole

      As mentioned in the post above, I don’t exclusively use cloth. I keep a roll on my counter for a handful of tasks (like microwaving bacon!)

      Using less is better than doing nothing at all! The longer the microfiber clothes are around, the more everyone uses them. My entire family looks at guests a little funny when they automatically grab a paper towel 😂

  10. Lyuba Stupak

    I totally agree! We also use barely any paper towels, ever since I found Norwex! It’s awesome! The cloths clean with just water, amazing! And they don’t get stinky like usual rags because there’s silver in the fibers. I even joined as a consultant and share it with all my friends and family:)

    • Jodi P

      NORWEX cloths are amazing in that they TOTALLY clean up grease and sugary messes.

      • Lyuba Stupak

        Yes they do! And also I am able to clean my stainless steel appliances with just water and the microfiber cloth and they are streak free! And same thing on glass, windows, mirrors! It’s like magic!

  11. MrsG

    My husband picks on me because I hide and lock the paper towels under the kitchen sink. They are a waste of money!! I use various towels like the lady mentioned here.

  12. Jen s.

    wow I never considered this but it sounds great! we love to save money, and I probably use a roll a week. 😨 Is it still ok to use toilet paper? 😉

    • Ihearthip

      Lol 😧

  13. Tracikane

    Question- we use few paper towels but how do you substitute for items like breakfast sausage biscuits that you wrap in a paper towel to microwave? I’d be happy to replace that but not sure how.

    • Marblu18

      Cloth napkins work great in the microwave.

    • Ann

      Anything with grease is going to do a number on your washing machine especially if you do it all the time. Then you’ve got a washing machine thrown in the landfill when paper towels are biodegradable.

  14. Daisy

    And what about pet messes and children’s vomit?

    • Rachel

      Anything that has chunks, I am not machine washing!

    • Nicole

      I keep a roll of paper towels for things of this nature. Nothing wrong with machine washing these (people machine wash cloth diapers!) But sometimes my sanity needs a paper towel. Any amount of paper towels that you cut down on saves you $ and helps the environment.

    • PC

      Agreed. It’s great to cut down your paper towel usage overall, but I find that for me it’s impossible to eliminate it altogether. You just can’t always use a cloth napkin or towel for certain things. I have 2 little boys so cleaning up pee, poop, and puke are a fact of life around here (especially since we are potty training)…using cloth towels means having to drop everything to wash them immediately since I can’t let those towels sit around covered in feces, urine, or vomit obviously. And it depends on your region too- we have a water cap in our area right now and our electricity bills have been exponentially higher due to 100+ degree temps for the last month…so extra laundry just isn’t an option for us right now.

      • Ann

        I agree. nice thought but not possible for everyone. It almost seems unsanitary to leave dirty rags around.

        • PC

          It’s very unsanitary b/c there are germs in those bodily fluids that I don’t need to have floating around in my house…not to mention the awful smell that sets in right away, especially since we live in a hot climate.

    • Jennifer E.

      I dont buy paper towels at all but we do use baby wipes (for a couple of reasons) + old rags to clean things up. If I use a rag for something gross (such as throw up) I just toss it in the trash so its not sitting around. Our old washcloths and dishcloths just become new rags anyways.

    • Dawn

      I have a cat that throws up all the time. I use paper towels. I have a huge stockpile of them. I coupon so they are super inexpensive.

    • Sushi

      I have a container with gently used paper napkins/towels that I use for those messes-usually pee.

    • Maria

      I also have reduced my paper towel usage by switching to mainly cotton rags. In the case of really gross messes, I will use rags that I have made from stained clothing, old sheets, etc. and then just throw away any solids. Also, an old fashioned scrubber and pail of water go a long way! I don’t use paper towels for much of anything anymore.

  15. kait

    I have about 15 of the 79c white/red cotton dishcloths from Ikea and I love them. Microfiber irritates my skin and I don’t like that they shed so many, well, microfibers 🙈

    The Ikea cloths get super absorbant after a couple washes! Highly recommend!

  16. Mendy

    Going to start doing this! We are a family of five and with three kids, paper towels go insanely fast!

  17. Mlh211

    I got microfiber clothes a few months ago and they are great. I use vinegar and water spray for cleaning.
    We have a separate set of old gym towels that are for the dog, outside work, messy husband projects and those I don’t care how dirty or stained they get. Pet or kid accidents get those old towels and then rinsed in the sink or tub before going into the wash.

  18. ana

    Ugg, I just don’t think I can do it, I use a ton!😟 I bought bounty with Dawn and I love them so much, they are so nice for washing dishes when you don’t want to swap out your towel. The only thing is is my husband was using them for food.

  19. Happy Aunt

    I became much more aware of my paper towel usage a few years ago when it was talked about on a blog I was reading. I mostly use them now for grease clean up (I let the grease in pans turn solid and then wipe them out before washing) and when drying the cat litter box after it’s been scrubbed with Comet. (Dollar tree has great cheap scrubbers for the actual scrubbing) I have definitely noticed the difference in how long they last. I also have a plastic plate cover that I use to cover microwave food that I worry about splattering.

  20. Ihearthip

    In the 50s they were considered a luxury kept in bathroom for messy kids

  21. Dealzgurl

    I shouldn’t admit it but I’m definitely not environmentally friendly due to my high usage of paper towels. It feels weird not to have them in the house. I have started keeping old rags though so maybe I’ll eventually make the switch. I just don’t like to dry my hands on the same crusty towel that others use. Great ideas and suggestions though.

    • Vee

      I agree w/you.

      • Tia

        Me too. I’m trying to be more conscious here and there but it never dawned on me to cut down on paper towels. We use a lot for eating. Grab a paper towel for a sandwich, chips, crackers, etc.

    • Laura

      I change my kitchen towel, my normal hand drying towel, every two days or so, so I don’t think It gets bad. Or if I use it for anything that’s actually dirty. I have a full load just of small towels that I use for cleaning up messes, washing the counter, cloth napkins, and kitchen towels. Since I have many I don’t mind using a new towel regularly.

  22. TraceyR

    I bought some of the Norwex cloths and love them; pricier, but no harsh chemicals needed; just water.

  23. Stefanie

    I used to never buy paper towels or plates. Then the chronic illnesses and disabilities made them a lifesaver. No shame here.

  24. Edy

    I love my paper towels – do have cloth towels for dusting – wiping stuff but, I have a special needs child and when she is sick like last night, paper towels help to clean quick , paper plates when I dont feel like washing plates is not being lazy she had surgery and when I had my two surgeries all that stuff was so much help – I’m one of those that keeps disenfecting wipes in each room if I seat in toilet seat I clean the seat right after – I wipe my stove right after cooking – because I do have a job also , This helps me keep house clean all the time so, I can coupon work and help my daughter and my parents with all the good deals on paper towels love the feeling of having plenty of this

    • April

      Edy, no shame, no need to justify your use of paper products. Each situation differs greatly from the next. My husband and I don’t have any minor children nor animals in our home, but I’m not giving up paper products. Negative
      commenters can kick rocks, they don’t live, pay bills or make decisions in my house.

    • meghan

      Dont feel bad! Its funny because paper towels are biodegradable. Everyone has different ways of doing their part 🙂 I’ll recycle where I can but I will not give up paper towels.

  25. Kristie

    We buy the KRAMA washcloths from ikea. They’re $4.99 for a 10 pack. They’re white so easy to wash and bleach. I think they’re easier to clean up toddler faces/messes than wipes or paper towels. We still have paper towels in the house, but have cut way back.

  26. Anna

    Ok so we use paper towels in this house, and I have wanted to at least try to use less since I’ve been reading about it more and more. Here is my question to all those people that use cloth. When you use a cloth towel do you rinse it and use it again for another mess or is it more like a one time use for one mess? Also when the cloth is dirty do you rinse it out or just leave it in a dirty bin until you do laundry? And how long do you have to wait to wash because what I’m thinking here is you need to collect enough to actually do a load,( or do you mix it with something else) however I don’t want them to start smelling like mildew because they stayed wet and I want to rinse the cloth after cleaning up any messes because I don’t want it smelling or if there is anything stuck to the cloth I don’t want that to go into the washing machine. What are your methods and routines for this?

    • jennine

      Haha for quality microfiber cloths likes Norwex or e-cloths (amazon) all you have to do is rise in hot water. This uncurls and fibers and lets go of the dirt and bacteria. No need to wash it in soap till your ready for a small towel load. Just wring and hang it on your faucet when you’re done wiping up.

  27. Debbie in PA

    First, I agree with cutting down or eliminating paper towel usage. However, if you are doing in for environmental reason, there is some question now about the use of microfiber cloth. Maybe using cotton towels that have outlived their life? Here’s a recent article on micro fibers. Hope that it is ok to post it here. I was shocked, honestly.

    • Maria

      Thanks for posting this, Maggie. I found the microplastics thing shocking as well. Not just bad for the environment, but bad for people as well. Although some people consider comments about the environment “negative”, I think we are all trying to help each other live better, and for me that has been living with less plastic, although it is almost impossible to live plastic free. We should all try to educate ourselves and each other about what these products are really made of any how they affect our bodies and environment.

  28. Former cloth towel person

    What do you do for pesky glass top stoves?! The new black sleek ones. For the life of me I can’t get it clean without using at least 4 paper towels 🙁 drives me nuts.

    • Barb

      I’ve been using baking soda and vinegar on my glass stove top and wiping it with a cloth it works great!

  29. Sera

    For people wondering how to make the switch:

    I live alone, just me and my two kitties. I used to clean houses for a “green” cleaning company, and adopted some of their practices when I left.

    Microfibers all the way! Hint: buy them in the auto section of your store; they are much cheaper there than the cleaning section!

    I color code them for sanitary purposes. Pink is bathroom. Those get one use and then get hung to dry and tossed in the dirty linen bin. Tip: clean least “dirty” to most “dirty.” You don’t want to wipe the top/bottom of your toilet seat and then wipe areas that won’t have as much exposure to bacteria. Work cleanest to dirtiest – and then toss that microfiber in the laundry!

    All that being said, I do use about 5-6 rolls of paper towels a year. These are reserved for hairballs/vomit and other kitty unmentionables!

    Yay to all the enthusiasm to be conscious of each of our carbon footprint and what makes the most sense for each of us. Good luck everyone!

    Blue for dusting, yellow for windows. Green/white/gray for all purpose cleaning.

    Dusting and windows get reused until a load is going in the wash (I live in apartment bldg so this can be a few weeks!) 🙈

    All purpose

  30. Sera

    So that almost posted in order of how it was typed… close enough!

  31. Amy

    I get the big packs of cheap white wash clothes at Walmart. (Also the larger bar type towels for drying hands and larger messes.) Have a drawer of them in the kitchen. Use them and sponges for washing dishes and most clean up issues.
    I have a plastic bin my laundry room sink that wet ones go into when used and laundry sorter with a bin for whites (the bar towels, white socks, etc.)
    I launder all my whites together – hot water with bleach and then put in the dryer. I know others recommend washing sponges in the dishwasher, but I prefer the washing machine with bleach and then the dryer – I know they are completely cleaned and sanitized.

    • Tara in TX

      Thanks for posting this Amy ~ didn’t think about the larger bar type at Sams. Going to go grab some!
      We’vd been using the small, square washcloths you get in stacks at Walmart. Bought a ton of them for super cheap in different colors on Black Friday. White for kitchen, gray to use with Swiffer, Tan for M. Bath and fun colors for kids baths, etc.
      These cut down on paper towels, tissues for make-up removal, germs from using same handtowels over and over, etc. I keep them in pretty baskets on the countertops.
      Only thing is, it does make for more laundry…

  32. jennine

    The idea behind these are phenomenal. No more paper towels, the need for less and very little liquid cleaning product. Keeping microfiber clothes for years. These are not made to be thrown away.

    They Are a plastic that can’t be recycled. When the little plastic fibers come out in the laundry they are going into the water. Look for quality Ones (cheaper in the auto section) the toss up on how green they are is debatable . The science behind these is amazing. All microfiber cloth by nature of the material is antibacterial. E-cloth and Norwex are of quality and used the most in Europe. Here cleaning companies don’t want you to know you can hospital level clean using this cloth with a tad bit of water, and very little to none cleaning product. the germs latch onto the fibers on the cloth!

  33. Sue

    We cut out almost all paper napkin use by switching to cloth napkins for meals. We do use paper ones for popcorn, greasy messy finger food and picnics. We got a lot of our cloth napkins at yard sales and thrift stores. Cotton bandanas make good casual napkins too, and can be found for about a dollar each.

  34. DFW

    The environmental impact of having to wash and dry cloth towels (i.e. the load on the environment of using resources like water, soap, and electricity constantly) means that the difference b/w using paper towels efficiently and relying on cloth towels is marginal at best (if not altogether non-existent). And cloth towels will wind up in the landfill too, whereas at least paper towels are biodegradable and break down fairly quickly…so much so that you can compost paper towels, but you can’t compost cloth ones. Just some things to consider, as this issue isn’t all that black and white.

    We use paper towels but stretch them further by quickly rinsing and/or reusing them for simple messes. For really dirty messes, I just use Clorox wipes instead b/c they not only wipe but also disinfect the area, so I am not wasting a sheet of paper towel for no reason.

    • Tara in TX

      True… guess, you’ve gotta pick your poison….
      Our washcloths go through many years of use. Once done in house ~ they migrate to our garage and barn. And one washcloth seems to take the place of several paper towels or wipes when cleaning up.
      Would be interesting to see what the financial and environmental difference and savings would be tracked over those years. Good kid science project!

      • DFW

        I actually find Bounty to be much more absorbent than my washcloths. I’d much rather just continue to compost my paper towels and actually benefit the environment in some way vs. doing all that extra laundry over the years. But that’s my own preference…people should do whatever works for them. Just bringing some nuance to the discussion.

  35. jennine

    Microfiber clothes can be washed with your towels when you’re ready. If you ring out the cloths in hot water it uncoils the fibers releasing the bacteria . Hang it to try on your faucet or on a hook by your sink kinda like in the bathroom with towels. Shouldn’t smell if it’s rinsed. Norwex is recommend can get on amazon.

  36. Renee

    Think it is not only environmentally-friendly and cost-effective not to purchase paper towels, but where do you store the used cloths until it’s time for laundry?

  37. Sue Bray

    I buy pretty cloth napkins at the Goodwill and other stores like that.

  38. Kimm Strickland

    I have only one question. …. what do you do when you fry something like chicken or bacon how do you drain said items? Its the only time I feel like I need paper towel.

    • Pat

      To drain fried foods, take several sheets of newspaper, folded in half. Then put 1 paper town on top, that way you are only using 1 paper towel versus several. Works great.

  39. Kathryn Welch

    Love it! I’ve used eCloth, which is an alternative to Norwex (but I think it’s more affordable).

  40. CJ

    Living in the area of pine trees and pulpwood I have to disagree on the saving the environment by not cutting down trees. These trees are harvested and replanted all the time and are the lively hood of many people in our area. From the planting process to the milling process. I prefer to save the water it takes to wash out and launder all the extra cloth towels. To each his own I guess. I personally don’t use many paper towels either.

    • Pat

      I agree with you, not everything saves the environment. Wonder how many people that use rags hang them out on the clothesline to dry, that saves energy and it’s what I do.

      • Maria

        I do that as well 🙂 the sun is an amazing “cleaner”

  41. Chrissy Goff

    I grew up in Europe (army brat) and we had clothes lines in our bathroom and on the balcony (goes across from wall to wall) and we also had basement laundry line so we grew up using towels and hanging clothes to dry. I have a clothes line outside and we use it a lot on sunny days especially for blankets and jeans that take forever to dry. I could live forever without paper towels (I did when I was single and while raising my daughter) but my brothers can’t. One has OCD so bad that he uses them for everything. I would love to stop buying them but he goes through almost a roll a day. LOL

  42. 50ShadesofLipstick

    If you are an allergy sufferer like me then hanging things outside to dry in the sun isn’t an option…b/c all of that stuff collects pollen. Also personally I cannot stand the smell of soil that clothing picks up when it’s been dried outdoors…I actually find it nauseating.

  43. Jess

    Same here DFW. That’s what I do. Works for me.

  44. Jane Do

    In California, at least, paper towels go into food scraps/yard waste bin and get recycled.
    I use less paper towels than the average person and try to put them in my food scraps/yard waste bin.
    That is a good way to feel less guilty when using them.

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