Rolls of Paper Towels On Table

20 Ways to Be Smart About Using Paper Towels

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Paper towels are a household staple, whether wiping up a spill in the laundry room, cleaning your kitchen countertop, or drying your hands. However, their convenience often comes with a cost to the environment and your wallet. But fear not! With a few innovative strategies, you can minimize waste and maximize efficiency using paper towels. Today, I want to talk about 20 smart ways to use paper towels that you may not have thought of. 10 Ways to Utilize Old Bath Towels for Preppers

20 Ways to Be Smart About Using Paper Towels

1. Use Cloth Alternatives Whenever Possible

Let’s start with the basics: cloth towels. Keep a stack of reusable cloth towels handy for tasks that don’t require disposability. Not only are they eco-friendly, but they’re also cost-effective in the long run. Family Cloth-How To Make Reusable Toilet Paper For Survival

I bought the basket above at Target or Walmart and then ordered the thinnest two-ply pre-folded diapers that would fit inside of it. They are washable and they last at least 2-3 years. Prefold Thin Diapers I place them in a bucket after using them and wash them once a week. This is one of the easiest ways to save money when it comes to cleanup.

2. Choose Recycled Paper Towels

Opt for paper towels made from recycled materials. They might cost a bit more, but they reduce the demand for virgin materials and help lessen your environmental footprint.

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3. Ditch the Double Layer

Most paper towels have perforations for tearing off smaller sheets. Use only what you need; two layers of towels are rarely needed when one will do the job of cleaning up messes just fine.

4. Master the Single Sheet Tear

Practice tearing off just one sheet at a time. It takes a bit of finesse, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll avoid wasting excess paper.

5. Fold, Don’t Crumple

Instead of wadding up a paper towel, fold it neatly. You’ll increase its surface area and make it more effective for wiping kitchen messes or drying your hands.

6. Cut Them Down to Size

Tear larger sheets into smaller pieces for smaller tasks, like cleaning up a tiny spill or blotting residual grease from food. This reduces waste and saves you from using a full-sized towel for a minor job. How to Reduce Waste as a Prepper

7. Reuse When Possible

If a paper towel isn’t badly soiled, give it a second life. Let it dry out, and then use it again for a less demanding task.

8. Air Dry When You Can

For tasks like drying freshly washed fruits and vegetables, consider air drying instead of reaching for a paper towel to remove the moisture. It’s a simple switch that saves paper and energy.

9. Share with Care

When you’re cleaning up with others, communicate about paper towel usage. Encourage everyone to be mindful and avoid unnecessary waste.

10. Get Creative with DIY Solutions

Explore homemade alternatives for tasks where paper towels are typically used, like cleaning windows or mirrors. Vinegar and water solutions, paired with a reusable cloth, can work wonders.

11. Invest in Quality

If you frequently use paper towels, invest in higher-quality ones. They tend to be more absorbent, meaning you’ll need fewer sheets to complete the job.

12. Avoid Using Them as Napkins

Resist the temptation to use paper towels as napkins during meals. Opt for cloth napkins instead to reduce unnecessary waste. This is also one of my favorite ways to use paper towels smartly.

13. Keep Them Dry

Store your paper towels in a dry place to prevent them from becoming damp and less effective. A cool, dry cabinet is ideal.

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14. Skip Them for Microwave Use

When reheating food in the microwave, cover your dish with a microwave-safe lid or plate instead of using a paper towel to stop microwave messes. It’s a small change that eliminates the need for disposable materials.

15. Use Them Sparingly for Cleaning

Consider using a damp cloth instead of a paper towel for light cleaning tasks, like dusting or wiping down surfaces. Save the paper towels for messier jobs that truly require them so you don’t stain your cleaning cloths.

16. Don’t Flush Them

Paper towels are not designed to break down like toilet paper, so never flush them down the toilet. Dispose of used paper towels in the trash to avoid plumbing issues. This is an important tip regarding being smart about using paper towels.

17. Opt for Unbleached Varieties

Look for unbleached paper towels, which are chlorine-free and void of other harsh chemicals. They’re gentler on the environment and safer for household use.

18. Keep Them Handy

Place a small stack of paper towels around your home so they’re ready when needed. Use paper towels to clean up gunk that could make your cloth towels hard to wash. I like having a paper towel holder next to the sink and easy to tear off to prevent waste.

19. Support Brands with Sustainable Practices

Choose paper towel brands that prioritize sustainability in their manufacturing processes and packaging. Your purchase decisions can influence positive change in the industry.

20. Help a Friend Out

Share your paper towel-saving tips with friends and family. The more people adopt these practices, the more significant the impact on reducing waste and conserving resources.

Can you use paper towels to filter your coffee?

In a pinch, you can use paper towels as DIY coffee filters. Some things to consider when using them as coffee filters:

  • If you plan to use them often, compare the price of regular coffee filters to make sure you’re making a good financial decision.
  • They probably aren’t as strong as your regular filters and may tear easily, wasting the paper towel.
  • Many paper towels come with chemicals, so be sure to buy a chemical-free brand.

More Tips

Final Word

When you use these simple yet effective strategies, you can be smart about your paper towel usage, saving both money and the environment one sheet at a time. I love having paper towels on hand, but I also feel like we go through them so quickly. These tips will help everyone be smart about using paper towels. May God Bless this World, Linda

Copyright Images: Rolls of Paper Towels On Table Depositphotos_251685054_S By Serezniy

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  1. I’ve never figured out why people quit using cloth towels/rags to clean up and instead will use a half a roll (or more!) of expensive paper towels to do the job. I use paper towels in the same way Linda does – sparingly for when cloth isn’t a good option like wiping up something sticky, disgusting, etc. that you don’t want to launder. I’ve had visitors come and go through the same amount in one meal that I go through in a month or more. I also use paper napkins to clean up something small to save the paper towels for larger jobs.

    1. Hi Kay, I don’t remember growing up with paper towels. After I got married I can’t even remember if they had them back in 1969! LOL! I guess they were invented in 1879 and introduced in 1907 by the Scott brothers. I had to Google that one. LOL! I cringe at the price every time I pick up a bundle at Costco. It will stop once I get into my house. I will have some stocked but only for emergencies. My girls wore cloth diapers when they were born, but that’s another whole story! LOL! Linda

  2. If I need to wipe up something I use a old t shirt. It is better than wasting money on a big amount of paper towels. I do have them but don’t use alot. I buy a 3 roll pack maybe twice a year.

    1. Hi June, I’m with you, I feel like I’m flushing money down the toilet every time I use a paper towel becuase of the cost. Old t shirts work great. Love it, Linda

  3. I’m with you Linda! I have a huge supply of “rags”- old dish cloths and hand towels.
    I have a friend who uses a roll of paper towels a day- no exaggeration!! Blows my mind! That same friend thinks I’m a “crazy prepper” – thankfully she lives a considerable distance from me! 🙂

    1. Hi Beth, your friend uses a whole roll a day. Oh my gosh, cha ching cha ching $$$$$! LOL! That friend better be saving old t shirts and rags when paper towels are obsolete, it’s possible, I have no knowledge of that but lets get real. There are shortages of everything. Good thing she doesn’t live close or she may want to borrow some of your rags when the paper towels are super scare or double in price. Just thinking out loud! LOL! Linda

  4. I only use paper towels for draining bacon or other greasy cooked food or wiping out my cast iron frying pan or to soak up leftover greasy pan residue to keep it from going down the drain when washing dishes. Makes great fire starter afterwards, I just toss in the stove right away. I used to use it as the top layer over newspaper and use newspaper to soak up grease but newspaper is pretty rare these days. I might use the odd paper towel for wiping up something really nasty but that would be a rare occurrence. I have cut up t-shirts, old towels and whatnot in the rag bag to do spill wipes. I bought a pack of 6 rolls and that would probably last me a couple of years if it wasn’t for visitors. I’ve had to explain how that works to guests but they forget and just grab a huge pile of paper towels at a time for every little thing!

    1. Hi Alice, I agree newspaper is hard to come be these days. Thank goodness for old t-shirts, and worn out items than become great for rags. Paper towels are a luxury item in my house, LOL! They are so expensive and we can easily learn to get by without them. But then we have guests….we love having them but please use less paper products! It’s the little things like paper towels that make our grocery bill too expensive. Well, everything is expensive these days, but I’m with you, lets cut back on paper towels and use rags! Love it! Linda

  5. I might use 1 or 2 rolls of paper towels a year. ONLY because my husband prefers them to Kleenex. He tears off one of the “select a sheet” little ones and they last a few days. Then into the composter.
    If paper towels were not available, he’d use cloth.
    I have a stack of cloth napkins for the table. They’ve lasted 20 years.
    No sponges. New dish rag daily and dish towels. Rags for clean up.
    The sum total of laundry this creates is not worth mentioning.
    Guests in my house don’t have “paper options” other than TP.
    We lived off the grid 6-9 months per year for 22 years. Camping and sailing.
    When there is no place for trash disposal, you don’t generate much.
    A lot of people need to “get over it” and realize a good life is possible without waste.

    1. HI CAddison, I really enjoyed learning how you lived off grid for 6-9 months per year for 22 years. What a wonderful experience. You are so right we can live a good life with very little waste. Linda

  6. I will make rags out of anything, torn towels, sheets, t-shirts. I make napkins out of dust ruffles, table cloths and old clothes. My grandmother said ,” Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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