About six months ago, Ryan and I had a crazy thought. Maybe we can live without paper towels? Turns out, we can, and it’s easy. Here are some fun questions we get from guests at our house about living without paper towels.

1. What? Living without paper towels?

We ditched paper towels. We took this thing out as soon as we moved in.

paper towel roll

2. Why?

We think they’re kind of wasteful. I mean, it’s paper. And we would gray a bundle of it, not even thinking, to clean up the smallest spill. It generates a lot of unnecessary trash.

living without paper towels

3. So what do you use instead?

We bought two seven-packs of plain white tea towels. They were about $26 when we bought them in April. We have dish rags, dish towels, and general rags for cleaning, but these are sort of the less classy cousin of dinner napkins. They’re 100% cotton so they’re easy to clean and reuse over and over.

reusable paper towels

4. How much money does it save you?

Well, we’re only two people. So we weren’t blowing through paper towels or anything. Let’s say a roll every two weeks? So 26 rolls a year. At Target, 6 Bounty rolls are $16. So four packages (only 24 rolls) would be $64 in a year. I imagine that when we have kids, we’ll really start to see the benefit of going paper towel-less. Plus, 14 tea towels fit nicely into a drawer. Paper towel rolls are giant and awkward to store.

living without paper towels

5. Do you miss paper towels?

Not a bit. We still use them in some places – public restrooms, for example. It’s not like we’ve sworn off ever using paper towels. We just consciously don’t buy them, and it works for us. Living without paper towels really isn’t hard.

6. And for cleaning?

We upcycle worn dish towels, socks and other clothing. Dish towels get cut in half, making two rags! When they start to really show age, they’re usually retired with a glorious ending as a rag for wood stain.

towels rags

So that’s it. Ditch your paper towels. You really don’t need them! Living without paper towels really is easy. It’s worth the investment, and they’re easy to wash in your weekly whites laundry cycle.

PS: Check out all of our eco-friendly projects here.

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