12 Sustainable Alternatives To Paper Towels Your Kitchen Needs

Waste not, want not.

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You can make your kitchen even more sustainable with these alternatives to paper towels.
You can make your kitchen even more sustainable with these alternatives to paper towels.

From composting leftovers that you forget about in your fridge to swapping out plastic bags you only use once for reusable ones, there’s lots of little changes that make your kitchen much more sustainable. And being more conscious and less wasteful is actually easier than you think.

Whether you’re following a new dessert recipe and getting flour everywhere or drying off all those dishes from dinner, chances are you’re reaching your roll of paper towels.

Like plastic bags that are thrown away with one use, sheet after sheet of single use paper towels aren’t the best for the environment. So you might be looking for alternatives that’ll help with all the cooking and cleaning you do in the kitchen.

And we did the hard work for you and rounded up 12 of the best alternatives to paper towels that your kitchen needs. Plus, some of these sustainable alternatives can be used in your dining room whenever you’re having a fancier dinner with guests, including cloth towels and linen napkins.

We found colorful and cheap Swedish dishcloths that you can compost once you’re done using them, to reusable beeswax wrap that you can wrap just about anything in (from a lemon slice to a sandwich for lunch), these alternatives will have you forgetting all about paper towels.

Take a look below:

A collection of basic microfiber cleaning cloths
Bed Bath & Beyond
If you're trying to transition to sustainable paper towel alternatives, these microfiber cleaning cloths are the everyday towel you'll reach for. Use them for spills, dishes, cleaning, and countertops. And you can kiss dust goodbye with this set. Find the set of six for $20 at Bed Bath & Beyond.
Reusable paper towel rolls
You might do a double take with these paper towel rolls. These aren't your average paper towels — they're actually reusable. One sheet lasts for a week and when you're done using it, you can drop it in the compost. And they're super absorbent, too. Find the set of three for $32 at Food52.
Cotton napkins
For those nights when your dinner feels a little extra special (much too fancy for a microfiber cloth), you'll want to pull out these top-rated napkins (you read that right, this set has 100 reviews and a 5-star rating). Plus, they're machine-washable for any accidental soup or steak sauce stains. Find the set of six for $32 at Anthropologie.
Reusable beeswax wrap
Urban Outfitters
Made with cotton and beeswax, this wrap can be used to store avocado halves, lemons, herbs and more. You can hand wash the wrap in cold water and compost it once you've finished with it. Find a set of three for $16 at Urban Outfitters.
A set of Swedish dishcloths
This colorful duo of Swedish dishcloths are made from ultra-absorbent and biodegradable materials, with a cotton lining. You can rest easy, too, since each dishcloth has the power of 17 rolls of paper towels. And you can even compost them. Find the set of two for $8 at Anthropologie.
A set of knitted dishcloths
If you've reusing random rags around the kitchen, you might just upgrade to these knitted dishcloths. These dishcloths are entirely made of cotton, making them durable and easy to wash. And if you're prone to accidents, the knitted texture will ready them for any spills. Find the set of six for $38 at Food52.
Pop-up sponges
Instead of using paper towels to wipe down greasy pans and dirty countertops, you might just keep a collection of these pop-up sponges on hand. They take up almost no space and are meant to be gentle on cookware and dinnerware. Find the set of six for $17 at Williams-Sonoma.
Linen and cotton bowl covers
Ban paper and plastic from your kitchen entirely with these reusable linen and cotton bowl covers. They have stretchy elastic, so they'll fit around just about any pot or bowl size so you can protect your leftovers and produce. Find the set of six for $64 at Food52.
Linen cocktail napkins
Whether you're getting your wine on-the-go for a night in or toasting a glass of champagne with friends, these linen cocktail napkins double as coasters. Plus, they're mashine-washable. Find the set of 12 for $25 at Wayfair.
Everyday cotton napkins
For your nightly family dinners, these cotton napkins will go with just about anything, so you won't have to worry about clashing with your favorite tablecloth. And you won't be ripping off towel after towel if someone's being a little messy with their spaghetti. Plus, this set is machine-washable so you'll have them around for lots of family meals. Find the set of four for $11 at Target.
Linen bread bags
Protect your fresh dough from the elements with these reusable linen bread bags. They keep bread fresher for longer periods of time, and answer the age-old question of how to keep a loaf of crunchy bread fresh for longer than a day or two. Find the set of two for $36 at Food52.
Reusable sandwich and snack bags
For the sandwich and snacks you might wrap with sheets and sheets of paper towels, you can go green instead with these reusable Stasher bags. These are a favorite among our editors. It's perfect when you're on to go. Plus, these bags are dishwasher and microwave safe. Find them for $10 each at Anthropologie.

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