How to Reduce the Use of Paper Towels

When it comes to the budget, I do my best to reduce the money spent on things that just go to waste, such as paper towels. The one thing that I’ve found when it comes to paper towels is that if they are around, it can be hard not to use them. Slowly, I’ve worked at reducing my use of them and I’ve got it down to almost nothing throughout the year.

I started with a “Paper Towel Challenge” several years ago. I simply put a sticky note on my paper towel holder with the current date at the time and any time I’d go to grab a paper towel, I’d see it and try to find a better alternative. I was able to go 20 days without using any.

Over time, I’ve found things that have worked and haven’t worked. And here are my favorite finds: (Note: Not sponsored items. Just things that I like!)

Skoy Eco-friendly Cleaning Cloths – These little gems have saved me countless paper towels. They feel like a cross between a thick paper towel and a very thin sponge. And even though they are little, they can soak up liquids like you wouldn’t believe. I actually did a (very informal!) test the other night. I poured the same amount of water on the counter to see how the Skoy would work compared to paper towels and here’s what it looked like:

The Skoy cloths soaked it up with room to spare, as you can see. I could just wring it out and I was able to soak up the same amount of water a few more times before I couldn’t get the counter from being wet.

The Paper Towels–took me two of them and the counter was still wet and the one paper towel was dripping everywhere. It would have taken me 3 to clean up the spill just once. (No worries, I didn’t waste the paper towels. They were used for cleaning!) :)

The Skoy cloths dry out fast and I haven’t noticed them getting “smelly.” They are machine washable and mine have lasted for a long time. You can get all white or multi-colored. I like the multi-colored ones so I can use them for different things and not mix them up. Overall, I love them and they have helped me greatly reduce paper towel usage.

The next thing I noticed I used paper towels for was microwaving bacon for quick meals. But then I found the Presto Microwave Bacon Cooker. This one cooks well and all the grease drips to the bottom. (Once the grease has cooled, I can store/freeze it for later use in cooking/recipes.) I just wash it up when I’m done and I don’t use a single paper towel.

Paper towels can average around $1 or more a roll. (Yes, you might be able to find some cheaper through sales/coupons.) If you are going through a few rolls a week, you might be able to save yourself $50 or more a year just by cutting them back 50%. Overall, the best way to help eliminate paper towels is to be conscious of when and why you are using them. Each time you go to grab one, ask yourself if there’s a better alternative. Not only will you find that you might be able to save money, but you can eliminate unnecessary waste.

What ways have you found to help eliminate paper towel usage? What ways are you still finding that you need them?