We Tried 11 Reusable Paper Towels, And These 7 Were The Best Options (2024)

Whether you want to make eco-friendly changes to your home or you’re constantly buying new rolls of paper towels, consider reusable paper towels. Typically, reusable paper towels are more or equally absorbent as regular paper towels and come in various materials, shapes, and sizes. Plus, they’re more sustainable as they can be washed and used multiple times.

“Reusable paper towels can be used for anything that disposable paper towels are used for, but have the benefit of being more sustainable. And because they are reusable, you can use them for a greater variety of tasks than the single task of a disposable paper towel,” says sustainable cleaning expert Alexandra Wojenski.

To find the best reusable paper towels on the market, we tested 11 different styles of reusable paper towels, each undergoing the same rigorous testing at our testing lab in Des Moines, Iowa. We tested absorption levels, drying time, and spill tests with chocolate syrup and coffee grinds. We also conducted a spill test with red wine and washed all the towels according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

In addition to Wojenski, we also consulted Sara Zahir, a cleaning expert at HealthyBaby, for additional insight.

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Our Ratings

  • Quality

    5/5

  • Effectiveness

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why You Should Get It

  • The towels come on a roll, so it makes for an easy transition to reusable paper towels.

Keep in Mind

  • To clean them you’ll need to hand wash and hang to dry.

Overall, we thought the best reusable paper towels were the Full Circle Tough Sheet Reusable Plant Towels. The 30 towels came in an attached roll that looked just like a traditional roll of paper towels and fit on a paper towel holder.

The 30 towels are composed of 100% bamboo rayon. We felt that they had a similar thickness to traditional paper towels, and the shiny and super soft material presents like a light satin. Transitioning to these towels is seamless since each sheet rips off the roll like a standard towel roll.

Thin but mighty, these towels passed all of our mess tests with flying colors, efficiently cleaning up the chocolate sauce, blue liquid, wine, and coffee grounds. We noted that when rinsing and wringing out the towels, they didn’t tear or get worn. Even after rubbing the towel on a carpet to remove the wine stain, the towel maintained its shape.

After the spills were removed from the testing surface, we noted how quickly the stains rinsed right off. After 30 minutes, the towels weren’t completely dry but were significantly drier.

Unlike some other options, these need to be hand-washed and hung to dry. Plus, the sheets cannot be reattached once you tear off one from the roll. While we love the convenience and look of the roll, we recommend using one or two towels until they are no longer reusable. Otherwise, you’ll end up with 30 towels all hanging to dry and none on your roll.

Product Details: Material: Bamboo rayon | Size: 12 x 12 inches | Quantity: 30 sheets

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Our Ratings

  • Quality

    4.3/5

  • Effectiveness

    4/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    4.2/5

  • Value

    4/5

Why You Should Get It

  • They’re easy to clean and are safe to use in a microwave and dishwasher.

Keep in Mind

  • When it came to chocolate sauce and coffee grounds, it took a few swipes before the mess was clean.

After testing nearly a dozen reusable paper towels, we felt that the Grove Co. Swedish Dishcloths were some of the best to consider. The cellulose and cotton blend cloths proved to be highly absorbent and perfect for cleaning spills, as well as regular household cleaning chores that might use many traditional paper towels.

“Swedish dishcloths are unique. Think of a paper towel meets a sponge. They are highly absorbent and can hold up to 20 times their weight in liquid, are easy to wash in the dishwasher or microwave, and can be reused for up to a year,” says Wojenski.

This two-pack comes in various designs. During testing, we noted that the towels were quite thick and had a coarse texture to them when dry, though that’s to be expected with this style.

These towels cleaned water and wine with ease, but needed more than five swipes to clean chocolate sauce and the coffee grounds. That being said, we felt that it was shifting the coffee grounds around more than absorbing them, so this pick may not be the best for similar ingredients.

We were impressed with the durability of this product, noting that even after using them a few times there weren’t any signs that they would break down. They’re also microwave and dishwasher-safe. Plus, the towels were also easy to clean, with stains coming off in a matter of seconds. There weren’t any unpleasant odors, but the towel did take over 30 minutes to dry, so you may want to have a few extras handy just in case.

Product Details: Material: Cellulose and cotton | Size: 6.87 x 7.5 inches | Quantity: Two

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Our Ratings

  • Quality

    4.5/5

  • Effectiveness

    4.8/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    4.3/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why You Should Get It

  • You’re purchasing 80 reusable paper towels.

Keep in Mind

  • Once the towels are pulled off the roll, you’ll need somewhere to store the sheets.

If you use paper towels often or live in a large household, the Ecozoi Bamboo Reusable Paper Towels are an option to consider. The towels come in a set of four rolls, each with 20 sheets of towels, so you’ll have 80 towels ready to use.

These durable reusable paper towels can be washed, dried, and used up to 50 times, making them worth the investment. Thicker, stiffer, and softer than a disposable paper towel, these did well in our spill tests and surpassed the disposable towel option in all the spilled elements.

During testing, this towel cleaned coffee grounds as well as the disposable towel we compared it to. It was better at absorbing liquids than the disposable option, though it didn’t fully remove the wine stain.

These towels can be hand-washed with cold tap water or machine-washed on a cold cycle, and we found that they cleaned quite well. No matter the cleaning method, hang to dry. We did note that after the 30-minute drying time these towels were still quite wet, so they would take longer than expected to dry.

Keep in mind that you can't put a towel back on the roll once you remove it, so you’ll want to be mindful of how many you remove at a time. Since there are 80 sheets in the four-pack, so be sure to have enough drying space and storage.

Product Details: Material: Viscose from bamboo | Size: 11 x 11 inches | Quantity: Four rolls with 20 sheets each

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Our Ratings

  • Quality

    4/5

  • Effectiveness

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    4/5

  • Value

    4/5

Why You Should Get It

  • The towels come with a handy hook for hanging.

Keep in Mind

  • They’re more expensive than other options.

Stylish may be an understatement once you look at the Papaya Reusable Paper Towel 4-Pack. These reusable paper towels come in a seemingly unlimited array of patterns, including a kids' collection, holiday, botanical, solid colored, floral, and block print, adding a fun element to cleaning.

The towels are available in a range of pack offerings, and a subscription service is also an option if you think you’ll use them often. We liked that no matter what size set you order, you’ll receive a handy hook for hanging the towels. The included hook provides easy access to your new reusable paper towels and is a great place to dry the used towel as well.

We were pleased with how well these towels worked in our tests. We found the towels to be high-quality and have great absorbency. We also thought they were significantly stronger than the traditional paper towel comparisons.

The towels cleaned up our test ingredients very well, particularly the blue water and wine. When it came to the chocolate sauce and coffee grounds, it took the same number of swipes as the disposable towel did.

There are three ways to wash these reusable towels. You can either rinse with soap and water (or just water), wash on the top rack of a dishwasher, or clean in the washing machine. You should always hang to dry, but thankfully the hook makes that a cinch.

Product Details: Material: Cellulose and cotton | Size: 8.75 x 9.8 inches | Quantity: Four

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Our Ratings

  • Quality

    4.8/5

  • Effectiveness

    4.8/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    4.8/5

  • Value

    4/5

Why You Should Get It

  • The five towels are each made for a specific cleaning task.

Keep in Mind

  • There’s no towel for general spills or messes.

The Full Circle Renew Recycled Microfiber Essential Clothes are specially crafted with a different woven pattern for specific cleaning needs, including bath and tile, dusting, glass, grease, and stainless steel. During testing, we thought these were the best option if you prefer microfiber cleaning cloths.

We liked that each towel has a label so you can write directly on the towel what it’s for. Plus, all five towels have a hanging loop for easy storage and drying. While we appreciated the towels' specificity, no towel is specially crafted for general spills or messes, which we would have liked.

The towels are well-sized and did perform well in our tests despite not being made for general messes. The towels cleaned up the blue water and chocolate sauce with ease, and only needed two swipes to dry our hands. The towel was not very effective when it came to coffee grounds, however, and we noted that it seemed to push them down further and make the mess worse.

When it comes to maintaining these towels, we like that these can be machine washed and dried, so it’s easy to use them and quickly clean them without worrying about hanging them to dry.

Product Details: Material: Recycled polyester and polyamide blend | Size: 12 x 12 inches | Quantity: Five

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Our Ratings

  • Quality

    4.8/5

  • Effectiveness

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Why You Should Get It

  • The multi-purpose towels are machine-washed and dried.

Keep in Mind

  • The towels shrunk a bit in the dryer.

Made of stretchy waffle weave cotton, this 10-pack of Mioeco Washable Paper Towels is a welcome addition to any household. They worked as well as the reusable paper towels did, and can be used as fabric napkins as well as any other typical use.

During testing, we were impressed that these cleaned up the liquid spills better than the paper towel counterparts. We did note that even after a good rinse in the sink, the coffee grinds did get a little stuck in the waffle weave of the fabric. However, once washed in the washing machine, it came right out.

Washing these is a cinch since they can be washed and dried in washing machines and clothes dryers, which is a big time saver. We did note the towels shrunk about an inch in size after drying, and although they don’t need to hang to dry, a loop on each towel would be a helpful feature, especially since most kitchen towels have a hanging loop.

Product Details: Material: Cotton | Size: 11 x 13 inches | Quantity: 10

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Our Ratings

  • Quality

    4.8/5

  • Effectiveness

    4.9/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    4.8/5

  • Value

    4.5/5

Why You Should Get It

  • There are 20 sheets on each roll, so you’ll have plenty of extras.

Keep in Mind

  • The towel shrunk a bit after washing.

The Kitchen + Home Bamboo Towels are some of the best reusable paper towels if you prefer an option that’s on a roll. With 20 sheets of bamboo towels on the roll, this pick resembles traditional paper towels and offers plenty to use.

We feared that they look so much like paper towels they may forget and simply throw them away instead of washing and reusing the bamboo towels. The oversized shape helps clean large areas, and we love that one sheet size can even fit on Swiffer-style mops.

In our tests, these reusable paper towels did pretty well except for when we used one on the chocolate sauce. The towel got so sticky it stuck to the spill and cutting board rather than wipe up the mess.

These towels cleaned up well with soap and water and got very clean in the washing machine. While clean, these towels did shrink a little and didn't lay as flat as they were pre-wash. A roll of reusable paper towels looks nice in the kitchen but we were stumped with what to do with the towels once they were off the roll. With this set, keep in mind you’ll need a secondary storage solution to keep them close at hand.

Product Details: Material: Bamboo | Size: 11 x 12 inches | Quantity: 20

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The Bottom Line

Overall, the best reusable paper towels are the Full Circle Tough Sheet Reusable Plant Towels.These towels look like paper towels and effectively cleaned all the spills in our testing process.

Our Testing Process

To find the best reusable paper towels on the market, we extensively tested 11 different styles of at our testing lab in Des Moines, Iowa. We tested both the reusable paper towels and disposable paper towels for comparison.

Our rigorous testing includes absorption comparisons, including weighing the towels at dry and wet levels, with set amounts of liquid poured into the towel.

We tested cleaning up blue liquid, as well as chocolate syrup and coffee grounds spills on a flat surface and red wine spills on a carpet. After the spill tests were complete, we compared how well the towels washed, first by rinsing and then testing moisture after a 30-minute dry time.

Finally, we washed all the towels according to the manufacturer's instructions and noted how well the best reusable towels held up to washing.

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What to Know About Reusable Paper Towels Before Shopping

Material

When it comes to reusable paper towels, the material is an important consideration to keep in mind. Materials can vary from bamboo, cotton, rayon, and more. Consider how the fabric needs to get cleaned and what’s most realistic for your household and lifestyle.

“There are a lot of different types of reusable paper towels on the market, and each type can be reused a different number of times,” says Wojenski.

Size and Quantity

Reusable paper towels come in various sizes and quantities, some of which are in a set and others are on a roll. The options on a roll tend to have more sheets than a non-rolled set, so those are likely to be better suited for large households or those prone to spills.

“The size of a reusable paper towel will really come down to preference, but different sizes are helpful for different types of cleaning,” suggests Wojenski. It’s helpful to have a few reusable paper towels on hand. Just consider how and where you’ll wash and dry them.

Care

There is no one-size-fits-all for caring for reusable paper towels. “I recommend following the directions for washing and disinfecting all types of reusable paper towels since they are from different materials. The packaging will always state the best way to wash a particular product to ensure it lasts as long as possible,” says Wojenski.

While many options can be washed with soap and water, there are options that can be cleaned in a dishwasher, like Grove Co. Swedish Dishcloths and the Papaya Reusable Paper Towel 4-Pack.

Durability

By nature of the product, reusable paper towels should be used repeatedly but won’t last forever. It can be time to toss the towel if they are particularly stained, smelly, or torn. Some are compostable, so always check the label when you’re ready to dispose of them.

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Other Reusable Paper Towels We Tested

Ezpz Reusable Paper Towel + Hook Bundle

We found the Ezpz Reusable Paper Towel + Hook Bundle very stiff and hard to use, comparing it more to a washcloth rather than a paper towel. We liked that the two-pack came with a hook, but once the towel was washed and dried, it shrunk and warped, so it could not lay flat on the hook.

Scotch-Brite Reusable Wipes

The Scotch-Brite Reusable Wipes did not impress us during testing. The oversized thin towels are more like wipes than paper towels and performed worse than paper towels in our absorbency tests.

Zero Waste Store Reusable Paper Towels

The Zero Waste Store Reusable Paper Towels are an expensive option and after testing, we didn’t think the towels were worth the investment. The material felt more like flannel and repelled liquid rather than absorbing it. The fabric towels acted like less effective rags and did not make it to our recommended list.

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Your Questions, Answered

How many times can you use reusable paper towels?

Frequency depends on how you are using the reusable paper towel. For simple cleaning, dusting, or small kitchen spills, the towels can last much longer than cleaning up caked-on grease or other heavy stains.

Wojenski advises, “As a good rule of thumb, it is best to throw away a reusable paper towel when stains become unremovable, and it starts to have a scent.”

According to Zahir, they “can be used with a cleaning solvent as well, just make sure you keep them separate for use with just water or cleaning products.”

Are reusable paper towels as absorbent as regular paper towels?

Reusable paper towels have many benefits, one of them being that in some cases they are more absorbent than traditional paper towels. For example, during testing we found that the Ecozoi Bamboo Reusable Paper Towels, our pick for most durable, performed better than reusable options in terms of cleaning up spills.

It’s important to note that in some cases, it may depend on the material of the reusable paper towel, as well as the mess it’s cleaning.

How much do reusable paper towels cost?

Reusable paper towels can cost anywhere from about $10 to around $40 for a set. Always calculate the per towel cost and consider if you’d prefer to have a lot of towels that you wash less often or a minor rotation of reusable paper towels that get washed quite frequently.

Who We Are

Maya Polton is an experienced freelance writer for Better Homes & Gardens who has written for various publications. With three kids, there’s always a lot to clean up, and Maya has ventured into the world of reusable paper towels, mixing and matching depending on the spill.

In addition to research and our testing results, Maya spoke with sustainable cleaning expert and Head Grove Guide, Alexandra Wojenski, and Sara Zahir, a cleaning expert at HealthyBaby, for their insights and recommendations.

What Is BHG Recommends?

Next to all of the products on this list, you may have noticed our BHG Recommends seal of approval. Products that earn the seal have been put through rigorous testing to make sure they're worth a spot in your home. We buy most of the products we test ourselves, but occasionally we are provided samples by companies if buying isn't an option. In these cases, we use the same testing criteria we use to test the purchased products.

We Tried 11 Reusable Paper Towels, And These 7 Were The Best Options (2024)

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