You can wash and reuse these absorbent cloths hundreds of times.

By Jessica Bennett
August 06, 2020
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Since the pandemic began, I've been running through paper towels like crazy. With all the extra cleaning and disinfecting, this handy cleaning tool runs out much more quickly than usual. In an effort to spend less on paper products (and cut down on household waste), I recently purchased this set of Swedish dishcloths on Amazon, and I must say, I won't be buying paper towels again anytime soon.

gray reusable paper towel running under water in sink
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

This reusable alternative works just like a paper towel, but it's way more absorbent, stands up better against scrubbing, and can be washed and reused more than 200 times. I use them for wiping down countertops and hand-washing cookware. When I'm done, I simply toss them in the top rack of my dishwasher to sanitize them. And the best part? They don't break down after a few minutes of scrubbing like a traditional paper towel would, so one cloth gets the job done.

Buy It: Now Designs Swedish Dishcloth, ($11 for set of two, Amazon)

Swedish dishcloths are made from a blend of cotton and plant-based cellulose fibers, a material that was developed in Sweden in 1949. Because they're 100% natural, you can even compost the cloths when you're done with them. Plus, they come in 24 fun designs, including cacti, fruits, and floral prints, so you can choose a color and theme you love.

When dry, Swedish dishcloths feel slightly stiff and sponge-like, so be sure to dampen them slightly before use. You can pair them with soap or all-purpose cleaners or just with warm water to clean nearly any household surface. And because the material dries super quickly, the reusable towels are less likely to harbor bacteria than a sponge or cloth (no more smelly dish rags!).

The reusable paper towels are meant to last more than six months. For a household that typically goes through a roll or two of paper towels each week, that could add up to big savings in the long run. For me, it's a simple swap that helps me feel better about my budget and impact on the environment.

Comments (3)

January 25, 2021
Um, why go out and buy rags? Your old towels, t-shirts, socks, etc. make the best *green* cleaning cloths. They also probably last more than 200 uses.
January 23, 2021
Thank you for this article. I love reading about the new sustainable products that are being created. We need to take better care of our environment, and not cutting down our trees in order to create papertowels is a small step. Can't wait to try them!
August 29, 2020
I don't understand this article or the big deal about this product...they're just thin dishtowels. They might be great dishtowels, but in the end, they're still just dishtowels.