Paper Towel Alternative

Monday is cleaning day for me after a weekend with all the kids home coming in and out bringing the outside in, toys scattered all over the place, the bathroom is full of towels and toothpaste.  It gets me thinking about how I try to clean green.  One of the first steps I took to being a greener cleaner (haha) is by using fewer paper towels. Here is why and how I began:


I have lots of rags and cloth that I can turn into rags.

I am tired of throwing pennies in the trash with paper towels.

We ran out of paper towels.


  1. Gather up all your old, raggedy dish clothes, t-shirts, and any other cloth that will absorb liquids, find a good fabric scissor, and a square template approximately the size of a paper towel (I used a LEGO plate).
  2. Lay the template on the corner of the towel and cut up the towel. I was not concerned with looks and I used the template very loosely. *If you want perfection you should probably iron the rags, and use a fabric pencil to draw nice straight lines.
  3. Sew to within 1/4″ of the edge of the fabric to prevent fraying. I made sure to cut lots of pieces from the corners and therefore only sewed around 2 edges, 3 edges at the most because I didn’t sew the edges that were already hemmed.
  4. Put them in a container; I had this coffee container on hand so I used that for now. Use them just like paper towels


I cut 25 total squares

We have pets so I decided to keep some paper towels around to pick up cat puke and the occasional accident. We also have 4 and 5 year old boys who are not sharp shooters when it comes to the toilet so I like to use paper towels for those messes as well.


I really like using these instead of paper towels. They are much more durable and I can rinse and they don’t fall apart.

I always rinse these at the end of the day and hang them over a basket in the laundry room. On laundry day I throw them in with a batch of white socks and wash in hot water. With vinegar in the rinse cycle to remove any bad odors.

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