The Unpaper Towel Challenge: Good For the Earth and Your Budget

The Unpaper Towel Challenge


I hope you had a lovely 4th of July weekend. Mine was great! I hosted the family gathering this year, which means my floors got mopped. Also I made a new recipe, which turned out great and was quite the crowd-pleaser. Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Teriyaki Bowls. One of the best things I’ve eaten recently, for sure. I swoon over pineapple, and well, when we are talking about grilled pineapple, I might as well sell you my soul.

It was also this past week that I scored a Sam’s Club Membership on Living Social for a mere $25. It included a $10 gift card, so really, it was like paying $15. I am pretty thrilled about a whole year of amazing prices on so many things.

As I was wandering the spacious aisles of Sam’s Club, after picking up a mega roll of aluminum foil which will probably last me a year, I noticed a lovely white bundle of kitchen rags. It struck me that this $13 bundle of fluff was the answer to my recently contemplated question. I had just been thinking about  “unpaper” towels, and how I should perhaps give them a shot. I use quite a few rolls of paper towels in a month (but not as many as my mother) and I knew that if I switched to something reusable it would not only save me money, but be good for the environment, so win-win. This was a bit of a challenge to give myself though, because, let’s face it, I do love paper towels. I wasn’t sure how likely I would be to go for the reusable version instead of the disposable one. If I was going to succeed at all though, I knew my unpaper towels would have to be two things:

1) hair free [unlike microfiber, which attracts hair like a magnet]

2) easy to use and reuse

The towels at Sam’s were 86% cotton and 14% polyester, so I knew they wouldn’t be a hair magnet. Check.unpaper towels

20160705_144226-1I then went in search of a bin to place under my sink for easy disposal of the dirty ones. I found the ideal size at Target. I chose plastic because it will not rust with damp towels sitting in it for days.

The first time I used my bundle of towels I rolled them into a roll, but after that I decided that was a little too much work to do each time I washed them. So the next time I just stacked them neatly, one on top of the other, and slid them inside a rectangular vase I just happened to have. I am just pulling them from the back/top of the cascading stack. I’ll be sure to update if I land on a better method but for now I’m sticking with this.

You can certainly go to Etsy or elsewhere and buy a fancy roll of unpaper towels, sewn by a crafty person with way more time and energy then I will ever have to direct toward cleaning products. The Etsy type have snaps, and cute fabrics, but they cost about 4 times more than what I paid at Sam’s Club so at that point it doesn’t seem like much of a money saver. A roll of 12 towels on Etsy is about $55 dollars! I bought 24 towels and only paid $13 at Sam’s Club.

You should join me and challenge yourself to use unpaper towels! I am surprised to find that I actually prefer the reusable towels now! If you are still hesitant to make the leap, here are a few more reasons I am loving them:

  • They are super absorbent and stretch about 4 times farther than a single paper towel does cleaning up a mess.
  • They can be rinsed, wrung out, and used several times before they need to be tossed in the wash pile
  • They can be bleached and washed in hot water, so they are sterilized and fresh
  • They can be used as rags when they become too stained for the kitchen
  • They can be replaced at a reasonable cost
  • Using these will save me a minimum of $200 a year

This doesn’t mean I have banished paper towels from my house entirely. I keep those around for some jobs, like cleaning the bathroom. I am of the strong opinion that toilet germs and diaper contents are just not things that should see the inside of your wash machine.

Are you up for the challenge and the savings!?





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  1. Kristina Melendez says:

    might have to take this up. I use to do this when we lived Up North. It was really effective. I also had a similar method.

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