Buyer’s Guide: The Best Kitchen Towels

Ditch one-time use paper towels and find the best reusable substitutions for your kitchen that get both style and sustainability right.

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The Best Kitchen Towels Option

Photo: amazon.com

Paper towels are among the most frequently used paper goods in North America. The Norwex Movement (an initiative led by the “green” cleaner manufacturer of the same name) estimates that 51,000 trees are cut down daily to sustain Americans’ paper towel consumption—even with plenty of sustainable alternatives at many people’s fingertips. Switching from traditional one-time-use rolls to reusable paper towels can not only save trees but can also help conserve water, as manufacturing paper towels tends to be a water-intensive process.

When choosing the best kitchen towels, consider natural resources needed for materials as well as style and durability. (If you’re not a fan of upcycled material or if you’re just not ready to give up paper towels yet, there’s still a more sustainable alternative that uses bamboo and sugarcane fiber instead of trees to make their product.) To help narrow the market for you, this guide rounds up and reviews several eco-friendly options.

Our Top Picks

Weigh the eco-friendliness, affordability, effectiveness, longevity, and personal style when purchasing the best kitchen towels for replacing your paper goods. The products in this guide combine a variety of these important qualities, helping you make the long-lasting switch to clean up messes in an environmentally friendly way.

Best Overall

The Best Kitchen Towels Option: Swedish Dishcloth Cellulose Sponge Cloths
Photo: amazon.com

These Swedish dishcloths impress with packs of seven different colors, absorption up to 20 times its weight, and ability to be machine washed up to 50 times. The material consists of cellulose sponge and cotton. Each pack of 7- by 8-inch sheets eliminates up to 150 rolls of paper towels and is sold wholesale so customers don’t overpay. The brand estimates a single pack to last up to a year. With a fast-drying guarantee, these cloths are going to mainly be used as napkins and paper towels instead of being used for dishwashing.

Runner Up

The Best Kitchen Towels Option: AIDEA Cleaning Wipes, Multi-Purpose Towel Reusable
Photo: amazon.com

AIDEA cleaning wipes are a bargain when it comes to reusable towels. These highly versatile cloths can absorb, dust, scrub—even line the table to catch spills. The material is easy to cut through so you can make customizable squares to extend the lifespan of your stash, plus they can be machine washed up to 25 times apiece. For the best bang for your buck, these are the best contenders, however, make sure to air-dry these cleaning wipes after washing instead of throwing them in the dryer. The towels measure 12 by 24 inches but might shrink, or even melt, if they are exposed to such high heat.

Best Cotton

The Best Kitchen Towels Option: Mioeco Reusable Unpaper Towels
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Mioeco’s towels are spun from unbleached organic cotton and are certified as a socially responsible option with the Global Organic Textile Standard, an international set of standards that covers harvesting materials through manufacturing and distribution. The size of these cloths is a plus, measuring 10 by 12 inches. Use the soft cloths as napkins, paper towels, or even toddler wipes. These kitchen towels wash well, but the cotton can shrink in the dryer. Follow the care instructions closely to avoid waste.

Best Microfiber

The Best Kitchen Towels Option: MR.SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, Pack of 6
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Mr. Siga Microfiber Cloths are thick, non-abrasive, and versatile for cleaning up around the whole house. Mop bathroom floors, dust blinds with zero lint residue, achieve streak-free windows, and more. These 13.8- by 15.7-inch microfiber cloths can adapt to practically any surface (even cars). Microfiber material is known to be absorbent and quick-drying, making these cloths ideal for soaking up messy spills. You can machine wash these up to 500 times and throw them in the dryer, or simply rinse them in water for a quicker clean when working on the same task. They come in a duo-color pack of gray and teal and offer high-quality at a low price.

Best Flour Sack

The Best Kitchen Towels Option: Zeppoli 24-Pack Flour Sack Towels
Photo: amazon.com

Flour sack cloths may seem old-fashioned, but they remain greatly underrated as a cleaning tool. Zeppoli Sack Towels dry dishes and clean large surfaces, such as windows, well. You can even double their usefulness by swapping paper napkins out for these flour sack towels. Made from 100 percent natural ring-spun cotton and machine-stitched around the edges, these cloths are designed to resist shrinkage in the dryer after major washing. Plus, if you decide to hang-dry these sack towels, the lightweight material dries in less than an hour. Available in sets of one or two dozen towels, each square cloth measures at 31 inches by 31 inches.

Best Dish Cloths

The Best Kitchen Towels Option: Sticky Toffee Cotton Terry Kitchen Dishcloth
Photo: amazon.com

These cotton terry towels are thick, highly absorbent, and helpful for many kitchen tasks. Sticky Toffee Cotton Kitchen Dishcloths are made of 100 percent cotton. Use them to replace your paper products when drying, cleaning, and scrubbing in the kitchen. They’ll hold for up to 500 machine washes, but may shrink to less than 12 inches square when using heat to dry. Do wash with like colors and watch for potential dye leakage from the vibrant colors onto the cotton.

Laundry Tips for Kitchen Towels

Though most reusable kitchen towels are durable enough to be used for a number of years, it’s important to machine wash them daily or every other day so they don’t become a petri dish that risks contaminating your meal prep area. Kitchen towels often tend to be a go-to for cleanup of liquid spills, crumbs, dust, and beyond to cleaning windows and polishing furniture. Below are a few introductory tips for how to properly clean your kitchen towels:

  • Pretreat grease stains with dish soap and warm water before throwing them into the wash.
  • Wash all kitchen towels with a soft detergent in a cold-water wash cycle to avoid setting stains.
  • To keep whites bright, use chlorine bleach or a detergent with it in the wash. For colors or patterns fabrics, use powdered oxygenated bleach to help remove stains.
  • Tip: Stock as many kitchen towels as you may see yourself needing to get through the week (maybe two) so that you always have a fresh one daily―even if laundry day is at the end of the week.

FAQs About Kitchen Towels

Here are some common questions concerning kitchen towel maintenance that will provide the best care for reusable cloths.

Q. How big are dish towels?

Dish towels vary in size, depending on the manufacturer. They may range from 7 inches by 8 inches to 32 inches square.

Q. Where should you hang kitchen towels?

Spread them out indoors on a drying rack positioned near an open window that receives ample sunlight or near a heater if a window isn’t available. Alternatively, hang them outdoors on a clothesline.

Q. How do you clean white kitchen towels?

If washing only white towels, wash towels as regular and add chlorine or non-chlorine (also known as “color-safe”) bleach to the bleach reservoir.