Reusable Paper Towels

I don’t know about you but we use A LOT of paper towels in our house. Probably something to do with babies and bassets!

Lately I have been giving a lot of thought to things we only use once and then throw away.  Along with minimizing single use items, I have also been trying to be more of a conscious consumer – looking for ways to reuse and repurpose items around the home. And let me be the first to say, I have a lot of work to do in this area, I’ve become so reliant on convenience!

But small steps, right?

Perusing Pinterest, you a can find a lot of ideas of where little steps – replacing a disposable item with something that can be reused – can really add up. I’ve seen a lot of tutorials recently for make-up pads that can be washed and reused (this is on my to-do list). And especially for these paper towels.

I’m not sure everyone in my household can be convinced to used these, but if we start with reducing some of our paper towel use – that’s a start. I read some where that on average people use a roll every two weeks. I’m sure our family uses a roll a week. 52 rolls a year is a lot!!

Rummaging through my fabric stash, I found this perfect grey swirly print to make my first attempt at reusable “paper” towels. It even has a bit of a texture to it that reminded me of paper towels.

For the absorbent side, I found some gently used white towels that I had relinquished to the basement. Since they weren’t being used, I decided they would be perfect for this project – reuse and repurpose!


I cut fabric and towels into 10.5 x 10.5 inch pieces. Obviously the size of these can be customized to preference.


With one piece of fabric and one piece of towel placed right sides together, I stitched around all four sides with a straight stitch – leaving a two inch gap open.


I then turned my towel right side out and pressed all the sides to have nice crisp edges.


And then edge stitched around all four sides – carefully tucking in the two inch gap that I left open so that the edge stitch would catch and close the gap.

Even if you trim the corners before you turn your towel right side out (and use a chopstick to get your corners nicely turned out), those corners are still pretty bulky. A tip, from experience – when you are edge stitching around, when you get to a corner and turn to follow along the next side – start off really slowly. Don’t book it to try to just ram through the corner. Just start slow and gently guide the fabric through. You’ll be surprised how easily it will work through the layers of the corner if you take your time (verses getting hung up on a corner if you try to work through it too quickly!).


The final step is to attach snaps (or you could also choose to use velcro) so you can roll up your reusable paper towel. You want to make sure that you alternate on top and bottom of the towels so that they can be pieced together (one set facing up, another set facing down for each towel so it can match up and attach to the next towel).


I found it make more sense to me to visually see my “roll” of reusable paper towels come together.


And there you go! All ready to be used just like normal paper towels. And when one is dirty, just throw it in the wash!


This can be a fabulous stash buster! If you’re like me, you probably have quite a few pieces this size that could be used up for a project like this.

Have you sewn anything to replace something that was previously a disposable item in your home?

Brilliant idea … have inspired me to continue with my quest to reduce waste and single use plastic and other Throw away items in my house and life. Thanks, Trina! Ed.

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6 Responses to Reusable Paper Towels

  1. Conni B. says:

    What great idea’s. I am always interested in saving our trees and have been conservative in regards to paper products. Would love to see more ideas on this site. I have some white towels that I don’t use and I know I have some decent sized scrapes of material, I am going to make towels from them this week.


  2. Lola G says:

    Wrong sides together and then you turn it right side out??? I’d like to see that maneuver demoed live!!


  3. Dawn Grant says:

    Great idea. I have lots of old towels in a pile, and I’m sure I have just a little bit of fabric kicking around. ( who am I kidding, I have lots). This will be on the “do list”


  4. Debra Garscadden says:

    What an awesome idea!! Think I will do this for my trailer!! Thank-you for sharing.


  5. Marlene says:

    If you round of the corners with a curve you don’t have to worry about the bulk


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