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What should you replace paper towels with?

What should you replace paper towels with?


Paper towels serve several purposes: from the cleanest to the dirtiest tasks.

Here are some examples of uses for paper towels:

“Clean” Uses

Drying glasses without leaving residues.
Wiping hands and mouth at the table.
Mopping up a liquid spill.
Absorbing excess water from vegetables or tofu.
Cleaning a work surface.
Cleaning windows or mirrors without leaving streaks.
Dusting furniture.
Cleaning household appliances.
Collecting peels before disposal.

“Dirty” Uses

Wiping a paintbrush during artistic projects.
Cleaning up a mess on the floor.
Cleaning exterior windows.
Cleaning or oiling BBQ grates.
Absorbing excess grease from fried foods.
Cleaning a bike, a car.
Cleaning the outdoor patio.
Cleaning the toilet.
Cleaning up cat vomit.


The problem with paper towels is that they are single-use. We use it and throw it away, which causes a huge amount of waste. In addition, it is made of virgin paper fiber and requires trees for its production. In the context where it is used for a few seconds before being thrown away, it becomes problematic regarding the quantity of material that must constantly be used for its production. Cutting down trees indefinitely is not sustainable. Reusing becomes the right thing to do for the environment.


With our ultra-absorbent paper towel!

In the "Clean Uses," we can see that liquids are often absorbed and mopped up. The goal is for the paper towel to soak up the mess. Many paper towel advertising campaigns emphasize their extraordinary absorption capabilities. However, paper is not a very absorbent material. On average, a paper towel can absorb 12 to 17 ml of liquid (about 1 tablespoon). To absorb more, we would need to use a lot of sheets, generating more waste (and also spending more money on disposables)!

Boaty, in its tests of absorption, has discovered the most absorbent fabric available. A single square of our ultra-absorbent paper towel can absorb up to 75-90 ml of liquid! That's equivalent to 5 to 6 tablespoons.

It's the perfect paper towel for mopping up liquid messes, wiping fruits or vegetables, or thoroughly draining tofu. It leaves no residue, and thanks to its ability not to become wet too quickly, it can also be used to clean windows or mirrors without leaving streaks.


With our cloth napkins!

In the "Clean Uses," some people use paper towels or napkins to wipe their hands and mouths at the table. They are distributed to each person at every meal and then discarded.

Certainly, there are cloth table napkins available on the market; for example, in restaurants, one can often find thick black or white cloth napkins. If you want to get them for home use, pay attention to their origin and, most importantly, their composition! These restaurant napkins are made of synthetic fibers and, let's face it, are not so pleasant to use. They are often stiff and not even absorbent.

Why not make the use of table napkins soft and pleasant, even for children? With fabric made of OEKO-TEX certified cotton, you get 100% natural fibers that won't harm the environment during washing. This is what Boaty offers with its versatile napkin cloths.

They can be used both to replace napkins at the table and to clean work surfaces. Also, since the fabric is thiner than the ultra-absorbent fabric, it is easier to use for drying dishes and getting into cracks. It is also large enough and therefore convenient when peeling potatoes and wanting to gather all the peels in a bundle that you will open over the compost.


Actually, we see a rag as a cheap textile or an old fabric that will mainly be used for all the "dirty" purposes mentioned above.

It's with the rag that we wash the floor. It's with the rag that we clean the patio. It's with the rag that we pick up cat vomit.

Afterwards, we don't want to put these same rags on the table for our guests to wipe their mouths with. Also, most people will want to avoid using the rag that cleaned the toilet to wipe wine glasses or sop up tofu.

Of course, you can create a color code and assign a specific use to each rag or cheap washcloth you buy at the dollar store. However, it's essential to know that the fabric rag you buy is new, comes from the other side of the world, will last a shorter time, may be made of synthetic fibers (much cheaper but leaves micro-particles in the water with each wash), and most of the time, it doesn't even absorb liquid messes very well.

We're pro-rags at Boaty because they are essential for dirty uses. However, we believe they should be made from old clothing that would otherwise end up in the landfill. NEVER with new fabrics.

So, if you have to dispose of the rag because you're not comfortable washing it (for example, you cleaned up chunky vomit or you washed all the exterior windows and it turned black) OR if you have to throw away the rag because you can't wash it (for example, you picked up a mess of sauce mixed with glass or absorbed a huge oil spill)... then you'll feel less guilty about throwing it away because it's made from an old clothe and you will have at least given it a second life!


The Swedish dishcloth replace paper towels. It has its advantages (dries quickly and is compostable), but it also has its disadvantages (becomes super stiff when dry, less durable than fabric).

As it is very stiff when dry, it's not very pleasant to wipe your mouth with a Swedish dishcloth unless you wet it. Also, one sheet absorbs an average of 35 ml, which is half as much as our ultra-absorbent reusable paper towels.

As for durability, if a Swedish dishcloth replaces 17 rolls of paper, our reusable paper towels replace at least 200... maybe 8000? In fact, it depends... how many rolls of paper towels do you use at home? Calculate that x 10 years. This gives you an overview of the minimum savings you will make!


Reusable paper towels are suitable for all the cleaner uses in the kitchen.

We even offer two choices of reusable paper towels to meet different usage needs: either our thick and ultra-absorbent paper towel and/or our thinner and more versatile napkin cloths, to replace napkins as well as for cleaning surfaces. Also, as it is more pliable, it is the most practical paper towel to take with us everywhere so we always have a paper towel on hand if needed.

And in both cases, our reusable paper towels will always be much more absorbent than regular paper!

As for the rags you can make yourself, it is suitable for all the messier uses in the house (or outside). You can make them for free with old fabrics you have at home. Thus, you give them a second life before getting them dirty!

By M.eve

I enjoy questioning and informing myself, and write! It's through this blog that I take the time to speak to you transparently about my business or share what I learn or observe regarding environmental topics that concern us all.


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