How Can We Reuse Old Towels? A Repurposing Project

Guest post from Karen DeBeus

Being a homemaker means we sometimes need to cut corners in various ways to save money.  Over the years, we begin to realize that we throw away a sizeable deal of money on things like paper towels and paper napkins.  With the paper towel holder right over the sink, it was just too easy grabbing one for every little spill. Often we just needed to wipe up a small spill, and there is no need to rip off another paper towel or ten!

Paper towels are perfect for really significant spills, or when something disposable is truly the best way to clean a mess.

However, for many everyday needs, it is much more economical to use a repurposed towel.

Here is what we do now:

I have begun to repurpose old towels.  Take the old towels-whether they be kitchen towels or bathroom towels (which are super absorbent and actually work well!). Cut these towels into smaller “rag” sizes.


Fold them, keep them in a pile by the sink or stack them into a cute little basket or holder.


Grab a towel to clean up for those everyday water spills or counter wipe ups.  At the end of the day, toss it into the laundry and they are able to be used again and again for quite a while.

It is simple. I can’t tell you how much this has saved on our grocery bill over time!  We went from buying the huge, mega-pack of paper towels at the local buy-in-bulk store to needing paper towels much less often.  I mean, much less!  Those paper goods are expensive!

I then began to look at napkins differently.  Fabric napkins are no longer just for fancy company anymore! We have replaced using paper napkins at every meal with using old fabric ones.  Again, since we are home for three meals a day, with a family of six, there can be lots of wipes and spills during meals.  So now we keep a stack of fabric napkins in our island drawer or on the island in a basket, and during meals we pull them out.


Simple wipes are taken care of, and after a few meals, they are thrown into the laundry, to be used over and over again: simple steps, less waste and less cost. It’s a remarkably small step that can have a tremendous impact on the budget and the environment.

It’s a win-win situation! So I encourage you to try it out!  You will save a ton of money, and will be helping to reduce waste all at the same time.

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  1. says

    Love it! I can not stand waste. We use kitchen towels lots, even have a mini-basket under the sink for soiled towels so that we don’t have to run to the laundry room over and over. I have never thought about cutting larger towels to make small hand towels for the kitchen. Great Idea! So practical. I will be doint this. :)

  2. Honey says

    When the kids were in diapers I used old towels to make more. Now, those same diapers are also used for cleaning. Is it premature to sew up some of the prettier scrap towels for grandbabes? My oldest is only 13 & dh says yes…. but I actually miss wee little cloth covered bums now my youngest is 4!

    Oh, I also use “scrap” scrap towels to line the bottom of pots and also for wicking water/self watering of plants.


  3. says

    My hubby is VERY hard on socks… he wears holes in them almost weekly. I HATED throwing them out so I rip them conspicuously (so they are not confused with the “good” socks), bleach them and use them as rags. We leave them in an open bucket in the kitchen (where kids can easily reach them). Because putting away the clean rags is one chore that my children own, it gives the children some sense of responsibility for cleaning up their own messes and I don’t feel bad if we go through 4 of them in one morning before leaving the house for school!

  4. KimH says

    We’ve been using the cloth towels we got from our warehouse store some 15 years ago. They are in the automotive section and come 30 or so to a package for about $12.00, or so they used to. ;) They are a loose terry fiber, white, & clean up great!
    I still keep paper towels on hand, but we dont use them much, thankfully!

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