I committed to switching to reusable bamboo paper towels recently, in part at the urging of my teens.

The realities of climate change — and the constant important conversations about it in the media — is a very real stressor for my kids. Especially since COVID, when they’ve spent so much more time alone and, yeah, on their phones, they’ve had a lot more time to think about what their futures might look like, and how we can hopefully improve it.

One of the most helpful things I’ve done to help my kids deal with that anxiety is to create a list of simple changes to make our home more eco-friendly. we committed to start by taking a good look at what we can hang in our kitchen. And while we’re already using plastic wrap alternatives.our first big new switch was to reusable bamboo paper towels and to see whether they’re worth it, and whether we could stick with this change.

Turns out, I’m hooked.

Here’s how it went after I bought them.

You might also like: Our “Damn You, Social Media Ads!” series in which we buy and try lots of the products showing up in our social media feeds to let you know whether they’re worth it. 


Which bamboo paper towels I tried

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The reusable bamboo paper towels we're using (and loving) right now.


First off, you should know I’m not a super eco-granola-hippie mom (though I’m slowly working my way there). While I ditched paper napkins decades ago in exchange for cloth napkins, I’ve been hesitant about switching to reusable paper towels. Would they be a complete waste of money?

I’ve seen the popular flannel reusable paper towels before, but oof, the price. Then this set of reusable bamboo paper towels on Amazon caught my eye, I read some reviews and decided I’d give them a try because they wouldn’t break the bank at under $20 for the two.

I bought the set that includes two rolls and each is different; one is about the thickness you’d expect from a typical paper towel, while the second is “heavy duty” thickness —  almost like a thin dish towel.

Related: 5 other eco-friendly paper towel alternatives

Bamboo Paper Towels: How well they work

With reusable bamboo paper towels, you just rinse them off and reuse—then start a new towel the next day.

On first reaction, my family was like, “Ooh, these new paper towels are so soft!” So soft, I could probably buy a dedicated roll of disposable bamboo paper towels just to use instead of disposable baby wipes.

(Is that gross? I’ll keep thinking on that one. I know we’re all at different places in our eco-journeys.)

I have used them to wipe up juice, clean up chocolate icing, and even wipe down grease, and then I simply rinse the disposable paper towels in the sink; t’s remarkable how well the dirt or grime just slides right off the towel, but the paper doesn’t fall apart at all, far exceeding my expectations.

You can also use them for floors, for wiping down stainless appliances, for your car, cleaning glass…you name it. Some people also use them in lieu of disposable paper napkins at dinner.

After the disposable paper towel is rinsed off, I just hang it over the faucet to be reused for the rest of the day — unless it’s used to clean something that needs to be washed before it’s used again, like raw egg or chicken.

Related: We found the best reusable water bottles and the prices are a LOT better than Hydroflask

Bamboo Paper Towels: How I wash and reuse them

The bamboo paper towels conveniently come with a mesh laundry bag, which I hang on the inside of my sink cabinet door with a Command hook.

At the end of each day, while I’m prepping my beloved coffee maker for the morning, I just toss the bamboo paper towels into the mesh bag until I’m ready to launder them.

I washed my first load of dirty towels with a set of bed sheets, and they all came out looking bright white  — except for a few my daughter had used to wipe up the rest of that chocolate icing. Tip: Good idea to give them a rinse before putting them in that laundry bag and even the chocolate will come out pretty well in the wash.

OXO paper towel holder: highly recommended for reusable bamboo paper towel rolls

After they’re washed and dried, you re-wrap them around the cardboard tube they come on. While you can use whatever paper towel holder you have,  I would definitely recommend getting a paper towel dispenser like this OXO Simply Tear dispenser (above) because the spring-activated arm helps keep them in place.

This way, they’ll be extra soft and fluffy after washing, which I always like.

Final verdict: I’m never going back!

We switched to these reusable bamboo paper towels, and now we're seriously hooked.

It turns out that when I’ve needed to scrub the counter or the dinner table more than usual, my Anija reusable bamboo paper towels are the ones I grab first. It doesn’t feel like a compromise at all in terms of efficacy or convenience.

I mean yes you have to launder them, but if you’re doing laundry anyway, it really doesn’t add more time to the process.

Each of the two rolls of reusable bamboo paper towels should last you six months; at around $25 for the two rolls (though they often go on sale), that’s a big savings over what I spend on regular disposable paper towels each year, cleaning up after our family of 6.

So the price is good, they’re convenient, they have so many uses, and they really do make us feel better about one small change that adds up over time. In all honestly  the biggest hurdle is reminding the kids not to throw them away after one use.

Old habits die hard for all of us.

Other eco-friendly changes we’re making at home

* Switching to bar shampoo to reduce single-use plastic
* Using more eco-friendly lunch packing supplies
* Using plastic-wrap alternatives in the kitchen
* If you’re not ready for the full switch to cloth diapers, try reusable swim diapers first