This DIY Is Today's Answer to Paper Towels (Washable, Reusable, and Creative)

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

If you're looking for small sustainable changes you can make around your home, these "unpaper towels" are an eco-friendly alternative to regular paper towels. Made from absorbent cotton fabric, they are excellent for a variety of domestic duties, from mopping up spills to spiffing up surfaces. And since they are washable and reusable, they'll help you cut down on household waste without even missing the paper products. Paired with a wood and leather wall holder, these zero waste workhorses will also add modern style to your kitchen.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Things You'll Need

Tip

Cotton birdseye fabric is a great choice for substituting paper towels, however cotton flannel, terry cloth, or waffle cloth are also great options. Instead of buying new fabric, you could also cut up old bath towels, tea towels, baby burp cloths, or flour sack towels.

Make the "Unpaper" Towels

Step 1

Measure and cut out 30 fabric squares that are each 12 inches by 12 inches. This will make 15 reusable towels.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 2

Place the right sides of two fabric squares together, and pin along the edges.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 3

Sew all four sides together, 1/4-inch from the edges, but leave a 2-inch opening to turn the towel right-side out.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 4

Snip off each corner diagonally to help the corners lay flat, but be careful to not cut the stitches.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 5

Turn the fabric right-side out and topstitch around all four sides, 1/4-inch from the edges. Be sure to fold in the raw edges of the opening before topstitching it closed. The great thing about this project is you don't have to sew with great precision, since they're just being used for cleaning purposes.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Make the Leather Holder

Step 1

Either have the hardware store cut a 17-inch piece from the wood dowel, or use a hacksaw or power saw to do it. Sand any rough edges.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 2

Measure and cut two strips of leather that are each nine inches long.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 3

Fold each leather strip in half and drill a pilot hole through the ends, about 1/2 inch down from the top edge.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 4

Wrap the leather strips around each end of the wood dowel, and have a helper hold it up to the wall where you'd like to mount it. Drill a pilot hole through the holes in each leather strip and into the wall, and then drill wood screws through the holes. (Be sure to use drywall anchors if you're not drilling into studs.)

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Roll the Towels

Step 1

Place the wood dowel at one end of the first fabric towel.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Roll the towel around the dowel.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 2

Place the rolled towel on top of the next towel with the open flap side down. Position it an inch up from the edge, and roll the second towel around the dowel. Continue in this manner until all the towels are rolled.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Then simply slide the dowel into the leather straps, and your "unpaper" towels are ready for action!

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Trisha is a writer, video producer + maker with a knack for creating modern DIY content. When her hands aren't covered in paint, she's most likely holding a camera or power drill or both.

View Work