5 Creative Ways To Use Tea Towels Around Your House

Countless stores like T.J. Maxx and Homegoods have seasonal tea towels lining the shelves as you check out, and it's so easy enough to grab those cute pumpkin towels even though you have plenty at home. Tea towels (or kitchen towels) are one of those items that just seem to collect in your home. Somehow you end up with so many of them that you might be looking for other ways to use them. 

Typically they are hung on the oven to use when drying your hands or dishes after cleaning up. However, you might be surprised to find out just how many ways you can use these adorable towels. Since they are usually made with cotton or linen, they are perfect to use around food, and their unique designs make them lovely as décor (via Shutterfly). There are plenty of ideas that you could even use it as an excuse to buy more!

Use them for gifts

Of course, one of the more obvious ways to use tea towels is by giving them as gifts (via Shutterfly). Everyone loves a good tea towel, which is perfect for housewarming gifts or to bring as a gift to a party. There are so many designs and styles of tea towels that you're sure to find an option that's perfect for your friends and family. 

Additionally, Shutterfly says you can use them to wrap gifts. Sure, wrapping paper is cute, but you can only use it once, and then it gets tossed in the trash. Not only does this seem like a waste of money, but it's also just more trash that will end up in a landfill. Using a tea towel is not only a considerate gift to a friend but also the environment. 

Think about it: Most bread recipes will make more than one loaf of bread. Unless you have a large family or eat a lot of bread yourself, you might be giving out gifts of bread to friends and family. Putting bread in a plastic bag makes it soggy, but wrapping it in a tea towel makes it cuter and keeps the bread fresh.

Cute decor in kitchen and bathroom

The towels you can buy to put in the bathroom for drying your hands aren't as cute as the tea towel options. But don't let labels stop you. Find the perfect set of tea towels to match the aesthetic of your bathroom and use them instead of hand towels, suggests Shutterfly. They still dry your hands, and they can look much cuter. If a guest bathroom doesn't get used as often, tea towels can be a great option to make the space pretty while still being functional when guests come to visit.

Since tea towels come in so many cute styles and designs, they are the perfect solution for decorations. Use them in and around your kitchen as décor to add a bit of color, texture, or pattern. For example, they can look charming draped over the coffee station or mini bar. Change them out for seasonal options throughout the year, and it can make your space feel fresh with minimal effort and cost.

Keep things clean and protected

Although they are cute as décor, tea towels are meant to be useful, and one of their major selling points is that you can use them to protect your counters or tables from hot pans. Fold a tea towel into a square and place it on the table or counter before putting down a hot pot that could ruin the material under it. You can also protect your stackable bowls or cookware from scratching by putting a towel between each one.

Many people are giving up paper towels and trying to use tea towels instead. This, of course, results in staining, so it's probably best to choose old and already stained towels. Or you can pick up some that you intend for this reason.

Lastly, tea towels were initially used as a liner on tea trays when serving tea (via Gourmande in the Kitchen). This explains their name, and you can certainly still use them for this. They catch any spills that might happen when carrying the tray and make cleaning up easier. Similarly, you can line a counter with a few tea towels while cooking or meal prepping to catch drips and spills. Cleaning up is made much easier, and you can just toss the towel in the wash.

Use during food prep and baking

Have you ever bought a container of lettuce or mixed greens only to find them wilted and mushy a day later? This is caused by trapped moisture in the container sticking to the greens and quickly causing them to go bad. To prevent this, you can use — yep! — a tea towel. Clean and dry the greens after you bring them home, and line the container with a tea towel before putting them in the fridge (via Shutterfly). The towel will absorb the access moisture and keep the greens fresher for longer. You can use this same technique in the refrigerator's crisper drawer to keep other veggies and fruits crisper for longer.

When you go to a fancy restaurant, and they bring rolls to the table, they will often bring them in a basket lined with a towel. Sometimes the towel is pulled up and over the bread. This method of using a tea towel is as cute as it is functional. It keeps the bread warm and keeps the basket from getting dirty from crumbs (via Gourmande in the Kitchen).

Speaking of bread, when making your own at home, you'll often need to let the dough rise. Finding something to cover the bread with can be tricky, but tea towels are perfect for this. They allow some airflow but not too much. It also keeps out bugs and locks in moisture.

Line a cabinet or use to dry dishes

It's common to line the bottoms of cabinets with plastic to create a clean surface for your dishes to sit on. However, over time this plastic gets dusty, dirty, and damaged. Replacing it is a pain and takes a lot of time. So instead, consider lining your cabinets with tea towels. After a while, they'll get dirty, but then you can simply pull them out and throw them in the wash.

Drying racks are bulky and can hold onto moisture, causing mold and bacteria build-up. To save time and create a healthier environment, use a tea towel to set your wet dishes on instead. Once the dishes are dry and put away, you can hang the towel up to dry or throw it in the washer to clean it up.

Lastly, paper napkins fall apart and contribute to the growing landfill problem. Instead, you can use tea towels as fabric napkins (via Gourmande in the Kitchen). They withstand messy dinners and kids and can easily be washed after a meal. They'll also look cute sitting on the table when guests come over, and you can get different styles to suit each season.