The Clever Paper Towel Saver You Can Make With A Simple IKEA Jar

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Trying to be more sustainable is sometimes difficult, especially when it comes to ditching convenient products like paper towels, but with this hack you can minimize disposable towel waste using only two IKEA jars and some microfiber cleaning cloths. In a TikTok video, @theseasoned.skillet shows how storing microfiber cleaning cloths in a glass jar on your kitchen counter is a simple, easy, and affordable way to help you stop using paper towels.

As of 2024, paper products make up 26% of the trash in U.S. landfills, making it well worth it to try to rid your home of disposable towels to be more environmentally friendly, per The World Counts. Additionally, some brands of paper towels may contain harsh chemicals, such as bleach or chlorine, and cannot be composted. Even if you don't totally remove paper towels from your household, this clever IKEA hack will enable you to cut back on paper towel use. 

Using an IKEA jar to cleverly replace paper towels

For this hack to be as efficient as possible, you'll need one jar for fresh cleaning cloths and another for cloths that have been used. This way, you'll never accidentally wipe up a spill with a dirty rag and spread germs around your kitchen. This glass jar with a bamboo lid from IKEA is a great choice, as it will be large enough to hold a bunch of your cleaning cloths, and is $9.99 at the time of writing. If you don't want to buy a new jar, try repurposing large mason jars or storage baskets that you already have around your house. You'll also want to label the containers so that they don't get mixed up. You could try something like these StickerTalk Clean and Dirty Stickers which are $7.99 on Amazon, or these Recollections Chalkboard Labels for $3.49 at Michaels.

Once you have your labeled jars, fill the clean one with your microfiber cloths. There's no need to fold or organize them, but simply stuff as many as you can into your jar. The next time you need a paper towel, grab a cloth from the jar, clean up your mess, and throw the rag in the dirty jar. If you don't have any microfiber, you can find a pack of 48 microfiber cleaning cloths on Amazon for $23.29. When the dirty jar starts to get full, simply wash your cloths and put them back in the clean jar. 

Why microfiber cloths can replace paper towels

You may be worried that reusable microfiber cloths might not be able to clean up spills as effectively as the paper towels you're used to, but they are super absorbent and great for a variety of purposes. Because the fabric these cloths are made of consists of many split fibers, it will have a larger surface area to trap dirt and absorb liquids. Split microfiber can pick up tiny spores and is capable of soaking up seven times its weight in water, according to the Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Speciality Unit.

Whether you typically use paper towels to wipe off dusty surfaces, clean windows, or soak up spills in the kitchen, you can replace these disposable towels with microfiber cleaning cloths and complete the same chores just as easily. Microfiber also has a positive charge to it that pulls grease, dirt, and other messes with a negative charge into the fabric. This is why when washing your microfiber cloths, it may be best to save them and do a load of only these rags to avoid dirt or hair from other laundry sticking to them.