I grew up in an environmentalist, paper towel-less household, and for a long time I resisted having paper towels in my own home. However, when my partner and I moved into together, he was a paper towel devotee and I gradually started using them, too. Over time we've met somewhere in the middle, mostly using cloth towels and Skoy cloths, but always keeping a roll of paper towels convenient.
And they are convenient — especially, I think, for those of us without washing machines. Although my official and primary reason for keeping paper towels is to clean up cat barf (ahh, life with pets!), I also reach for them to blot oil from fried foods and greasy pans, to press tofu/wrap herbs/wipe canning jars if I'm low on clean linens, and as napkins if we're eating food that I'm afraid will stain our reusable ones.
I feel a little better because I compost paper towels, but in the course of writing this, I've decided to reexamine my use. Perhaps there are times when a quick hand washing would be sufficient for reusable towels, or maybe I need to buy more so I don't run out between trips to the laundromat. Will I completely stop using paper towels? I'm not sure.
What about you? Do you think being paper towel free is overrated or are you, like my mother, shaking your head disapprovingly? If you've reduced or stopped using paper towels, what are your tips for others?
(Image: Igor Normann/Shutterstock)