Why You Should Always Keep Paper Towels in Your Fridge (Plus, 7 Other Surprising Kitchen Uses)

published Jun 3, 2023
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Paper towel roll on countertop near sink.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Paper towels might not be the most eco-friendly cleaning option, but with a bit of creativity, they can actually help make your kitchen and home more sustainable — from preventing waste to reducing the need for single-use plastic cleaners. They’re so versatile, there’s basically nothing paper towels can’t do.

From the fridge to the pantry to the dryer, here are eight surprising ways you can use paper towels to make life in your home easier, smarter, cleaner, and more convenient.

1. Keep veggies fresh longer.

Big containers of greens can come in handy for salads and smoothies, but if you don’t eat them ASAP, they tend to get soggy. Our favorite solution? Add a few dry paper towels to the sealed storage container where you keep your tender greens. The towels not only protect the leaves from getting jostled around; but they also absorb extra moisture, keeping them edible for far longer.

2. Line your crisper drawer.

Thanks to their separate temperature control function, your crisper drawer is one of the most useful features in your fridge. But it can be a huge hassle to clean them in the event of spills or food residue — which is why we always recommend liners. Paper towels are a super-smart way to protect your drawers, without the hassle of washing. If a spill does happen, you can just use the towel to wipe it away. Plus, the paper will absorb moisture from your veggies, potentially extending their life.

3. Clean a stained food storage container.

If you’ve ever stored spaghetti in a plastic container, you know how quickly they can get stained red. Some folks swear by a simple stain-fighting method involving water, a few drops of dish soap, and a single paper towel. Just add all three to your clean-but-stained container, shake it, and then rinse. We’ve had mixed experiences when we tested this method, so it may work better on fresher stains. Either way, try it out before you toss your stained Tupperware!

4. Make scented dryer sheets.

Store-bought dryer sheets can be pricey, and often, they’re packed with chemicals. For a more economical, chemical-free solution, try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to a paper towel sheet and tossing it in with your clothes in the dryer. 

5. Create wet wipes.

From sticky hands to dirty faces, wet wipes are a convenient way to clean ourselves (and our spaces). But again, buying them at the store can add up quickly. Luckily, you can easily make your own wet wipes at home with a roll of paper towels and a few other common household ingredients! Save an old wipe container and use it to store your wipes to keep them moist. 

6. Keep frozen bread tasting great.

Maybe you buy it in bulk, or maybe you make your own. Either way, freezing bread (or rolls!) is a great way to make it last longer. To help it stay fresh, simply add a dry paper towel into the bag. It should absorb excess moisture from the bread so it’ll taste better when you’re ready to thaw and serve. 

7. Help cutting boards stay put.

What’s more annoying than a cutting board that keeps slipping around when you’re chopping, slicing, or grating? Very few things. If your plastic cutting board doesn’t have grips on the underside to keep it from slipping, try putting a paper towel or two beneath it to add some traction and avoid slicing your fingers. 

8. Prevent splatters in the microwave.

Investing in a dedicated bowl or plate cover can help save your microwave from unsightly and hard-to-clean splatters — but in a pinch, you can also add a sheet of paper towel on top, especially if you’re going to heat up liquids like soup or sauce. If rogue splatters make it to the wall, use the clean side of the paper towel to wipe it off before it dries!