The Last Thing You Should Do with a Paper Towel Tube Before You Recycle It

updated Oct 18, 2020
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Someone holding paper towel roll
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Are you trying to use fewer paper towels? Personally I’m all about reusable dish cloths, with two exceptions: pet messes and my cast iron pan. Regarding the former, there are just some things that you don’t want to put in your washing machine. As for my cast iron pan, I usually scrub it with salt, oil, and a paper towel. I’m open to other options, but I haven’t found one that works as well for me.

Anyway, the point is that I still use paper towels occasionally, and when I do I try to make the most of them. That means not just being choosy about how I use them, but also getting the most out of a single roll — including the paper towel tube.

There are a few different things you can do with it: You can use it to make

perfectly round cookies

iPhone speakers! You can use it to

But there’s one thing I really think you should do — and that’s use it as a vacuum attachment

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Use Your Paper Towel Tube as a Vacuum Attachment

I know what you’re thinking: My vacuum comes with attachments that are made for vacuuming. But let me ask you this question: Have you ever tried to vacuum in a nook, cranny, or other impossibly small space and found that the attachment that came with your vacuum just doesn’t fit? If the answer is yes, read on.

The brilliance of a paper towel roll is that it is both rigid and flexible. You can squeeze it onto the end of most vacuum cleaners and mold the other end to fit into super-tight spaces. It’s not so flimsy that you’ll lose suction and you’ll find (I think!) that it is the best way to clean out areas like window tracks, car crevices, and any tight areas in and around your stove or other appliances. 

If you have a tube that’s otherwise headed for the recycling, why not give it a try? Do it and report back in the comments below!