The Best Kitchen Towels Aren’t Actually Kitchen Towels (or Even Towels)

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

A few years ago, a fellow cooking class instructor and I were setting up for class when the topic of kitchen towels came up. She offhandedly mentioned her favorite towels weren’t really even made for the kitchen, but were in constant use after she had kids. Can you guess what she was talking about?

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

Cloth Diapers Make the Best Kitchen Towels

Cloth diapers! Turns out that good ol’ fashioned cloth diapers also double as kitchen or even regular household towels. In fact, the Gerber website advises that they’re “also ideal for crafting, using as a cleaning cloth, and car washing and waxing.” How’s that for versatile?

Why Cloth Diapers Work So Well

My daughter was born a few years ago, and even though we didn’t use cloth diapers with her as actual diapers, we had a big stack ready to go when she was born. Friends and family advised that they were great burp cloths and just wonderful, inexpensive towels to have around messy infants and toddlers. And they were totally right.

We’ve mainly used our cloth diapers for child-related things, but recently I spilled a cup of vegetable broth on the floor and the closest towel within reach was a cloth diaper. I used it to mop up the spill and my friend’s advice about using in the kitchen suddenly came back to me! I remember her also saying that when her children were young, she constantly had a diaper cloth draped over her shoulder anyway, so she just used it in the kitchen too.

Cloth diapers are great in the kitchen because they’re super-absorbent, lint-free, and have a thicker center panel that can even be used like an oven mitt if you fold them over a few times to make them thicker. If you get the plain white ones, just throw them in the wash and bleach out any stains — they just get softer as you wash them. Plus, they only cost around $2 each if you buy a large pack.

I’ve started using them all the time now and they’re great workhorses in the kitchen. The only thing I would advise is that if you actually use cloth diapers as diapers in your house, buy a separate set for your kitchen and mark them accordingly!