Reusable Kitchen Roll – Eco-friendly Alternative

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If you read my blog regularly, you may know that I am a huge fan of being zero waste. I love helping to save our environment by cutting down on wastage. Did you know that we throw away so much paper each year in the form of paper towels? With this in mind I decided to make some frugal, waste reducing reusable kitchen roll. Or paper-less towels. An eco-friendly alternative to traditional paper towels.

*This is a collaborative post – for more details please see my Disclosure Policy

*This post has been updated – it was first published in February 2019

Reusable Kitchen Roll – How To Make UnPaper Towels

 

How To Make Reusable kitchen roll or unpaper towels - a great alternative to paper towels. A great zero waste, frugal and sustainable kitchen swap. Upcycle old clothes, towels and cloth to make these cloths that can be laundered with the rest of your wash. DIY tutorial with pictures. Pictorial guide to making these sustainable recycled cloths. Environmentally friendly.

A little while ago I did a whole series of posts on Lagom. This is the Swedish concept of reusing and recycling and reducing waste. I hate throwing away old clothes, and love to repurpose them (like in my post New Clothes From Old). Even tiny bits get used (like in my Rag Rug making or fabric scrap posts).

But one of the best ideas I have come across is how to repurpose old towels and terry cloths into these reusable kitchen roll towels. So you have an old tea towel with a hole in? Don’t throw it away!

I am going to share two ways of making them.

You will need

reusable kitchen roll - materials needed

 

Method 1 – using the overlocker

reusable kitchen roll - cutting old towel

Using the rotary cutter and measuring square, cut the old towel into squares (mine were 9 inches square). And do the same with the top fabric.

reusable kitchen roll - method 1 - squares

Take a square of towel and a top layer and put them WRONG sides together. This means that the right sides of the towel are facing outwards.


reusable kitchen roll -assembling method 1

Overlock (serge) all four sides of the assembled towel.

reusable kitchen roll - overlocked edges

And then to strengthen the towel and prevent it from bagging in the wash, sew a straight line diagonally from corner to corner.

 

reusable kitchen roll - diagonals sewn method 1

These are really quick and easy to make, but you may think that they look a little less refined. And what if you don’t have a serger?

Well here is how to make really neat and pretty unpaper towels.

Method 2 – using just a sewing machine

 

For method 2 I cut out my squares exactly the same way using a rotary cutter and measuring square. This time I used terry cloth.

reusable kitchen roll - method 2 cutout squares

Pin the upper and lower layer RIGHT sides together this time. And mark on one edge a 2-3 inch gap. This is where you are going to start and stop sewing to allow to turn it inside out.

reusable kitchen roll - method 2 pinned

Sew around the edge of the pinned squares, using the edge of the presser foot as a guide. I made sure I did a few backstitches at the start and end where I had placed the dots. This means that a 6mm seam allowance is used. (You can use more, but I wanted to keep these towels as close to the size of the other towels as possible)

reusable kitchen roll - sewn inside out method 2

Once I had finished at the second dot, I clipped the corners close to, but not into, the stitching. If you have done a larger seam allowance I would cut it back at this point to 5mm or so, but I didn’t need to do that.

Turn the whole thing inside out so that the right sides are on the outside one more, pushing out the corners as much as possible. And give it a good press, so that the edges are crisp.

Where the turning gap is, make sure that this gets a really good press.

reusable kitchen roll - finished method 2 towel

Then sew a topstitch about 3mm from the edge all the way around the edge of the towel. This serves to make the towel edges crisp, but also seals the gap in the edge where we turned it inside out earlier.

Again, sew diagonally from corner to corner, as this stops the towel from getting misshapen and baggy when it is washed.

Attaching the Reusable Kitchen Roll Together

You can leave these towels and just fold them or present them in a box. Lots of people don’t want to use fastening as they are concerned that it will scratch surfaces, but I personally have never found that, so this is how to attach the kitchen roll together.

I made 4 of each type of towel.

How To Make Reusable kitchen roll or unpaper towels - a great alternative to paper towels. A great zero waste, frugal and sustainable kitchen swap. Upcycle old clothes, towels and cloth to make these cloths that can be laundered with the rest of your wash. DIY tutorial with pictures. Pictorial guide to making these sustainable recycled . Environmentally friendly #unpapertowels #kitchentowels #upcycling #sustainable #zerowaste

Attaching them together is where the Kam-snaps come into play. Using the sharp tool, you make a hole in each corners of each towel.

reusable kitchen roll - making kam-snap holes

To the left 2 corners of each towel, you attach a Kam-snap with a female attachment on the cotton side and the smooth part on the towelling side.

reusable kitchen roll - female cam snap attachment Female Kam-snap attachments

to the right two corners, you attach a Kam-snap with the male attachment on the towelling side and the smooth part to the cotton side.

reusable kitchen roll - male attachment Male Kam-snap attachment

Thus the reusable kitchen roll will fit together and slightly overlap.

reusable kitchen roll - attached together

These are so useful to have as they can all snap to each other. I like to roll mine up on the towel stand just like a regular roll of paper. They can be washed again and again, and you can just keep clipping them back on once they have been washed.

How To Make Reusable kitchen roll or unpaper towels - a great alternative to paper towels. A great zero waste, frugal and sustainable kitchen swap. Upcycle old clothes, towels and cloth to make these cloths that can be laundered with the rest of your wash. DIY tutorial with pictures. Pictorial guide to making these sustainable recycled . Environmentally friendly #unpapertowels #kitchentowels #upcycling #sustainable #zerowaste

Love these? Why not make some unsponges to go with them? A great zero waste kitchen swap alternative to bacteria breeding scrubbers.

 

Or try making some reusable sandwich wraps – a great zero waste alternative to plastic sandwich bags.

Reusable kitchen roll is also a great gift idea. How colourful are these? Why not pin this for later and make your own reusable kitchen roll?

How To Make Reusable kitchen roll or unpaper towels - a great alternative to paper towels. A great zero waste, frugal and sustainable kitchen swap. Upcycle old clothes, towels and cloth to make these cloths that can be laundered with the rest of your wash. DIY tutorial with pictures. Pictorial guide to making these sustainable recycled . Environmentally friendly #unpapertowels #kitchentowels #upcycling #sustainable #zerowaste

 

How To Make Reusable kitchen roll or unpaper towels - a great alternative to paper towels. A great zero waste, frugal and sustainable kitchen swap. Upcycle old clothes, towels and cloth to make these cloths that can be laundered with the rest of your wash. DIY tutorial with pictures. Pictorial guide to making these sustainable recycled . Environmentally friendly #unpapertowels #kitchentowels #upcycling #sustainable #zerowaste

 

Linking to:

 

Classy Flamingos Linky

Vintage Charm Party

padded fabric Christmas trees

53 Replies to “Reusable Kitchen Roll – Eco-friendly Alternative”

  1. Mother of 3 says:

    I have had a set of snaps forever hoping to get around to making these!! Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.

    Reply
    1. Jan Davis Pickford says:

      Thanks for the mop idea, my old one no longer works so making a new one to fit is an excellent idea. Thank you

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Jane. I’m always looking for ways to reuse old clothes and towels, so these seemed a great start.

      Reply
  2. Lydia C. Lee says:

    That’s a great idea. If you use them for getting the grease off bacon, what do you do? Just soak in nappisan (stain soaker?) or is there a trick? (My kid wears an apron at work on the grills and nothing seems to get it out so clearly it’s something on my mind). Love this idea. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I find the best way is soaking them in hot water with washing up liquid. Hopefully that would work on aprons too! Thank you for reading! #KCACOLS

      Reply
  3. Jade says:

    This is such a great idea, I am always wiping up spills with kitchen towel and its such a waste. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you so much. I think it is more useful than paper towelling.

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I certainly will be doing many more of these! Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  4. Clare - Flip flops or Wellies says:

    This is a good idea, I do try not to use too much of things like kitchen roll. When you start looking ways to reduce using things like foil and cling film its really quite easy. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I do just think that we need to get away from single use items, but without sacrificing hygiene.

      Reply
  5. sa says:

    Jo, as a greenie, myself, I LOVE this idea! It is brilliant. I think I need to get to work on this. We never use paper towels, but this way, I can see it being okay. Thank you! XOXO #kcacols

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Lisa. Anything I can do to reduce paper waste is good for me.

      Reply
  6. Malin - Sensational Learning with Penguin says:

    Very nice idea! I generally use a regular kitchen towel for most things that I’m guessing others would use their paper kitchen roll for. We don’t buy any kitchen roll, but we do have a toilet roll available in the kitchen, for some of the smaller messes. I try to avoid using it though, to save both money and environment, as you highlight here. Your cloth roll looks pretty smart, I like it x
    #KCACOLS
    Malin – Sensational Learning with Penguin recently posted…Days Out in the South East: Walmer Castle & GardensMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I do think that this is prettier and like a mini tea cloth, designed to be used just the once.

      Reply
  7. Nana K says:

    Saw this on Handmade Monday. What a great idea to use older towels! I have been looking at zero waste ideas recently and these are fabulous. Pinned!!

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. Also plan to make make up removing pads and sanitary products to recycle old towels so watch this space. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  8. Isabel says:

    Great idea, Jo! Love it and at the same time it seems a satisfying craft project and is also something that looks pretty when the ‘right’ kind of fabric is used 🙂 #mixitup
    Isabel recently posted…Is winter the creative season?My Profile

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. I do like the fact that it is practical but pretty too!

      Reply
  9. Sheila says:

    I have seen these before and I think they are just wonderful! Thanks for sharing how to make them. #KCACOLS

    Reply
  10. Julie says:

    They are great, I love a good upcycle idea.
    I often think how wasteful throw away cloths are, this is a wonderful alternative.

    Reply
  11. Christy says:

    This is such a good idea. I read a lot about recycling/reusing and general environment improvement but I’ve honestly never heard anyone suggesting replacing the paper towel for something reusable – and it makes so much sense. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I do think that we need a hygienic alternative to paper towelling, and think that this upcycled project just makes sense.

      Reply
  12. [email protected] says:

    this is a great idea. We’ve been able to cut our paper towel and napkin use by a full 1/2 since we really started paying attention #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      There are sellers on etsy that sell reusable cloths.

      Reply
  13. Kerryanne says:

    I definitely need to make these Jo. Thank you for sharing your reusable kitchen towels at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I’m delighted to be sharing this project at Friday’s party and pinning too.
    Hugs – Kerryanne

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Rach. They really are so easy. And a great way of not throwing out old towels. Thank you for linking up with #KCACOLS and hope to see you again next time!

      Reply

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