Create a Sustainable and Customisable Alternative: Reusable Paper Towels

by | Mar 29, 2023

Reusable paper towels may sound like an oxymoron, but they are an innovative and eco-friendly solution to the wastefulness of traditional paper towels. These towels are versatile, customisable, and, most importantly, toxin-free. In this article, we will take you through the step-by-step process of making your own reusable paper towels and why it’s a great idea to switch from single-use paper towels.

Why consider making reusable paper towels?

First, they are environmentally friendly. Every year, billions of paper towels are used and thrown away, having a negative effect on the environment. By using reusable paper towels, you can reduce your ecological impact and help conserve our earth.

Second, they are cheaper, especially when we are using material that is already available. I use these swatches with my patterns on them from Spoonflower, but if you don’t create patterns, these are great scrap-busting projects. You can just use some cotton for the front, and towelling or an old handtowel or towelling you no longer need for the back as long as it is absorbent.

Third, they are multi-functional. Reusable paper towels can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks, such as wiping counters, cleaning spills, and dusting. I find they are much more absorbent than paper towels when wiping spills or cleaning surfaces.

Fourth, they are customisable. By making your own reusable paper towels, you can choose the fabric and design that best suits your needs and style. So, why not create your paper towels to match your kitchen décor?

Finally, and probably most importantly they are toxin free. Did you know Paper towels, especially those bleached or treated with chemicals, can contain toxins that may be harmful to our health and our environment? For example, some paper towels contain dioxins, which are highly toxic chemicals that can cause cancer and other health problems. Also, paper towels that are treated with chlorine or other chemicals can release harmful substances like formaldehyde into the air when we use them. These toxins can contribute to air pollution in our homes, and may make respiratory problems worse. So affecting those with asthma, allergies or lung issues. By making and using reusable paper towels, you can avoid exposure to these harmful toxins and reduce your impact on the environment. Let’s do this.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Reusable Paper Towels

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

The first thing you’ll need to do is get your materials together. You’ll need some fabric of your choice, however, you will need something absorbent like cotton or linen. I also use some towelling on the back. You’ll also need a pair of scissors, a ruler, a sewing machine or needle and thread. Also a sewing planner is helpful to keep track of projects, I have made one for you to download at the end of this blog.

Step 2: Cut Your Fabric

Now that you have all of your materials, it’s time to start cutting your fabric pieces. You will need one piece of cotton and one piece of towelling, both cut to the same size. My pattern swatch is already cut to a square, but you can use whatever measurements work best for you. For my towel, I’m using pieces that are approximately 8 inches by 8 inches, but a common size is around 12 inches by 10 inches. To get started, I’m going to use my pattern swatch as a guide and cut off the white edges around the fabric. Then, I’ll cut out a piece of towelling that’s the same size as my cotton fabric. This will ensure that both pieces are the same size and will fit together nicely when it’s time to sew them.

Step 3: Sew the Edges

After you’ve cut your fabric, it’s time to sew the two pieces of fabric together. Place both right sides together, and start on a side not a corner otherwise it will be more difficult to turn through. Leave a gap to turn back through, about 2 inches, and pin a different way so you don’t sew it by accident. Then pin the rest as normal. When you get to the corner, simply stop with your needle down in the fabric, lift the pressure foot and turn the fabric. Place the pressure foot down, and continue sewing. After sewing, trim the corners and pull the towel through the open seam to be the right way out.

Step 4: Topstitch and Finish

Once the towel is right side out, press it and then topstitch close to the edge, ensuring all layers are secured. Now your reusable paper towel is ready for use.

Step 5: Use and Wash

Your reusable paper towel is now ready to use! Use it for all cleaning tasks but instead of throwing them away, you can toss them in the washing machine with your regular laundry.


In conclusion, reusable paper towels are a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to single-use paper towels. They are customizable, multi-functional, and toxin-free, making them a safer and healthier option for you and the environment. So why not make the switch and start using reusable paper towels in your home today?

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you’re interested in more eco-friendly sewing projects, be sure to check out my social pages and download my free sewing planner to keep track of your progress. Also don’t forget, the patterns on these reusable paper towels are available on my Spoonflower shop

Sewing Planner
Sewing Planner PDF

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In the hustle and bustle of modern life, finding moments of peace and tranquility can seem like a distant dream. However, nestled in the gentle rhythm of yarn and hook lies a timeless practice that not only produces beautiful creations but also fosters relaxation and enhances mental well-being. Welcome to the world of crochet – a therapeutic journey for the mind and soul.

More Than Just a Hobby

Crochet, the art of creating fabric using a hook and yarn, has been cherished for generations as a beloved pastime. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, research indicates that engaging in crochet can have profound effects on mental health and overall well-being.

The study conducted by Barry University in 2011 highlighted the positive impacts of crochet on mental health, specifically in managing depression, anxiety, and stress. Additionally, it explored how crochet can be utilized as a coping mechanism during significant life transitions such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, or serious illness.

 The Relaxation Response

One of the most significant benefits of crochet is its ability to induce the relaxation response. Similar to meditation, this physiological state is characterized by decreased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and reduced levels of stress hormones. The repetitive movements of crocheting, combined with its focused attention requirement, gently guide practitioners into a state of calmness and tranquility.

“I leant how to crochet because I have a child with an chronic medical condition. I spend so much time in hospital, at appointments and in emergency situations. It’s so calming to be productive when you are so useless otherwise. It helps me to not resent the time we spend dealing with illness if I can combine it with a hobby.” Respondent 2596 (Theme: Health)

Stress Reduction and Anxiety Management

In today’s fast-paced world, stress and anxiety have become everyday challenges for many. Fortunately, crochet offers a simple yet effective solution. Studies have shown that regularly engaging in activities like crochet can significantly reduce stress levels and alleviate symptoms of anxiety. The meditative nature of crochet allows individuals to escape the pressures of daily life, providing a soothing balm for the mind.

When questioned about their crochet habits, participants mentioned various locations: primarily at home (95.8%), followed by while waiting for appointments (50.8%), at the residences of family and friends (46.1%), in vehicles (41.1%), and on public transportation (25%). The versatility of crochet and its ability to start social conversations are highlighted by the following quotes.

“[…} the number of conversations that have been started by a stranger about the crochet project I’m working on in public never ceases to amaze me!” Respondent 1379 (Theme: Connection)

“While you are crocheting, in public like on the train, people like to talk to you, and it is really nice , much better than looking at the phone.” Respondent 1607 (Theme: Connection)

“It’s incredible how many people will come and ask you what you’re making, comment on the WIP [work in progress] and the colour/design. It’s great!! Who knew! Not me before trying.” Respondent 2860 (Theme: Conne

Enhancing Cognitive Function

Beyond its immediate calming effects, crochet also offers long-term benefits for cognitive function. Research suggests that activities like crochet stimulate the brain, promoting neuroplasticity and enhancing cognitive abilities such as problem-solving, concentration, and memory retention. By challenging the mind in a gentle and enjoyable manner, crochet serves as an excellent form of mental exercise.

Crocheters vs. Non-Crocheters

Numerous studies have investigated the correlation between engaging in creative activities like crochet and mental well-being. According to recent research, individuals who regularly practice crochet exhibit lower levels of stress, reduced symptoms of depression, and an overall higher sense of well-being compared to those who do not crochet. These findings highlight the therapeutic potential of crochet in promoting mental health and resilience.

Embracing the Healing Power of Crochet

In a world where self-care is increasingly prioritised, crochet stands out as a valuable tool for nurturing brain wellness. Whether you’re a seasoned crafter or a curious beginner, the benefits of crochet are accessible to all. So, why not pick up a hook, select your favorite yarn, and embark on a journey of relaxation and self-discovery? Your mind and spirit will thank you for it.

Engaging in Crochet Groups

Only a minority of respondents (26.3%) participated in crochet groups (18). However, among these respondents, a notable proportion reported feeling less lonely through crochet (31.3%), and over one-third mentioned making new friends through this activity (39.2%). This implies that involvement in crochet can positively influence social connectedness, so supporting its integration into social prescribing programs. Social prescribing aims to assist individuals with diverse social, emotional, or practical needs, with many programs focusing on enhancing brain health and physical well-being. Potential beneficiaries of social prescribing schemes encompass individuals with mild or chronic brain health issues, those with complex needs, socially isolated individuals, and those with multiple long-term conditions who frequently utilise primary or secondary healthcare services.

An unexpected discovery was the sense of connection to both past and future generations, as highlighted by a couple of participants.

“[…] I come from a long line of women crocheters – great grandmother, Aboriginal grandmother, and mother…. and me! It unites us even though all of them have died. and I reflect back on items they made… I have a ball of blue silk yarn that was my great grandmothers… and occasionally I will chain a little of it to feel it run through my hand… I use her hand me down hook as well… I have a collection of hooks from them all. […]” Respondent 124 (Theme: Connection)

[…] It’s nice to do something my gran did (she taught me). Sort of like carrying on a tradition by making heirlooms for my kids, using a technique taught to me by their great grandmother. Nice feels :)” Respondent 1576 (Theme: Connection)


In conclusion, crochet is much more than just a creative hobby – it’s a powerful therapeutic practice with profound effects on brain health and well-being. From reducing stress and anxiety to enhancing cognitive function, the benefits of crochet are backed by research and embraced by countless individuals worldwide. So, let’s weave a tapestry of tranquility and embrace the healing power of crochet in our lives.