12 Things You Shouldn’t Be Cleaning with Paper Towels

If you stop to think about it, you realize most things can be cleaned with a reusable sponge or cloth. Save paper with these expert tips.

Paper isn’t always best

Paper towels are a hot commodity these days, so the last thing any of us would want is to be wasting some. And yet, if you’ve recently cleaned your electronic screens, mirrors, or bathtub with paper towels, you’re wasting paper towels. Here are the 12 things you should stick to cleaning with sponges or reusable cloths instead.

The tub

Think twice before reaching for the paper towel to remove that icky residue from your sink, shower, or bathtub. According to Sara Hernandez, Crew Leader, Housekeeping Associates of Ann Arbor, Michigan, the best way to remove soap scum (residue) from your bathroom is to use a mixture of vinegar with Dawn dish soap to cut through the grime and then wipe dry with a clean cloth.

Wiping your hands while cooking

It’s easy to just grab a sheet off the roll to dry your greasy, sticky fingers, but try to resist. Martha Stewart Living recommends wearing an apron while cooking, and chances are you’ve got one hanging in the kitchen you’ve been neglecting. You’ll not only save paper as you cook, but you’ll also protect your clothing in the process. Just wipe your hands on the apron after washing them, and move on to the next step in your cooking process.

Carpets and rugs

Accidentally spill soda on the rug? Don’t reach for the paper towel. “Wiping up spills or scrubbing stains with a paper towel will leave paper residue on carpeting, and it does not do a thorough job of wiping up,” says Deretta Richards, Crew Leader, Housekeeping Associates of Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Instead, use a clean dry cloth to soak up spills, let it dry, then vacuum.”

There’s another problem with using paper towels, warns professional cleaner Olivia Monash of Fantastic Services Group in Australia. “Scrubbing the stain will make the lint to go deep into the fiber and it will be difficult to vacuum afterward. Use a sponge instead.”

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