Joanie Demer | 

Here's Exactly How to Get the Cheapest Paper Towels

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The average family goes through two double rolls of paper towels every week. That’s 28 sheets per day. If you’re buying Bounty paper towels, the most popular paper towel brand in the United States, you’re paying around $0.04 per sheet, which works out to $182 spent on paper towels per year if you’re using split sheets. That cost jumps up to over $360 a year for full sheets. And if you aren’t planning ahead, you may not be getting the cheapest paper towels at the stock-up price. So the question is, Are you okay with paying $200-$300+ a year for disposable paper towels? You shouldn’t be.

With a better understanding of where to shop and how to compare unit prices, I can teach you how you can cut that cost in half.

Below, I’ll break down exactly how to save money on paper towels: what paper towel brands I recommend, the best places to shop for the cheapest paper towels, and whether you need a wholesale club membership for those bulk packages. I’ll also cover the potential savings from switching to reusable paper towels and a surprising, no-duh solution to getting your family to use fewer sheets without sacrificing a thing.

But before we get into all of that, download the Krazy Coupon Lady app to save money on just about everything.

1. To find the best deal on paper towels, always calculate cost per square foot.


Next time you find yourself standing in a paper towel aisle, stop and look around. You might get the sense that every package is arguing with the next over who has the biggest rolls. There’s all of this jibber jabber about 12 rolls of this equal 24, even 36 regular rolls. ‘Double,’ ‘Jumbo,’ ‘Double Plus,’ ‘Big,’ and ‘Family’ size are all terms used by top paper towel brands to “explain” how much value is in each package. But it doesn’t mean a darn thing.

Brands have been playing fast and loose with roll sizes and sheet sizes for years. A Viva double roll used to be 126 sheets per roll and now it’s only 104. And a double roll from Brawny doesn’t match the one from Bounty. Even though roll size is right there in big letters on the front of the package, roll size is not the way to compare costs.

Cost per square foot is the only way to make shopping for the cheapest paper towels into an apples-to-apples comparison game. Square footage is listed on every paper towel package, but you have to look for it. And retailers won’t do the work for you. Cost per square foot is often not listed on shelves or online. Costco is the only retailer that lists costs per square foot on their website.

To calculate the cost per square foot, you take the price of the package ($5.79) and divide it by the square footage (111 square feet). $5.79/111= 0.052, which means the package costs $0.05 per square foot.

2. The goal is $0.02 or less per square foot, regardless of brand, for the cheapest paper towels.

Let me give you a little couponing primer.

Some grocery stores (Kroger or Safeway) have everyday prices that are higher than a store like Walmart, but sale prices at those grocery stores are often cheaper than Walmart. Name-brand and store-brand paper towels are a little like a Kroger and a Walmart. Premium brands like Bounty or Brawny cost more every day but dip lower than cheap brands thanks to sales and sometimes coupons.

This effectively levels the playing field between paper towel brands. If you’re a loyal Bounty shopper and that’s all you want to buy, you just have to wait for the right time. We suggest downloading the Krazy Coupon Lady app and setting alerts for Bounty. Then, we’ll find you 50% off deals so you’ll pay the same price as those schmucks buying store brands.

You can’t expect the same deep discounts from Kirkland or Member’s Mark brands. They may do a once-a-year price drop or instant savings, which will be the best time to buy all year. However, they won’t have a routine sale cycle every few weeks like you’ll see from the bigger brands.

This actually makes things simple. When it comes to the cheapest paper towels, target $0.02 or less per square foot, no matter what brand you’re buying. If you’re buying a cheap brand already, you won’t need to be as strategic as those highfalutin’ Bounty buyers.

3. Where to get cheap paper towels: The average cost for the top 11 paper towel brands

I’m not here to waste your time, so I’m gonna start with the best paper towel brand based on cost and work my way through to the worst. Below, I’ve listed the top 11 US paper towel brands and their everyday cost per square foot in 2024.

Sam’s Club paper towels

Sam-s Club Paper Towels

Sam’s Club paper towels are one of the best everyday values on the market. Member’s Mark paper towels sell for less than $0.02 a square foot every day. There are two packs of Member’s Mark paper towels to choose from.

Sam’s Club memberships costs $50 per year, but non-members can also shop at Sam’s Club (you can buy alcohol in certain states, eat at the food court and fill prescriptions and get an eye exam) and Non-members must pay an extra 10% “handling fee” for every online purchase. Interestingly enough, even with a 10% non-member price hike, cost per square foot is still right at $0.02, one of the best deals for the cheapest paper towel anywhere. Shipping cost from $7.59.

For membership discounts and this week’s biggest sales, view KCL’s Sam’s Club deals.

Shop Member’s Mark paper towels at Sam’s Club:

ONLINE or In-Store Deal
Shipping: $7.22 or Free for Plus Members
Pickup: $4 for Club Members, Free for Plus Members
Price Summary
$0.02 per sq ft

Costco paper towels

Costco Paper Towels

Costco only makes one size and variety of Kirkland paper towels. But, they consistently get great reviews. Each giant roll has 160 sheets, making these the largest rolls anywhere.

  • Kirkland (in store) 12-roll pack, create-a-size towels $19.49 (1026 sq ft), $0.02 per sq ft

Online, the same pack will cost $22.99.

A Costco membership costs $60 per year, but non-members can shop Costco or with just a gift card. Get any member to purchase a gift card for you, and you can take advantage of Costco’s prices any day. Careful, though, you may get hooked. That’s what Costco is banking on with this generous loophole.

For this week’s biggest sales, view KCL’s Costco deals.

Shop Kirkland paper towels at Costco:

In-Store Deal
Shipping: $3 for 2-Day Delivery
Price Summary
$0.02 per sq ft

Sparkle paper towels

members mark paper towels average price pet square foot

Sparkle paper towels are made by the same parent company as Brawny. Think of them as Brawny’s budget-friendly counterpart. General sentiment and reviews for Sparkle are very good, particularly on absorbency, thanks to the towels’ “thirst pockets.”

Who has the best price on Sparkle paper towels?

Walmart and Amazon are generally the best places to buy Sparkle every day. If you’re willing to do Subscribe & Save, Amazon Sparkle deals beat Walmart’s (check today’s Amazon price here). And if you’re open to using coupons, Dollar General, Publix, and Safeway can get in the mix too with good deals. Target does not carry Sparkle.

If you’re shopping online, the square footage is often not listed. One Sparkle paper towel is about .4583 square feet. So if the package is 24 rolls, 110 sheets per roll, you can take .4583 X 110 X 24 = 1195.92 total square feet.

Where can I find coupons for Sparkle paper towels?

Sparkle has coupons in the Sunday paper a few times a year. For a digital option, try the Ibotta app. The most common coupon value you’ll see is $1.25/1 Sparkle paper towels, 6 ct or larger.

Check KCL to see if there are any live Sparkle paper towel coupons.

Shop Sparkle paper towels on Amazon:

Price Summary
$0.02 per sq ft

Scott paper towels

Scott Paper Towel

Scott paper towels are made by the same company as Viva. Scott is the less expensive of the two brands made by Kimberly Clark. If you love Viva, you’re probably not gonna be impressed by Scott’s quality. That being said, there are loads of folks who love it. Reviews on Walmart sit at over 4.5 stars, comparable to Sparkle.

Scott makes only one type of paper towel, and all their rolls have ‘choose-a-sheet’ perforations.

Scott sells everywhere: Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Giant, Food Lion, ShopRite, HEB, and more.

Who has the best price on Scott paper towels?

The best place to buy Scott paper towels is at Walgreens or CVS, but only during a sale. Regular prices at drugstores are astronomical. But sales and promotions are routine. And so are coupons.

Look for promotions like Spend $30, get $10 Extrabucks or Spend $20, get $5 Extrabucks at CVS. Or BOGO 50% off at Walgreens.

Where can I find coupons for Scott paper towels?

Find store coupons in the CVS and Walgreens apps, the Sunday newspaper, and in the rebate app Fetch.

KCL does this work for you. We track promotions and coupons and tell you exactly how to use them to maximize your savings, so tell yourself you don’t have time for this. We make it easy. Check this week’s CVS deals or Walgreens deals.

Check KCL to see if there are any live Scott paper towel coupons.

Shop Scott paper towels at Walgreens (only when it’s on sale!)

Bounty Essentials paper towels

Bounty Essentials Paper Towel

Bounty’s budget-friendly Essentials brand launched in 2019 along with a companion toilet paper line, Charmin Essentials. Bounty Essentials consistently costs over 40% less than regular Bounty at most major retailers.

You'll find Bounty Essentials in two sizes, Select-a-Size and Full-size sheets.

Single packs even sell at the dollar stores, but skip buying there as the price per foot isn’t a good deal. Smaller packs and single rolls are sold at drugstores; larger packs sit on shelves at Target and Walmart. Be careful online. When buying Bounty Essentials on Amazon, only buy those that are Sold and Shipped by Amazon. This can help you help avoid potential scams by third-party sellers.

Who has the best price on Bounty Essentials paper towels?

Target is my favorite place to buy Bounty Essentials. To save, watch for gift card promotions like Spend $40 on qualifying P&G products, and get a $10 gift card. Plus check out Target Circle for Bounty offers, particularly at the beginning of the month. See this week’s Target deals.

Even without gift cards or promotions, Target has the best price on Bounty Essentials.

With that said, Walmart has a Walmart Cash offer (free cashback program) that'll get you Bounty Essentials paper towels for $0.01 per sq ft. Can't argue with that math!

Where can I find coupons for Bounty Essentials paper towels?

You can also find Bounty coupons in the first Sunday newspaper of the month and digital rebates in the Ibotta app. Bounty coupons usually work on both the regular and Essentials lines, but read the fine print to be sure Essentials is not excluded.

Bounty’s parent company, Procter & Gamble, is known for having lots of coupons, promotions, and rebates. Look for P&G digital rebates such as spend $50, get $15 rebate.

Check KCL to see if there are any live Bounty paper towel coupons.

Shop Bounty Essentials paper towels at Walmart:


Walmart paper towels

Walmart Great Value

Walmart paper towels by Great Value are a top seller. There are two split-sheets varieties, both with thousands of 4.3+ star reviews.

Walmart store brands do not ever have coupons. And rollback prices on paper goods are infrequent. With Great Value paper towels, the price you see is the price you get. Luckily, it’s pretty good.

For this week’s biggest sales, view KCL’s Walmart deals.

Shop Great Value paper towels at Walmart:

ONLINE or In-Store Deal
Shipping: Free with Walmart+ or on orders of $35+
Pickup: Free
Price Summary
$0.02 per sq ft


Seventh Generation paper towels

Seventh Generation

Seventh Generation is the only 100% recycled paper towel on our list. Seventh Generation paper towels are sold at a wide variety of online retailers but are a little harder to find on shelves. Check your local Whole Foods, Kroger, Publix, or Safeway.

Who has the best price on Seventh Generation paper towels?

The best place to buy Seventh Generation paper towels currently is Walmart. When available, Amazon has a competing price with a 15% Subscribe & Save discount and occasional digital coupons worth up to 40% off. There’s not usually any better place to buy. But as of now, Walmart has the best price.

Where can I find coupons for Seventh Generation paper towels?

Seventh Generation doesn’t have coupons very often. When they do, they’re usually for about $1 - $1.50 off.

Check KCL to see if there are any live Seventh Generation coupons.

Shop Seventh Generation paper towels at Walmart:

ONLINE or In-Store Deal
Shipping: Free with Walmart+ or on orders of $35+
Pickup: Free
Price Summary
$0.03 per sq ft


Presto! paper towels (Amazon brand)

Presto! Paper Towels

Presto! is an Amazon brand and these paper towels are a best seller. Presto! consistently ranks well when blind-tested against other brands.

Subscribe to get the same 12-rolls for $24.04, $0.029 per sq ft.

Since Presto! is an Amazon exclusive, there’s no shopping around that will save you money. The best way to save on Presto! towels is actually available every day—it’s Amazon Subscribe & Save. If you don’t know already, here’s how Amazon Subscribe & Save works. You’ll save 15%, which drops the cost per foot to 2.9 cents by subscribing to these towels and any other four items in the same month. Here is a list of our best Subscribe & Save deals this week. And yes, if you have the room, you could just subscribe to five packs of paper towels at once to get that 15% discount.

For this week’s biggest sales, view KCL’s Amazon deals.

Shop Presto! paper towels on Amazon:

Presto! Paper Towels
As low as$24.04
What to buy
5% or 15% off with Subscribe & Save
Price Summary
$0.03 per sq ft


Viva paper towels

Viva Paper Towels

Viva paper towels are Scott’s boujee brother and the softest paper towel on the market. Fans of Viva love its cloth-like feel. Viva has the distinction of having the best price of the high-end paper towel brands.

There are two varieties of Viva towels:

Who has the best price on Viva paper towels?

Like Scott, Viva is sold everywhere, but I find the best deals at the drugstores: CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Just remember to never pay full price for Viva at those stores because the shelf prices are ridiculous. But if you wait for a sale and stack it with a coupon, you can get prices down to nearly $0.02 per square foot. And we’ll tell you when that happens if you download the KCL app or text HOT DEALS to 57299 to be included in all our best deals each day.

Where can I find coupons for Viva paper towels?

Find store coupons in the CVS and Walgreens apps, the Sunday newspaper, and in the rebate app Fetch.

Check KCL to see if there are any live Viva paper towel coupons.

ONLINE or In-Store Deal
Shipping: Free with Walmart+ or on orders of $35+
Pickup: Free
Price Summary
$0.04 per sq ft


Brawny paper towels

Brawny Paper Towels

Brawny paper towels are America’s second-favorite paper towel brand. And they’re the only towel on the market with an option for four-square perforations on every sheet. Brawny paper towels come in three sizes.

Who has the best price on Brawny paper towels?

The best place to get a deal on Brawny is actually Amazon when they have it in stock with Subscribe & Save. When you subscribe, you’ll save 15%, which drops cost per foot to $0.03. You must have at least five active subscriptions in one month in order to get the 15% savings. Here is a list of our best Subscribe & Save deals this week in case you need to add a few more. Some of them are only a few bucks. Canceling an Amazon subscription is easy and you can do it online anytime.

Brawny is also sold at Walmart. Like Sparkle, Brawny is not sold at Target.

The second best place to buy Brawny is actually at Rite Aid during a buy one get one free sale and a Brawny manufacturer coupon.

Where can I find coupons for Brawny paper towels?

Brawny usually has a printable coupon available via The coupon is worth $1.50 off one pack, 6 ct or larger and it expires one month after you print it. Dollar General and Family Dollar often have digital store coupons for Brawny.

Check KCL to see if there are any live Brawny paper towel coupons.

Shop Brawny paper towels on Amazon:

Price Summary
$0.04 per sq ft

Bounty paper towels

Bounty Paper Towels

Bounty towels have held the corner on the paper towel market for more than a decade. No other brand comes close to Bounty’s annual sales numbers. So, even though they aren’t the cheapest paper towels on our list, millions of homes are still shelling out.

There’s really only one kind of Bounty towel and basically two sizes, but because Amazon and Costco are always looking to have something unique, there are a few variations. I’ll share only to show you their meaninglessness.

I didn't find any difference in quality or absorbency, in the Bounty paper towels sold at Costco.

Who has the best price on Bounty paper towels?

Like with Bounty’s Essentials line, my favorite place to shop for Bounty is Target. Watch for gift card promotions like Spend $40 on qualifying P&G products, and get a $10 gift card. Plus, check out Target Circle for Bounty offers, particularly at the beginning of the month. The only major exception to Target being the best place to buy Bounty is when Costco does an instant-savings promotion. Costco’s everyday price on Bounty is about $0.03 per square foot and I’m targeting below that. (Sam’s Club’s price is $0.035 per sq ft, in case you’re wondering.) During an instant-savings promo, the Costco price drops to $0.025 cents per square foot, so that’s the number I try to beat whenever I shop Bounty towels.

If you’re wondering how to know when Bounty is on instant savings at Costco or a gift card promo at Target, don’t stress. Tracking prices, sales, and coupons is what we do at KCL. Download the always-free KCL app and set notifications for Bounty deal alerts. We’ll notify you when just the right sale takes place.

Where can I find coupons for Bounty paper towels?

You can find Bounty coupons in the first Sunday newspaper of the month and digital rebates in the Ibotta app. Bounty coupons are frequently worth only $0.25 off, which is not nearly enough to get us excited. But don’t worry, we’ll find higher value coupons like $1.00 off. Once we stack those with the right sale, the savings becomes worth it.

Bounty’s parent company, Procter & Gamble, also has digital rebates such as spending $50 to get a $15 rebate.

Check KCL to see if there are any live Bounty paper towel coupons.

Shop Bounty paper towels at Target:

Bounty Paper Towels
ONLINE or In-Store Deal
As low as$26.31
Mobile coupons needed
5% Off - Target RedCard Savings
Shipping: Free with RedCard or on orders of $35+
Pickup: Free
Price Summary
$0.05 per sq ft


4. Costco and Sam’s are the cheapest place to buy paper towels if you’re not a couponer.

If you’re buying Bounty paper towels at Costco, you’re probably already saving enough money to pay for the cost of your membership.

But if you’re willing to tiptoe into a little bit of couponing with KCL, you can get paper towels cheaper than you would at the wholesale clubs. Bounty, Viva, and Scott paper towels tend to be the brands on which we see the biggest discounts.

And it’s not always the larger packages of paper towels that are the best deal. I compared unit costs between 6-, 12- and 24-packs of Bounty at Walmart and found almost no reduction in unit cost with the larger pack. Sometimes when you have a coupon to use, the best unit costs come from buying a smaller package.


5. Split sheets may be the second biggest secret to saving money.

Cutting back your consumption is an obvious way to save, but easier said than done. That is especially true when your kids are in the kitchen using paper towels as plate substitutes for snacking. Perforated sheets may be the single biggest solution to saving money (and the planet while you’re at it). Every major brand makes a split sheet.

And the part I find funny? They’ve each trademarked their own split sheet names. . . feels like the thing bored lawyers must do in their spare time. Seriously, this is silly, right?

  • Member’s Mark Select-and-Tear

  • Kirkland Create-a-Size

  • Sparkle+Brawny Pick a Size

  • Scott+Viva Choose-a-Sheet

  • Bounty Essentials+Bounty Select-a-Size

  • Great Value Split Sheets

  • Presto Flex-a-Size

At any rate, the split sheets are great. They divide each paper towel in half. But there’s only one brand that doubled down with a second split, giving you the opportunity to kinda quadruple your value and serving it up with this sweet rhyme.

  • Brawny Tear-a-Square

I’m gonna pitch my next idea to the Brawny people. I can see it now. . . even more sheets per square. Here’s my concept:

Jokes aside, if you can get the members of your household to split sheets for small spills and snacks, you stand to significantly lower your consumption and cost.

Related: What to Buy Every Month of the Year

6. You can save at least $160+ a year with reusable paper towels.

The way I figure it, you can save $160 – 300/year with reusable paper towels. And the planet will thank you.

In the US, we use 13 billion paper towels, produced with over 100 million trees, every year.

Certainly, there’s an opportunity to do better for the Earth, but there’s also a major money-saving angle.

There are plenty of traditional paper towel alternatives. I buy a 10-pack of reusable paper towels for about $14 on Amazon. If you toss your towel every 2.5 weeks (not that you have to), your annual cost would be $21 a year. That’s about $160 less than the estimated cost of two rolls a week over a year. And that’s if you’re using split sheets. If you’re using full sheets, you’ll love the absorbency of a reusable towel, and you’ll be saving twice as much by making the switch.

At my house, we’ve made a partial switch. I use my reusable paper towels for all the wiping and cleaning in the kitchen, but we keep paper towels around for napkin/paper plate replacements. I buy what are called Swedish dishcloths. When dry, they feel stiff and papery, like a paper towel, but when damp, they act like a dish rag. I’ve tried half a dozen kinds of reusable paper towels, and these are, by far, my favorites. You can buy them for about $14 on Amazon.

Shop reusable paper towels on Amazon:

Price Summary
$1.41 per cloth


7. Bamboo paper towels are a lot like reusable paper towels.

Generally speaking, reviews for bamboo paper towels are starkly divided. People either love them or hate them. Bamboo paper towels are unique in that they feel stiff. But the towels are very strong.

All paper towels (not just bamboo) are compostable, and none of them are recyclable. More on that in our FAQs below. Bamboo towels are the only ones that are sustainably produced and tree free.

Bamboo paper towels can be rinsed, wrung out, and hung to dry. You’re not supposed to throw them away after one wipe. Which is good because their unit cost is high….$0.08 cents per square foot.

You can buy an 6-pack for $25 on Amazon.

Besides Amazon, the best places to buy bamboo paper towels include Lowe’s and Home Depot, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Aldi.

Shop bamboo paper towels on Amazon:

Price Summary
$0.08 per sq ft


8. We conducted a test to find the best paper towels.

This savings guide for paper towels wouldn’t be complete without a check-in on quality by brand. There are plenty of ways to review paper towels, but I decided a test on absorbency seemed the simplest.

I conducted the crude test at home in my kitchen. I put a full shot of orange juice in each glass, then pressed the paper towel into the glass with a bamboo straw until it was fully submerged. Next, I reached in and grabbed one corner of the soaked paper towel, let it drip for three seconds, and threw the soaking paper towels into the compost pile. I measured the remaining OJ in each glass and ranked the paper towels from most absorbent to least.

According to my at-home absorbency test, the best paper towels are:

  1. Viva paper towels

  2. Bounty paper towels

  3. Brawny paper towels

  4. Sparkle paper towels

  5. Presto paper towels

  6. Bounty Essentials paper towels

  7. Scott paper towels


9. Use KCL to find the best deal on paper towels this week.

Here at KCL, we have teams of shoppers who scour online price drops and walk store aisles daily looking for hidden clearance finds. Not only that, we seek out fresh new coupons to bring you the best deals every week on things like paper towels. Some of our favorite stores are Target, Walmart, Amazon, CVS, Walgreens, Costco, Sam’s Club, and more. Don’t be surprised if we occasionally bring you paper towel deals from unexpected places like Office Depot, Staples, Lowe’s, or Home Depot. We’ve seriously got you covered with cost per square foot and everything. We always do the math for you. Check out this week’s paper towel deals.

Bookmark the pages, download our app, or text HOT DEALS to 57299 and be the first to know about the hottest deals each day.


10. Amazon has the best paper towel holders.

I think the single greatest thing I’ve discovered this year is a self-adhesive paper towel holder. I’ve used it to place the paper towel roll off the counter and hidden under my kitchen sink. I saw some video on Instagram from someone I follow in Europe, then went looking on Amazon for a solution. Of course, it was there. No paper towel holder is pretty enough to make me want to stare at the roll on my counter.

Shop paper towel holders on Amazon:

And if you decided to try out reusable paper towels, here’s one more hack. I use a hole punch to make a small hole in the corner and then hang them on a simple command hook, also under my kitchen sink. It’s so efficient, I can hardly stand it.

Shop Command Hooks on Amazon:


Paper towel FAQs

Can you flush paper towels?

That’s a hard no, buddy. Paper towels don’t disintegrate like toilet paper. Because the sheets are so large and absorbent, they easily get stuck inside the pipes. Even one paper towel flushed could cause a serious clog in your pipe. If you get ‘lucky’ and it passes through the pipe, it can still cause a major issue once it reaches the sewer system or septic tank; multiple paper towels can cause even bigger problems.

If you accidentally flush a paper towel, first use a plunger to try to remove it. In the event that doesn’t work, use an auger or call a plumber.

Can you put paper towels in the microwave?

Well yeah. Paper towels are safe to use in the microwave, under the following conditions.

  1. Plain white paper towels are best. The ink in paper towels is not always food safe.

  2. Use only one paper towel and lay the paper towel flat. Studies have shown stacked or scrunched paper towels can trap heat and catch fire.

  3. Dampening the paper towel may be even safer. Plus it helps the foods hold in moisture. This also keeps the paper towel from shifting off your food.

Don’t use recycled paper towels in the microwave. Because there could be tiny particles of plastic or metal, there’s a greater possibility for melting or fire.

You can look on the packaging of your paper towels for a microwave symbol or a written indication that the brand is ‘microwave safe.’

Can you use a paper towel as a coffee filter?

As a once-in-a-while substitute? Yes. As a regular stand-in? No.

The bleaching process for paper towels is going to introduce more contaminants than a regular coffee filter. Using paper towels in your coffee maker with regularity could be damaging to your health.

If you’re in a pinch, here’s how to do it:

  1. Fold a full-size paper towel four times, into a square.

  2. Use the open ends to create a pocket and put your coffee grinds in.

  3. Fold the outer edges to ensure the pot lid closes

  4. Add hot, not boiling, water into the filter cup and let the coffee drip into the pot.

Are paper towels compostable?

Yes. Paper towels are totally compostable. They can even be a great alternative to leaves in a compost pile. Here are the important dos and don’ts of composting paper towels.

Do compost paper towels that were used

  • to dry hands or dishes.

  • for wiping up water or juice.

  • with plant based foods.

  • to clean up dirt.

Don’t compost paper towels that came in contact with

  • greasy foods like oil or butter.

  • animal waste.

  • human viruses (you can compost a paper towel used to blow your nose when you had allergies, but not when you had the flu).

  • harsh chemicals, like cleaning spray. Even organic or green cleaners will kill the good bacteria in your compost bin.

White paper towels that have been bleached are okay to compost because bleach breaks down in a compost bin.

For accelerated composting, shred or tear your paper towels into small pieces before you throw it into the bin.

Can you recycle paper towels

No, never. There are two reasons you can’t recycle used or unused paper towels: the makeup of the towel itself and the contamination.

Paper towels are manufactured in such a way that the fibers are too short to be made into new paper. The makeup of a paper towel actually isn’t like other recyclable papers at all.

And once we use paper towels, they are contaminated—usually soiled with food, chemicals, or grease, which is another reason we can’t recycle. They can’t be properly sanitized.

You might be able to ‘recycle’ paper towels with your yard debris. Many waste companies will accept paper towels as part of yard waste. Check with your local company to confirm.

The cardboard tubes inside a paper towel are recyclable.

Can you put paper towel in an air fryer?

You could. But you shouldn’t. Here’s why.

  • Paper towels block airflow and food won’t cook evenly.

  • Used in an air fryer paper towels can catch fire.

Parchment paper can go in an air fryer because it’s perforated to allow air flow. And parchment is heat resistant. It’s not impossible to burn it, but it’s widely used in ovens without a problem.

Can you put paper towels in the oven?

Heck no. Absolutely, positively, paper towels should NOT be put in the oven.

Paper towels will ignite at around 450 degrees, but even if your recipe is at 325, if your paper towel touches one of the oven’s coils, you’re gonna need your fire extinguisher. The probability of starting a fire from putting a paper towel in the oven is very high. Don’t do it, ever. Parchment or aluminum foil are safe options instead.

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