You Can Tie-Dye Reusable Paper Towels for Your Kitchen in 7 Simple Steps

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"Paper towels contribute to 7.4 billion pounds of waste every year. Here's how to DIY a reusable version instead."

While other countries prefer using sponges to wipe away messes, Americans spend billions of dollars on paper towels. Between paper towels and toilet paper, that winds up being a lot of tissue paper waste heading to landfills every year—7.4 billion pounds, in fact. So, what can we do about it? Learn how to make reusable paper towels, of course.

Making your own reusable paper towels is incredibly easy. Jessica Bui, creator of The Orange Home, shared her reusable paper towels DIY project on Instagram, where she taught her followers how to turn plain cotton rags into neutral-hued masterpieces. “We’ve been trying to go low-waste and replaced our paper towels with these rags,” she says. “They’re tie-dyed to hide stains.”

While Bui used store-bought dyes, you can also use things you already have at home—food waste, included. Use avocado pits and peels for pastel pink, red cabbage for purple, beets for bright pink, blueberries for bluish-purple, or carrot tops for yellow. All you need to do is bring the ingredient to a boil in a pot of water, then simmer for an hour. Here’s how to make reusable paper towels like a pro.

it’s okay to let your old dish rags dye. • #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner #sustainablehome #tiedyetutorial #diycrafts

♬ SUNNY DAY – Matteo Rossanese

How to Make Reusable Paper Towels

What You’ll Need:

Your dye of choice
Cotton towels or old rags


1. Scrunch your paper towels. Tie them up with string or rubber bands.
2. Rinse with water, then wring the water out.
3. Apply your dye.
4. Put the paper towels in a bag to develop for at least two hours.
5. Rinse with water until the water runs clear.
6. Wash and dry as normal.
7. Roll the paper towels up on a paper towel holder.

Curious about a zero waste lifestyle? Want to know what the “circular economy” really means? Subscribe to Brightly’s top-rated podcast, Good Together. Every 30-minute episode features daily, actionable tips to help you live your life more sustainably.

Paper towels contribute to 7.4 billion pounds of waste every year. Here's how to DIY a reusable version instead.

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