When we have to deal with a spill or some dust, the easiest solution is using a paper towel. As useful as they are, paper towels are not fit for any surface, and in some cases, using them can result in damage. And like any other paper product, paper towels are not great for the environment, so it’s best to limit our use of them when possible.
To protect your items and avoid waste, we rounded up 7 items that you should clean with a reusable cloth or other cleaning tools, and NOT a paper towel.
The next time you need to clean your bathroom mirror or wash your windows, experts recommend that you reach for a microfiber cloth rather than a paper towel. Since paper towels are made of tiny paper fibers, they can leave lint and fuzz all over the clean windows. If you don't have a microfiber cloth, you can use a newspaper or even a paper bag.
Accidentally spilled some tea on the rug or sofa? Don’t reach for a paper towel. Scrubbing stains on carpeting and upholstery will leave paper residue on the fabric. On top of it, scrubbing will make the lint go deep into the fibers, and it will be difficult to vacuum it out afterward.
Instead, use a clean dry cloth or a sponge to soak up the stain, let the area dry, and then vacuum. This approach is gentler and will keep your rug and sofa in good condition in the long haul.
When it comes to electronic screens, paper towels can be a little too abrasive. Hence, using them to clean delicate glass surfaces like TV screens, laptops, and even your cell phone is not a good idea. The harsh fibers could cause permanent scratches on the screens of your devices.
There are microfiber cloths specifically designed for these surfaces, but a regular cloth will work just as efficiently. Remember not to apply too much pressure when cleaning these screens, too.
Rinsing your produce has always been an important part of one's post-grocery shopping tasks, and it is even more common now, ever since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. But a paper towel isn’t the best way to dry these foods, as it can scratch or bruise your fresh fruits and vegetables.
So, what can you do instead? When it comes to small products, such as grapes or blueberries, for example, lay them out on an absorbent towel or a drying mat after washing. You can also use an absorbent towel to hand-dry larger produce items like tomatoes or cauliflower.
Any surface that might have soap stains like your sink, shower, or bathtub cannot be cleaned with paper towels. According to cleaning experts, the best way to remove soap scum or residue is to use a mixture of equal parts vinegar and dish soap to cut through the grime. After allowing it to sit for 15 minutes, wipe dry with a clean reusable cloth.
If you’d like to add a bit of shine to your silver - whether it’s formal silverware, home decor, or jewelry - you’d be better off using a tool made specifically for the job, or a soft piece of linen cloth. Paper towels are too coarse and might scratch your precious silverware.
Alternatively, you can dry silver using a hairdryer kept at a distance of at least 15cm (6 inches).
If you try to remove dust using a paper towel, all you will achieve is moving the dust from one spot to another. To get rid of dust efficiently, use a soft brush vacuum attachment and an electrostatic mop to clean the floors, and then dampen a microfiber cloth and wipe down the surface.
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