If there ever was a time to ditch those wasteful rolls of paper towels now is it. During the holiday season, folks tend to spend more time in the kitchen (personally, I go into full-on bread pudding-baking-mode) while also sprucing up the home with unique decorative touches (gotta impress those guests).

To help curb paper towel usage — according to Planet Green, 90 percent of American households use them for cleaning which results in 3,000 tons of landfilled paper towel waste each day — versatile and reusable dish and tea towels are the way to go. They’re essentially the same thing although tea towels tend to be more DIY design-centric (type “tea towel” into the search box on Etsy and be prepared to be amazed) and can also replace napkins and serve as décor objects whereas dish towels serve a more heavy duty, utilitarian purpose. 

Below are a dozen beautifully and cleverly designed dish and tea towels just waiting to be invited into your home over the holidays. They’re all made from cotton, linen, cotton/linen blends, and, in several cases, organic cotton. Several are also printed with nontoxic, water-based inks. Take a look. 

I'm Not a Paper Towel Dish Towel @ Perpetual Kid ($9.99)

Showpony Eat Your Greens Towel @ Supermarket ($17.50)

Ferm Living 'Kitchen' Tea Towel @ Branch Home ($16/2)

Eat at Home Towel @ Target ($10)

High Frugality Dish Towels @ UncommonGoods ($45/4)

Mr. PS Veggie Brekkie Tea Towel @ Etsy ($14)

Miramekko Kissaminttu Tea Towel Set @ FinnStyle ($25/2)

Artgoodies Deer Towel @ Elsewares ($15)

Skinnylaminx 'I Wish We Had IKEA" Tea Towel @ Etsy ($12.50)

Fog Linen Towel @ HORNE ($16)

Bailey Doesn't Bark 'Useful' Towel @ Bailey Doesn't Bark ($25)


Girlscantell Amazing Kitchen Utensils and Mixer Diagram Towels @ Supermarket ($20/2)

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.