Since the pandemic began, I've been running through paper towels like crazy. With all the extra cleaning and disinfecting, this handy cleaning tool runs out much more quickly than usual. In an effort to spend less on paper products (and cut down on household waste), I recently purchased this set of Swedish dishcloths on Amazon, and I must say, I won't be buying paper towels again anytime soon.

This reusable alternative works just like a paper towel, but it's way more absorbent, stands up better against scrubbing, and can be washed and reused more than 200 times. I use them for wiping down countertops and hand-washing cookware. When I'm done, I simply toss them in the top rack of my dishwasher to sanitize them. And the best part? They don't break down after a few minutes of scrubbing like a traditional paper towel would, so one cloth gets the job done.

Buy It: Now Designs Swedish Dishcloth, ($11 for set of two, Amazon)

Swedish dishcloths are made from a blend of cotton and plant-based cellulose fibers, a material that was developed in Sweden in 1949. Because they're 100% natural, you can even compost the cloths when you're done with them. Plus, they come in 24 fun designs, including cacti, fruits, and floral prints, so you can choose a color and theme you love.

When dry, Swedish dishcloths feel slightly stiff and sponge-like, so be sure to dampen them slightly before use. You can pair them with soap or all-purpose cleaners or just with warm water to clean nearly any household surface. And because the material dries super quickly, the reusable towels are less likely to harbor bacteria than a sponge or cloth (no more smelly dish rags!).

The reusable paper towels are meant to last more than six months. For a household that typically goes through a roll or two of paper towels each week, that could add up to big savings in the long run. For me, it's a simple swap that helps me feel better about my budget and impact on the environment.

This story originally appeared on Better Homes & Gardens.

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