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Guest Post: An Honest Review of Our Reusable Paper Towels from a Fiber Scientist

Guest Post: An Honest Review of Our Reusable Paper Towels from a Fiber Scientist

by Vianna Chan
Vianna is a fiber scientist, who has a unique engineering background in how materials are made and developed. Through this unique lens, she loves inspiring others to live stylishly and sustainably, and shares educational content on her blog Styled by Science.

If there is one sustainable habit that I can improve on, it’s using reducing my paper waste. By instinct, my hand reaches for a paper towel when I need to clean up a spill, or wipe grease off a pan. For me, the environmental impact has been easy to ignore. ‘They are not made from plastic!‘ my mind would argue. However, paper is a huge contributor to deforestation. By being responsible about my usage, I am helping to protect nature’s precious forests. And for me, this duty just got a lot easier with Papaya's Reusable Paper Towels.  

As a fiber scientist, one of the things I love most is analyzing material properties. With the arrival of spring, I have been busy putting these beauties to good use. So here are my honest thoughts on the product, and an explanation of how these reusable paper towels work.

Cost Comparison Single Use Paper towel versus Papaya Reusable Paper Towels
Cost analysis of Papaya Reusables vs. Regular Paper Towel Roll: which one is more worth it?


I did a little bit of analysis above. Assuming that the average single roll of paper towels costs $1.50, you would save $31 with Papaya Reusables vs. regular paper towels. (One sheet equals 17 rolls of paper towels) Not to mention, these towels are so much better for the environment, and add a lovely pop of color to your kitchen. Style, sustainability, and savings all in one—what’s not to love?


The chemical composition of both are nearly the same: a mix of cotton and cellulose, a tough material that makes up plant cell walls. However, Papaya’s towels are unique in that they are difficult to tear. This property allows the materials to be washed, and used over and over again. (You can even throw them into the laundry machine!)

Another part I really enjoy is that the towels feel rigid in the beginning, but quickly soften up with water. These are thicker than your normal paper towels, so they hold up to 20x their weight in water.

Last but not least, Papaya's reusable paper towels leave behind very little traces of lint. One of the biggest issues with paper towels is they can leave shreds behind. I have found this issue to be most common with lower-quality brands. With these reusable squares, it is hardly a problem, so I comfortably use them to clean glass surfaces too.

Vianna Chan Papaya Reusable Paper Towels


While the concept of a reusable paper towel is not new, Papaya Reusables is the only brand I have seen that dries so easily. Most other designs come in rolls, leaving no way to hang them up after use. However, each Papaya set comes with two matching towels and a drying hook. Under normal conditions, my towel is mostly dry within an hour or less. Bacteria and mold thrive under moist conditions. Because these towels dry quickly, it reduces the chances for these creatures to fester, which prevents bad odors from developing.

Papaya Reusable Paper Towels Lemons and Papayas Design

2 Sets of Papaya Reusables. I got the ‘Fruit Salad’ combo with comes with 1 set of Papaya + Lemon Print.

And of course, one of the things that make Papaya Reusables so unique is their cute, vibrant prints! Adding these to my fridge has really spruced up my kitchen, and I love the pop of color these towels bring.


These towels are compostable. 

Cellulose is a natural material, biodegradable material found in plant cell walls. Under composting conditions, it can also break down. My only caveat would be if these towels have touched any harsh chemicals. In that case, you may want to keep them away from the compost bin.

These towels will shrink when they dry. But once the towel is wet, it will swell again to its normal size. 

Below is an image depicting the same towel in various drying stages. Because water lubricates fibers, they will slip and move past each other. That and uneven drying will lead to normal distortions. However, this effect is expected, and should not affect the quality at all!

Reusable Paper Towel Drying Stages


As a fiber scientist who is conscious about my own material waste, I love that I’ve finally found my trusted brand of reusable towels. These prints are perfect, just as I was looking to add more color to the kitchen. If you are on the lookout for low-waste kitchen products, consider Papaya Reusables! 


Want to learn more about Vianna's journey as a fiber scientist and fashion blogger? Follow her @styledbyscience, and catch her latest blog posts at Styled by Science, where she answers questions on how our clothes are made, tips for sustainable living, and more!

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