The 8 Best Eco-Friendly Dish Towels of 2022

Our top pick is Full Circle Organic Dish Towels.

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Treehugger / Chloe Jeong

Dish towels have many roles in our kitchens. Most importantly, they help cut down or eliminate disposable paper towel use, serving as a reusable item that can be washed and used again and again. 

They also are more versatile than a disposable version: Fold them up into a thick square and they can protect a tabletop from a hot pan, or use them to protect fingers when handling a hot a cast-iron handle. Dry a whole load of dishes with them, or soak up the water that accidentally sprayed all over the kitchen floor or leaked from the pot after you watered your plant too generously. 

Investing in a good-quality, ethically made dish towel made that will last for years is worth the time and money spent finding just the right fit for you. 

Here are some of the best dish towels on the market today:

Best Overall: Full Circle 100% Organic Cotton Dish Cloths

4.7
Full Circle Tidy Dish Cloth

Full Circle


These 100 percent organic cotton towels have colorful loops on one side which makes them useful for scrubbing, and soft terrycloth on the reverse side for sopping up messes or drying dishes. The colors come from only non-toxic dyes in three fun colors: Simple grey, spring green, and a multi-colored set. They're thin enough to dry quickly, easy to wring out, and are a great price for a set of three towels. The company is carbon neutral and has pledged to offer all plastic-free packaging by the end of 2022.

Today’s Deal

Best Set: Coyuchi Organic Waffle Kitchen Towels Set of 6

4.6
Organic Waffle Kitchen Towels

Coyuchi

Coyuchi is known for hitting all the marks with their sustainable home linens. These towels are made with GOTS-certified 100 percent organic cotton, grown and woven in India in a factory that recycles 98 percent of its waste-water. They are yarn-dyed so their color will stand the test of time, are a generous size and have a high absorbency. This set includes six waffle-weave towels; that type of weave means that the surface area of the towel can expand a bit to soak up more liquid when needed (this feature also helps them dry faster).

Most Absorbent: Sur la Table Organic Cotton Kitchen Towels

4.5
Sur la Table Organic Cotton Kitchen Towels

Courtesy of Sur la Table

These 100 percent GOTS-certified Turkish organic cotton dish towels are designed to be extra-absorbent, due to the weave and the thickness of the towel. These are nice and large, but the same company makes a smaller dish cloth if the 26 inch x 16 inch size, if you prefer. The towels are sold in a set of two and come in several bright colors including pure white, chamomile, sage, tan, and blue-green.

Most Stylish: Little Korboose Organic Cotton Tea Towel

4.5
Little Korboose Organic Cotton Towel

Courtesy of Little Korboose

These large towels are made from 100 percent organic cotton and screen printed with non-toxic ink. They are a natural, off-white color and available in several modern minimalist printed patterns, all of which are hand screen printed and sewn in Cleveland, Ohio. The company employs native US citizens, as well as refugees from around the world to support people of various backgrounds who have fled their homelands due to war and devastating conditions.

Best Value: Honest Weave Organic Cotton Kitchen Hand and Dish Towel Set

4.6
HONEST WEAVE GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Kitchen Hand and Dish Towel Sets

Courtesy of Amazon

  1. This six-pack of towels is priced close to what a two-pack of other brands might cost and still are generously sized with a classic design that will work in most kitchens. Made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, these towels are made in India. They're simple, inexpensive dish towels that will last for years and are suited to many different decors. They're also available in seven different colors.

Best Splurge: Blue Summer House Linen Tea Towels

4.3
Blue Summer House Tea Towels

Courtesy of Blue Summer House

These tea towels are ideal for gift-giving or to dress up your kitchen — but they’re highly effective towels too. They dry faster than cotton, and you can use them to easily towel off a whole sink’s worth of dishes. They are made in the in the United States on Marrowstone Island, Washington from medium-weight European linen that’s Oeko-Tex certified. The stonewashed and softened towels are printed with lovely one-of-a-kind prints by watercolor artists. Like most linen, they tend to get softer with every washing.

Best Flour Sack: Breadtopia Flour Sack Towels

4.2
Breadtopia Flour Sack Towels

Courtesy of Breadtopia

Some cooks think there’s no topping a flour-sack dish towel for a range of kitchen needs. These are bigger than standard dish towels and useful for food-related tasks, such as drying off rinsed lettuces, proofing bread, straining sauces, or wrapping herbs for storage in the fridge (used damp, they keep herbs fresher for longer than paper towels would).

Because they’re lint-free, these flour-sack towels won’t shed bits of fluff all over your food or glassware that you dry by hand. That’s because they’re made of extra-thin woven cotton—the original towels were made from the cloth that grains were stored in. Most flour-sack towels are white, but these are made from undyed organic cotton, letting the natural color of the plant shine.

Best Swedish: Three Bluebirds Reusable Swedish Dishcloth

4.7
Sunflower Reusable Swedish Dishcloth

Courtesy of Three Bluebirds

Swedish dish towels are kind of a cross between a sponge and a dish towel. They’re larger than most sponges and smaller than most towels, and generally do the job of paper towels well, such as soaking up spills or wiping a countertop, but might not be as multifunctional as a cloth towel (they won’t serve as a trivet or dry hand-washed dishes as well as a towel will). Invented by a Swedish engineer in 1949, they're usually made from biodegradable cellulose or a wood pulp and cotton mix. They dry fast, and you can launder them, but they do pick up stains quickly and can get grubby looking. However, they are biodegradable and come in a variety of fun and graphic prints.

"After innocent spills and wiping up water, I just wash mine out in the sink and squeeze them well, then let them dry on the dish rack. But for more intensive washing, they can go in the washing machine (for best results, no fabric softener and no dryer) or dishwasher! Each of them can be machine washed up to 50 times. You can also sanitize them in the microwave, just be sure they go in wet." ~ Melissa Breyer, Treehugger Editorial Director
Final Verdict

For scrubbing power, Full Circle Organic Dish Cloths are the way to go. For a more sponge-like feel, opt for Three Bluebirds Swedish Dishcloths in a variety of option. However, all the options on this list will have a lower impact than disposable wipes or paper towels.

What to Consider When Shopping for Eco-Friendly Dish Towels

Used vs. New

You might get lucky and score some like-new towels at a charity shop or garage sale. But when it comes to dish towels, unless they’re very lightly used, it’s probably worth buying these household items new, and then use them for as long as possible. That means buying a durable, sustainable brand is important. 

Durability

There are lots of super-cheap plastic-based dish towels out in the world that don’t absorb water very well, start shredding the first few times you use them, or that take on such an unattractive color or shape that you don’t want to keep them around.

Style

A good dish towel can also add color, personality, and a bit of style to a kitchen, which is especially great when you are in a rental situation or on a budget and are unable to change more fixed elements. 

Good to Know

How Can You Make a Dish Towel Last?

There are two main reasons dish towels don’t last as long as they could: They start to smell funky and they get stained and become unsightly. Both of these issues can be solved easily. First, have plenty of dish towels and change them often. Depending on how much use they get, this could mean swapping them out daily. By washing them regularly you will avoid cultivating harmful bacteria and prevent stains from setting. It will also prevent them from getting musty-smelling. Throw your dish towels in the wash with other linens such as bath towels every week. Treat stains with an oxygen cleaner first. Line-drying them also prevents wear-and-tear in the dryer.

Why Trust Treehugger

Starre Vartan has been researching and reviewing environmentally sustainable products for 15 years and wrote a book on eco-friendly, healthy living. She appreciates the versatility and decorative splash dish towels bring to her own kitchen and has about 20 towels that have been in rotation for years, with the most recent one from Blue Summer House.

Arricca SanSone update this article by researching reviews and company sustainability initiatives, as well as evaluating durability. Her favorite dish towels are the vintage towels she inherited from her Gram.