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Hello wonderful folks! Today, I wanted to continue with my series on some of my favorite things in the kitchen that save me tons of time and that help me cook more easily and deliciously in the kitchen. If you want to read the longer version of why this truly matters and how it affects your food and cooking, check out Part 1 of this series (click here).

The All-Around-er

Kitchen towels are one of the things that will literally stop any professional kitchen in its tracks when you run out of them. They are coveted by all cooks, wasted by others, and fought over by almost all. I can guarantee that there is at least a bag or two of new, fluffy, clean towels hidden by a cook in the ceiling tiles of 1 out of 10 restaurants in your town. They are that important and cooks tend to hoard the things that are the most important to them. Yet, most home kitchens never use them and I would love to change that! Starting to use the classic, fluffy, white kitchen towel in my home kitchen has dramatically changed how I cook at home and saved me a ton of money in the process! So I thought I’d tell you a little about them and why they are so dear to me (and every professional kitchen in the world).

Cotton > Paper

First and foremost, cotton towels are washable and paper towels are single use. Because I have spent the majority of my life in a professional kitchen, I seriously cringe whenever I see someone grab a giant handful of paper towels to clean up a mess. I instantly think of the waste (and cost) of those towels that could have been avoided by simply grabbing a cloth towel or two. You can do so much more cleaning with a cotton towel than with a paper towel because of its absorbency and thickness. Plus you aren’t simply throwing them away when you use them so you aren’t creating any more waste when you use them which is better for the world at large.

On top of that, you save a ton of money when you switch over to using these instead of paper towels. How much, you ask? Well, at the beginning of the pandemic when everyone was dealing with a shortage of paper products, we also needed to buy paper towels coincidentally. After a few weeks, we were able to find a super cheap (thin, small rolls) 8-pack of paper towels and took them just because it was the option. We usually get a little nicer paper towels, select-a-size, if you must know and even then we typically tear them in half to save trash in the world. So we had the cheap ones and were happy to have them just to have something when we needed/wanted a paper towel. I also had recently started using the cotton kitchen towels consistently in the kitchen for daily cleaning and wiping of the cutting boards, countertops, and stove. So the two kind of happened at the same time and since I was shut down for classes for the pandemic, it was a true test of how much of a difference it made in our daily lives using primarily cotton towels. We didn’t think too much about it until we came to the end of the super cheap towels and realized it was a year and a half later!! That’s right, it took us a year and a half to go through 8 rolls of cheap paper towels simply because we were using cotton kitchen towels regularly. And just to add a little more description to the situation, I also cook literally almost all of our own meals, especially during the pandemic. We don't go out to eat much simply because I can cook better food than most restaurants, we are set up to cook easily and cheaply and we’d rather spend our money on travel rather than on restaurants (plus it’s healthier, but I’ll save that soapbox for another post(s)). We still only eat food that I don’t cook, maybe 3-4 meals a month. We just don’t like to spend $$ on food that I can cook better myself and it takes about the same amount of time to go to a restaurant and order than it does for me to make it.

During the beginning of the pandemic, there were zero meals that I didn’t cook at home. And we had a house guest, our sister-in-law, who was escaping NYC for the start of the pandemic. And still, it took us over 18 months to go through 8 rolls of paper towels! We definitely are not looking back. We simply keep a large stack of them under the sink and grab a new one whenever we need it, usually daily to keep things sanitary. We just toss them in with our towels, fold and repeat. It hardly adds any time to our world (maybe another 1-2 minutes when folding towels and the stack of 20 towels costs ~$23. So for ~$1/towel, we are saving tons on paper towels day in and day out. And because they are so cheap, if anything ever happens to them (gets burnt, stained, ripped, cut, etc.) we can simply replace them every few years and still save on waste and money. Actually, I just downgrade them to car towels or woodworking towels when they get too bad for the kitchen. Plus, because they are meant to handle the harsh world of professional kitchens, they can be bleached time and time again and will stand up for years with repeated washing… I’d like to see a paper towel do that…;)

Cotton > Microfiber (usually)

With the exception of polishing wine glasses or windows, cotton is better than microfiber as well. Microfiber is usually made out of plastic which will melt if it touches a hot pan or burner, plus it just isn’t as absorbent as cotton. Plain and simple. We keep 1-2 of these around when we want to actually polish our wine glasses (special dinners, mostly), but they get used maybe once a year or so. And in case you didn’t know, microfiber is better for using on glass since it doesn’t leave lint behind. That is the one use that microfiber has over cotton, but in the kitchen, cotton is king!

The Towel Talk (Dry vs. Wet)

In my Essential Series, I always take a few seconds to give The Towel Talk and I wanted to touch on it here really quickly as well. Long story short, dry towels are for hot pans and wet towels are for cleaning and the two shall never cross!!! This is super simple because if you grab a hot pan with a wet towel, you will get a serious steam burn and potentially drop your dinner which can make it even more dangerous in the kitchen (especially if you are taking a pan out of the oven when you learn this the hard way).

Other than cleaning, these cotton towels are mainly used as hot mitts in any professional kitchen and they can do the same thing at home. These also let you wash your “hot mitts” frequently so you don’t have disgusting, food and grease soaked hot mitts collecting bacteria in a drawer or hanging in your kitchen. Keeping your towels that you are using for hot mitts dry keeps them safe for handling hot pans with ease and safety. Just remember to keep them folded so you have 4 layers so it is thick enough to provide protection against the heat.

Wet towels (or towels that you have used to wipe up spills/food/grease) are to be used for cleaning only! Simple as that. So even if you go through 3 towels a day (1 for cleaning and 2 for hot mitts), that still gives you a week’s worth of clean, fluffy towels ready to save you money, time, and help make your food and cooking that much better!!


Check out my Kitchen Tools page for the towels that I like since they are not all created equal (some are super thin and cheap) and enjoy your cooking even more!

Now, I do have to tell you that I have become an Amazon Affiliate and may receive a small commission if you buy it through my link (within 24 hours of clicking). That being said, I hate the idea of being a billboard for money and certainly will never recommend something that I don’t truly believe in and believe it will make you a better cook! But if I believe in something, go to the trouble to recommend it and tell you why it’s worked for me, I’m ok with making a little money on giving you the benefit of my experience and expertise. I hope you agree and thank you for the support!

This will be a series of posts (and videos) so I can give y’all the long form version of why I stand behind these supremely necessary items and how they can help you to become a better cook! Thanks so much for reading and I wish you happy and easy cooking! :D

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