Here at Hiking and Fishing, we are passionate about living sustainably and with as little waste as possible. Therefore, when given the opportunity to review Swedish Dishcloth Towels, we were happy to give them a try.
Why not paper towels?
Within the United States, the EPA reported approximately 3,770 thousand tons of tissue paper and paper towels used in 2016. In addition, in 2017, paper and paperboard contributed to 27.4% of landfill waste. While there is a rise in recycling and composting of municipal solid waste, this only accounts for approximately 35.2% of the management of waste in the United States. What we are trying to get at is that we ultimately use too many single-use products, and end up tossing them in the trash, exponentially increasing our waste in landfills! So for the everyday consumer, it may seem overwhelming to make good decisions regarding sustainable product choices.
About Swedish Dishcloth Towels and Sustainability
Luckily, Swedish Dishcloth Towels are a high-quality, well-designed product that claims to replace at least 15 paper towels with each Swedish Towel, and are completely compostable! In addition, the seller claims that the towels are washable up to 50 times. Therefore, in a pack of 10 Swedish towels (which is the minimal quantity able to be purchased on Amazon) is advertised to prevent the use of 150 towels. Below, we put them to the test to see if this claim was accurate.
You can learn more here: https://swedishwholesale.com/
Or also purchase on Amazon here
Towel Features & Technical Specs
Size: 8” x 7”
Colors: Blue, lime green, pink, purple, seafoam green, watermelon red, yellow, and variety packs
Quantity: 10 towels/pack
Material: 80% cellulose and 20% cotton blend
Weight: 3.2 oz (per 10 pack)
Price: $21.99 (Amazon – best price we were able to find)
We have continuously used 3 towels alone for the past two weeks (pictures below). They have held up great to the stresses of normal wear and tear with dishes, countertops, pots, and pans, including those used camping. We have personally used one of these towels for more tasks than we would have used 15 paper towels. It’s important to understand that these are not meant to clean hardened food/crud off of your dishes, it’s optimal when cleaning dishes immediately after using them, and other surface spills. You wouldn’t use a normal paper towel to do those things, either (we wanted to address this because we noticed some reviews on Amazon that complain about this). The manufacturer claims that a pack of 10 (the standard size sold) can last over a year and replace about 150 paper towels over that time period. While we have only used this product for about a month, we have used the same 2 towels for this period of time and they are both in great shape, so this claim does not appear to be outlandish or unrealistic, in fact, it appears to be understated if anything.
The dishcloths are comprised of an 80% cellulose and 20% cotton blend, and claim to be odor-resistant. This composition is unlike any other dishcloth we have ever used, and allows it to be extremely resilient to tears or shredding. As mentioned previously, the product company claims that this material can be washed in both the dishwasher (blue towel pictured below) or washing machine (pink towel pictured below). The towel came out in great condition and completely clean after being washed in the dishwasher and washing machine. we recommend not placing it in the dryer as the towel may shrink. Either way, the Swedish dishcloth dries quickly anyway so this is unnecessary.
Another major factor to consider with material in regards to a reusable cleansing product is how prone it is to stink! Luckily, due to the material composition, these dishcloths are, at baseline, antibacterial. What this means is there is a lesser chance of the development of a nasty odor within the towel. This is great because while the towels can handle being washed, the fewer times you have to wash anything the longer it will last. Therefore, if it lasts a longer time without developing an odor or building up bacteria, you will have to wash it fewer times, and it will last longer than traditional cleaning supplies like a sponge or standard dishcloth.
The material that these dishcloths are made out of allows it to be highly absorptive. The manufacturer claims that this towel is able to absorb 15-20x of their weight, and we have found that the towel is able to absorb liquids better than several stacked paper towels. In their adverts they advertise the cloth’s ability to uptake about half a glass of water, so we put that to the test (photos below!). Overall, these did an incredible job of absorbing water from spills much more effectively than several paper towels.
How to Use
You can use these towels to clean spills, surfaces, dishes and other kitchenware. They truly were made to be very effective and multi-purpose for the kitchen environment. For dishes and kitchenware, we suggest utilizing them dry to clean off any dry and harder residue, and then soaking it with water to finish the job. we have been using two, one to wash with and one to dry with, and we have found that they’re very effective at both functions! You can also use these to clean various other areas of your home, such as your bathroom, laundry room, or wherever else you need a good cleaning or drying off!
Hiking and Camping Uses:
We have made sure to bring one towel on every camping trip we have taken since having them because they are great to clean camper stoves and other utensils for outdoor cooking! Even along your hikes, if you want to have a picnic and find that a picnic table is completely soaking wet, one of these towels will completely dry that table for you, your friends and/or your family!
The manufacturers have also found that if you have a pet, this would be great at picking up fur from furniture! Simply wet the towel slightly and wipe it across areas with fur left over. They’re also great for cleaning off muddy pets (fur or paws) after a muddy hike, before getting back into the car. Another surprising great use for these dishcloths are their ability to wash cars. If you’re anything like me, you get back from a hike and your car (interior and exterior) is messier than you are! These dishcloths work great to get the mud and dirt from those bumpy off-trail roads right off your car.
We absolutely love these Swedish dishcloths because they make it just that much easier for people to live more sustainably. They are clearly high quality, will last us a long time, and are so multi-purposeful. These dishcloths have worked wonderfully for everything we have used them for, and we have pretty much stopped using paper towels entirely since receiving this project. This product will be a savior from the home to the trail, and will help you reduce your waste without even realizing it in the process!
Vicky Bandera is a Master’s student in Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State University and an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist. She is passionate about the use of physical activity and nutrition as a source of longevity and overall health. Find her on some adventures with small health-related posts at @viqeeinthewoods on Instagram!