alternatives to cotton rags

Having existed for hundreds of years, cotton fabric remains a popular material for shop rags and wipers. But is cotton still king? As the years have passed, many other better performing alternatives have challenged the value of cotton rags. In this blog, we will dive into a few of the disadvantages of using cotton rags and point you in the direction of a few of our favorite alternatives. Read on to get started.

Disadvantages of Cotton Rags

As with any centuries-old technology, there are a few disadvantages to continual use of cotton rags. While cotton rags are a great option for many, there are still several areas in which they could improve. Here are a few.

Quick to Soak Through

Most cotton towels absorb liquids rapidly at first, but then quickly lose their absorbency as they are continually used. This makes them heavier to carry around and difficult to use effectively for long periods of times.

Long Drying Times

Cotton towels cling to moisture and do not wring out very easily. This means that cotton rags take an incredibly long time to dry. Whether using a dryer or simply air drying your towels, this drawback can cost you significant time and money.

Prone to Damage

The natural fibers in cotton fabrics are more susceptible to wearing out quickly, meaning they will need to be replaced anyway. They can also hold on to debris and chemicals between washes, making it a gamble to use them on finished surfaces. Cotton is also prone to shrinking in the wash, which can impact the usable size of the towel.

Benefits of Disposable Alternatives

Cost effective

Using disposable alternatives removes the need for washing and drying towels. By avoiding this step, you can save your shop a great deal of time and money, creating a more efficient workspace.

Always clean and ready to use

Reusable cotton rags often hold on to excess materials which can scratch finishes. Disposables will always work like brand new because they are. There is also never a need to worry about cross contamination, just use a new cloth. 


Disposable rags have come a long way. Often just as soft, absorbent, and durable as cotton rags, if not more so, there is certainly an option that will work for your needs. 

Ideal for high loss environments

Applications such as the automotive industry, general contractors, hospitals, and many industrial type jobs make ideal candidates for disposable rags and towels. 

Alternative Options

Flat Pack DRC Wiper Sheets

Click Here 

DRC Jumbo Cored Roll Blue/Green with Black Dot

Click Here 

Airlaid Flat Pack Wipers

Click Here

Microfiber 16” x 16” Commercial Towels

While not a disposable option, these microfiber cloths come with their own set of benefits over cotton rags and are well worth including on this list.

Click Here

Use Discount Shop Towels Instead

Discount Shop Towels is the one-stop shop for all your towel and wiper needs. We simplify ordering, providing you clear access to the most cost-effective options available and deliver new products each month.

Chat with one of our product specialists today!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published