I had been seeing reviews for Skoy cloths as substitutes for paper towel here and there around the blogosphere, and my interest was definitely piqued since I’m all about decreasing the amount of disposable products I use and have switched over to using green cleaners. As I was awaiting a sample for my very own, I guess I was expecting some sort of fancy microfiber cloth cousin. That’s so far from the actual outcome!
I wasn’t sure what I was looking at when I opened the package. Skoy cloths are kind of weird little buggers, to be honest. They come flat and stiff, 8-inch squares of an unknown material that feels a little like a cross between boxboard and schoolroom brown paper towel.
To use a Skoy cloth, you first wet the stiff square, and it magically melts into a soft, flexible fabric-feeling material. Wring it out and you’re ready to absorb 15x its weight in messes.
Skoy can be tossed in the dishwasher OR washing machine and dryer to clean, and you can also rinse and microwave for 2 minutes to kill bacteria.
Why Use Skoy Cloths?
Skoy cloths are reusable and biodegradable. They meet the world of cleaning head on and fall in the middle of paper towels and cloth rags or microfiber cloths. “Real” rags or microfibers are not as biodegradable when eventually they become too nasty to use anymore. And paper towels can only be used once.
One Skoy cloth is supposed to be used as many times as 15 rolls of paper towels. That’s a lot of waste saved from the landfills, biodegradable or not! I’m thinking people are more likely to compost the Skoy, too, because you take more effort when you’ve reused something. It’s a tool, not a disposable piece of paper. It also takes fewer resources to make and transport one Skoy vs. 15 rolls of paper towel.
Skoy is a great product if your mission is to decrease your use of disposable products. The comments at my post about using the Real Thing instead of disposables are amazing, and so many people want to move away from using paper towels. This is one way to do it. Try this Monday Mission for more cleaning ideas to reduce our waste.
How Skoy Cloths Replace Paper Towels
|You Might Use Paper Towel For…||Would Skoy work?|
|Wiping up a spill on the floor||Yes|
|Cleaning baby’s face||Yes|
|Soaking up moisture in a bag of cut greens||Yes (my favorite use for it!)|
|Greasing a cast iron pan||Yes, but only for one time use|
|Killing a spider||Yes, but see above|
|As a napkin substitute||No|
|To hold a piece of toast||No|
|Cleaning counters and floors||Yes|
|Cleaning mirrors and glass||No, too wet|
|Drying your hands||No|
|Anything else you use paper towel for?
Note: Skoy is a great dishcloth/sponge!
Skoy is basically an eco-friendly substitute for paper towel or sponges, and you could use one as a washcloth for dishes, too. I was confused as to why Skoy would be any better for the earth or my cleaning than an old rag, washcloth, or a microfiber cloth, so I emailed the company for help. I received the following reply:
I understand your question from an environmental stance. Both washcloths and Skoy are machine washable and dryer safe. Therefore they have approximately the same life.
For us the advantages are the following:
1. Skoy absorbs at least twice as much as a washcloth – 15x its own weight. When wiping down a counter or table, the Skoy actually dries as you wipe –leaving little to no streaks.
2. From a health perspective – Skoy dries much faster than a washcloth. Thus being wet longer, a washcloth will then grow bacteria at an easier and faster pace and then get that horrible smell.
3. From a environmental perspective – If your washcloth gets smellier faster, then you have to wash it more often.
4. A Skoy cloth in the kitchen looks much more fashionable with the colors and design.
My Experience: The Skoy Cloth Product Review
I have a confession: I’m in love with microfiber cloths. Perhaps because I already have a good option to avoid paper towel, I found it difficult to adapt to the Skoy, which acts differently than a towel in many respects. The hardest part was where to put them. You can’t stick them on the paper towel roll/stand, and you can’t just put them in the closet because they’re wet or stiff. I’m always so slow to integrate new things into my routine!
I did run a little absorbency test with a Skoy cloth vs. a microfiber that I cut in half and use as a washcloth. It is less absorbent than my other microfibers because I send it through the dryer. The washcloth is exactly twice as large as the Skoy, so two Skoy cloths vs. one microfiber towel was the fair game. Both of them did a marvelous job mopping up the ¼ cup water I poured on my counter. (What I do for my readers, you see. Do you know how odd it feels to purposely pour ¼ cup of water on your counter? My 18-month-old daughter was helping and looked at me with scorn, thinking, “And you tell ME not to pour my water on my high chair tray???”)
When I pushed to 3/8 cup of water, both the Skoy and the microfiber were saturated to the point of dripping. I would say they have approximately equal absorbency. One Skoy should be able to handle absorbing just less than a quarter cup of liquid. They do wring out really well and really easily, so tackling a puddle in a few passes would be simple if the sink was nearby. If I spill an entire glass of milk, though, I’m still running for a great big towel.
A drawback to microfiber is that because it is plastic it will never biodegrade. 🙁 That’s a great reason to go with Skoy! Luckily, I already have microfibers, and they last a really, really long time, so I shouldn’t need to buy more anytime soon. I still think (so sorry, dear Earth!) that I will use microfibers for dusting and mirrors, but I’m becoming more and more convinced that Skoy is a good thing as a dishrag and wipe-up-mess cloth.
Pros and Cons of Skoy Cloths
Although Skoy cloths weren’t a great fit for me, I think there are some households that should surely bring some Skoy into their home (the name means “just for fun!”).
Here’s my honest breakdown of my experience trying out the Skoy, with the caveat that because I couldn’t get them into my routine well, I probably didn’t test them out as fully as I should have.
- Really eco-friendly. I admire the company’s commitment to being good to the earth, from their production at the factory from renewable raw materials (cotton and wood) to the fact that the Skoy cloth biodegrades completely in 5 weeks.
- Absorbent. Sopped up just less than ¼ cup of water quite well. (But a microfiber cloth does just as much.)
- Dries quickly. The advantage here is that fewer bacteria will grow vs. your kitchen sponge, which means less stinky rags and less total laundry.
- Being able to microwave for sanitization instead of having to wash it every time you use it is a very simple, love-to-skip-steps option.
- It’s actually worth reading through the comments on this post – People have great ideas for how they’re avoiding paper towels and how they would use Skoy. I’m becoming more and more convinced that they WILL work for my family! In fact, after writing the post I’ve been using the Skoy cloth as a dishrag, and I really like it. It really does nearly dry the high chair tray and table while you wipe, and they’re less expensive than most washcloths, especially a fancy microfiber one at $5-8. PLUS my microfibers have been losing their absorbency far too much, even though I’m careful washing them.
- Where to store? They dry in whatever shape you hang them in, so you can’t really store flat for reuse like a towel, and they don’t have a roll like my paper towel. I don’t want to just use it once to wipe up a spill on the floor and then wash it. I’m sure you just need a system, but I wasn’t able to make that system work well.
- Have to get wet first – my poor, dry hands would like to avoid any more “getting wet” than absolutely necessary.
- The flower print. It’s decidedly girly.
- You can designate certain colors for certain jobs if you’re squeamish about using a cloth on your table that was on the toilet last week. However, if you follow Skoy’s recommendations and downgrade the cloth from counter to floors to outside as it gets used more and becomes lower in quality, how do you keep the colors straight?
- Comes out of the dishwasher wet, so you still have to find a place to hang it to dry.
- Too small. I had trouble cleaning my tiny bathroom floor with just one Skoy cloth. If I’m going to use something that I can’t throw away, I need to use just one for a job.
Where to Find Skoy Cloths
You can buy Skoy cloths at Amazon for typically much less than a high quality microfiber cloth at an upscale store, although if you buy a package in the automotive section of a discount store like Sam’s Club, they’re about the same as Skoy. Holey socks, spent towels and discarded sweatshirts are free for your rag bag, to keep it in perspective.
If I was the Boss of the World
Here is what I would change about Skoy if I could:
- Larger size option, at least double if not triple
- Some with no print for boring people like me (here’s a similar option from a different company with no printing on it, but also only one color option)
- A Skoy storage rack that could take the place of a paper towel stand and look cute while holding your Skoys as they dry.
- A mini-primer on how, when and where to use Skoy and some tips that other people have found for how many times they use one before washing and where they store them as the cloths dry.
Photos are from the Skoy website.
Disclosure: Skoy provided samples for review, but didn’t compensate me in any way, nor was I obligated to write a positive review. (See this one if you don’t believe me.) Amazon will pay a small percentage if you purchase through my site using a link. I’d use Swagbucks if I were you! See my full advertising disclosure here.
If you appreciated the balance and depth of the review you just read, you will love my resources page, with REAL products that have passed my rigorous testing enough to be “regulars” in the Kimball household, plus some other comprehensive reviews. Updated at least once a year to boot the losers and add new gems!