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Trib Tested: Bambooee towels

| Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 11:54 a.m.

Claim: Made of organic bamboo, Bambooee, the paper-towel replacement, advances eco issues. Bambooee is fabricated from the world's fastest-growing plant, bamboo, that requires no fertilizers, pesticides or insecticides. Indeed, it is harvested using sustainable and green practices that allow the bamboo to continue to grow. Bambooe can be machine-washed and reused 25 times or more. One roll of Bambooee replaces 60 rolls of the average paper towels.

Cost: $12.99 for a roll

Where: Williams Sonoma, Whole Foods and www.Bambooee.com

I never thought I'd see the words “bamboo” and “towels” put together, but this is a product that actually lives up to its billing.

I used a single sheet to clean my stovetop, a pot, both bowls in my kitchen sink and the countertops, frequently rinsing it. It held up nicely.

I used other sheets for other chores around the house, and they took the abuse. They also held up surprisingly well in the washer, but it was a little strange to have to hang them on a line to dry out.

Since this was the first round, I don't know how well they'll hold up after being washed, but so far, so good. These sheets are much better than regular paper towels.

Bill Vidonic

I like Bambooee towels but they do bamboozle me. They seem to do everything they say: They're absorbent. They clean well. You can wash and re-use them. For all those reasons, you could save some trees, I suppose, by using these towels.

But I use paper towels mostly because they are disposable. Some things like -- thank you so much, dog -- you just want to get rid of, towel and all. And when I don't, I use a rag and wash it.

So I haven't quite figured out how Bambooies fit into my cleaning repertoire.

Margi Shrum

Bambooee says it's stronger and more durable than a paper towel and when you open a roll, it's easy to see why. Instead of something, well, paper-y, a fresh sheet of Bambooee feels more like lightweight felt.

To test the more durable part, I decided to clean some windows. That might not sound like much of a challenge to you, but I live near a major highway and every surface facing the outdoors at my house gets filmed with a greasy, grimy residue. I used my favorite foaming window cleaner, and cleaned and shined four windows before the sheet of Bambooee became too dirty to reuse further. The sheets are machine washable, but just to see how much crud that sheet removed, I decided to hand-wash it.

A couple of minutes in a sink of warm, soapy water and the Bambooee was almost back to its original off-beige color, and the water in my sink was gray. That single sheet picked up a lot of grime without shreding like a conventional paper towel would have done. And it was dry on the line in about 2 hours, and that was inside at night. One drawback to Bambooee is that if you intend to reuse the sheets, you either have to let them sit until you have a load of them, or other cleaning rags, or you have to be willing to wash cleaner- or food waste-coated cloths with your clothes. If you already wash and reuse other cleaning clothes, you know the drill, but in this case you have to line dry them. But Bambooee left little to no lint behind, which is an advantage over many cleaning cloths.

Vaunda Bonnett

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