Making the Switch to Reusable Cotton Rounds

Reusable Cotton Rounds | The Northwest Woman

Growing up, I was taught basic “green” behaviors by my parents and in school, things like recycling, composting, and turning off the tap while brushing your teeth. I’ve always been interested in the relationships between human actions and the environment and still try to learn how I can make long-term changes to my lifestyle to decrease my ecological footprint. As much as I’d like to believe that my choices to buy local and organic produce when I can, recycle, and walk to work make a positive impact on the environment, I see definite room for improvement in a few areas of my lifestyle, one of which is decreasing waste.

This became even more apparent one day when I emptied the trash from my bathroom. A majority of it consisted of mascara-soaked cotton rounds from my nightly makeup removal.

Going to sleep with a clean face each night? Necessary.

The volume of cotton I was tossing into the garbage every day? Not necessary.

I started looking into alternatives to this routine with the goal in mind to reduce the amount of trash I produce. That meant not just switching to organic cotton, but finding something that was reusable.

In my research, I found that some cotton rounds and cotton balls aren’t even made from cotton, but from synthetic fibers, which can’t be composted and don’t have a very environmentally-friendly decomposition time. Real cotton is biodegradable, but still has a decomposition time of up to five months, which considering the volume that gets thrown away each week, can definitely build up in a dump somewhere.

To my surprise, I also found multiple reusable cotton round makers and brands with rave reviews. I ordered some from a seller on Etsy instead of opting to make my own (which actually looks pretty easy!) These cotton rounds are made from two layers of organic bamboo cotton fleece, are super soft to the touch, and pretty reasonably priced.

After using these cotton rounds for about two weeks now, I can honestly say that I really like them. I was skeptical at first—would these just get super stained with eye makeup and become unusable? Would they fall apart in the wash?—but I haven’t had any issues so far. After a few cycles in the washer and dryer, they’ve kept in good shape (no fraying) and, equally as important to me, come out clean and makeup-free after each wash.

I’d encourage anyone who regularly uses cotton rounds to cleanse their face or remove their makeup to switch to reusable ones. Not only do they help reduce the amount of waste you produce, but they’ll save you money in the long run from no longer repurchasing packs and packs of cotton rounds each year.

Tips for Getting the Most from Reusable Cotton Rounds

  • Wash your cotton rounds before you use them.
  • When you toss your cotton rounds in the wash, make sure they’re in a lingerie/delicates bag to prevent fraying.
  • To make them last longer between washings, use a little warm water and soap to rinse out makeup.
  • The material used to make the cotton rounds I purchased isn’t super absorbent right off the bat—you can’t easily saturate them with lots of makeup remover, micellar water, etc. Let your choice of makeup remover sit and sink into the cotton round for a few seconds before you begin your routine.

Make the Swap

Ditch your disposable cotton rounds and use these instead:


  1. Anna says

    This is an awesome idea! Please consider adopting a vegan diet next as an amazing way to reduce your environmental footprint and become a good steward of the Earth! has great resources and info on how to get started. 🙂

  2. Caroline Landis says

    Awesome! I’ve been interested in cutting down waste in my skincare/makeup routines! Now I really want to try reusable cotton rounds.

  3. Karina says


    I have been trying these rounds for a couple of months but cannot get them to wash properly. They always come out stained. I rinse them before they go in the wash. Any tips on how you get yours so clean?


    • Erin Land says

      Hi Karina! I always try to rinse them out with warm water and soap right after use, but in a pinch, I have been able to get darker stains from mascara or a darker lipstick out with a stronger stain remover spray for laundry. I’ve been using these same cotton rounds for the last few years now, and realistically, they won’t be perfectly white forever, but they still work great and are clean!

  4. Joanna Johnson says

    I know Im a little late to the party but I recently brought some and am really struggling. Literally the first time I tried to wash some of them they came out completely stained. One black from eye makeup but most some yellow/brown etc from foundation/vitamin c skincare as I primarily use them to cleanse the face rather than remove eye makeup. I initially washed them in the machine and the ‘beauty blender’ technique of boiling them in the microwave…even after this and vigorously stirring/churning/rubbing them they were still left with some staining… but now misshappen due to the rubbing them. And this is after the first use! I know to some it might seem a minor issue but having a clean pad is the only way I can be fully sure when the face is clear of residue and if they are coming out stained on their first use how on earth will the hold up in the weeks/months to come?? Any advice would be hugely appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copyright © 2021 · · All Rights Reserved