I refuse to use paper towels myself, it's both wasteful and costly.
Instead I buy two types of towels in bulk (24-36 at a time), bar mop for wiping, cleaning, drying hands & general kitchen utility, and flour sack for drying cookware, dishes, glasses and polishing stemware.
Once soiled, they go in a polyester mesh laundry bag away from other laundry, the mesh bag allows damp towels to dry. When there are fewer then 4 or 5 clean towels the soiled towels make a full load, which is then laundred (sp?) in hot water and bleach.
Stained B.M. towels get the dirty jobs. Cleaning the range top & hood, bbq grill and mopping up spills like red wine, tomatoe sauce and anything else which is going to stain. When they get ugly they find their way to the garage and garden, then the trash.
Most F.S. towels wear out before getting ugly. Those which do get stained become dust and shoe shine rags, before being discarded.
Speaking of kitchen towels, I'm down to a half dozen of each.
As much as I hate going ; )... looks like a good day for a trip to the resturant supply.
For those whom would rather shop from home, http://search.ebay.com/bar-mop-towels