Paper towels are handy but I don't like to use too many of them. I do use them for wiping rims when canning.
I have a set of everyday kitchen towels and dishrags. Most of them came from the thrift store. They do not match and are every color and style imaginable.
My canning towels** are a whole other matter. I keep a matching set in a separate drawer to use as prep pads, canner hot pads, and jar padding. (The canning towels are the only matching set I own.) They don't stain and they've held up for a couple years now of heavy use. These are super absorbent, and will dry wet jars/lids in a flash.
I like a cotton terry cloth rag for dish rags. I want the nubbies of the terry cloth to scrub stuff away. I just grab the cheap bulk 18 packs from Wally/DG. They shrink some but handle all types of clean up and scrubbing. I use them for all manner of cleaning; sinks, cabinets, floors, etc.
There's a separate wash basket for ALL kitchen towels and dishrags. The basket size is about equal to a washer load. When the basket is full, I add them to the clothes washer. I add laundry soap to the lowest line on the cup. Then I add an entire scoop of OxiClean**. I set the washer on heavy duty, full load, hot water, hot rinse, soak and extra rinse. It takes the washer a couple hours to complete all that. The towels come back out so clean and fresh smelling. You would never know they were covered in grease and goop for however long sitting in that laundry basket. (I use this same washing method for cleaning stinky farm clothes, greasy jeans and dog beds.)
I sort everything back out as I fold. Then they are ready to go when I finally get to can again!
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