In my opinion reusables should be used over a single use throwaway any day. Whether it be a bag, a cloth, a bottle or anything in between. And this goes for both plastic and non plastic items.
So, the use of paper towel vs a sponge or cloth? For me, it'll always be a reusable cloth or sponge.
The manufacturing of either of these goods are going to include water and energy, harvesting, transport, processing, packaging, storage, and then more energy to sell the goods, lighting in the stores, the list goes on.
So when you think about it like that and how much an item has gone through just to end up being used by me, you soon realise why it's so wasteful to only use that item once and then throw it away.
Some people can be concerned about the potential germs that lie waiting for you in your sponge between uses and would prefer the single use throwaway (with any germs) of paper towel instead, but I think common sense should prevail here. If you are cleaning your sponges and cloths thoroughly, the way we should anyway, there is very little chance of them harbouring some deadly germ it's picked up from your bench top.
After all, cloths really are just like our tea towels we use daily. When they mop up a spill of sorts, just pop them into your washing machine (or even dishwasher can do the trick depending on the item) on a hot wash and hang to dry. You can get years out of your reusables this way which is not only better for the planet, but for you back pocket!