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What Paper Towel Is Right For You?


Paper towels are one of the most innocuous and ubiquitous cleaning supplies around. They are essential in homes, restaurant and retail bathrooms and as a general cleaning aid in any janitorial application. They provide the element of friction necessary to clean up most messes without directly exposing the user to the bacteria or dirt they are attempting to remove. They simplify the hand drying process in a way that air blowers cannot, and some research suggests it is actually more sanitary to use paper towels instead. Whatever application you are purchasing paper towels for, it is important to choose the right paper towel for the job, and there is surprisingly more to that decision than there might otherwise seem.

Paper towels come in a variety of types, the two most common being rolled paper towels and folded paper towels. While ostensibly just different storage methods, both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Folded paper towels come in a variety of colors and textures. They are also the more expensive option. Choice of color is more than just an aesthetic one. Lighter colored paper towels are actually less absorbent than darker colored ones due to the presence of bleaching agents. Light or dark brown towels are more absorbent. Texture also plays an important part in both absorption and comfort for hand drying. Softer towels are more absorbent, but also more expensive.

Research suggests that, regardless of level of absorption, a customer in a typical restaurant or retail setting will use three to four paper towels to dry their hands. Because of this fact, folded paper towels are best used in settings where the company can absorb the cost of greater paper towel usage such as high end stores or restaurants.

Rolled paper towels are the less expensive option for buying towels in bulk. In general, people will use a small amount of paper towels from a roller than from boxes or piles of paper towels, usually 25% to 35% less, making them the more cost effective option in restaurants and stores that see a high volume of patrons in restrooms but cannot afford the more luxurious aesthetic appeal of folded towels. They are also more functional to carry around and use in industrial settings or for general janitorial use since they come in larger bulk units meaning fewer trips back to the storage room to resupply.

For businesses who are trying to reduce their environmental impact, the best options are rolls of brown paper towels made from recycled materials as they have not been bleached and will be used more efficiently by patrons.