Paper towel

From Academic Kids

A paper towel is a piece of absorbent paper made for the general purposes of towels, but most often used for drying hands. There are two distinct classes of paper towels in existence: the "domestic" paper towel, and the "institutional" paper towel. Invented in 1907 by Arthur Scott, the paper towel has ascended to provide a simple and efficcent method of cleaning.


Domestic paper towels

The domestic ("household") paper towel, called a kitchen towel or kitchen roll in the United Kingdom, is a roll of highly-absorbent paper, similar to paper napkins, with frequent perforations for easy removal. These are commonly used in homes, and may be white, occasionally other colors, but very frequently printed with color designs. These paper towels have been the subjects of many television advertisements.

Institutional paper towels

The institutional paper towel, on the other hand, comes in a variety of types. These paper towels are usually made of heavier, rougher paper than are the domestic paper towels.

Institutional paper towels are usually made to be placed in metal or plastic box-like dispensers.

Roll towels

Some institutional paper towels are in long, continuous rolls. One type of roll towel is a harder paper, dispensed orthagonally off the roll, and torn on the edge of the towel dispenser, since the roll is made without perforations. This type of towel dispenser usually has a lever for advancing the roll a fixed amount at a time. Some high-tech towel dispensers have a no-touch electric sensor to automatically dispense a length of towel when a user waves their hand in front of the sensor.

Another type of roll towel is made of softer paper, perforated, more similar to domestic paper towels, but inserted in an upright dispenser where they are pulled from the centre of the roll through a small hole. This type of towel is often termed "centre-feed" since the paper is fed from the centre of the roll rather than the outer edge. This is the most recent type of institutional paper towel, but has gained considerable popularity for restrooms and kitchen handwashing sinks.

Folded towels

The other general group of institutional towels are the folded towels. These are individually-cut towels, packaged in rectangular blocks, usually wrapped with brown paper. They are usually termed single-fold (with one fold in each separate towel) or bifold (also called c-fold) (with two folds). In the towel package, these are interweaved so that removal of one towel from the dispenser causes the edge of the next towel to hang down.

Another group of folded towels is today being sold for the automotive trade and similar uses. These are paper towels designed to be especially tough, replacing shop rags. These are sometimes dyed red like shop rags. They are not interwoven, but intended to be removed separately from the package.

Towel colors

Except for the roll-type towel that is dispensed from plastic containers, the institutional-type towels are usually available in two forms: white, bleached towels, or brown, unbleached towels. Some people choose the brown towels because their manufacture is believed to be more environmentally benign. Sometimes paper towels are dyed blue or green. Folded blue towels are often used in American filling station dispensers.

Usage of paper towels

The usage of paper towels in washrooms is declining in favour of electric hand dryers, which dry the hands by blowing warm air over them. The use of hand dryers eliminates the need for paper towels to be purchased and towel waste to be disposed of.

Paper Towel Brands


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