Paper Towels

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

A quick and convenient way to soak up a mess, paper towels are a staple in many kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and more. Theyíre also a handy way to counteract bacteria. We find out which products really clean up the mess best for the money.


The Basics

  • Generic brands may be cheaper but you might end up using more for the job. The stronger and more absorbent product may cost more, but do a better job with less.

  • Some recycled products are not as strong as those made with virgin fibres.

  • Recently, manufacturers are making towels that come in half-sheets, which reduces waste on smaller spills.

  • Towels that are white or coloured have been bleached, which is not as good for the environment as non-bleached options (usually a tan colour).

Other Considerations

  • To retain the convenience and cleanliness and still be environmentally conscious, consider the ‘green’ towels, made with recycled materials and without dyes or harsh chemicals.

Be Aware

  • Ink of printed towels can transfer to food, and some cleaning products can release the dyes onto your counter top or floor.

  • Although recycled material paper towels are better for the environment, you’re still creating waste. Consider using a rag or sponge instead. Just remember to keep them as clean as possible.


We tested the amount, durability, and absorbency of these brands of paper towels:

  • Bounty: $2.49/roll
  • Viva: $1.09/roll
  • Life (generic): $0.99/roll
  • Environmentally safe: $3.29/roll

Value Test

To compare how much we got for our money, we unrolled each and compared the length:

  • The Environmental brand and Bounty were longest.

Durability Test

  • The Environmental held together okay.

  • The Generic was thin and fell apart easily.

  • Bounty had a waxy feeling.

  • Viva fell apart right away.

Absorbency Test

  • In the lab, Bounty won out as the most absorbent compared to the others.

Clean-Up Test

  • For wiping up spills, Bounty needed only 3 towels as opposed to 5 needed for each for the other brands.

  • Against grease, Bounty won again and was least saturated in grease after wiping up.


Bounty wiped out the competition when it came to value, absorbency and durability.


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