A paper towel is a kind of a highly absorbent towel that is widely used in households across the United States. These towels are made from paper, as their name suggests.
Paper towels are composed of cellulose fibers which actually are giant molecules that consist of numerous smaller molecules. Interestingly, the cellulose fibers in paper towels also make up wood, cotton, and most plants on earth.
There are plenty of paper towel facts out there, but one you are likely interested in the most is their water absorbency. Paper towels are extremely absorbent, which you probably already know about.
How do paper towels absorb water
We talked about small molecules making up larger cellulose molecules. Those smaller molecules are actually sugar molecules, and it is thanks to them that best paper towels are extremely absorbent. When a paper towel gets wet, the water molecules simply rush towards to the cellulose fibers.
Even though the cellulose fibers are made up of sugar molecules, paper towels aren’t edible. You probably wouldn’t think of tasting a paper towel, but we thought that we should clarify this so it doesn’t cause any confusion.
Paper towel uses
There are plenty of applications in which paper towels’ absorbency may come in handy. Among those applications are:
- Getting rid of spills, obviously.
- Wiping grease off tools.
- Keeping greens and herbs fresh. If you add a moist paper towel to the bag that you keep the greens in, you’ll extend their lives. The moisture in the paper towel will maintain comfortable humidity for the greens.
- Softening hardened brown sugar.
- Removing crayon marks.
- Drying meat before cooking or seasoning.
- Straining pulp from juice.
Advantages of paper towels
- Extremely absorbent. As we’ve mentioned above, paper towels are extremely absorbent. That’s why they are commonly used for drying hands, as well as for getting rid of spills. In addition, they are sometimes used in cooking applications for drying food.
- Easy-to-use. Paper towels are very easy-to-use. When needed, you just grab one paper towel out from the package and do whatever you need.
- Single Use. There is no need for washing or cleaning paper towels as well. They are disposable, so you just throw the used towel away and get a fresh and new one when necessary.
- Inexpensive. Paper towels are pretty inexpensive upfront, especially when compared to microfiber towels which have comparable absorbency. This is simply because paper towels are easier to manufacture.
Disadvantages of paper towels
- Maybe costly in the long term. Even though paper towels are cheap up front, they may get pretty costly in the long run. This depends on how often you use paper towels, which isn’t a thing that you can always control. In some cases, it may actually be more cost-efficient to go for microfiber towels, even though they are pricier. Microfiber towels are reusable for hundreds of times, which means that you don’t need to buy new ones as often
- Very wasteful. Paper towels are highly wasteful and not too environmentally friendly. For some perspective, 17 trees and 20 thousand gallons of water are polluted to make just a ton of paper towels. And yeah, it would take 51 thousand trees a day to replace the number of paper towels that are disposed of each day.