(800) 995-4466


Benefits of Roll Towels vs Folded Towels

Washing your hands is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself healthy (as has been stated by the CDC) – and once you have properly washed your hands with soap and water, an important part of the hand washing process is to then be able to effectively dry your hands.

While there are potentially several different hand drying options from which to choose, for most facilities the decision comes down to a choice between folded towels and roll towels. And while WAXIE offers both options, and while in some specific cases a folded towel is the right choice, in most circumstances the clear-cut winner is roll towels.


Because roll towels are more economical, more sustainable and less labor-intensive.


Economics: Lower Cost in Use

On average, a roll towel system will save a facility 25-30% through reduced paper towel usage.

How is this possible?

Typically a folded towel user will take 2-3 folded towels to dry their hands, for an average of 2.5 towels per hand dry. And some cases, a folded towel user will take even more – up to 4-5 towels (you know who you are)! And these scenarios are not even taking into account the number of restroom users who will do the “scoop” and reach up into the folded towel dispenser to grab a proverbial stack of towels.

Each folded towel is around 9.5” in length – which means that a typical hand dry will take 23.75” of paper towels (9.5 inches multiplied by 2.5 average use for folded towels). For comparison sake, a folded towel user grabbing 4 towels will be taking 38” of paper towels.

In contrast, a roll towel is typically dispensed in lengths of 9” – and even if a roll towel user takes two towels, the total length of towels will be 18” (9 inches multiplied by 2 usages for roll towels) which is a 24.2% reduction in towel use (23.75 minus 18 equals 5.75, and 5.75 divided by 23.75 equals .242). Some dispensers can be set to 12” or 15” with the expectation that a roll towel user will only need to take one towel – and some dispensers can be programmed to offer a second towel on a 3 second delay, or to offer 5” of towel for the second towel in an effort to conserve usage.

By offering a controlled dispensing option while still effectively drying hands, roll towels can help save money a facility money and offer a better cost in use by conserving paper usage.


Sustainability: Lower Environmental Impact

And speaking of conservation, the less towels being used translates to less paper being produced, and therefore less paper being used and then disposed.

By being able to produce the same number of hand dries while using 25-30% less paper, not only is there less raw (and recycled) materials being sourced, but there are also less delivery trucks needed to move the products, less storage required to inventory the products, and less waste generated as a result of the use of the products.

Again, all while generating the same number of dry hands.

And on the topic of waste, paper towels are a potentially valuable source of carbon to help in the composting of nitrogen-rich food scraps. According to the EPA, approximately 20-30% of what is sent to the landfill is food scraps, and this “green” or

nitrogen-rich food scrap material when combined with “brown” or carbon-rich material (such as paper products) in a ratio of 75% to 25% can produce compost through a process which allows for both potential waste streams to be diverted from the landfills.

By offering a controlled dispensing option while still effectively drying hands, rolls towels can help reduce environmental impacts of paper towel use through source reduction.


Service: Lower Labor Service Requirements

And since roll towels come in larger rolls (some of them are over 1000’ of paper per roll!), cleaning and facility maintenance personnel don’t have to change them out as often as folded towels – with the added benefit of being better positioned to avoid the dreaded “run out” of hand towels since there are more hand dries per full dispenser.

In addition, many roll towel dispensers are equipped with “stub roll” features which allow for a partially consumed roll to continue to be dispensed while a brand new roll is pre-loaded and set to dispense once the first roll is entirely consumed.

And as if all of these features and added benefits aren’t enough, some roll towel dispensers are now being added to the growing number of devices which are part of the “Internet of Things” to create a “Smart Restroom” which allows for remote monitoring and analysis of paper towel usage. With access to this information, a custodial manager or facility manager can now track historical usage of towels by restroom and dispenser, and can be alerted if any dispensers are coming close to running out of product.

In conclusion, while folded towels are still in use and are still the right option for some circumstances, in the vast majority of scenarios a roll towel system is the best option for your budget, your environmental impact and your service personnel.


Contact Us To Learn More About Roll Towel vs. Folded Towel