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Sanitary Paper Buying Guide

Sanitary Paper

There are four types of janitorial paper products that are used for purposes of sanitation in the workplace including paper towels, bath tissue, napkins and facial tissue.

For each of these there is a product more suitable than another for a given purpose. Knowing what works best where, how, and why, will certainly help you to make the most of your purchase.

Paper towels

Paper towels are made from paper pulp. There are six variations of paper towels:

  • Kitchen roll. This is a continuous sheet of soft thick absorbent paper that is wound around a cardboard tube. Unlike cloth kitchen towels, kitchen roll is disposable and intended for single use. Kitchen rolls will ideally be used in the workplace kitchen and/or break room and will be perfect for soaking fat off French fries and sausages, preventing oil drips, drying hands, wiping surfaces and cleaning up spills.
  • Hardwound paper towels. Hardwound paper towels are essentially non-perforated and embossed 1-ply rolls of paper. This quality of paper is typically processed Chlorine-free and offers reliable absorbency, strength and thickness. These rolls are available in a variety of colors including white, brown, black and gray/silver. They are used for hand-drying and common cleaning and drying purposes.
  • Multifold paper towels. Multifold paper towels are single-use towels commonly available in commercial bathrooms. Multifold towels are folded in a “Z” pattern and packaged in such a manner that the towels interlock with each other. This way, when you pull out a towel from the dispenser the next one is lifted out. These towels are mostly of 1-ply thickness and they feature fast-drying absorbency pockets.
  • C-Fold paper towels. Just like multifold towels, C-fold paper towels are commonly provided in commercial bathrooms. As their name suggests, these towels are folded in a “C” pattern. However, they don't interlock. A user can only touch and pick one sheet at a time from the dispenser, greatly reducing the probability of cross contamination and dispenser jamming. Despite being mostly 1-ply, C-fold paper towels are suitably strong and absorbent.
  • Single fold paper towels. Quite simply, single fold paper towels are folded in half. Unlike multifold and C-fold towels, these towels are either accessed from a single fold towel dispenser or a pop-up box. Both options offer one-at-a-time dispensing similarly reducing chances of cross contamination and dispenser jamming. Single fold towels have superb strength, thickness and absorbency, making them ideal for fast hand drying and convenient cleaning of small spills.
  • Centerpull paper towels. Centerpull paper towels are available in both 1-ply and 2-ply thickness. As the name suggests, these towels are pulled starting from the core instead of from the outside. Being soft and highly absorbent, centerpull towels are ideal for general purpose drying and cleaning in the office breakroom and restroom. The perforations ensure that users can only get one towel at a time from the dispenser; this helps to enhance hygiene and reduce wastage.

Bathroom tissue/toilet paper

There are three main variations.

  • Standard toilet paper. This product is the industry standard. It is also referred to as cored standard bath tissue, by virtue of having a cardboard cylinder around which the tissue paper is wrapped. The best standard bath tissue is chlorine-free, made from 100% recycled fiber, soft, absorbent, strong, reliable and biodegradable. In terms of thickness your options are 1-ply, 2-ply and 3-ply.
  • Jumbo roll toilet paper. Jumbo bathroom tissue can be described as a magnified version of standard bath tissue. While all the desirable qualities are similar, jumbo tissue has a minimum roll length of 1000 feet which makes it ideal for a high traffic office washroom. With such high capacity rolls, the risk of running out is greatly minimized and the need to refill frequently eliminated.
  • Coreless toilet paper. Coreless bath tissue does not feature the characteristic core and is available in both standard and jumbo sizes. There are obvious cost advantages to be enjoyed for making this purchase considering that coreless tissue carries 15% more tissue than standard products and doesn't result in stub roll waste.

Facial tissue

Facial tissue refers to the soft and absorbent disposable papers that are used on the face, commonly for nose blowing. They are made from a solution of cellulose fibers and water which results in a nonwoven fabric. Four varieties exist:

  • Standard facial tissue. Standard facial tissue is made from recycled paper and is mostly of 2-ply thickness; 3-ply options are the exception. These tissues, normally white in color, are typically packaged in and dispensed from pop-up boxes with oval openings which contain anywhere from 95-160 sheets per box. Other packaging formats include cube box, boutique box and soft pack.
  • Lotion facial tissue. In the case of lotion facial tissue, the aforementioned nonwoven fabric is coated with softening agents, either waxy or oily materials, resulting in improved tactile properties. Apart from lotion, there are other similar tissues infused with Aloe Vera or menthol extract.
  • Antiviral facial tissue. Antiviral facial tissue is a product that may come in handy at the office during the flu and cold season. It's comprised of soft and absorbent 3-ply facial tissues with the middle one featuring a moisture-activated layer capable of killing 99.9% of influenza and common cold viruses as well as the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) that causes lower respiratory infection in children. Active ingredients can include Citric Acid, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and others.
  • Cooling facial tissue. Similarly suitable for the office during the cold and flu season, cooling facial tissue is designed to bring much needed cooling comfort to a hot, sore nose. Cooling tissues feature a blend of aloe extract, coconut oil, stearyl alcohol, stearyl heptanoate, polyethylene or mineral oil. After this blend comes into contact with body heat, a cooling and soothing sensation is felt on the skin. Additionally, these 2-ply tissues are normally unscented and adequately absorbent for superb moisture retention.


There are four main types of paper napkins:

  • Beverage napkins. Beverage napkins are also known as cocktail napkins and typically measure between 4.75 inches square and 5 inches square. These single-ply (and double-ply) well absorbent napkins are available in a variety of colors. They present a cost-effective alternative for saucers or coasters and are readily disposable.
  • Luncheon napkins. Luncheon napkins are standard-sized soft yet thick paper napkins that are considered appropriate for whatever meal is being served. Typical dimensions are 6.5 inches square when folded and you can have them in either 1-ply or 2-ply; the more the plies the better the quality of napkin. At the office, luncheon napkins will come in handy for meals that require people to wipe their hands – think oily, messy meals where spills are the norm.
  • Guest towels. Guest towels are made of high quality paper. The cloth-like texture of this paper ensures that these towels have a linen-like feel, not to mention superior softness, durability and absorbency. Thanks to their superior quality guest towels may not only be used in place of dinner napkins, they can also be placed in restrooms when the office needs to create an aura of elegance.

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