Paper Towels vs. Cloth Towels: Being Hygienic, Clean & Green

Cloth towels come out on top of paper towels in terms of cleanliness and overall cost. When it comes to managing your expenses and having a positive impact on the environment, paper towels are almost never the way to go. Instead, cloth towels can help to save money and also provide a higher level of experience for patrons.

Environmental Impact of Cloth Towels vs. Paper Towels

No matter what industry you are in, paper towels always come in handy. For cleaning up quick spills to providing them to customers, paper towels tend to be used much more quickly than anticipated. Instead of grabbing just one, most people grab a massive handful. This is particularly true with paper towel rolls that are perforated into half sheets instead of full sheets. Before you know it, another empty roll is in the garbage. Paper towels are responsible for about 0.06 pounds of carbon dioxide, contributing to the overall impact of the paper industry on greenhouse gas emissions caused by the U.S. every year. While this impact may feel small compared to other contributors, such as gasoline or meat production, cutting back on paper towels is one action that every business can do to create a positive impact on the CO2 problem. Using cloth towels means less of a carbon footprint for your business while also leveling-up the image of your establishment.

Cost Savings of Cloth Towels Compared to Paper Towels

Paper towels, even when used judiciously, will cost much more than purchasing reusable cloth towels. Cloth towels are only marginally more expensive than a roll of paper towels and they last far longer, helping to keep your cash inside your business longer instead of quickly throwing it away. Over several weeks and months, the savings will add up and provide you with a little extra room in your budget.

Paper Towels vs. Cloth Towels: Customer Perception 

Without a doubt, cloth towels have a much higher profile compared to paper towels. Cloth towels make any business appear more polished, creating an upscale feel for customers in comparison to displaying a roll of paper towels. Additionally, when it is clear that a business prioritizes the environment, it often helps to build a stronger relationship with the community. Oftentimes, this reputation can help to justify premium prices for goods and services.

Supply Chain Issues: Cloth Towels vs. Paper Towels

Supply chain issues are ongoing for businesses in every industry. When it comes to paper products in particular, lack of inventory is a very real issue. Rather than spending time scouring stores for paper towels the next time shelves are bare of all paper products, you can rest easy knowing that you have cloth towels available for your company that will not run out.

Paper Towels Lack Decorative Appeal Compared to Cloth Towels

Only the most expensive paper towels have designs or colors on them, but towels (even those that are used for cleaning or wiping down surfaces) can positively add to the decor of your business. You can purchase the cloth towels with designs to match a uniform, logo, tablecloth or wall color. This option can help the cloth towels to blend in and augment the aesthetic of your business, rather than have them stand out as an eyesore.


Paper towels work well for cleanups, regular cleaning and drying hands in restrooms, but cloth towels have just as many uses—and perhaps even a few more. There are a variety of different styles of cloth towels, making them much more versatile than paper towels. For example, it may be appropriate to have cloth towels to use by customers and employees in the restroom with a laundry bin beneath, so they can be washed after each use. You may also then have a different style of cloth towel available for cleaning. You may even use multiple types, sizes or thicknesses of cloth towels for various types of cleaning jobs. With paper towels, businesses are stuck using one size and thickness with the same look in all areas of the business, which may not be appropriate or serve the business’s best interest.

Time Savings With Paper Towels or Cloth Towels

It may seem like a hardship to wash cloth towels in order to keep up with the needs of your business rather than to purchase additional paper towels. However, it can actually take far less time to invest in cloth towels. At Alsco, we take care of your cloth towels, keeping them laundered, fresh and ready to go whenever you need them. Additionally, when towels become threadbare, ripped or stained, we will replace them automatically so you don’t have to worry about it. Using cloth towels and Alsco services means one less thing on your to-do list. Plus, you get the added benefit of Alsco ensuring you have all the supplies you need.

How Alsco Can Help

Alsco provides businesses with a range of facility services that allow business owners to focus on taking care of their customers rather than managing small details like washing cloth towels used for cleaning or by customers. Rather than having to worry about doing laundry for your business, Alsco can come take all your dirty towels and replace them with fresh, clean ones. They’ll be nicely folded for you to store until they are needed. Alsco is also equipped to take care of aprons used by employees, tablecloths, cloth napkins and uniforms, ensuring that all necessary laundry is done. Alsco can also top off cleaning supplies, soaps and other chemicals used in the business, as well as manage an array of supplies that require regular care and maintenance. If you would like to learn more about the ways in which Alsco can serve your business, help you protect the environment, and maintain a hygienic atmosphere and a lower bottom line, reach out to Alsco today.

Contact Us

Interested in Alsco's Services? Visit our Contact page and let us know!