May 27, 2024

Unrolling the Truth: Are Cloth Roll Towels Really Hygienic?

Have you ever found yourself hesitating to use a cloth roll towel in a public restroom, wondering about its cleanliness and hygiene? This is a common concern shared by many, given the prevalence of paper towels and hand dryers as alternatives. However, cloth roll towels are quite hygienic and offer some advantages over their paper counterparts. Today, we embark on a journey to uncover the truth behind cloth roll towels – their history, functionality, and most importantly, their level of hygiene. By the end of this exploration, you will have a clearer understanding of whether cloth roll towels deserve their often-questionable reputation or if they earned a spot as a hygienic hand drying solution.

What Are Cloth Roll Towels

Cloth roll towels have been in use since the late 19th century, with some theories of even earlier adoptions. They were introduced before the widespread use of paper towel dispensers, which became popular following the introduction of disposable paper towels in the early 20th century. Today, cloth roll towels typically consist of a cloth towel made from durable polycotton fabric that loops around a mechanism. This mechanism rotates to dispense a fresh, clean section of cloth while simultaneously rolling up the soiled parts into a separate compartment within the cloth roll towel unit.

Navigating the Hygiene Debate

Concerns surrounding cloth roll towels often include repeated use of a soiled section, maintenance, and potential skin irritation. To address these concerns, cloth roll towels are designed to dispense a fresh section of cloth with each use, ensuring hygiene by preventing the reuse of soiled portions. Additionally, regular maintenance ensures that fresh, laundered cloths are consistently replenished, further enhancing cleanliness. To mitigate skin irritation, certain wash formulas are used to minimize the potential reaction. Moreover, cloth roll towels also offer superior absorbency compared to paper towels and hand dryers, which helps effectively remove moisture from hands, known to be a breathing ground for bacteria. In fact, multiple studies, including recent research highlighted by Harvard Health (2018) and the Cleveland Clinic (2023), have demonstrated that hand dryers often promote the growth of bacteria. According to Berkhoudt (2012), warm air dryers can potentially put back 150-500% more bacteria on hands due to the recirculation of bacteria in the restroom air. Additionally, paper towels may contribute to a disordered appearance in bathroom facilities due to improper disposal or overflowing garbage bins if not promptly replaced. Cloth roll towels offer a solution to this issue by neatly rolling away the soiled parts in a separate compartment, maintaining a tidy and organized restroom environment.

The Art of Cleaning Cloth Roll Towels

Laundering cloth roll towels involves a meticulous process to ensure optimal hygiene and effectiveness. At our facility, we employ state-of-the-art technology, including the Revolution Machine. Introduced in 2012, the Revolution is the only one of its kind in Canada, which offers a comprehensive solution for washing cloth roll towels. Originating from Sweden, the Revolution Machine streamlines various tasks, from washing, measuring, drying, ironing, and rerolling the cloth. Notably, it stands out as one of our most sustainable equipment, utilizing minimal water usage while effectively cleaning the cloth roll towels.

Are Cloth Roll Towels Sustainable?

Cloth roll towels present a sustainable alternative to single-use paper towels, contributing to environmental conservation efforts. With a longer lifespan and the ability to be reused multiple times, cloth roll towels significantly reduce waste compared to their disposable counterparts. Moreover, the laundering process, particularly in our facility, further contributes to their sustainable quality. By opting for cloth roll towels, businesses can minimize their environmental footprint while also enjoying cost savings.

Where Are Cloth Roll Towels Most Useful?

Cloth roll towels are a practical choice in various industries and settings, offering a versatile solution for hand drying needs. Restaurants, medical and dental offices, manufacturing facilities, automotive businesses and office buildings are just a few examples of environments where cloth roll towels prove beneficial. Their affordability and sustainability make them an attractive choice for businesses seeking efficient and eco-friendly hand drying solutions. However, in high-traffic areas requiring frequent changes, such as public restrooms in a mall or a sports complex, paper dispensers may be a more practical alternative.

Cloth roll towels have proven to be a viable and hygienic hand drying solution across various industries and settings. Despite initial skepticism, cloth roll towels functionality, cleanliness, and sustainability make them a worthy alternative to traditional paper towels and hand dryers. For more information on our cloth roll towels and other bathroom facility services, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team.


Berkhoudt, David. "New Research Proves Cloth Roll TowelSystems (CRT) More Hygienic Than Air Dryers." David Berkhoudt Architect,12 Mar. 2012,

Cleveland Clinic. "The Dirty Truth About Hand Dryers." Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials, 14, November 2023,

Harvard Health. "The Bacterial Horror of the Hot Air Hand Dryer." Harvard Health Blog, 11 May 2018,



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