Paper Towels vs. Cloths: How to Choose Which to Stock as a Distributor

Paper Towels vs. Cloths: How to Choose Which to Stock as a Distributor

Welcome to our second article for wholesale paper towel and non-woven wiper distributors. In this series, we’re looking at the features and benefits of paper towels and non-woven wipers and how they compare to alternatives like fabric cloths. All three options can be absorbent. All of them are great for wiping, mopping, and a range of sanitation tasks. So, why do so many customers prefer buying bulk paper towels and non-woven wipers to cloths?

Non-woven wipers and paper towels are used across a wide range of industries, and Berk International empowers its distributors to expertly meet the needs of all types of clients. Learning the reasons behind their popularity helps you have positive conversations with customers – and helps you, as a supplier, expand your client base.

Paper Towels Vs. Cloths: The Primary Differences

Your customers want to do what’s best for their business. That can mean cost-cutting, but it also means being safe, hygienic, and exploring the most sustainable options. Understanding the key differences between non-woven wipers or paper towels and fabric cloths can help you, as a distributor, give the right advice.

The Basic Differences

Cloths are made of fabric of different types. Some of these fabrics will be synthetic. Some will be natural, like cotton. They may be thick, thin, single layers, or matted, and can come in any size. Cloths are reusable and need to be washed to remove dirt and bacteria.

Wholesale paper towels and non-woven wipers are made from wood pulp and cellulose, non-toxic adhesives, and conditioners, and may also contain non-toxic inks for branding or labeling purposes. They are not reusable, and a new towel or wiper must be used for every cleaning or drying task.


Many types of towels and wipers are used in washrooms all over America. But which is the safest? In the wake of the pandemic, the CDC has weighed in on this debate. They state unequivocally that paper and non-woven wiper options are the most hygienic choice for drying hands as well as cleaning surfaces. Any germs are disposed of immediately. With fabric, those germs hang around and can even multiply in warm, moist environments.

The Laundry Bill

Some businesses choose fabric over paper or non-woven wipers because they believe it’s better for the environment, with disposable products sometimes being overlooked due to the perception that they are not as eco-friendly. However, consistent washing of fabric towels and cloths has its own negative impact on the planet. Consumption of water is detrimental to the environment and even local communities when excessive. Plus, it uses so much energy to keep washers constantly on the go to deal with linens, especially in settings like hotels and restaurants. In some cases, restaurants can spend $200,000 a year on washing cloth napkins and towels.

Pros and Cons of Paper Towels and Cloths

Now that we've established what some of the basic differences are, let's break down the pros and cons of each option:

Fabric Cloth Pros

  • Reusable
  • Only need replacing when worn or ripped
  • Washable
  • Can appear more luxurious for settings like hotels

Fabric Cloth Cons

  • Harbors bacteria and other microorganisms
  • Not easily disposable or recyclable
  • Creates a large laundry bill
  • Large loads of laundry are bad for the environment

Paper Towel / Non-Woven Wiper Pros

  • Disposable
  • Promotes good hygiene, safer in many different scenarios
  • Large range of options for different tasks
  • Recycled and sustainable options available
  • Buying bulk paper towels or non-woven wipers is generally cheaper than investing in fabric

Paper Towel / Non-Woven Wiper Cons

  • Cannot be reused
  • May contribute to landfill

Industries that Benefit from Paper Towels and Non-Woven Wipers

As the pros of non-woven wiper or paper towel solutions outweigh the cons, it's easy to see why so many industries choose them over cloth options:


From the dentist’s waiting room to operating rooms, there are always surfaces that need to be wiped down or dried quickly. Fabric cloths that cling onto bacteria are absolutely not an option in these settings. Paper towels or non-woven wipers allow medical staff to clean and dry safely and hygienically.


Restaurants, hotels, and other venues such as gyms all have many people coming and going. Since the pandemic, there’s an even greater need to help guests stay safe and maintain good hygiene. Paper napkins instead of cloth, paper towelettes at reception, or non-woven wipers in washrooms help guests protect themselves and can improve the reputation of the business.

Automotive and Manufacturing

For industrial applications, towels and wipers need to be tough and absorbent -- and not a source of lint or dust. Soft paper towels can bring a windscreen to the perfect sheen, while a tougher non-woven wiper can help remove grease from around a wheel arch after maintenance in an automotive garage.

Your Role as a Wholesale Towel and Wiper Distributor

Understanding what to stock helps you as a supplier and distributor, but it also helps your customers. You become the ultimate source of knowledge about non-woven wipers and paper towels, able to recommend based on the client’s immediate needs, but also on what industry they work in and the size of their business or venue.

Berk International offers paper towel and non-woven wiper products for every situation, and works directly with distributors to understand their key demographics and client needs. Proformance Disposable Wipers might be ideal for your client who runs a carwash – or your client who has a small factory. Continuous rolls of paper towels might be the best for janitorial and sanitation purposes, but they could also be ideal for hotels or restaurants that need easy-access paper to mop up spills in the kitchen. Even if you already supply a particular type of wiper or paper towel to a client, learning more about their industry and the products available helps you offer options that are meaningful to them and their day-to-day business.

You can find out more by setting up a call with Berk. We can help you identify the best solutions for your customers, and have a chat about the opportunities available for you. Look out for our other articles where you’ll find more details about the reasons different industries prefer non-woven wipers and paper towels.

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