Napkin vs Tissue vs Paper Towel – Are they the same?

Napkin vs Tissue vs Paper Towel

Napkin vs tissue vs paper towels! These paper products are necessity in our daily life. They are used in many places and occasions: dinner, bathroom, party wedding, etc. What are they exactly? Are they just the same thing all together? How are they different?

Let’s explore the world of paper items and maybe discover something new!

Table of Content

Napkin vs tissue vs paper towel-Difference in Size Paper Napkins

Paper Napkins

Paper Napkin, according to wikipedia, refers to a piece of paper used at meals to protect cloths and to clean up face and hands. It comes in various sizes for different usage. 

Five Advantages of serving Paper Napkins in Restaurants over Cloth Napkins
branded cocktail restaurant napkins

Cocktail Paper Napkin​

It’s served in cafe and bars. The regular 1/4 folded size is 5″x5″ (12.7×12.7cm). 

Luncheon Paper Napkin

It’s served in restaurants, cafeterias, and other foodservice establishments. The regular 1/4 folded size is 6.5″x6.5″ (16.5×16.5cm) and 3.6″x7.5″ (1/6 folded)

Dinner Paper Napkins

It’s used in more formal occasion: banquet, gala or buffet table. The common sizes are 17″x17″, 15″x17″ and 13″x17″. It can be folded into rectangular shape (1/8 folding), square (1/4 folding) or various shape for decoration.

40x30cm linen look paper napkins

Paper Towel Roll

Paper towel is a disposable alternative to cloth towel. It comes with a paper core with the towel wrapping around (Center pull). Standard toilet rolls have a diameter of about 4″-5″, while large rolls have a diameter of about 6″-7″. 

a toilet paper roll 

Hand Towel

Single or multi-fold paper towels are used for hands wiping. They’re typically 8″ to 10″ long, while jumbo rolls can range from 12″ to 18″ long. 

hand towel

Kitchen Towel

Kitchen Paper towel is designed to wipe off messes, oil spills from kitchen tables. The dish towel appears from 38*32cm to 30*60cm. kitchen towels is 22.5*23cm.

classic kitchen towel

Tissue Paper

Tissue paper is a broader concept. It’s versatile to be used for face, hand and table cleaning. So it’s a catch-all term for napkin paper, paper towel and facial tissue.

Facial tissue (paper handkerchief) typically comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from small travelsize packs to large familysize boxes. The most common sizes are standard (8.3″ x 8.3″) and large (9.2″ x 8.4″). Larger rolls are perfect for making paper flowers or other large craft projects.

a pack of facial tissue paper


Napkin vs tissue vs paper towel-Difference in Color

Paper napkins are typically printed in a variety of colors, including popular colors: white, sage green, black, dusty blue and etc, while toilet paper comes in the typical color: white. It is common for toilet use.

Napkin vs tissue vs paper towel-Difference in Materials

What is pulp?

Wood Pulp
A type of plant fiber

As for the materials, It’s a basic consensus that all paper products are made of pulp, a type of plant fiber.

Pulp is a fibrous material made from plant fibers that are mechanically and/or chemically processed to form a thick, absorbent material. It is used in the production of paper, cardboard, and other paperbased products. It is also used in the production of certain textiles, such as rayon and other synthetic fabrics. Pulp is also used in the manufacture of some food products, such as breakfast cereals, and is a key ingredient in some pharmaceuticals

Since the concept [Wood pulp] can be easily mislead, and thus, misunderstood, we need to recognize it not only literally but also semantically for firsthand. Let’s dig deep down into this substance: pulp, a product separated from the original wood fiber. It comes in different type with different industrial application. The category of paper pulp is separated by the raw materials:

Original Wood pulp/virgin wood pulp: high quality pure pulp from wood fiber with no other additives. The fine fiber virgin wood pulp accounts for more than 80%.

Straw pulp: stem or other grain plant fiber.

Blended pulp: a mixture of straw, cotton, linen, bamboo, wood pulp and recycled wood or pulp.

Paper products: The result of different composition of pulp materials, can be produced into different type of paper.

Paper Napkins are made of virgin wood pulp as they need to be strong enough for repeated uses.

Linen-like napkins are paper napkins that are designed to look and feel like real linen fabric. They are made from a combination of paper and polyester, and are usually more absorbent and resilient than traditional paper napkins.

Facial tissue or portable tissue is made of either original pulp or blended pulp. The quality of it is decided by the purity of wood pulp and manufacture craft.  

Most paper towels are made of blended pulp. It’s lighter in weight and proportion of wood is comparatively less that it in other types of paper products because it’s meant to be used in toilet.

Napkin vs tissue vs paper towel-Difference in Functionality

Paper Napkins

Paper napkins are used in formal occasions: party, restaurant, bar, banquet or gala. They are either placed over our lap to catch dish dropping or wrapped around our neck to keep off dining stains. Printed napkins with unique patterns add specialty to the setting, building up to the overall sense when held in a container or a napkin stand.

Linen-like napkins, featured with thick and strong fiber structure. They are used for decoration on reception, buffet table and plates. Well-folded napkins in exquisite style are intended to show extreme respect and tribute to guests. Strong absorbance qualify them to handle large amoutn of spilled liquid. They can also be reused for many times.

Paper Towels

Bathroom Use

Toilet Towels are mainly used to clean ourselves after we use the toilet. Toilet rolls set in holders are convenient for quick pulls and use. Toilet paper is much lighter in weight, ranging from 13 to 17 GSM. So it can easily dissolve in water without clogging the sewer. 

pulling tissue toilet paper

House Decoration

Don’t know what to decorate walls of your house? Toilet paper wall painting might be a good idea. Turn it into paper ribbons and display them in stylist order you want on walls. Save and collect paper cores after you used up a roll of toilet paper. You can either color them or make some pretty shapes. Finally, fix them on walls. You will have a piece of work art on your wall. 

Crafting Materials

Here’s something you might not know about the “magic” of toilet paper. Guess what? You can make a piece of art work with just a few pieces of paper! All you need is some colored toilet paper and a sicissor. Get ready to be surprised about a cute handcrafted paper flower that you just made! l bet it’s going to be the cheapest but most valuable accessory of house decoration. 

toilet paper crafts: a beautiful toilet paper flower

Don’t worry about your child getting too naughty or too bored. Give them some toilet paper rolls and inspire them to create their new toys or crafts with tubes. Making Holiday or seasonal-themed crafts are good ideas to keep them occupied. This activity is fun and helpful with parenting. Enjoy your time with kids in craft making! 

toilet paper roll crafts from fantasticfunandlearning_com

Kitchen Towel used for a variety of tasks in the kitchen, including wiping surfaces, drying dishes, and cleaning up spills. They can also be used for more general tasks, such as mopping up messes and wiping down counters. 

little-girls wipe dough-table with kitchen towel


Tissue Paper

Facial tissue is used to wipe face nose or hand in case of crying, sneezing or coughing. Comparatively, tissue is not as good as napkins to absorb spills, but it’s approximately as healthy and sanitary as napkins. Scented tissue, if it smells truly good, can improve the consumer experience further. Oil or lotion contained can even moist skin from being too dry.

Last but not least, it’s also interesting to talk about how paper products are used in different culture. In Asian countries like China, Vietnam, Singapore, boxed or packed facial tissue are served in restaurant or snack bars whereas cocktail napkins are more commonly offered to customers in western countries like USA.

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