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Paper Towel Smack Down: Which Leading Brand is the Best?

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If you're like me, you like to eat Nutella at your desk, out of the jar, and offer your spoon to any co-worker who walks by looking disgusted. Once, I smeared a dollop of Nutella on my desk, to see if the desk wanted some. OK, actually, I was running a consumer experiment testing leading brands of paper towels, investigating which one gives you the easiest clean-up and return on investment. Let's meet our three challengers.

Brand Paper Towels ComparisonIf you're like me, you like to eat Nutella at your desk, out of the jar, and offer your spoon to any busybody co-worker who walks by, looking disgusted.

On one such blissful occasion, I smeared a dollop of Nutella on my desk, to see if the desk wanted some. OK, actually, I was running a consumer experiment testing leading brands of paper towels, investigating which one gives you the easiest clean-up and return on investment. Let's meet our three challengers:



Kleenex's Viva Big Roll White Paper Towel -- single roll: $3.19: Weighing in at 70 sheets a roll, Viva has a duvet softness you can sleep in. For all you Animal House junkies, sheets of Viva even seem durable enough to make a toga -- (but don't trust me on that one.) Except they come printed in big obnoxious flowers, at least the roll I picked up.

Seventh Generation White Paper Towels -- 3 roll pack: $5.69 (roughly $1.90/roll): Weighing-in at 112 sheets a roll, Seventh Generation is made of 100% recycled paper. This certainly makes you feel better about using paper towels. Seventh Generation products have saved half a million trees and almost 1 million gallons of petroleum, according to the company Web site. The brand gets its name from the Great Law of the Iroquois: "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." I like that.

Kirkland Signature Premium Big Roll Towel - 1 roll: $1.42: Weighing in at 90 sheets a roll, this Costco staple is the obvious money saver. The product packaging promises all kinds of strength and absorbency, but can it deliver at that price?

Verdict: Ding, ding, ding, ding! Both Kleenex Viva and Seventh Generation only took one sheet to wipe up a four-inch wide dollop of Nutella -- enough to frost a larger than average cupcake. The Viva provided a smooth clean up, as though I were using a babywipe. Seventh Generation isn't nearly as smooth, but it still got the job done, with earth-saving panache. With that said, I would much rather use something that's better for the environment, and $1.29 cheaper.

How did Kirkland do? Well, it took two sheets and cleaned up messy. The more I wiped away the Nutella the more it got all over the place, including my hand.

Sorry, Kirkland. You may claim to be the money-saver, but we have to use more of you, which means we have to buy more to make it work -- just like those old-school Total cereal commercials.

Clear Winner: Seventh Generation

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