Pros & Cons of C-Fold Paper Towels | Alsco (2024)

Paper towels and cloth towels are more hygienic than most hand-drying methods. Paper towels can get your hands drier than air dryers and do not spread bacteria as easily.

Several types of paper towels are available, including rolled paper towels and folded paper towels. Folded paper towels offer some advantages over rolls, helping reduce waste. They also come with fewer dispenser issues.

There are different paper towel fold types as well. The C-fold is one of the more common folds in restaurants, offices and store paper towel dispensers. A C-fold paper towel has the folds folding in on each other in a “C” shape, with the middle of the paper towel facing down.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using C-fold paper towels over other paper towel fold types. We’ve outlined some of them below.

Advantages of C-Fold Paper Towels

C-fold paper towels use specialized dispensers to ensure that only one towel is dispensed at a time. This helps limit waste and the need for people to touch more than one paper towel at a time, decreasing the spread of germs.

C-fold paper towels are generally paper towels that are around 10 inches by 12 inches and folded into 10-inch by 4-inch C-shapes. Dispensers can often hold between 200 and 450 C-folded towels at a time.

C-fold paper towel dispensers come in a variety of styles. They often have a see-through window on the side so you can see how many paper towels are in the dispenser and quickly know when to refill it.

These dispensers are meant to avoid some of the issues caused by automatic dispensers or paper towel rolls, saving you money on repairs. C-folded towels are often budget-friendly as well.

Drawbacks of C-Folded Paper Towels

C-folded paper towels are folded multiple times, so they only sometimes open when dispensed. This can mean users often take multiple towels to dry their hands.

The towels are often stacked tightly on top of one another in the dispenser. This can hold the folded flaps down and make pulling just one paper towel out of the dispenser at a time difficult.

It is also possible to load C-folded paper towels into the dispenser incorrectly, making it extremely difficult to pull a paper towel out. This can result in ripped paper towels, paper towel waste, more paper towels falling out of the dispenser and the need for a person to stick an entire finger into the dispenser to pull out a giant stack of paper towels at a time.

Differences in Ply & Absorbency

Paper towels typically come in either one-ply or two-ply. Two-ply means that two different sheets of paper are molded together for a stronger, more absorbent paper towel.

Absorbency is important. The more absorbent the paper towel is, the drier it can get a person’s hands and, therefore, the more hygienic it will be. More absorbent paper towels can help reduce waste and be more cost-effective because it will take fewer towels to dry your hands.

Paper towels with texture and embossing are often more absorbent than ones that do not have ridges or grooves on them. These ridges can help pull water away from the surface as it dries.

To test absorbency between multiple paper towels, dip each one in a little water. The paper towel that ends up the heaviest is the most absorbent.

Alternative Paper Towel Fold Types

These are the three main types of paper towel folds:

  • C-fold.

  • Z-fold or multifold.

  • V-fold or interfold.

Interfold towels are folded in half and come out of the dispenser one paper towel at a time, making them a cost-efficient option. Multifold towels are often a top choice because they are folded interlocking with the next paper towel in the stack, meaning they leave an easy-to-pull flap for the next user and only one towel will come out at a time. These alternative options also come out open and ready to use, eliminating the need for additional paper towels and waste.

Alternative Dispenser Type

Peak Serve is the latest innovation in washroom towels. They provide towels in the C-fold form factor but without the problems of traditional C-fold dispensers such as tearing paper or taking more than one towel at a time. The smooth, predictable dispensing of towels by the peak serve system and the ease of refill make it ideal for high-traffic washrooms.

Alsco’s Restroom Services

Using Alsco’s restroom services, you can be assured that your facility will stay clean and stocked. We offer dispenser checks and restocks as needed, touch-free options and environmentally friendly paper products. In addition, our services aim to reduce waste, often using recycled content and well-vetted suppliers.


The Hygienic Efficacy of Different Hand-Drying Methods: A Review of the Evidence. (August 2012). Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Pros & Cons of C-Fold Paper Towels  | Alsco (2024)


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