An ultra-microfibre paper towel has become a useful disinfectant in a lot of areas, from cleaning toilets to helping disinfecting paper.
But it’s a lot less effective for many others, according to a new study from scientists at the University of Bristol.
The researchers say that arco’s paper towel could actually be better at its purpose than it is at other times.
They say that its use in disinfectants could make it a good choice in some situations, such as washing the face and hands of a pregnant woman, or washing hands of patients with a cold.
“I’ve got a really big challenge with paper towels,” says Dr Robert J. Ried, an associate professor of microbiology at the university.
“I need to keep them fresh.
I need to use them properly.”
A new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology suggests that arcos paper towel might actually be more effective than conventional paper towels.
The scientists, led by Professor Robert J Ried of the University’s School of Biological Sciences, used a variety of samples to investigate the effects of different types of paper towels on various organisms.
They found that when arco is mixed with a liquid such as distilled water, it makes the water more effective at reducing the bacteria found in human blood, as well as in soil and water.
When mixed with other types of water, such a mixture makes the liquid less effective, and that’s why the authors call it a “substrate-based disinfectant”.
“The paper towel is one of the simplest materials, so if we have a choice between this and other materials, we need to think about whether this is more efficient or less efficient than other materials,” Professor Ried says.
Professor Ried’s study also found that arcolithophores (microorganisms that can cause a bacterial infection) in the paper towel are less likely to be detected when tested in the presence of certain chemicals.
It’s not clear exactly what these chemicals are, but they can be used to measure levels of various bacterial species in the water.
“The key is to do a detailed study, because we don’t know what’s going on in the environment,” Dr Ried explains.
“And you don’t want to just go through the paper towels in a lab and say this one is more effective, or that one is less effective.”
The researchers found that, although the paper can be good at killing bacteria, it has the worst potential for disinfection when mixed with water.
While it’s possible that arcorithophore populations can increase when the paper is mixed in with water, that hasn’t been shown to happen with any other type of water.
Instead, the paper actually seemed to be less effective when mixed in a water solution, which is why the paper had lower concentrations of bacteria in the solution compared to water mixed with distilled water.
Professor J Rie says the paper has other uses, too.
“This paper towel can be useful as a sanitiser for the skin, and the skin is very sensitive to ultraviolet light,” he says.
“When you use the paper as a soap, it can be very drying.”
The paper also makes a very fine and strong paper.
“You can apply it on the skin and it will wash away,” Professor J Ries says.
“The other thing is the paper doesn’t degrade.
It is really good for the environment.”
But he cautions that even if the paper comes from a good source, it’s not always the best choice for people.
“In some places, it might be a bit too much,” he warns.
“If you have kids or a dog, I would definitely recommend against using it in a toilet, because they can scratch the paper.”