In a trending video, TikTok user geminigemini1982 recently exposed a rather unsettling reality behind the paper towels we encounter in public spaces. Namely, that they are filthy. The video begins with a stitch from user tacoreacts: “What’s a company secret that we shouldn’t know?”
@geminigemini1982 #stitch with @Taco reacts ♬ original sound – Inside Out
geminigemini1982 says, “paper towels at restaurants, department stores, grocery stores. They are disgusting.” She elaborates: “I used to work at a warehouse that stored those paper towels. Oh, baby rats, roaches, spider eggs, everything.”
But it isn’t just the presence of pests that’s alarming. The method of preparing these infested paper towels for shipment is equally, if not more, concerning. “When we would get ready to pack them off to send them, we literally would just dust everything off. If they were stained, you would touch them with a little bit of water, and that would take away the poop look. Or the spider eggs. Or whatever,” she elaborates.
Perhaps most striking about this revelation is the contrast between public perception and reality. Many individuals have been conditioned to use paper towels as a barrier against germs, especially when exiting public restrooms. But if geminigemini1982’s account holds, the habit might be counterproductive. As the TikToker humorously concludes, “Just touch the door. Just. Just touch the door.”
One commenter wished, “I so badly wanna return to 5 minutes ago when I was blissfully unaware of this.” Another commenter, echoing the sentiment, asked, “How do I unlearn this?” geminigemini1982 joked, “its drilled in now.” Another wrote they already don’t use air dryers in public bathrooms. “Now I can’t use the paper towels???”
Paper towels are generally considered safe, but studies over the year suggest geminigemini1982 may not be exaggerating. There are also harsh chemicals involved in the production of the product. However, the quality of different paper towels could also be dependent on the manufacturer. One user wrote, “My husband works for [International Paper] and they are sooo clean ! All the paper bags and paper towels and all that is up to safety protocol.”
So how do you overcome filthy paper towels? One commenter had a personal solution: “This is why I always wash and dry my hands followed up with hand sanitizer. Washing to get rid of external dirt, and sanitizer to get rid of germs.”
The Daily Dot contacted geminigemini1982 via TikTok for comment.