[Todd English Teacher]


What’s the Difference? Tissues, napkins, Kleenex, and other paper products.
Napkins, tissues, tissue paper, Kleenex, paper towels, toilet paper… How are they all different?
Several students have asked me this question. I’ve also noticed that there are many cultural differences in HOW each culture uses these products.
So I am going to explain what they are and how we use them in American culture!

We also call them Kleenex/Kleenexes. Tissue is the generic name. Kleenex is a popular brand name. Tissues/Kleenexes are used for blowing your nose, wiping your nose, sneezing, coughing, wiping your watery eyes, crying…
It is never called “tissue paper.” Tissue paper is something totally different (explained below).
We do NOT use these as napkins at the kitchen table for wiping your hands as many Asian cultures do.

Toilet paper is only used in the bathroom to wipe after going to the bathroom. Like with tissues, we never use toilet paper at the table as a napkin for wiping our hands.

Paper towels are bigger than most other similar paper products. Paper towels are best for wiping up spills. Many people often use them for cleaning. It’s also common for people to use paper towels for napkins during a meal to wipe their hands or mouths or any spills at the kitchen table.

There are 3 main kinds of napkins.
1.      Cloth napkins
2.      Party or specialty napkins
3.      Regular paper napkins
Napkins are usually used at the kitchen table during a meal. They’re used for wiping your hands, mouth, and any spills around your plate.
Cloth napkins are sometimes called “table linens”. Most nice restaurants use cloth napkins.
Party or specialty napkins are often used for parties or special occasions.
Generic napkins are what most people use at home.

Tissue paper is NOT the same as tissues/Kleenex. Tissue paper is used in gifts that are given in a gift bag. It’s used to hide the gift inside of the bag.


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