How to Use Paper Towel Holder: A Handy Guide

Paper towel holders are a useful tool for any kitchen or bathroom. They keep paper towels neatly accessible and make it easy to tear off sheets. With some models mounted on the wall or under cabinets, they can also free up precious counter space.

This guide will walk you through choosing, installing, and using a paper towel holder so you can maximize convenience and organization.

Selecting the Right Paper Towel Holder

The first step is deciding what type of paper towel holder best suits your needs and space. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Location

Will it go in your kitchen, bathroom, garage, mudroom? The location often dictates size and material.

2. Materials

Common materials include:

  • Plastic – Affordable, lightweight, and easy to maintain. Prone to breaking over time.
  • Metal – Durable and resistant to rust. Heavier than plastic. Can be chrome, bronze, or other finishes.
  • Wood – Provides natural aesthetic. Requires sealing to prevent water damage in kitchens.
  • Ceramic – Decorative option that matches other ceramic accents. Heavy and prone to breaking.

3. Capacity

Standard paper towel rolls are 11 inches long. Measure your cabinet space and opt for a larger holder if needed.

4. Design

Here are some options to consider:

  • Freestanding holders – These sit directly on the counter or another flat surface. They come in a variety of materials like plastic, metal, or ceramic. Freestanding holders are simple to set up, requiring no installation.
  • Wall mounted holders – Wall mounted holders screw directly into the wall. This saves counter space. Make sure to use appropriate anchors for your wall type (drywall, tile, etc.).
  • Under cabinet mounted – These handy holders attach to the underside of a cabinet or shelf using brackets. This keeps paper towels easily in reach but out of the way.
  • Over cabinet door mounted – Similar to under cabinet options, these install directly onto the top of a cabinet door. Open the door to neatly dispense towels.

You’ll also want to decide between an open or fully enclosed holder design. Enclosed holders tend to be more sanitary and tidy, while open allows for quickly grabbing sheets.

Installing Your Paper Towel Holder

Once you’ve selected the ideal paper towel holder, it’s time to install it.

1. Freestanding holders

They can simply be placed on the counter or surface you want and can be moved around when needed. Make sure surface is clean and level.

Freestanding paper towel holder on a counter

2. Wall mounted holders

They require a bit more effort:

  • Hold the empty holder against the wall where you want to install it. Level it and mark holes for drilling.
  • Drill pilot holes in the marked spots using a drill bit slightly smaller than your screws.
  • Insert wall anchors or toggle bolts if installing in drywall.
  • Align holder and drive screws through the backplate and into the wall.
paper towel holder on a wall

3. Under cabinet installation:

  • Measure the space beneath the cabinet to ensure the rack will fit.
  • Position the rack under the cabinet, aligning it properly.
  • Secure the rack using screws or mounting hardware provided.
  • Confirm the stability of the rack by gently pulling on it.
Paper towel holder installed below a counter

4. Over cabinet door installation

  • Place the holder over the top of the door or drawer.
  • Adjust the hooks or brackets to fit securely over the cabinet.
  • Test the holder by gently pulling on it to make sure it’s securely in place.
paper towel holder being placed over the top of the door

Make sure to read the instructions that come with the product you’re setting up. The way you install it might vary based on how the towel rack is designed. If you’re not sure or encounter any difficulties during installation, it’s a good idea to ask for help or contact the company’s customer support.

Loading Paper Towels

Filling your paper towel holder is simple:

  1. If you have a freestanding holder, there’s usually an open slot or arm where you can easily slide in the paper towel roll. For wall-mounted or cabinet holders check for any moving parts or mechanisms that allow you to open the holder.
  1. Unwrap the paper towel roll from its packaging.
  1. With the loose end of the paper towel facing down, slide the roll onto the holder’s spindle or rod.
  1. Close any flaps, arms, or mechanisms that hold the paper towel in place. Ensure the roll is snug but not too tight, allowing for easy tearing of sheets.
  1. Give a gentle pull on the loose end of the paper towel to test if it tears off easily. This ensures that the roll is properly loaded and ready for use.

Remember, the exact steps might differ depending on how your paper towel holder is designed, so refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for any extra help.

Using Your Paper Towel Holder

Using a paper towel holder properly helps reduce waste and keeps it working smoothly:

  • Gently grab the visible paper towel and pull it down to tear off the sheets you need.
  • Try to tear straight down for a neat, tidy edge. Rough tears may snag inside the holder.
  • If you accidentally tear the paper unevenly, just roll it up again to make a new straight edge for the next person.
  • When the roll is almost finished, put in a new roll before it completely runs out.
  • Once the roll is empty, quickly replace it with a new set of paper towels to keep the holder filled.
a person grabbing paper towel

Creative ways to use Paper Towel Holder

Here are 5 creative ways:

  1. Use a freestanding paper towel holder to neatly stack extra toilet paper rolls. This keeps spare toilet paper organized and easy to grab when you need it. The rods on the holder help separate and support the stacks.
  1. Store spools of ribbon, yarn and other craft supplies on a freestanding or wall-mounted paper towel holder. The rods keep all your craft materials untangled and accessible when working on projects. No more fishing through messy drawers!
  1. Use both standing and wall-mounted paper towel holders to store rolls of trash bags. Slide trash bags over the rods to keep them upright, organized and ready to easily tear off a new bag when taking out the garbage.
  1. Utilize a wall-mounted paper towel holder in the laundry room as a mini closet rod. It’s perfect for hanging items that shouldn’t go in the dryer and small accessories like shoelaces. This saves drawer space and keeps things visible and within reach.
  1. Save drawer space by stacking cookie cutters on a standing paper towel holder. The rods help separate the cutters so you can easily grab the shape you need without jumbled, tangled metal.

Cleaning and Care

With occasional cleaning and minor upkeep, a quality paper towel holder should provide years of service:

  • Wipe down your holder regularly using a damp cloth and mild soap if needed to remove grime.
  • For metal holders, apply a protective polish 2-3 times a year to prevent rust.
  • Periodically check screws and tighten if your holder becomes loose.
  • Remove any sticky residue by scrubbing with a rough sponge or brush.

When to Replace Paper Towel Holder

Over time, even the best paper towel holder may wear out or break. Some signs it’s time to replace your holder include:

  • Cracks, warps, or breaks in any parts.
  • Loose pieces that won’t stay tight.
  • Rust or corrosion on metal holders.
  • Trouble gripping rolls securely.
  • Doesn’t fit new larger or smaller paper towel rolls properly.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Holder falls easilyTighten screws or add non-slip pads under the bottom
Paper tears unevenlyRoll it again to make a straight, smooth edge
Holder jammedRemove stuck towels, check for any damage


In summary, a paper towel holder is a basic but important tool for keeping things clean and organized in your kitchen or bathroom. When choosing one, just think about where you want to put it, what it’s made of and how many paper towels it can hold. This way, you can pick the perfect paper towel holder for what you need.

Installation is straightforward, and proper loading and usage will ensure smooth operation. Practicing good etiquette and performing regular maintenance will help extend the lifespan of your paper towel holder. Knowing when to replace it will ensure that your holder continues to serve its purpose effectively.

By following these guidelines, you can make the most of your paper towel holder and keep your space tidy and efficient.


Leave a Reply