ShamWow vs. Paper Towels vs. Terry Towels

based on 22 ratings
Author: Sofia PC

Surely, you have seen the ShamWow commercials on TV. At only $19.95 + shipping and handling, you can get several ShamWows so you'll never have to worry about misplacement. It also claims to hold 12x its weight of liquid. Many people are skeptical of whether spending $19.95 will really get the job done easier than a roll of paper towels, which costs less than $1 -- or even cotton towels, which you can often get for $1-3 for a pack that can last you a long time.

The hype with the ShamWow is justifiable, as it is said that these ShamWows are made of a blend of rayon and polypropylene, which makes it super absorbent, but lightweight. Cotton is known for being very absorbent, that is why towels and other cleaning cloths have a high or complete cotton content. Paper towels are cheap, disposable, and get the job done. But which fares better in the long run in terms of saving money and effectiveness?


Among these choices, which is the most absorbent: ShamWow towels, ordinary paper towels or terry (cotton) towels?


  • 1 ShamWow or similar product (you can order them online or over the phone, and they are available in some stores)
  • Several rolls of paper towels
  • 1 terry towel (about the same size as the paper towels and the Shamwow)
  • 2 large plastic mixing bowls (preferrably clear)
  • Water
  • Pen and paper for notes


  1. Fill one large plastic mixing bowl with warm water to about ¾ full. Don't fill it up too high or you'll probably run into a spill.
  2. Set the other empty plastic mixing bowl next to the bowl of water.
  3. Take one ShamWow and press it into the bowl of water.
  4. Gently take the ShamWow out and wring the water out in the other bowl.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 until all the water has transferred from the originally full bowl into the originally empty bowl.
  6. Record how many wrings it took for all the water to be transferred.
  7. Now take 1 paper towel and put it into a ¾ water-filled bowl (same amount as before). You will notice that the paper towel turns crumbly and wet.
  8. Take a 2nd paper towel and put it inside. Keep adding paper towels until you have a good feeling about picking the towels up and wringing it out in the other bowl.
  9. Record how many paper towels it took to completely absorb and transfer all the water to the other bowl.
  10. Now take one cotton towel and do the same as you did above for the Shamwow.
  11. Record how many wrings that took to completely transfer the water from one bowl to the other.
  12. Compare which variable took the least attempts.
  13. You may also want to conduct several trials for accuracy.


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