Tissue paper can refer to many things, but the most common meaning is sanitary facial tissues. Every school supplies list includes bringing at least one box of facial tissues on the first school day, but have you ever wondered what size those tissues are?
The standard size of a sheet of tissue paper will be about 4.75 × 8.2 inches when folded and 8.4 × 8.2 inches when unfolded.
In today’s guide, I’ll speak about tissue paper sizes and why tissue paper is called Kleenex, and I’ll cover the differences between various tissue paper types.
Standard Tissue Paper Size
When it comes to tissue paper, there’s one brand that most people will immediately think of—Kleenex. In fact, Kleenex has become synonymous with facial tissues for reasons that I’ll cover in a bit.
When looking at Kleenex’s products, you’ll see that they have 6 tissue paper varieties—Trusted Care, Ultra Soft, Soothing Lotion, Anti-Viral, and Cooling Lotion—with most of them measuring 8.2 × 8.4 inches when unfolded.
However, there are other noteworthy brands out there, including Up&Up, Puffs, Scotties, and Viva, whose tissue paper sizes are identical to Kleenex’s.
What Is Tissue Paper Used for?
Those that have paid attention will know that tissue paper is considerably softer against the skin than regular paper towels. This is because tissue paper is used to wipe the face and nose, and using an abrasive type of paper may cause reddening.
Tissue papers are typically used for blowing one’s nose. It’s a direct replacement for the handkerchief, but instead of pocketing your snotty mess, you can toss the used tissue paper in a wastebasket. As such, using tissue paper is a lot more hygienic than washing and reusing cloth.
In a pinch, you can most certainly use facial tissues as a replacement for toilet paper. However, since facial tissues are made of the thinnest paper with the lowest weight grade (10 to 35 gsm), as opposed to the 18 to 36 gsm of toilet paper, you might want to double or triple your tissue wad before wiping.
What Is It Called Kleenex?
The phenomenon where a brand name is used for a product type is known as a genericized trademark. Have you ever used the term “Xerox” when photocopying something? Or maybe you’re used to calling spinning flying discs “Frisbees?” These are examples of genericized trademarks.
The world was introduced to Kleenex tissues back in 1924, and it became the dominating force in the tissue paper game. The company grew in popularity pretty quickly, and before long, people would call tissue paper “Kleenex,” despite the tissue boxes in their hands sporting a different brand name.
Essentially, Kleenex is a genericized trademark, so the brand name is used synonymously with the product it’s more associated with—in this case, tissue paper. White Gordon from the New York Times explains why this can happen. “When something becomes so pervasive in everyday society as a result of its own fame, there’s an argument that it no longer represents the brand, it almost represents the action.”
Normally, US trademark law prevents people and companies from trademarking generic words. However, the term “Kleenex” is still under trademark, which is why competitors cannot use the term for their tissue papers—e.g., Up&Up kleenexes.
Types of Tissue Paper
Because tissue paper can refer to more than just facial tissues, it’s important to note how one type of tissue paper differs from the other. Here, I’ll explain what those types are and how they differ.
Although paper towels are clearly different from tissue paper, it falls under the umbrella term that describes what tissue paper is—a lightweight paper made from recycled pulp. Paper towels are considerably thicker than facial tissues to absorb liquid. It’s also slightly coarser, which has to do with its absorbency.
Wrapping tissue paper is a type of paper that is used to wrap gifts or provide cushioning inside gift bags. It is also regularly used for arts and crafts projects for adding color to drawings, which is what many of us remember colored tissue paper for during art class.
Wiping one’s behind is a practice that has been traced to the Stone Age. However, it wasn’t until the Ancient Greeks that wiping was used as a way to insult an opponent.
As for the invention of paper used exclusively for sanitary purposes, history shows that the 6th-century Chinese were the first to do so. Anyway, toilet paper is slightly thicker than facial tissues, and it normally comes in multiple plies to prevent them from ripping when we’re most vulnerable.
Napkins are a type of tissue paper that is slightly thicker, heavier, and coarser than facial tissues. In addition, they can retain their shape when folded, which is why people can come up with creative napkin fold ideas.
Why Does Tissue Paper Come with Lotion?
Kleenex has a line of tissue paper that has lotion infused in the individual sheets called Kleenex Soothing Lotion Tissues. The lotion acts as a moisturizer for helping users deal with chapped noses, dry hands, and seasonal allergies.
It contains trace amounts of aloe vera, vitamin E, and coconut oil—all of which have been found to moisturize skin, as well as protect skin from cell damage, soothe certain skin conditions, and reduce inflammation.
Why Are Bottom Kleenexes a Different Color?
When you tear open a fresh box of Kleenexes, you’ll find that the tissues are all white. However, the final few tissues in the box will have a slight yellowish hue to them. Why is that?
Don’t worry—the yellow tinge isn’t a sign of expired tissue paper. Kleenex has intentionally colored the final few tissues in every box to let the user know that they need to pick up a fresh box soon. It’s Kleenex’s way of telling us to spend more money on their products.
Does Tissue Paper Expire?
Surprisingly, no, they don’t, not even the lotion variety. However, you have to remember to store the tissues in a cool, dry place. Exposure to moisture can cause the tissues to become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. You’ll know when it’s time to throw a box of Kleenex away when they become discolored (not counting the final few tissues, of course).