Home Food & Beverages Bounty Towels Stink
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3:51 pm EDT
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Proctor and Gamble's Bounty Paper Towels give off this horrendous smell once they are wet. I always purchase the 8-pack at Costco, but the last time I did, I started noticing a horrible chemical smell emitting from the wet paper towel. The smell is so bad, that I refuse to use them to wrap veggies in, or even to pat fruit dry. The paper towels ruined a whole stalk of celery to the point where it was inedible. What is going on? I've written the company, only to receive a coupon with no explanation. Has anyone else had this problem?

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Jun 16, 2022 10:49 pm EDT

All the No Name Brand and PC brand paper towels here smell like benzalkonium chloride (BAC).

It is a disinfectant approved to kill covid so companies are spraying everything with it. The air in grocery stores in Canada is filled with the chemical. I wear a 3M mask because I have an asthma attack after being in the store now. I don't why they are soaking paper towels in it but I have returned packs or just thrown them away when they smell contaminated from this stuff.

Jun 06, 2022 5:23 pm EDT

Yes! I quit using bounty because they do smell like cat pee! And what’s more Charmin that I buy at Costco also smells like cat pee. This is not a contamination they’re getting inside my house. This is something that is coming directly from the manufacturer. Home Depot also has the problem of having Charmin smell like cat pee. Nobody is telling us what this cat pee is. Nobody wants to address the problem. What chemical are they putting in this product that makes this stink like this?

May 01, 2022 4:04 pm EDT

I've had the same problem with Sparkle. I just purchased the printed paper towels (6=12 rolls) from my local Publix, and they smell AWFUL! I contacted Sparkle, but I'm also going to call Georgia Pacific, who makes the Sparkle paper towels. OMG! I would NEVER wrap anything in this foul smelling paper towel. I haven't even wet it, and it smells terrible with a chemical smell!

Mar 21, 2022 1:12 pm EDT

Yes, I googled “Bounty paper towels smell when wet” I’ve used Bounty for years and this is the first time I’m experiencing this. They smell like dirty feet or like someone mentioned above, that corn chip/B.O. smell. It’s gross!

Mar 06, 2022 3:35 pm EST

I did.

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Mar 04, 2022 7:52 pm EST

Yes. I just ordered, and I have the same issue. I purchased from Sam’s.

Feb 26, 2022 6:11 pm EST

I found your complaint when I googled about the same smell. Mine stink like gasoline when they are wet. I thought it was a fluke until I started on the second roll. Had to throw them out.

Jan 26, 2022 9:44 am EST
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Our last few bundles of Kroger Select-a-Sheet have smelled like corn chips when they never did before. I think the outer towels are worse than the inner ones. I can't smell the odor in the cabinet, only when I get an individual towel wet in my hands/close to my face.

Aug 06, 2020 1:54 pm EDT
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I have noticed this for last 5 months. all bounty products are poisonous crap. the toilet paper makes your parts smell and are sticky — weird to discuss but real. even the napkins now are the same. we are being posioned every day in america thanks to the envioromentalists. they have destroyed our washing machines with no water and now no hot water, with he detergents that are poison, with fire retardants that do not biodegrade on everything, literally everything. hydrated silica is the new nightmare where it used to be formalehye that used to be on tp and paper towels. now it is just a chemical salty mess on everything - mattresses, couches, clothes, rugs. this is madness and my skin burns everyday! there appears to be no way to stop this as all government is paid off. we as a country have to address this. we are all getting sicker and sicker,

Nov 06, 2019 6:03 pm EST
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I experienced a strange chemical odor on the outside packaging of Bounty Paper towels today, and the paper towel inside the package has the same chemical odor. It was so strong that I had some sort of chemical reaction in which the right side of my face became swollen. I thought I was alone in this until I found this forum. I did call the company to complain, and after asking a number of questions they promised to send a gift card to reimburse me for the $23.00 I spent. I have no idea what happened to create such a strong odor, but I am certainly not eager to purchase any more paper towels in the future.

Sep 18, 2019 10:39 am EDT

Bounty Paper Towels Stink Update:

Spoke to product support at Procter & Gamble ( at [protected] who offered to refund the cost of the offensive-smelling Bounty paper towels in the form of a Visa gift card for the amount of $24.00.

If you purchased putrid-smelling Bounty paper towels, you should definitely report it to P&G (and at least get your money back).

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Sep 17, 2019 9:23 am EDT
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I couldn't believe I actually found a website talking about this problem...I too have found that most paper towels and lunch napkins have such a bad odor, I can't stand it...Well I finally found paper towels that have no odor...SCOTT PAPER TOWELS...I just found them 2 weeks ago...I was determined to go through every brand until I found one...The smell from all the others were truly making me sick...I wanted to pass this on to all of you with hopes you have the same results as I have...

Sep 12, 2019 1:50 am EDT

Yes. Bounty paper towels smell terrible (seems like) all of a sudden. I purchase a 12-pack from Costco every couple of months (for years) and this is the first time I've ever noticed this creepy odor. I agree that the smell intensifies when wet but the towels reek in a dry state as well!

I don't know how to say this without saying this, but they smell of urine... semen... some kind of excreted animal/human substance. I WISH that these towels had a chemical smell (as some commenters have noted) because I don't even want to think about why they smell as they do. Eew.

Well, at least we have all determined that we aren't imagining things and that the problem is with Bounty paper towels purchased at Costco but some of these complaints go back a while so the towels have been contaminated for many months.

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Sep 25, 2019 9:42 am EDT
Replying to comment of May Ally

Smell of urine = Ammonia
Smell of semen = Chlorine

They are probably using these chemicals as part of the bleaching process. Using recycled materials requires SIGNIFICANTLY more chemical processing than normal manufacturing. Just one more example of how all the Environmentalists' "cures" are worse than the disease.

Aug 11, 2019 9:36 pm EDT

Glad I am not going crazy! I usually buy my Bounty paper towels from Target and this last roll I used smells like chemicals when I dry my hands. I thought it was the faucet water in my kitchen at first but it still smells with bottled water poured on it. Unfortunately, I don't have the packaging anymore but has anyone found out what this is? In all my years of buying this brand I have never experienced this horrible smell.

Aug 11, 2019 4:53 pm EDT
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Toilet paper smells mildewed, too! I've been ordering the big bulk packages of Bounty and Charmin from for years and they always smell like mildew, which disgusts me. I thought maybe the smell came from sitting around in a musty warehouse.

So I bought a two pack from Target - no mildew smell! But now that I've read this thread I went back and sniffed the two pack Bounty paper towel rolls - they DO have a chemical scent!

Jul 26, 2019 4:18 pm EDT

I, too thought I was imagining the chemical smell from a newly dampened or wet Bounty towel. I have been buying the full and half sheets for years. The other day I got a cortisone shot in my shoulder for pain abatement. My nose was dripping a little and the only thing handy was a roll of half-sized Bounty towels. I tore one off, blew my nose and then for the first time I smelled a strong odor. Initially I thought it was connected to my body eliminating the chemicals from the cortisone shot. I took a couple of sheets of full size and some half sized and as soon as i dampened them I could smell that chemical odor immediately. To me, it smelled like the odor coming from the mask that was put over my nose and mouth when I was having a procedure in the hospital. Ether? I have always used the plain white towels so it couldn't be coloring ink. My guess is it is a chemical process used during manufacture. Whatever P&G is using has a obligation to disclose on the package what it is using. If it doesn't come clean (no pun intended) P&G could be facing a class action lawsuit like the one that Johnson & Johnson is paying out billions of dollars for their deadly Baby Powder.

Jan 17, 2019 7:58 am EST

I am also experiencing the same horrible stench from bounty paper towels. At first I thought it might have absorbed something smelly in my office, but after reading all these posts I know its not that.

My business partner always buys bounty for the office, and I remember at this time last year there was Starwars printed bounty rolls on sale. We purchased those, and I found they had the same sour (body odour, chemical like) stench. The rolls didn't look mouldy, but something about them smelled rotten. I used some of these paper towels, before I smelled the stench, to clean my eyes (I have chronic dry eyes and need to clean my eyes on the regular to get rid of residuals from my eye drops) only to end up with an eye infection a few days later. The next time I went to use the paper towels, I inspected them further only to be blown away by the foul odour.

We just purchased another pack of bounty recently, with no coloured ink in them, and they have the same foul, sour, stench as the last batch. I feel like these paper towels are contaminated and unsafe to use on food-stuffs or personal care. At most, these paper towels will be used to clean up messes on the floor or in the bathroom.

Jan 16, 2019 11:56 am EST 16th of Jan, 2019
My comment is the same as everyone else - using paper towels (Bounty brand from Costco & Supermarket). It doesn't matter if they are bundled as plain paper towels or individually wrapped in plastic, they stink. I would describe the smell like a "sour body-odor smell" - the kind folks get after working out in the gym or after getting sweaty in the summertime & continuing to wear the same offense clothing into the evening PHEW! I noticed the smell and was using bleach water sprayed on my counter tops to kill the stench. Then I had the same experience many other consumers had - I used a dampened paper towel to wipe my mouth in the kitchen, and the smell from the paper towel almost knocked me over. I'm beginning to think the manufacturers are using recycled "paper by-products" and mixing it in with regular paper. Something disgusting has changed in the paper towel industry.
I'm not going to purchase products that are going to create more work. Back to terry towels...

Nov 12, 2018 11:27 pm EST

Yes, for about a year now. I don’t always notice it, but if I dry my hands with one and wipe my face with it I can smell mildew. I actually googled this because it’s really starting to concern me. I’ve been using Bounty for as long as I can remember and I’d like to point out I didn’t notice this while living in NY, but since I now live in Nevada I have noticed it. It’s really strange and I hate other paper towel brands and the way they feel, so I keep buying them. Cleaning something up before, I had noticed it’s not every sheet it’s every few that smells like mildew once wet. I can’t believe I’m not the only one.

Oct 25, 2018 2:28 pm EDT

I just noticed this horrid smell coming from the paper towels. It's a chemical like odor, similar to febreeze. There are a lot of chemically sensitive people out there including myself. Please fix this problem or I will not buy another Bounty Towell.

Oct 06, 2018 9:26 pm EDT

Yes. Noticed the stink. They stink like wet clothes left in the washer overnight or wet dirty towels. Switching brand. Curious if there made from recycled paper and water. Since we use them for just about everything, including during meals. I don't want my young grand children, one is still who are here most of the time using these any. This is disturbing.

Nov 14, 2017 12:54 pm EST

This is the first time I noticed the horrible chemical smell, it gets worse if they are wet. We purchased these from Walmart but as I read these complaints they are coming from everywhere. We will just be returning these not sure what brand we'll be switching to.

Oct 31, 2017 9:14 am EDT

I have noticed them smelling fishy, especially the last half. I told daughter not to buy them anymore can't stand the smell.

Oct 30, 2017 8:06 pm EDT

Ha! I knew I wasn’t imagining it. My son and my husband can’t smell it. Of course they spend half their time working on trucks. I never noticed it until yesterday, toward the end of a roll. I used was as a napkin and it was very obvious. The next roll was the same but a roll from a different pack is okay. There must be manufacturing errors made with some chemical they use. This is it for me and Bounty.

May 27, 2017 11:25 pm EDT

Bounty is, or was, our go-to paper towel. We like the half-size sheets and the strength. But wife and I were perplexed at the smell. We even did tests with dry and wet to see if we were losing our minds. Even the dry ones smell if you hold them tight to your nostrils. There's the faint odor of what I'd describe as cat pee, but others might call a sour rag or chemical smell. And when they get wet, wow. I don't recall them smelling so terrible in the past, but now I'm wondering if I haven't been smelling this for a while and attributing it to other sources.
Proctor & Gamble: What the hell? Please respond to this, I'd prefer to continue using Bounty towels, but the smell is a game changer.

Apr 19, 2017 7:20 am EDT


Jun 23, 2016 1:25 pm EDT

I bought a pack of Bounty paper towels from Costco yesterday, I put some of the individually wrapped packs in a cupboard and when I opened the cupboard this morning the smell was overwhelming. A horrible chemical smell, even though they are still wrapped in plastic. I unwrapped one and I do not feel it is safe to use these near food or even to wipe my counters and I am wondering if they are toxic.

Mar 17, 2016 8:58 pm EDT
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We've had the same problem with all brands for as long as I can remember, and I'm 50. Well maybe not as long as I can remember, but at least since I was a teenager, and started paying attention, 30 plus years ago. Recently we had the problem with Brawny, which is produced by the Georgia-Pacific company and from Walmart's store brand. The lady for Brawny said she had worked there for years, and was older than 50, and had never heard of the problem, which I couldn't believe; and she made me feel like maybe it was just me. I'm so thankful I looked it up online and see that it isn't just me. Now, I feel like the paper towel industry is trying to hide something. The Brawny towels have a strong smoke smell, and when you get them wet, they have strong sour smell. I figure the smoke smell is deliberately put there to hide the sour smell. Maybe when they're making the paper during the drying process some sort of bacteria has gotten in there and they use the smoke not only to help in the drying but again, to help cover up any foul odors. The Walmart generic brand simply stinks, with a slight sour smell that gets worse when you wet them. Brawny sent us a coupon so we got a new 8 pack. They don't have the smell, but have a chemical smell with a slight powderiness or something; and when I breathed it in to smell it, it became slightly hard for me to breath, like I have something in my throat and lungs. I'm thinking of stopping using paper towels altogether. They're too expensive anyway. Also, as a side note, toilet paper has the same smell sometimes, too, but not that often. I don't smell it in facial tissue. I'm sure the same people are making all three products, what's the difference? Why can't paper towels and toilet paper be odor free like facial tissue?


I just opened the bounty paper towels that I purchased from Walmart ..Washed my hands with one and an awful smell was on my hands.. I can't even be around..It smells like a very strong chemical and I hope to God that using these for years has not caused any medical problems..This is a BIG DEAL to me! I will be contacting someone regarding this...perhaps an attorney..BBB...Consumer Affairs.../these papertowels are toxic...!

Jan 04, 2016 2:09 pm EST

I just discovered the oily/metallic smell of wet Bounty paper towels. We've used this brand for years, and they haven't always been like this.. I thought maybe it was a problem with the water heater or the kitchen faucet. Fortunately, I had an older partial roll of Bounty paper towels in a cupboard upstairs so I tested it with hot water from the kitchen. No bad smell. It had a bit of a scent, but it was more like flowers. There are complaints online about lots of different brands that have this problem. Maybe the only solution is to make the change to using washable cloths to do the cleanup. (My daughter doesn't use paper towels, probably because they're too expensive for her budget.)

Sep 30, 2015 3:08 pm EDT

I have used Bounty paper towels for many 20--30 years. Now, I buy them at Sam's Club and for the last year they smell like smoke. As if they were made in a place that had been on fire. I thought I was nuts until I read all of these comments. I will be changing brands.

Apr 24, 2015 3:18 am EDT

Bounty paper towels have smelled for years now. Before that, I had been using them for a decade or more with no smell problems. I reported the problem to them many times, but they refuse or don't know how to fix it. I eventually switched to Costco's Kirkland brand of paper towels, which have no smell.

Mar 11, 2015 9:17 am EDT

Same problem and I am switching brands as well, once I googled this and realized I wasn't crazy, others were having the same issues

Jan 05, 2015 8:32 pm EST

I've also noticed a mildew odor when these towels are wet. I've had some rolls that were fine, but the last two both smelled terrible. I'm reluctant to keep using them, in case they're now being processed with some sort of harmful chemical.

Oct 08, 2014 1:13 am EDT

i am pregnant and kept smelling faint urine... its coming from my brand new roll of paper towels, ! I want to have them tested

Jul 14, 2017 5:01 pm EDT
Replying to comment of jstaples


Sep 17, 2014 6:22 pm EDT

The Bounty towels smell OK until they are moistened. Then they have a disagreeable moldy smell. We're returning them and getting another brand until the problem is corrected

Aug 10, 2014 2:31 pm EDT

I have just noticed this problem within the past year or two, but it is not unique to a particular brand. I have not been able to find a brand that does not have the awful smell. It is bad enough that I have almost stopped using them, but that is impractical. If anyone knows of a brand without the stink, please share! I don't remember this being a problem in the past - wonder if something has changed in this industry?

Aug 08, 2014 11:00 pm EDT

They stink so bad I'll never by this brand again.

Jul 16, 2019 5:43 pm EDT

Its not just one or two brands that stink. Most all of them do for some strange reason. I refuse to use them and I have always used a lot.

May 18, 2014 3:49 pm EDT

I just experience it now and found out that people had complaint years before. What is going on and why it couldn't be fixed? I bought them from Costco too. When I used bounty to wipe the table, I noticed a horrible smell like urine. I tried to smell every where and finally found out it was from the paper towers.

Dec 14, 2013 4:02 pm EST

I just returned a 8 pack bounty paper towels from Target and purchased a new pack thinking that one had the problem. But just opened the new one and it's also smells bad when wet or when I bring it to my nose. Glad I saw your posts and not thought that I was going crazy. I hope something can be done about it soon cause I had been using bounty paper towels for a long time and really liked them. It's a shame.


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65 complaints
1 resolved 64 unresolved

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2 Procter & Gamble Plaza, Ohio United States