interest was piqued when he came across Th2owels. He met for coffee at The Hoek with Franschhoek resident Irma Borrias – the exclusive distributor of this innovative product.
You’re right if you’ve guessed that it’s a type of towel, but it’s a very special kind of towel that has a neat trick up its sleeve and is much more environmentally friendly than any ordinary towel. A Th2owel starts out looking much like an effervescent tablet – it’s about the same size, flat and white – and something interesting happens when you add water!
To demonstrate the product, Irma whipped out what looked like a stone with two holes in it and neatly fitted the Th2owel in the shallower of the holes. Then she filled the second hole with water and placed the Th2owel in it. No smoke or fireworks ensues, but when you now take the Th2owel out of the hole it has absorbed all the water, without dripping, and plumped up to 5 times its original size. Unrolling it reveals the real trick: the ‘tablet’ has become a soft, refreshing hand towel. In my case it smelled lemon fresh, as Irma had added some lemon grass oil to the water she used, but she adds, “Any essential oil can be used to add a scent. Spas, for example, seem to like jasmine rather than lemon.”
Irma – who first came to SA from Amsterdam in 1996, fell in love with the country and settled down in Franschhoek more than a decade ago – is quick to draw my attention to her product’s environmental credentials. One would not think that a disposable hand towel is environmentally friendly, but wait until you hear all this! It’s made from renewable materials – wood and bamboo pulp – that are exposed to UV light, rather than bleached, to get them white. It’s completely biodegradable – so much so that many businesses that use them simply add used Th2owels to their compost. Then there’s the water saving: only a few millilitres of water is needed to plump up the Th2owel, whereas it takes many litres to water to wash ordinary towels – not to mention detergents, electricity and labour.
Th2owels, Irma says, are used in all manner of hospitality and other types of businesses. Her clients include several of SA’s top ten restaurants, exclusive game farms, spas, hotels and tour operators. The general public has taken to using this innovative product in their homes. All are attracted by the novelty, environmental and cost benefits.
“The ritual involved in presenting a Th2owel to a guest is also wonderful icebreaker between guests and those serving them,” she continues. Yours truly is certainly convinced. I now know one more wonderful Franschhoeker I’d probably not have met if it weren’t for Th2owels. And my hands are clean!
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