What Gets Wetter and Wetter the More It Dries?

gets-wetter-wetter-dries Credit: Nick Webb/CC-BY 2.0

“What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries?” is an example of a fun riddle or brainteaser. The answer to this riddle is: a towel.

The explanation of this brainteaser is rather simple: when a towel is used to dry a person or object, the towel absorbs moisture, becoming wetter and wetter. The person or object, on the other hand, becomes drier as the towel absorbs the moisture. An alternative phrasing of this riddle is, “The more it dries, the wetter it becomes.”

Many easy, kid-friendly brainteasers and their solutions can be found in books and online, including on Funology.com and BrainDen.com.

Towels can be made of cloth or paper fibers. Paper towels consist of cotton, wood or other plant fibers that absorb water due to the cellulose molecules in plant cells. The sugar inside cellulose clings to water when the liquid hits the dry fibers. Cellulose fibers are not easily split apart once they get into long strings in plant fibers.