One of the main ingredients of paper towels is paper pulp, which contain cellulose fibers. These special fibers also contain materials such as wood, cotton and plant fibers. The pulp used in paper towels is often bleached to produce a lighter color.
Dye is also used for paper towels that do not have a solid white color. Resin is another ingredient in paper towels. The cellulose fibers in the paper pulp are sugar molecules, and this is the key ingredient that promotes the absorbency of paper towels. While technically referred to as sugar, this type of sugar molecule is inedible for human consumption.