Interesting. I also think it depends on the quality/thickness of your paper towel as well. I find the dollar store type stuff doesn't absorb/withstand as much pressure from wiping wet hands. But the overall principle does make sense (and generally works!) They should teach youngins about this as I am constantly seeing them yank off 4 large squares to wipe up a teeny sploosh. I myself use the 'shake & fold' method for the one sheet that I've ripped off. This ensures I've used the entire square before deciding if I need to use a second one. (unless its a cheapie paper towel)
I use rags. As much as possible I don't waste money on one time use items like paper towels or paper napkins. Most kitchen clean ups are done with the dish rag. Otherwise, I have my rags divided into "good/wash/reuse" and "okay to discard". If the mess is something I don't want to wash the rag then I go to the discard bin for a rag, do my clean up and toss the rag into the trash. We keep a basket for dirty rags and they are washed separate (with bleach) from regular laundry.
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