I've heard many, many good things about this method of smoothing and even tried it once myself. I thought I noticed a tiny bit of lint (had to look, very, very close and not in all areas) on the cake, but thought "maybe it's my imaginantion".
Well, I talked with two local decorators and both said that they have learned through experience and other professional decorators that paper towels do in fact leave tiny bits of lint/ particles in the icing. They said it can be hard to see sometimes, but is there if you look closely, and for this reason they never use the paper towel method.
I was wondering what others had experienced/ heard about this method? I've seen how well they work and would love to use them to smooth cakes, but I don't want my family or anybody elses eating cake with miniscule particles of lint covering the surface.
BV (before Viva) I used some paper towels that seemed to leave a little lint, but never have noticed it with the Vivas.
Somehow I doubt that hundreds, even thousands of us would continue to use them if there was any danger involved.
I have never noticed any lint from Viva, but most of my cakes have been white so it would be very hard to see. I did use paper towel on blue fondant, and I didn't notice any. I would think if you're buttercream is well crusted it shouldn't matter
I always use the Viva towels and have never noticed any lint at all on any color icing.
I love this method. Even if there was a tiny bit of lint that is so miniscule that you can't even see it, it's food safe anyway so I'm sure it wouldn't cause harm to anyone.
Thanks everyone, I appreciate the feedback. I also had the throught that maybe if the buttercream has crusted enough you won't have to worry about it. I'm going to try it again.