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Best Bath Towels: What to Look for When Buying Bathroom Towels

Posted by Nicholas Crusie on

Home decor stores can be a lot to take in. Walking by extravagant light fixtures, pillow mountains on either side, and cabinetry that could be in a castle can all be overwhelming. 

Walking down the towel aisle at any store can be an alluring yet intimidating experience. It should be fun for the most part; you're probably redecorating or moving into a new space. Even if you're just shopping for towels to replace the old ones, it's not necessarily a simple task. With towels stacked from floor to ceiling, there's a lot to choose from. 

When choosing the best bath towel, there are a few things you should keep in mind. While it may be tempting to go straight for the first fluffy and pretty towel you see, choosing the best towel is an investment in yourself. Make sure you're getting the absolute best by considering these all the factors at play. 

Size

When it comes to towels there are two sizes: bath towels and bath sheets.

Bath Sheets are the bigger of two, sizing in at around 40" x 70" inches. 

Bath sheets are a great option if you like being completely wrapped up when you get out of your shower. Because of their extra surface area, bath sheets will also be able to absorb more moisture, meaning you'll be able to dry off more than a standard towel would allow for. Their larger size also means you'll need to make sure that your bathroom is able to accommodate storage for this bad boy. A bath rod acting as a rack may not be able to keep this larger towel off the floor, which would result in your towel touching the floor and getting dirty. Having a hook on the wall or on the back of the door would be the ideal home for a bath sheet. Keep in mind that bath sheets tend to be higher quality than bath towels and their price will usually reflect this. 

Bath Towels on the other hand are around 30" x 56" inches - this is the standard size that you probably see in hotels. Bath towels have always done the trick for drying off after a shower and they're also the right size for wrapping up hair to dry. If your current towel (assuming standard bath towel size) does a sufficient job at drying at you off, it may be all you need. But if you want a more bundled up experience post-shower (like for lying on the bed scrolling through your phone - yes, we all do this too, don't worry), consider sizing up to a bath sheet. 

Material

Towels are usually made from either polyester or cotton. Cotton is what you want. 

Polyester is a human-made material that is rough and doesn't offer as much absorbency as cotton. Polyester is generally just a lower grade material. Polyester does however dry quickly, so if you're using it as a small gym towel or to dry off the dog after a walk in the park, it will work. But other than that? If the towels in your home are made of polyester, the guests may not want to stay too many nights, if you know what we mean. 

Cotton is the way to go. The most popular types of cotton are Egyptian and Turkish. While you may have heard that Egyptian cotton is King, this was probably in regard to bed sheets. When it comes to towels, Turkish cotton is what you want. Premium supima cotton will make it almost irresistible to get out of your towel - you know the situation we sometimes fall into of lying on our bed for a while after a shower? Trust us, supima cotton is what you want to be cozied up in while you catch up on your social media scrolling or read the news. 

Turkish cotton threads are longer, stronger, and smoother than regular cotton, making them ideal for bath towel material. Turkish cotton strikes the perfect balance between absorbency potential and time required to dry.

When choosing between bath towels, prioritize cotton over polyester and Turkish cotton over Egyptian cotton. 

Thickness

Grams per square meter (GSM) is how the density of towels is measured. A higher GSM indicates a heavier and denser towel that will also be more absorbent. Higher GSM is also usually correlated with a higher price because they will be softer and more plush. Think about an old worn-down towel that most households have somewhere in a closet. It's raggedy, thin, and soaks almost as quickly as a paper towel--this towel would have a very low GSM. 

The GSM among towels usually ranges between 300 and 900. To use the previous example, the 300 GSM towel would be the dog or gym towel and the 900 GSM towel would be what you find at a five-star hotel.

Selecting a mid-range GSM is usually a good choice for your everyday bath towel needs - it will strike the perfect balance of absorbency and dry time without compromising softness. 

Color and Style

Besides being extremely necessary and practical, towels also play a role in a room's decoration and overall ambiance. With something you're going to be seeing multiple times a day, it's important for it to also be pretty to look at. Anyone who's walked down a linen aisle or browsed for towels online can attest to the fact that there is a huge variety of trims, styles, colors, and designs. 

While a classic white towel will suit every bathroom, don't be scared to play around with colors and use the towel as an accent piece. Using a towel to add a dash of color to the room is a safe way to experiment with color and can help set or accentuate the overall tone.

Pricing 

Towels can be priced anywhere between $10 and $110, and this will usually reflect the balance of all of the elements we've gone over. If a $100 towel fits your budget, go for it; the quality you'll receive will definitely reflect that higher price point if you're shopping at the right places. 

On the other hand, you don't need to be dishing out that much money on a towel. There are plenty of mid-range towels that do their job properly and can look nice at the same time. An affordable yet high-quality towel can price in around $50-$60 and serve all its purposes without breaking the bank. 

Other Notes on Care

Once you've chosen a set of towels, remember that taking care of your towels properly is also an investment in yourself. The relationship with our towel is an intimate one. Just like we keep our homes and bed sheets clean, a cared for towel plays a big role in our overall well being and hygiene. Here are some tips to help keep your towel in tip top shape:

Wash and dry a new set of towels before their first use. This will take off any chemical coatings that are sometimes used to give towels an initial shimmery appeal to prospective shoppers. Giving them their own wash when you bring them home will also help set their colors; preventing any color runs that would leak onto any of the other laundry items. 

Go easy on the detergent and fabric softener. People tend to be too generous with the amount of detergent and fabric softener that they use. It makes sense to think that more of these products would just lead to cleaner and softer towels, but it can actually do quite the opposite. A load of laundry that has too much product in it can leave the articles with residue. This build up of product remnants can make towels lose their softness and lower their absorbency potential. 

Add 1 cup of vinegar into the wash cycle. Adding white vinegar into a wash cycle will help remove residue, brighten and whiten fabrics, and can help remove any odor your towel may have adopted. We suggest adding 1 cup of white vinegar to your regular laundry load once a month to help keep towels fresh. 

Dry on high heat. While the debate on which temperature should be used for the dryer is rather disputed, drying towels in high heat will give them the best chance for coming out bacteria free. A temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit is required to kill bacteria (most "hot" settings on a dryer range between 130 and 150). If you really want to ensure that your towels are staying as clean as possible, try towels made with bacteria-fighting materials

There You Have It!

Bath towels aren't as simple as they used to seem when we were kids. There's a lot that goes into making the perfect towel, and that leaves you, the consumer, with a lot to choose from. With a sea of possibilities, we want to help you make the best choice for you, your family, and your home. Use this easy guide to help you find the towel that will serve you best. 

Sources:

https://greatbayhome.com/blogs/news/why-turkish-cotton-is-the-best-choice-for-bath-towels

https://www.thespruce.com/top-uses-for-vinegar-in-laundry-2147286

http://towels.kagani.net 

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