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Bath Towel Buying Guide and Care Tips

Have those bath towels hanging on your towel rack seen better days? Replacing worn, faded bath towels may seem like a daunting task, but a few tips can help narrow the options. Before long, you'll be wrapping yourself in a soft, high-quality towel and bidding adieu to those scratchy substitutes.

Bath Towel

Consider two main attributes in the search for your top-notch towel: fabric and density.

Bath Towel Fabric

Cotton towels are the most common choice, but not all cottons are on the same shelf, quality-wise. Some towels are entirely cotton, while others may have other natural fibers added for softness. Bath towels made from Egyptian cotton, Pima cotton, and Turkish cotton feature extra-long fibers. These superior towels are highly absorbent, strong, and durable when cared for properly. Be particular with percentages; look for towels labeled "100% Egyptian cotton," "Supima®," "100% Pima cotton," or "100% Turkish cotton" to be assured of quality.
Egyptian cotton is, of course, grown in Egypt.
Pima cotton is usually grown in the United States (but can be grown in other locations). Bath towels labeled as Supima® (Superior Pima) cotton are made of 100% American Pima cotton.
Turkish cotton is grown in Turkey, usually in the Aegean region.

Bath Towel Density

You know to look for thread count when shopping for sheets, but what about bath towels? Look for the GSM number, which refers to grams per square meter. This number indicates the fabric density of the towel; the higher the number, the better quality the towel. Good-quality cotton bath towels have a GSM of at least 500; for luxury towels, select a GSM of at least 600. Keep in mind that dense, heavy towels may take a longer time to dry. Lower GSM towels in the 300-400 range are usually quick drying; you might want this type of towel for gym or kitchen use.

Bath Towel Care

Now that you've found your dream towels, keep them looking their best with proper care. A little kindness goes a long way, so opt for warm water over hot, and select mild liquid detergents instead of harsh ones. These simple steps can help to preserve those pretty colors and prevent fiber breakdown. Fabric softener might seem like a logical choice, but it can build up a waxy coating on towels that affects their absorbency. If you find yourself tempted to reach for the fabric softener, try some distilled white vinegar instead. Add a quarter cup to half cup to each load to keep your towels soft and snuggly.

Bath Towel Terms to Know

Combed cotton, ringspun, terry... Just what do all these towel terms mean?
Combed cotton: The cotton has been combed to remove impurities and short fibers, resulting in longer, more uniform cotton.
Dobby: This decorative weave usually features a small geometric pattern and is woven into the towel.
Jacquard: A pattern is woven directly into the fabric by special looms. The weaving process produces intricate designs.
Ringspun: This cotton has a smoother, more refined feel and is made from tightly twisting long and short threads together.
Sheared: Projecting fibers are cut from the fabric face. This gives the fabric a uniform height to enhance its appearance.
Terry: Terry cloth towels are woven with extra yarn to make absorbent loops. Dense, longer loops create a more absorbent towel.
Twist: Fibers or yarns are turned around their axes, producing twists to add strength to the towel. Luxurious, superior cotton bath towels may be promoted as low-twist or zero-twist, indicating a natural strength.

Decorative Towels

These towels are usually embellished with embroidery or trim. Decorative towels may have a lower GSM and are best for light use or display. These towels may require special care, so look to the manufacturer's label for laundering instructions.

Monogrammed Towels

Select towels on our site may be monogrammed by our skilled staff for an additional charge. Monogramming allows you to add a personalized touch to your bathroom decor. Monogrammed towels also make wonderful and memorable gifts, especially for a wedding, housewarming party, or anniversary. Towels that may be monogrammed will display a personalization option beneath the product name after you select a towel color and size.

Bathroom Towel Sizes

Bathroom towels vary in size, but they generally fall into one of five categories.
Bath Sheet: Measuring 60"-70"L, this is the largest of bathroom towels. A bath sheet is typically wider and longer than a standard bath towel, providing you with a little luxury and a spa-like experience
Bath Towel: No bathroom would be complete without this familiar accessory. A standard bath towel measures 27"-30"W and 52"-58"L; decorative bath towels may be smaller.
Hand Towel: This everyday towel is perfect for drying smaller areas like your face or hands. A hand towel usually measures 16"-18"W and 28"-30"L.
Fingertip Towel: This dainty towel is most likely to be found in guest baths and powder rooms. A fingertip towel is used for light hand-drying and usually measures 11"-12"W and 18"-19"L.
Washcloth: Functional washcloths are used for washing in the shower/bath or at the sink. A washcloth is typically 13" sq. Decorative washcloths are best for display due to their embellishments.

Towel Holders

Display those terrific new bath towels on stylish towel holders and towel racks. If you have plenty of floor space, a towel stand will work nicely. Towel floor stands often have two to three bars for your towels, and some also have a bottom shelf for extra storage. If floor space is an issue, consider a wall mount towel bar or an over-the-door towel rack. Countertop towel holders and wall mount towel rings are perfect for smaller towels and washcloths.

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