Unless you see yourself as the next Monica Gellar (of 'Friends' fame) with 11 different towel categories, this may not sound like the most thrilling of topics. However, it helps to know the difference between your bathroom towels with their various sizes and uses. Follow this guide to understand the average sizes, use and material of each towel to help you get the most out of your bathroom towels and care for them properly.
What Different Bathroom Towels Are There?
The smallest member of the towel family, averaging at 30 x 30cm, is the face cloth. If the name didn’t give it away, this one is intended for helping you wash your face, but can also be used to wash your body in the shower. These are also helpful to pat your face dry after washing to avoid spreading any bacteria from other towels.
Not particularly classified as a towel, but the bath mat is roughly 50 x 80cm large. This helps to absorb any water as you step out of the shower and thus avoid any mishaps from slipping on wet tiles. For a bath mat, the best material to opt for is 100% cotton, as cotton is highly absorbent and dries fast.
In a set of towels, the hand towels are usually 50 x 90cm. Cotton hand towels are one of the most essential of the pack. They are what you’ll have hanging near the sink to dry your hands after washing them and often wipe away toothpaste residue after brushing your teeth.
Large bath towels are roughly 70 x 125cm big. These are the go to towel when drying yourself post-bath or shower. You can play around with material here, scaling from synthetic fibres to luxurious cotton depending on how soft you want your towels.
Last on the list of bathroom towels, is bath sheets. 100 x 150cm. These differ from bath towels mainly by size, as the bath sheet is the larger cousin of the bath towel. Bath sheets are also used after a shower or bath, but can offer more warmth and absorbency as they can wrap around you more, thanks to their size.
What Material of Bathroom Towels Are There?
Synthetic Fibre Towels
The above towels can come in a range of materials depending on your preferences. Most standard towels are made from synthetic fibres, which are usually less absorbent and less soft than cotton towels, but are a lower cost option.
Egyptian Cotton Towels
A more luxurious option is Egyptian cotton, which is made of the highest quality cotton. They are more absorbent as they have long, thick loops. However, this comfort comes at a price and they are the most expensive towels, so invest in these if you want to treat yourself.
Pima Cotton Towels
Another alternative is Supima towels, otherwise known as Pima cotton. These towels are grown from the same plant used for Egyptian cotton, but these crops are grown in southwestern US. Pima cotton is known for being strong and absorbent. It’s also durable because of the long fibers and they are less likely to produce lint.
Turkish Cotton Towels
Turkish cotton towels are made of extra-long cotton fibres similar to Egyptian cotton towels. However they are slightly less absorbent, but still thick and luxurious. This material is therefore best suited to warm climates with excessive moisture.
Bamboo Bath Towels
100% bamboo towels aren’t that common and a bamboo and cotton blend is often more popular. Bamboo is a supple material and highly absorbent. If you need further reassurance, The bamboo plant is anti-bacterial and grows in a pest-free environment.
Microfiber Bath Towels
The Microfibre towel is a fairly new innovation. They are both lightweight and absorbent. The microfibres blend mainly polyester with a touch of polyamide fibres, to create a towel which can capture dust, dirt, dry skin, makeup and oil without chemicals.
How Many Towels Do I Need?
Once you know your towels and their materials, it’s time to decide how many you’re likely to need. Depending on your house’s number of occupants, you should aim to have roughly two bath sheets, two bath towels and two face cloths per person. This way they can always have one to hand when the other is in the laundry. It’s best to buy sets of towels that provide each of these towel types. In terms of hand towels, you usually use need one per bathroom, but ensure you have plenty spare again due to laundry or if you have guest over.
How Do I Care for Towels?
Last but not least on the towel guide, is ensuring you care for your towels properly. When washing your towels, avoid using a fabric softener no matter how tempting it may be. This will decrease the towel’s ability to absorb water. When washing or drying your towels, bear in mind that long fibres rubbing against short fibres can cause deterioration. This is why it’s recommended to wash or dry towels on their own and not mix with other materials.
Whether you tumble dry your towels is up to you. Hanging them out on the line gives them extra freshness, but driers can help maintain their softness. If you do take the tumble, remember that over drying can weaken the towel’s fibres, so don't dry towels for longer than needed. Finally, never iron towels as it takes away their soft feel and absorbance.
We hope this helps you handle your towel collection!