There’s nothing like stepping out of the shower and wrapping yourself in a warm, soft towel. That’s one of the many reasons Americans spend close to $5 billion on bath towels every year.
But even though you’ve bought a quality towel, it doesn’t always absorb water the way you think it should. Even more disappointing is when it starts to fall apart after you wash it.
There’s a reason why and it has to do with the fabric. In this guide, we explain the differences between the towel fabrics available so you can choose the best one that works best for you.
Choosing the Right Towel Fabric
Most people assume all towels are cotton and while most are, there are different types. Some are more absorbent than others while others are softer. There are also other towel fabrics you likely haven’t considered.
Egyptian cotton sheets became popular in the U.S.; major retailers started checking shipments for knockoffs. But Egyptian cotton isn’t only for your bed; you can enjoy the luxurious fabric in your bathroom, too.
If you take care of them, Egyptian cotton bath towels are very durable. The fibers are extra-long and absorbent, which is why they’re considered the creme de la creme of linens.
Egyptian cotton may be your first answer when asked, “what are the best bath towels,” but Turkish cotton towels should also be in the conversation. Turkish cotton has extra-long fibers and is well-known for being some of softest towels and most absorbent.
Turkish towels are ring-spun, unlike the standard loop weave of terry cloth towels. This makes them smoother and the fibers tighter.
It also allows them to be durable and dry faster. Because of this, Turkish cotton is perfect for warm, humid climates.
As you can guess, chemical pesticides and fertilizers aren’t used on organic cotton. These towels are eco-friendly due to their small carbon footprint. If you’re allergic to harsh dyes, many certified organic cotton products use low-impact dyes.
Pima cotton is Egyptian cotton’s American cousin. The plant the Pima comes from grows in the Southwestern United States. Like it’s Egyptian relative, Pima cotton is strong and absorbent.
Microfiber is a polyester/nylon blend split to .10 denier (linear mass density of fiber) or smaller. Microfiber is popular for cleaning and germ removal because of its ability to catch bacteria.
It absorbs up to 8 times its weight in liquid, which is why it’s now used in towels and bath mats.
You may not think of bamboo when you think of a soft bath towel, but a bamboo-cotton blend is fluffy and flexible. It’s also absorbent, odor-resistant, and durable.
In its natural environment, bamboo grows in very low water and is a natural bug repellant. Bamboo is also abundant in many parts of the world, so over-harvesting isn’t an issue. If being eco-friendly is important to you, bamboo may be a good choice.
Quality, Function, and Beauty
Now that you know the most common towel fabrics, you can start deciding which is best for you. But, before you make your final decision, there are a few more things you should consider.