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What Should I Consider When Buying Bath Towels?

Bath towels are useful after taking a bath or shower.
Bath towels come in many different sizes, colors, styles, and materials.
Hand towels are intended specifically to dry the hands and face.
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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Sara Z. Potter
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2014
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Every home needs towels so that occupants and guests can dry themselves easily after a bath or shower. When buying bath towels, you should consider the quality of the material, how many you need, and their design.

Bath towels come in many different designs and colors. You can match or coordinate your towels to the paint color you use in your bathroom or with other items, like the shower curtain or floor mat. If you are renting and/or have a neutral-colored bathroom, you can add needed accents of color with the towels and other accessories, or keep the neutral look with towels in interesting textures, such as ribbed or waffled.

Monogrammed towels can also add style to a bathroom and make excellent wedding gifts. Initials, wreaths, and crowns are some of the popular images that can be monogrammed onto them. Often, these special towels are not used, but displayed over other towels that hang in the bathroom.

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To determine how many bath towels you need, consider the number of people in your household, including the number of guests you are likely to have in your home. A good rule of thumb is to allow two towels or bath sheets, two hand towels, and four to seven face cloths or wash cloths per person. Face or wash cloths are often used for makeup removal as well as face washing. Hand towels are sometimes used for drying hair as well as for drying hands near the sink. Bath towels and sheets are used for drying the body after a shower or bath.

Consider buying bath sheets rather than towels for larger people. Sheets are bigger, so they offer more drying surface and often can be wrapped around the body in lieu of a robe. Bath sheets often work well hung on hooks high up on the backs of bathroom or bedroom doors, as they can sometimes seem too large for towel bars.

Consider buying natural fiber bath towels over synthetic blends for their quality. Towels made from natural fibers are often the most absorbent and are also very strong. Terry cloth towels are very absorbent and strong. This material is made up of tiny loops, and the denser and longer the loops, the stronger and more absorbent the towel. Microfiber towels are also highly absorbent, lightweight, and soft.

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Discuss this Article

andee
Post 12

When choosing bath towels I go with a color that matches my bathroom and how soft they feel. I have been frustrated though because it seems like some of the more expensive bath towels don't hold up as well.

I have purchased expensive bath towels only to have them start to unravel at the bottom after only a couple of months. Some of my cheaper bath towels, I have had for years, and they have never done this.

Is there a way to tell before you buy a bath towel set if it will unravel like this or not?

julies
Post 11

@LisaLou-- I think it is a matter of preference as there are advantages to both of them. I tried a couple of the microfiber bath towels, but found that I really missed the softness of a terry cloth towel.

For my kids, the microfiber towels seems to work better because they dry off faster. I leave the microfiber towels for my kids, and pamper myself with a plush, soft terry cloth bath towel.

LisaLou
Post 10

I have always used terry cloth bath towels because I feel like they are soft, absorbent and hold up well over many washings.

How do these compare with the microfiber bath towels? I know microfiber is very absorbent, but do you get the same, soft feeling you get with a plush terry cloth towel?

golf07
Post 9

Someday I would like to have a decorative towel or two in the bathroom, but that just doesn't seem practical with a house full of kids.

I feel good if I can keep up with all the dirty towels. There is hardly enough space in my bathroom to keep a clean towel for everyone, so a decorative towel would never work in my bathroom. It would end up getting used just like all the other bath towels.

I can see how a monogrammed bath towel would make a nice gift, but I also wonder how practical it would be for a lot of families.

JackWhack
Post 8

@Oceana – It's always good to invest in towels that you will enjoy using for years to come, even if you are forced to buy them unexpectedly. I thought I would have to buy extra towels when my in-laws announced they were coming for a visit, but my mother-in-law informed my husband that they had bought us a nice bath towel set as a Christmas gift.

When I opened the gift, I was impressed by the variety. I saw every conceivable size of towel in there, and there was even a decorative one that had been monogrammed with our last name.

My mother-in-law told me it was called a “show towel.” I had never heard of this before, but she said it was for decoration only and wasn't meant to be used as a hand towel.

Oceana
Post 7

I actually had to go out and buy extra bath towels when I learned that my husband's family was coming from out of state to stay with us for a week. We only had enough for the two of us, and there would be five extra people staying in our house.

I went ahead and splurged on the good towels. I wanted to get something I would be happy with even after the company had departed.

I bought ten new large bath towels, five new hand towels and fifteen wash cloths. I got the plush kind that feel good to the touch.

StarJo
Post 6

Microfiber wash cloths and bath towels are wonderful. They are not very thick, so they don't take up a lot of room in the linen closet or the washing machine, but they are highly absorbent.

I use one microfiber towel to wrap around my wet hair and absorb most of the moisture. I use a microfiber bath sheet to wrap around my body after a shower.

I also put a microfiber bath towel down on the floor right beside the bathtub to absorb any water that splashes over the side. I am amazed by how much water these thin things can hold!

healthy4life
Post 5

@surreallife – I bought some white bath towels on sale, and though they were of really good quality and thickness, they didn't keep their pristine appearance for long. I wash my towels in with my jeans, sweatshirts, and other tough garments, and the white towels quickly became stained from the dye that seeped out of my other clothes.

I now see why some people separate their whites from their darks. I thought that because I was using cold water, the risk of fading was very low.

I bought a second set of white towels and determined to wash them only with light clothing. However, I tend to use towels for several days in a row and just hang them back on the hook to dry. I don't know whether it was from dead skin cells or conditioner residue, but my towels got light brown spots on them that did not come out in the wash.

surfNturf
Post 4

Cafe41-I love the waffle weave bath towels. These French towels are extra absorbent and dry quickly. They are also stylish and very soft.

I like the ridges in the towels because the ridges make the towels more comfortable. I also like the way these white towels look with my light grey paint and sand tone marble tiles that I have in my bathroom. It really completes the relaxed beach feel that I going for.

cafe41
Post 3

Latte31-I bought some of these towels and the more I wash them the softer they get.

I have had these towels for over ten years and they still have proper form. I really prefer purple bath towels or white bath towels.

I won’t buy green bath towels or pink bath towels because I do not like the colors. I usually try to stick with muted mauve and white only.

I have always wanted to try the bamboo bath towels. They are supposed to be 100% organic towels that are made of bamboo fabric.

latte31
Post 2

Surreallife-I like white towels because it makes the bathroom appear cleaner.

I think another thing to consider when buying bath mats and towels in general is the type of cotton.

Egyptian cotton towels are the softest most luxurious towels. Sometimes at Bed Bath and Beyond you can find some of these bath towels on clearance.

surreallife
Post 1

Absorbency, ease of care and color are some of the considerations to keep in mind when buying towels. As far as color, white is an universal color that can go with any decor, and some accent towels can be always added for the look.

They tend to be easy to keep clean too.

I also like to keep a same color bath mat on hand when I step out of the shower.

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