What are the different types of towels? (with photos)

Bath towels.

The term “towel” covers a variety of fabrics and sizes, but is generally designed to help with cleaning. As such, a towel is usually made from an absorbent material and must be washed, potentially in hot water and bleach to remove bacteria. Care guidelines vary depending on the material used, but as a general rule, they should not be left damp for an excessive period of time and should be washed frequently to discourage bacterial growth. Three essential characteristics determine the type of towel: the materials used, the size and the intended use.

Beach towels are usually thick and brightly colored.

Cotton and linen are two popular towel fabrics as they are highly absorbent and breathable. Cotton is often woven into a rolled terry design, which is extra absorbent, or a waffle weave. Some manufacturers also use microfiber and similar fabrics, often made from synthetic materials and designed to be extremely absorbent. As a general rule, terry cloth is used for bath and hand towels, while cotton waffle fabric is used for kitchen towels, and plain cotton and linen fabrics are designed for use as tea towels. Those made of microfiber are often used in spas and hairdressers to absorb moisture from wet hair.

A red and white tea towel.

Size is also an important determining factor. The ones used in the kitchen, like dish towels, can be very small, while the generic ones and hand towels are bigger. Bath towels come in a variety of sizes, from minimal to quite large, and very large ones are also adapted for beach use. Other specialized types include face towels, which are usually quite small, and tea towels, which are usually the size of a hand towel.

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A person cleaning a CD with a microfiber cloth.

They can be divided according to their intended use. Bath towels, kitchen towels, and general household towels often have distinct patterns and weaves to help distinguish them. Guest towels may be a different color or embroidered to indicate they are intended for guest use. Dish towels and generic kitchen towels are generally plain and utilitarian, often made from a white fabric that can be bleached, while the more ornamental types have decorative patterns.

Dish towels are usually made of white fabric so they can be bleached.

When selecting towels, you should think about their intended use. You may find it helpful to buy bath sets in different colors so as not to confuse the owner, for example. Kitchen towels come in a variety of colors to match kitchens, along with a variety of sizes. It’s hard to have too many, so don’t be afraid to stock up. You can also save money and the environment by using fabric towels in the kitchen instead of paper towels.

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