Towels are one of the first things we grab for in the morning and one of the last things we touch at night. Yet, despite the thrill of fresh, new, plush towels, there is the fear and impending disappointment that they’ll get ruined…frayed edges, makeup stains, washed out colors – we’ve heard it all.
Well, let’s say you’ve found the perfect bath towels. How do you take care of them, so it will always be as nice as the day you purchased it?
Before we address caring for your towels, it makes sense to broach the topic of purchasing the right towel. Similar to bedding, there are certain factors that drive the quality of towels, so we’ll do our best to summarize, without getting caught up in the technicals.
Purchasing your Bath Towels: First of all, let’s start with origin. Turkey is credited for producing the highest quality towels on the market. Why is this? Turkey invented the first towels in the 17th century, and with the growth of the Ottomon Empire, so did the use of the towel. As such, towel production is deeply rooted in Turkish culture and the country remains the leading authority still to this day.
Second, there is the fiber, which constitutes the building block of the towel. While there are a wide variety of fibers used on the market, from cotton, to bamboo, to modal, to even some polycotton blends, we still believe that 100% long-staple cotton towels are going to deliver what you’re looking for. Long-staple cotton has longer,thinner fibers that allow for few joins to occur when spinning the yarn, which results in smoother cotton threads. These longer, stronger and smoother threads lead to towels with higher durability, a supremely soft hand and greater absorbency.
Third, there is the yarn structure. This is where towel construction becomes a bit more complicated…just as it does when we begin to talk about weave of percale and sateen in bedding. In towels, there are a multiple options for yarn structure, ranging from twisted, low twist and even zero twist. Most lower quality towels have a twisted yarn as it allows for use of both short and long fiber cotton to be woven into the towel. Our Izmir Turkish bath linens, which are also used in fabrication of our Antalya, Bodrum and Ribbons collections, are woven from a zero twist cotton. In order to achieve a zero-twist towel, you must use long, strong premium cotton fibers, so you are sure to get a higher quality towel. Also, because there is no twist in the fiber, you are exposed to a greater surface area of the cotton itself, increasing water absorption and expediting air infiltration during the drying process.
Lastly, there is the weight. Just as we use theadcount in bedding, towels use a metric called GSM, which stands for grams per square meter. This refers to the density of the fiber used to weave the towel. The higher the GSM, the thicker the towel. However, please note, similar to misconceptions about thread count in bedding, a higher GSM does not mean a higher quality. The GSM, combined with the type of weave, will determine how good your towel is at doing it’s job – drying your body! We generally recommend selecting a towel that is 500-750 GSM.
Caring for your Bath Towels: When you purchase a new set of bath towels, we advise the first thing you should do is wash and dry them before use. You may be wondering why. Well, you want to make sure you remove any residue, including chemical softeners, that may still be on the towel from the factory’s finishing process. Luxury towels will get softer and more absorbent with use, whereas lower quality towels will lose their softness and absorption ability as the surface residues wash off.
When washing your towels, do not leave them soaking for a long periods of time, as this may distort the natural feel.We also recommend you avoid detergents with brightening agents as they will discolor your towels. And while we know, many of you want to reach for the bleach to keep your towels white, we highly discourage this – bleach will actually cause your towels to yellow further and it will ruin the feel of your towels as it breaks the underlying fibers. To keep your towels soft and vibrant, we advise you to wash on warm and use a natural oxidizing agent, such as Oxyclean.
And when it comes to drying your towels, we recommend you shake them prior to loading in the dryer. The shaking opens up the weave, allowing air to pass through more freely, giving you a more plush feel. We advise you setyour dryer to a warm temperature. While it may take a little longer than drying on hot, it will actually allow your towels to last longer. High heat drying results in the towels to “bake,” ruining the underlying fibers that make them soft and plush! In your initial drying cycle, if you see a lot of lint in the dryer – there’s nothing to be alarmed of, as this is completely normal as extra fibers stuck in the towel are removed.