Whether you are considering a towel set or just an individual piece, it is important that whatever touches your skin after washing provides both comfort and efficacy in drying. Towels are such an integrated part of our daily routines that we often fail to consider how unique a role they play in the way we lead our lives.
Why do we use towels at all?
Towels have a long and storied history, and they first entered common usage in Turkish baths around the 17th century. Before this, any kind of textile could be used for drying, including chamois leather. The Turkish, however, started the tradition of creating specific pieces, made with cotton or linen, that could be worn around one's waist and used for drying after using the baths. It has been 400 years and we are still using towels very much in the same way and for the same purpose. We actually still use the exact same fabrics for making towels.
What fabrics can we choose from?
Towels are overwhelmingly made using terrycloth. Terrycloth, which will usually be woven with cotton or a cotton blend, consists of many protruding loops of thread. This is what gives towels its well-known feel, so distinct from other fabrics. These loops are also what allows towels to absorb greater amounts of water than other kinds of fabric. Cotton towels will be supremely comfortable and soothing, but cotton-linen blends will be lighter and actually become softer with repeated washings.
How many kinds of towels are there?
There are dozens of towels for the most varies uses you can imagine. Bath towels, sheet towels, foot towels, hand towels, sports towels? And there are even other pieces, such as washing mitts or dishcloths, which are also made with terrycloth and can technically be considered towels, even though they have very different uses.
A towel set, which is generally the accepted basic collection of towels everyone should have available is usually composed of three different kinds of towels:
1. The bath towel is the largest of the three. It is used for drying the body after a shower. It should be rectangular and large enough to wrap around one's body.
2. The hand towel is the medium-sized towel of the set. It is used for drying your hands after washing them, or to wrap long hair after showering.
3. The wash towel, or washcloth, is the smallest of the set, and it is used to complement the other two, completing the drying process.
Whether you are looking for a single towel or a matching set, wishing for 100% cotton or willing to try a cotton-blend, different towels will have different usages. Make sure you pick what is right for you, so every part of your daily routine feels comfortable and right.