Any bath towel comes in a wide range of styles and thread counts in order to provide you with maximum softness when you get out of the bath or shower. Towels can be made from a variety of textiles and made with special technology. This allows towels to absorb more water, stay strong, dry quickly or retain a super-soft feel over time.
Towel terms like “zero twist yarns” might confuse you but that is why this guide was created. The key terms used to described towels, are summarized here. This may make it easier for you to understand and ultimately choose the right towels for your home. The good thing about this guide, is that you can mix and match towels to work best at the task at hand.
Bath towel fibers
Most towels today are made from cotton or cotton blends. The type of cotton used has a huge impact on the durability of the towel, its feel and color-fastness. Here is a quick summary of some common fibers and how they impact the towel:
Bamboo fiber is made from Bamboo grass. It has a velvety soft texture and a lustrous appearance that dyes well. Bamboo fiber is usually blended with cotton. These towels are naturally anti-bacterial and mildew-resistant. This fiber is also an environmentally friendly choice because bamboo is highly sustainable, fast-growing and it does not require pesticides.
Egyptian cotton is favored in luxury markets. Grown in Egypt’s warm climate, it is prized for it’s extra-long fibrous threads. A highly absorbent cotton is produced that is strong, yet breathable. The durability is exceptional and Egyptian cotton can last for years with proper care.
This is a trademark for a high-quality, long-staple cotton fiver that was developed in India. The soft and plush fibers of this cotton creates a fluffy towel with a suede-like texture with excellent absorbency.
Certified organic cotton is grown under highly controlled conditions without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. It is specially harvested to ensure sustainability and little environmental impact. Some eco-friendly dyes are often used with organic cotton to create a truly environmentally friendly towel.
Pima cotton is often grown in the warm, dry climate of the southwestern United States. It is made from the same plant as Egyptian cotton. Pima is considered to a be a superior blend of cotton because the plant is known to produce rich, extra-long staple fibers that are prized for their strength and absorbency.
Grown exclusively in Turkey, it is a premium cotton that features extra-long staples. This long staple creates a towel with a high level of comfort, absorbency and durability.
Almost as important as the fiber’s used to make the bath towel, is the yarn’s construction. There are three common construction techniques listed below that are used to produce diverse yarns with unique properties.
Combed cotton has literally been “combed” to remove short, uneven fibers and debris. This results in a longer, stronger and more lustrous cotton that is perfect for weaving.
Ringspun cotton is created from a combination of long and short staple yarn. They are tightly twisted together to create a stronger, smoother and finer yarn. You get a more refined feel than that if a basic combed cotton yarn.
Twist refers to the number of twist per inch of yarn. If the amount of twists in a yarn is lower, the towel will be more plush. More twists add strength and uniformity to a yarn. This results in a more durable, substantial feeling towel. Low- or zero-twist fabric can only be made from longer staple cotton yarn.
Feel of a bath towel
If you forget the color choices, decorative details, technical terms and the types of fibers, it comes down to the feel of the towel. The perfect towel is the one you thing feels best. Before you by, you should consider the type of towel you want. Light and fluffy or substantial and dense. There is no right answer but understanding the difference will help you to choose the perfect towel for yourself.
Light and fluffy
This type of bath towel is woven from zero or low-twist yarn. These towel have longer loops (also called pile) that add a fluffiness you an run your fingers through and an almost airy feel. These towels are absorbent without become completely soaked. They efficiently wick water away, rather than soaking ituyo and feel light against your skin.
Heavy and Substantial
These are most often crafted from high-twist, multi-ply yarn. This bath towel has a shorter, more densely woven pile and a substantial, weighty feel. Soft to the touch, the uniform surface of the towel is very dense and absorbent.