Cotton is the universal fabric favoured for making towels, but there are many different varieties available and each one has its own specific qualities. Basic cotton is perfect for everyday use, with a standard absorbency and softness it’s the ideal choice for towels designed to be in constant use. Velour towels are super soft with a beautiful velvet touch, but they aren’t as absorbent as terry cloth textured styles.
Combed cotton refers to a process where the fabric has been combed to remove small fibres to reduce shedding, this type of towel has fewer short fibres than carded cotton. Carded cotton is fabric made from cotton that has been through a brushing process that removes debris, untangles and straightens thick cotton fibres to make them easier to spin into an absorbent cotton towel.
Egyptian cotton is by far the most luxurious choice of fabric for use in towels, and this is mainly because this variety of cotton is prized for its long fibres. The long thin fibres of Egyptian cotton can be made into thinner yarns than other types of cotton, ensuring optimum absorbency and a luxuriously soft touch.
GSM is a standard measurement for fabric that refers to the grams per square meter. Essentially, the higher the number the more material has gone into each square of fabric, which is good news for towels. On average a GSM of 400 and over is a good indication of a luxury towel. Every towel is made up of two main parts; a base weave and a pile. The pile refers to the loops of a towel, the number & length of loops, the thickness or coarseness of the yarn used, and how tightly the loops are packed together all affect the absorbency of your chosen towel. The surface area of any towel depends on the length of the individual loops, and the bigger the surface area the more absorbency a towel will have. Yarn thickness can also affect the absorbency; thicker yarn means fewer loops and therefore less surface area for the water to be absorbed, and vice versa with thin loops leading to better absorbency. This is why understanding the GSM and looking out for it when choosing your towels is of the utmost importance.
All towels should be machine washable but look to individual product labels for specified washing instructions. Tumble drying tends to be recommended as this will help to keep your towels soft and fluffy for longer. Be careful not to get certain cleaning products in contact with your towels such as bleach as this will damage their fibres, and facial cleaning products that contain the chemical benzoyl peroxide should also be kept away from them. Despite what many people would believe, fabric conditioners are not a good idea for keeping your towels in a luxurious condition. They should be used very sparingly if at all, as the residue that gives the fabric a nice feel will also make your towels less absorbent.
Choose the style of your towels to complement your existing bathroom decor; of course towels are easily changeable which means they can quickly update the interior. Brighten up your bathroom with colorful prints and patterns, or go for a classic look with monochrome stylings. Block colors will work well in any style bathroom, whereas busy prints are best kept to those with simple designs. There are also many towel designs available with added embellishment, such as sequins, that are sure to add a touch of glamour to your bathroom, but will need extra attention when it comes to their care.
Whatever your home style and whatever the size or number of bathrooms you have, high quality towels are one of life’s luxuries that we all deserve.