Experts explain how to shop for towels like a pro

Some would argue expensive towels are the best. Some would say – who cares – buy any. So who is correct? Actually, neither! We did a little survey. We asked women who’ve been selling towels for over 10 years – what people look for when they buy a towel? The top answers were – price, softness and weight. Followed by material and colour. These are precisely the features you should look for while buying a towel. But we would like to break down these features technically for you. So next time you buy a towel, you do it like a pro!

To add to your convenience, we have come up with a 5-step guide to buying the right towel. Next time you go to a store or online, look for the following features – and – in that order:

  1. Check the size
  2. Feel the softness and weight
  3. Read the Label
  4. Choose colour and pattern
  5. Price

Step 1: Check the size

Depending upon the use, choose the towel size. There are face towels, washcloths, bath sheets, hand towels, standard towels and bath sheets. Buying the right size for your body or needs is very important. A bigger towel is sloppy to handle. A smaller towel won’t cover your body. Shop the perfect size.

Towel Size Chart (sizes start from*):

5 step guide fo select the right towel

Step 2: Feel the softness and weight

First, rub your hand on the towel. How does it feel? It should be soft. But don’t make softness the only deciding factor. Manufacturers use fabric-softening finish on the towel. It fades away after 2-3 washes. That’s why we recommend the second step.

Pick up the towel to check its weight. Heavier towels are better in quality. In case you want a plush towel, go for the heaviest. If you are looking for a kitchen towel, choose something light in weight. Lightweight towels are quick drying. For day-to-day use, opt for something in between. Neither too heavy, nor too light. Remember weight determines the absorbency of the towels.

The weight of a towel is determined by how much fabric is used to make it. Technically it is known as GSM (Grams Per Square Meter) method. In simpler terms:

  • 300-400 – Thinner and lighter towels for gym and kitchen
  • 400-500 – Medium weight towels for everyday and beach use
  • 600-900 – High-quality absorbent towels used in high-end spas and 5-star hotels
We recommend our Five Star Spa Shangri-La Bath Towels with 683 GSM

Step 3: Read the label

There are 2 sides to the label. One shows the material the towel is made of. The other side shows the care instructions – how to wash, dry and iron the product. Read both sides.

Towels are made of cotton, combed cotton, cotton mixed with rayon or cotton mixed with polyester. Cotton towels are super absorbent. It can hold nearly 25 times of its weight in liquid. But when cotton is mixed with rayon, the absorbency of towels increases. A little mix is, in fact, not that bad. Our Lightweight Body Best Face Towels have 86% cotton and 14% polyester. They are one of the best and most economical towels in this category.

The different varieties of material towels are made of:

  • Cotton – Organic or otherwise, cotton is the most used material to make towels.
  • Egyptian Cotton – Egyptian cotton fibres are extra-long and highly absorbent. Very high-quality and luxurious, these towels are often expensive.
  • Pima Cotton – Coming from the same family of plants as Egyptian Cotton, Pima Cotton is grown in the south-western US. They are stronger than their original counterparts.
  • Turkish Cotton – Considered to be the most luxurious, long staple Turkish cotton has longer and denser loops of thread. They are thick and absorb more.
  • Bamboo – Most often mixed with high-quality cotton, bamboo is another popular towel material these days. Towels made with bamboo or its blend are super plush colour-fast and very absorbent.

Then there is weave. 2-ply is better than 1-ply – if you ever want to choose on this criteria.

Step 4: Choose colour and pattern

Pick a towel that matches your home decor or style. Brands often launch a complete towel set – bath, hand and face towel. For ease, you can buy a complete set. You can also mix-and-match to create your own statement. In case you are indecisive, go with the classic white.

Step 5: Price

We all go shopping with a budget in mind. Thus, the price is the most important deciding factor while buying a towel. We won’t buy a $100 towel even if it’s the best under every category. Pay the price according to the quality you wish to buy.

Towel Care Manual - Dos and Don’ts

  • Wash towels regularly. Ideally, you should wash your towel after 3-4 uses. But let’s face it – who has that much time and money? Instead…
  • …Dry your towels after every use by hanging them on the rack. Hang your towel in such a way that air passes through it drying out the moisture. Wet towels are breeding grounds for yeast, mold and E-coli. It’s hygienic to keep your towels dry.
  • Some people sanitize their towels. You should do it if someone sick has used a towel. You can wash your towels in 60 degrees celsius to kill the bacteria in it. But don’t do it often. Washing in high temperature weakens the fabric. That’s the reason it’s advised to wash them at 40 degrees.
  • Never bleach a towel. Bleach weakens the fibres and makes towels less absorbent.
  • Don’t use fabric softener on towels.
  • Just like you do with your cushions and pillows – fluff your towels once in a while. Or air dry them. Whites under the sun. Coloured in shade. It will make them fresh and crisp.

The right towel can enhance your bathing experience – spend some time and choose wisely. Follow the above Towel Care Manual to maintain the quality of your towel.