Kitchen towels also still provide a visual and aesthetic boost, helping to elevate a kitchen or party with just the right visual touch. Want to line a basket of baked goods or food before serving? Not a problem. They can prove helpful if you have run out of disposable napkins and need to use something in a pinch. They can help to cover recently heated products to keep warm, can be used to dry freshly washed produce, or even thrown over the shoulder like a professional chef might do. Trust us, it looks pretty cool.

It’s important to consider size when it comes to kitchen towels as well. While these towels will obviously be much smaller than bath towels, it’s important to grab a towel large enough to fold multiple times over. The more ways a towel can be folded, the more helpful it will be for transporting hot items or drying off sharp utensils like knives. The larger the towel, the more surface area you have to work with, making cleanups a breeze. Keep in mind that the standard kitchen towel is around 20×30 inches, a perfect size for most tasks.

Unlike bath towels, which are soft and plush enough for our personal comfort, kitchen towels are generally made to be tougher and more coarse. They tend to be made with thicker fabrics and materials that that are better suited to handle messes and the more extreme and varying types of conditions found in the kitchen. These kitchen towels are also meant to be used for years, and so it is vital to ensure that they won’t tear or ruin easily. Below are the most popular fabrics that are used to make kitchen towels. Which one is right for your kitchen?

Cotton

Cotton has emerged as the most common material in kitchen towels due to its soft texture and absorbent properties. This makes cotton kitchen towels an excellent choice for a multi-functional towel that excels at kitchen clean up. Cotton is also an extremely durable fabric, and is quite adept at withstanding hundreds of washing machine cycles. That durability comes from a process during the making of the towels in which the cotton is weaved tightly together. This allows the towel to have higher rates of absorption when wiping away spills. The soft properties of cotton also minimize any risk for scratching crystal or glass during hand drying. Certain fabrics are more likely to leave scuffs, but a clean cotton towel is an amazing choice for hand washing any kind of dish ware. Another boon is that cotton towels are also consistently cheap and available to buy in bulk. These towels are versatile enough that you’re bound to get great use out of it every single day.

Microfiber

Microfiber towels have been surging in popularity in recent years, and it’s not too difficult to see why. Microfiber towels are made with synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon. Each fiber is meant to act and move independently to create a towel that is incredibly soft, excelling at wicking away moisture as opposed to absorbing it. For that reason, microfiber towels are ideal for cleaning tasks such as wiping down surfaces or polishing silverware. The fine properties of the microfiber also ensures an uncanny ability to clean up dirt, grime and smaller particles. If you find yourself constantly dealing with smudges and stains on your glassware or silverware, these towels can be true lifesavers. But keep in mind that the same characteristics that make microfiber unique also can work against them. These towels prove to be less durable and absorbent than their cotton counter parts, and often retail at a much higher cost.

Linen

Linen makes for a thinner towel that lacks the dynamic utility of cotton or microfiber. Linen excels at buffing out scuffs on glassware or dinnerware, and is generally a wonderful fabric to use for decorative purposes. That aside, linen is certainly not an ideal fabric to use when trying to soak up spills since it tends to have an extremely low level of absorbency. Durability in linen towels can also be an issue. They often tend to rip or pull much more quickly than other materials, and do not withstand the stress of repeated wash very well. For those reasons linen towels may not be the best bet if you are looking for a versatile, every day type of towel. These kitchen towels might appeal instead for its specialized usage potential.

Terrycloth

Terrycloth towels excel at soaking up liquids and are generally considered to be the most absorbent fabric that a dishtowel can be made from. Terrycloth is a material that is made by tightly sewing together loops of cloth that creates an increased surface area for the fabric. These towels are wonderfully soft and ideal to use as hand towels and to soak up spill or to wipe down surfaces. However, a downside to terrycloth is that lint and other small particles often cling to the fabric, and so it should not be used around any food products or beverages. That also means that terrycloth has the potential to scratch glass, crystal, and other materials that make up dinner and silverware, so be sure to avoid buffing or drying anything of value this towels made from this fabric.

The term “kitchen towel” is a broad term to that lumps together a few different types of towels found in the kitchen that might serve a more express or focused purpose. Some of the most common variations include “Chef’s Towels”, “Dish Towels”, and “Tea Towels”. While the casual chef or homeowner may not need multiple towels for unique purposes, these variations of towels do exist for a reason. Let’s explore their key differences and unique functions below.

Dish Towel

A Dish Towel, as the name implies, is largely meant to be used around the sink to wash and dry dishes. Often referred to as “dish rags”, these towels are staples of the kitchen. Dish towels rose in popularity during the 20th century on the heels of the great depression. With money tight, decorative towels and other items became an unreasonable luxury. Home makers would take cloth from various items that lay around the house like burlap and animal feed sacks, cut them up, to use them as towels or clothing.

Nowadays dishtowels are generally made with absorbent cotton and are often used exclusively to wash dishes or dirty hands, and are coveted for their ability to be washed and used without attracting lint. For kitchens without a dishwasher, these towels have become especially vital. However, these kitchen towels are some of the most limited in their versatility, and so they may not be the best suited for most modern kitchens. If you’re planning on keeping a dish towel in the kitchen, consider having another type of kitchen towel handy to assist in other tasks.

Chef’s Towels

Chef’s Towels are a professional cook’s best friend, but don’t let that scare you off. Even if you’re a kitchen amateur, these towels are extremely valuable to have at the ready in any kitchen. These towels are amongst the most multi-functional of all kitchen towels, and their wide range of flexibility is probably what most people have in mind when they think of the value that a kitchen towel can bring. Just don’t expect your chefs towel to be a showstopper. These towels are made for the value that they bring to prep work and cooking, not for visual appeal.

While they are generally bland looking, don’t let that put you off; they are so valuable that professional Chefs will always keep one close by. Walk into any kitchen, and you are bound to see a Chef’s towel strewn over a shoulder or kept within arms reach on any surface. Consider them an extension of the chef. These towels excel at drying off produce or wiping clean hands or knives during cooking. They also come in handy when quickly moving heated dish ware from one spot to another without burning your skin. For anyone looking to get a wide range of functional use from a kitchen towel, a chef’s towel just might be the best bet.

Tea Towels

Tea Towels were originally intended as a functional aid for tea parties. As the name suggests, these towels could help mute the heat emanating from scorching hot kettles, and could also be used to present pastries and scones during tea time. Often made from linen or terrycloth, tea towels were often visual works of art that people were proud to show off in the kitchen. The linen fabric also ensure that tea towels an effectively buff smudges and watermarks from glass and silverware.

But remember; terrycloth and linen can tear and break down after repeated usage or washes. They also shout predominant towel used to clean up messes or absorb spills. As such, try to keep tea towels for lighter work or decorative purposes around the kitchen.

Flour Sack Towels

Flour Sack Towels, despite the name, are not made from flour sacks. Rather these towels are a produced from a collection of fine cotton threads that are tightly sewn together. While perhaps lesser known then the types of towels listed above, flour sack towels offer an incredibly diverse range of use. The cotton fabric makes them durable and absorbent, while also repelling lint, and so they are ideal for washing dishes and cleaning up spills.

These towels can be rewashed hundreds of times without the quality degrading, and this beating that they can take ensures that they are an excellent choice to help clean up kitchen spills and messes. For a kitchen in need of a towel that aids in all types of tasks, flour sack towels just might be the ideal fit.