A kitchen towel should function as your de facto best friend in the kitchen. These little linens offer a wide range of versatility and are vital for a variety of important tasks, whether you are prepping a meal, cooking, or handling the clean up. We know, we know; it might seem odd to get excited about what is essentially considered a glorified rag, but ignore that noise. Kitchen towels are seriously some of the most helpful products that can be kept in the kitchen. So make sure to always keep a fresh one close by.
Modern kitchen towels come in a variety of textures, fabrics, colors and styles. These handy kitchen products first started to pop up in England during the 18th century and have grown into bonafide kitchen staples ever since. Originally produced from soft, absorbent fabrics, these towels were used to help wash and dry glass and cutlery long before the advent of the dishwasher. In those days kitchen towels were a luxury of sorts for the wealthy. Back then these “tea towels” as they were referred, were made primarily of lint-free linen, often close at hand during tea time.
They were often used by the help staff to buffer and polish fine china, crystal, and stemware or to help hold scalding hot tea kettles. Servants could also package fresh food and pastries in white linen towel when serving a snack or a meal. Aesthetically kitchen towels would also function as defacto pieces of art. Often handmade, women and children could embroider their towels, adding a personal touch to their spaces that could be enjoyed and passed down through families for generations.
As the industrial revolution hit, kitchen towels were finally able to be mass produced. Now accessible to a growing socio-economic class of people, kitchen towels began to transform with the modernization of the times. Cotton began to emerge as the predominant material for towels, due to the more cost effective and softer nature of the fabric.
The kitchen towels of today are used to aid in wide array of tasks. It’s almost staggering at how much use you can get around the kitchen get with a product as simple as a towel. They can help clean up messes and spills. Kitchen towels aid in drying and buffing dirty dishes and glassware, hands and surfaces, and devices around the kitchen. It’s also easy to use kitchen towels a buffer against searing hot items, whether you are removing a dish from the oven to transporting a scalding hot pot around the kitchen. In fact, it’s almost impossible to spend time in the kitchen without finding a great use for your towel.
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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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, 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.
There are thousands of brands to consider from when it comes to picking out your next towel. Since these products are so vital in the kitchen, chances are that any kitchen or home goods store that you walk into will be stocked to the nines with towels from various companies. The most important thing to settle on before you purchase your towel is just what type of towel and what type of fabric makes the most sense for you. Try to determine what tasks you can envision using the towel most for. Hoping to clean up kitchen spills and messes? Higher absorbency towels like a dish towels or flour sack towels made from cotton are ideal. Want something decorative? Linen tea towels might be the best bet.
Once you’ve decided the what, it’s time to examine the where. It might not seem to matter who makes your kitchen towel, but that could not be further from the truth. In fact, not all towels are created equal. When you consider the beating that a kitchen towel is bound to take in the kitchen, it becomes vitally important to ensure that they are made from quality materials from reputable brands. These items should last a long while in the kitchen, and the last thing you’ll want to do is to constantly re-purchase a set of towels. Below, explore some of our absolute favorite brands to consider.
Utopia Deals is a wholesale company that produces some seriously excellent kitchen linens. Their towels can be found at their website or through a majority of online retailers including Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Sears. Over the years they’ve grown to sell over 20 million products and have established themselves as a highly reputable brand. They offer a wide variety of towels made from every type of fabric. From cotton to flour sack to microfiber, Utopia has you covered. Another plus is that Utopia towels can often be purchased cheaply in bulk. And while you can be sure that a towel from Utopia is of the highest quality, it never hurts to have extras lying around.
Aunt Martha’s is also a wholesale kitchen embroidery company that offers an eye catching array of towels for every purpose. If you are looking for something to upgrade the visuals of your kitchen while also providing functional use, this brand is for you. Made from the highest quality material, Aunt Martha’s can be found at online retailers Amazon, or in person at your local Walmart.
VibraWipe was launched in 2013 with the goal of providing high quality cleaning products at affordable prices. In accordance with their mission, this brand produces kitchen towels that absolutely excel at cleaning up messes and spills. While not the most visually appealing towels, there is no mess that a VibraWipe towel can’t clean. Their products are well made, durable, and cost effective. Looking to explore more of their products? Be sure to check out their website vibrawipe.myshopify.com, or head over to their amazon storefront.
Fecido Fine Home Products have been perfected kitchen products for years. This European company produces incredibly soft towels and linens can be found in hotels and professional kitchens around the world, and for good reason. Fecido makes functional yet visually stunning products that stand the test of time, and a good old fashioned machine wash. Their towels are highly absorbent and lint-resistant, and come at a cheap price tag. Looking to grab some kitchen towels from Fecido? Your best bet is to head over to Amazon.
The Homemakers Dish is obsessed with providing beautiful and high quality towels to customers, and boy do they succeed. Their cotton towels are not only decorative must-haves, but highly absorbent, wrinkle resistant, and durable to help tackle even the toughest of kitchen tasks. Their towels are available in a number of unique colors, sizes, and designs. Be sure to check them out online at thehomemakersdish.com or through their store on Amazon.
Cotton Creations is a unique online retailer that allows you full control of your product buying-process. They offer the highest quality kitchen towels of every type and material to fit any budget or need. Another reason to love Cotton Creations? They allow a unique way to design your own linens, so you’re not stuck only choosing between pre-produced options. Have a design you’ve been dying to try out? Visit them at cottoncreations.com and head over to their design station to fully customize every aspect of your kitchen linen, from sizing to text to materials. You can even upload an image to have embroidered on your own set of kitchen towels!
Care And Maintenance
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again. Kitchen towels are bound to be amongst the most used products kept in your kitchen. Due to that, they can also get extremely dirty, and fast! Ever notice a musky funk coming from around the sink? Chances are that it’s due to a dirty towel. Kitchen towels often come in contact with bacteria from uncooked or unwashed food. They are also often are used to soak up spilled liquids and water, and are left to improperly dry. The last thing that you want to do is dry your hands or wash your silverware with a rancid towel. Below, we’ll highlight a couple of things that you should do regularly to ensure that your towels are clean and ready for use.
- Make sure to keep your kitchen towels dry, and to allow to dry completely. If you’ve just sopped up some soapy water around the sink, don’t leave your dish rag in a ball. Squeeze out any remaining water and hang up to dry thoroughly before the next use.
- Wash them often. It’s perfectly fine to toss towels in the washer/dryer, so fear not. However, don’t go too long without giving them a wash. If you’ve cleaned up some spilt milk or pasta sauce, give your towel a prompt washing. Be sure to wash your towels with hot water and to immediately place into the dryer. You won’t want to clean your towels only to have them sit in the washing machine over night and have to repeat the process all again. Also – be sure to plan for your washings. It’s important to always have an extra towel or two on hand to grab when your main towel is being washed. The last thing you want is to busily prepping or cooking in the kitchen only to reach for your kitchen towel and have it not be available.
- Notice a particularly heinous smell coming from your kitchen towel? If so, you might opt to spring for a heavier cleaning. Grab a bucket and fill with hot water, a touch of vinegar and a tablespoon of baking soda. The vinegar and baking soda will help eliminate any smells while you let the towel soak for about 15 minutes.
- While it might go without saying, try not to wash your hands or produce with a towel that’s recently cleaned some dishes or wiped up a spill. As mentioned above, dish towels can quickly get unsanitary in the right conditions, and you won’t want to dry recently cleaned hands with a dirty towel.
- Don’t use your towel to soak up spills that might contain raw meat. Leave that kind of cleaning work to your paper towels that can be immediately disposed of. Using a kitchen towel to clean contaminated surfaces can easily spread the bacteria and cause sickness.