Kitchen towels are the unsung heroes of the kitchen. Whether you need to pull out extra hot dishes from the oven, to spilling up a glass of wine you may have accidently spilt, they are always there- ready to keep the heart of the house neat and tidy.
So, why is it that we rarely spend the right time and energy looking into what it means to be a good kitchen towel? After all, it usually isn’t until we buy one that we realize exactly what a bad kitchen towel is. We’ve all been burned by that one purchase- it doesn’t absorb, it doesn’t dry, and it isn’t much of a tea towel at all. Like it or not, kitchen linens can make or break a dining experience, whether we factor them in or not.
Luckily for you, we’ve taken the confusion out of buying the best kitchen towels. Sourcing those with the best look (very handy for hosts), the best usability and the best longevity- after all, what good would dish towels be, if they had to be replaced every month?
The Best Kitchen Towel
These 28×28” ring-spun, 100% cotton towels are the best flour sack towels on the market today. They’re incredibly absorbent and make short work of drying out food, using as a dish towel and cheese cloths. Thanks to their diagonal weave, they also leave no streaks when drying pots and pans, as well drying out very quickly after use.
Because you get so many in a pack, it’s easy to swap and switch from towel to towel as you go about your business and they make great additions to homes with a heavy focus on home-cooked food. They’re also great for families, as they can easily clean up spills and dirt quickly and easily. The Utopia kitchen towels also double-up as dusters, as they can easily pick up even the smallest amount of dirt and dust.
- Weight2.14 pounds
The ultra-absorbent DII kitchen dish cloths are an amazing addition to homes that require a lot of heavy cleaning work. If you have a big family and therefore surround yourself in a host of dirty dishes at every meal time, you’ll want these dish cloths at your beck and call- ensuring a streak-free, super-dry dish, every time.
Machine washable, these also come with low lint, so you can sure not to get those annoying fibers around the kitchen as you clean. They can also be ran through the dryer, on a low heat, without losing their color, shape, or absorbency- making them great for busy households.
- Weight6.4 ounces
Available as a baker’s dozen, the Liliane herringbone towels may look a little basic, but they can certainly pack a punch when it comes to your kitchen needs. Made of 100% 2-ply cotton and a herringbone weave, the makers of these towels are so confident in their abilities, that they have even offered a moneyback guarantee, if they don’t live up to your expectations.
The super-soft, yet highly absorbent, tea towels are perfect for those seeking a more professional look and therefore great for those with who need a towel that can handle a heavier workload. Because of their thickness, they allow chefs at home and in the business to be able to handle hot pots and pans without any danger to themselves, too- and, with nearly 2,000 positive reviews, you can be sure that this is a product you’ll love.
- BrandLiliane Collection
- Weight1.6 pounds
Our second option from Utopia focuses mainly on the drying capabilities of their dish towels, since they have designed a towel that specifically focuses on their absorbency and quick-drying efforts. These towels require a bit more care, requesting that users hand wash and air dry- although they do have the ability to be machine-washed, for those who aren’t too fussed. However, their sheer capability when it comes to doing their job keeps them in the middle-ground of our top 10.
Made entirely from natural materials and with a focus on staying free from harmful chemicals and synthetic materials, this is a great option for those with sensitive skin.
- Weight2 pounds
Next on our list is another choice from DII, who have opted to create one of the largest towels available on our list, today. These 20×30” kitchen linens are great for multiple purposes around the home but really shine when it comes to cleaning around the kitchen, including catching any loose crumbs on your worktops and mopping up spills.
These hanging kitchen towels are lightweight, quick-drying and woven to be as lint-free as a towel can be. They only come in packs of three, but their design makes them perfect for the grab-and-go lifestyle so many households require, these days.
Large surface area
- Weight9.6 ounces
This option from Fecido comes with a heavy emphasis on the vintage aspect of kitchen towels. With a classic design and commercial grade materials, these kitchen towels come with the heavyweight cleaning ability the nation fondly remembers, when cooking and cleaning were an absolute necessity and the kitchen equipment was built to match.
This is a 5-star product online and for good reason- these are high-quality, long-lasting towels that never seem to lose their color, shape, abilities or softness. Indeed, many reviewers comment on their ability to become softer and more capable over time.
- Weight1.3 pounds
Harringdons is a name that is synonymous with high quality and these additions to their line certainly do not let them down. Machine washable and lint-free, these dish towels are a great option for those looking for a heavy-duty towel that handle just about anything the home has to offer. The herringbone weave allows for multiple uses, including wiping up crumbs, dirt and spills, as well as being absorbent and quick-drying enough to handle heavy loads of washing. On top of all this, they are also great for handling hot foods, pots and pan, without harming the user, thanks to the 230gsm weave that Harringdons have opted for.
With over 1,200 5-star reviews on Amazon alone, you can be sure that this 12-pack of dish towels will hit the sweet spot of being easy to maintain and hardworking around the home. Their good value and versatility certainly seems to make for many a happy customer!
Large surface area
- Weight2.5 pounds
Made with a popcorn terry construction, the design of these dish towels has been created to effectively capture and absorb any wet dishes or spills around the kitchen. The Sticky Toffee company who created these towels prides themselves on producing the more absorbent towel on the market as well as being one of the most economical- owning several windmills and a solar farm, effectively producing 5 times more power than is actually required to create these kitchen towels.
While these are shorter than many other options on our list, they also come with some of the easiest care available, too. Simply pop them in the wash and feel free to add them to your main load, in your dryer.
- BrandSticky Toffee
- Weight14.4 ounces
The only bamboo option on our list, as these are a lot harder to come by, the Brooklyn Bamboo company have surprisingly managed to create a high-absorbent dish towel that still comes at a great price. The super-soft material is perfect for those with sensitive skin and the naturally anti-fungal properties make this ideal for kitchen use.
It may seem a little strange at first to use such a soft material around the kitchen (it feels more like a super-soft bath towel) but these are actually incredibly absorbent and fantastically durable. Available in packs of three, be sure to try these out and be wowed by the fast-drying and quick-cleaning ability that these dish towels possess.
Organic bamboo material
- BrandBrooklyn Bamboo
- Weight14.4 ounces
Best Kitchen Towel Buying Guide & FAQ
What Makes a Good Kitchen Towel
It seems like a bit of an odd question- especially, as the majority of us probably very rarely buy kitchen towels. Of course, those of you who have bought a very bad towel will automatically know what makes a good towel, because your last purchase won’t have “it”. That doesn’t help you when you’re trying to shop, however- so we’ve been kind enough to articulate the exact things a good kitchen towel should have, for you.
There’s not much point in a towel that isn’t absorbent, since this is one of the major tasks that your kitchen linen will be set to do, over the course of the next few months or years. Believe it or not, there are still some production companies out there who don’t factor this in to their creation process and some dish towels aren’t very good at drying, despite this being their main duty. Thus, this should be one of your main sticking points when looking for the best kitchen towels, without fail.
Since kitchen hand towels are likely to be the one cleaning up the mess, it’s advisable to grab a decent set that doesn’t create more mess. First, you’ll want to be sure that the material itself can handle the heavy-duty use that it’s bound to come across in the kitchen.
Speaking of, you’ll also want to be sure that your new towels are machine washable. Nice kitchen linens are pleasant to have but if you have to spend half a day hand-washing the grub and dirt out of them, it somewhat takes away the quick-clean aspect of having a kitchen towel in the first place.
Finally, the best dish towels will be lint-free, the reasons being three-fold: it’s a pain to stick them in the washing machine and dryer, as the clog up the system over time, the loose fabric sticks to the surfaces/crockery/cutlery as it runs over them, negating the cleanliness required, and the towels tend to lose their thickness and absorbency through this, making them pretty much useless after a few washes.
- Material and design
These two come hand-in-hand since the material is usually sold as part of the design. As an example, waffle designs create super-absorbent materials which are great for dish towels and cleaning up slips and spills. Meanwhile, the Herringbone-designed cloths tend to be a little tougher and with a tighter weave, making them better for handling hot pans and plates.
Having read the above, you’ll know by now that the use of the average kitchen linens makes all the difference when it comes to the best kitchen towel for your home. In other words, you can’t decide on the right kitchen towel sets for you without knowing what you want from them- and no-one can choose the right kitchen towel for you. It could be that you decide on a good all-rounder, or perhaps you’re looking for a full set of kitchen towels that provide excellent quality for the full range of requirements you have.
As a bit of a side note, depending on your use of the humble kitchen towel, you might find yourself preferring a hanging kitchen towel. These are effectively the same but come with an added loop to help users find storage areas much quicker. These are therefore ideal for those who like to quickly grab their towels and hang them up before moving onto the next task.
Whatever your preference and style, our top picks have a great selection of the some of the best dish towels and chef towels available. So, if you haven’t done so yet, go check them out.
Types of Kitchen Towels
As mentioned, each design of the available kitchen linens has their own unique specialty. If you’re still a little confused about which towel is best for which job, we go more in depth, here.
- Dish towel
These are usually a little shorter and designed specifically to dry up lots of cutlery and crockery after they’ve been through a hand-wash. They need to be very absorbent due to their job and should dry very quickly, if you buy the best dish towels. These are the kind of towels you’ll find with lots of cute images or quirky designs on them.
- Tea towel
Getting their rather quaint name from the British, tea towels are actually usually best used for drying out items in the kitchen. Not in the same way as a dish towel, though. Tea towels are for getting the excess moisture out of foods (such as tofu) or drying off fruit and veg. Because of this, they need to be tightly woven and a bit of a workhorse. You’ll likely see these with a more utilitarian look- plain, with perhaps a stripe, since their purpose is to work, not to look good.
- Chef towel
A very sturdy towel that is usually much larger than the others and comes in a plain design. This is because chefs will usually use these for three main purposes- the swipe, swoosh and grab. The swipe being the ability to clean off knives and plates quickly, the swoosh being wiping down worktops after the last items were chopped up and the grab allowing them to grab scorching hot pans and plates once used.
Laundry Tips and Best Practices
Taking care of your kitchen towels not only lets them do their job better in the long run but increases their overall longevity. In terms of the washing machine itself, you shouldn’t need to worry too much- good quality kitchen linens are remarkably tough, especially when wet. All you’ll need to do is use a detergent that works well with stains, since this is what your kitchen towels are the most likely to suffer from.
The most important part of cleaning your towels is having them dry correctly. That is, allowing them to air dry, since using a machine dryer is likely to break down the fibers in the towels, ruining their ability to clean/dry and ruining the hems. It’s not uncommon to see someone say their towels have been ruined due to the poor quality, when really it comes down to improper care.
Another common question when it comes to proper care of your kitchen towels is how often you should wash your kitchen linen. While, we can’t assume your kitchen habits, a good one for you to fall into would be to ideally wash them after every use. Obviously, this isn’t always feasible unless you have a good stash of towels set aside, ready at a moment’s notice (and that’s not a bad idea!), so it’s all about using common sense. If you’ve just dried some clean dishes, you probably don’t need to stick your dish towel in the wash- if you’ve done a big meal and used multiple towels cleaning up various dirt and debris from your efforts, you should probably pop these in the washing machine.
Best Kitchen Towel FAQ:
Q: What Is a Kitchen Dish Towel?
A: Dish towels are used to dry up the freshly-washed dishes in your kitchen. They can usually be found in a plethora of designs, including the ever-popular quirky or unique images, and can be found pretty much anywhere. Of course, just because they’re found anywhere and everywhere, it doesn’t mean that all dish towels are created equal. Be sure to purchase one with the right material, at the right size, for your needs.
Q: What fabric is best for kitchen towels?
A: The fabric you choose should be based on what you’d like the main purpose of your kitchen towel to be. There are many different material types and they all come with their own pros and cons:
Cotton tea towels are one of the most popular materials available. They are generally one of the cheaper options and are widely available from most outlets. Cotton towels are usually very absorbent and great to use as dish towels. However, they do tend to be more likely to leave lint around the place, especially at first. If you notice this, pop them in the wash a few times to try and dislodge the loose fibers.
Unbleached cotton is one of the best choices here, as they retain their natural oils and therefore remain more durable, for longer. Of course, because they haven’t been bleached, you may find that you need to put them through the wash a few times, before unlocking their full absorbency.
Another type of cotton towel is the flour sack towels. Contrary to their name, they are not actually made from old flour sacks- their fabric is actually a very fine, loosely woven cotton that is perfect for drying and draining food. The classic example here is tofu, which can be wrapped in a flour sack towel and pressed gently to release any retained water from the block, before use.
Linen tends to be woven tighter and is also much tougher than other materials. They can handle a lot of use and will usually last the longest of the material types, due to their weave, which also makes them the strongest form available of the classic materials. A good linen cloth will also keep their shape and color for longer, since they are more resistant to grease.
Their resistance to grease, however, also translates to not being very absorbent. Of course, if you aren’t using your kitchen towels for drying dishes, you shouldn’t be too bothered by this. Naturally, this leaves them with being more of a workhouse in the kitchen- used for wiping down surfaces and handling hot pots and pans.
As one of the newest materials available on the market (and the newest material type that we mention), bamboo has without a doubt become a strong alternative to its competition. This is, in part, due to super-absorbent abilities that bamboo displays- being up to four times more absorbent than cotton.
They are also the eco-friendly choice, since they are 100% natural and 100% biodegradable, which is quickly becoming one of the more important aspects for customers, these days. This also makes them naturally anti-bacterial, which is ideal for the kitchen- and are even allergy and sensitive-skin friendly.
Q: Should dish towels be washed separately?
A: Dish towels are designed to handle a lot of what the kitchen has to offer, including detergents, dirt and debris, as well as extended use throughout the day. Therefore, kitchen towels are not particularly sensitive to different washing types. Essentially, this means you don’t need to go out of your way to wash dish towels separately to your normal wash. Of course, if you have a very dirty towel or a lot of towels to clean up, it might be worth waiting for an empty drum before chucking your linens in, to give your washing machine a fighting chance!
Our Top Pick
Being able to use your Utopia kitchen towels anywhere around the house, including as craft supplies, muslin cloths or simply around the house and kitchen, these kitchen linens top our list. They’re perfect for anyone looking to bulk-buy their dish towels and are so diverse in what they can achieve, it was hard not to place them at number one. If you’re looking for a great dish towel at a great price, that can achieve anything you need around the home- whether you’re into hosting big meals or simply want a cloth you can grab and go- then the Utopia flour sack towels should be your first port of call.
- How to Keep a Kitchen Towel Clean - wikiHow