Just like our cookware, kitchen towels have to take a lot of heat in the kitchen. Used for drying dishes, mopping up spills, as an oven mitt or for cleaning tasks around the home, the kitchen towel also needs to survive frequent washing and drying.For all these reasons and more, when we need to replace kitchen towels we should spend some time looking at what the best kitchen towels have which makes them stand out. If you are in the market for new towels, read on for some bestseller reviews, as well as an in-depth look at the different types of towels available and why some are better for drying dishes than others.
The large Utopia Kitchen 12 pack flour sack kitchen towels are our best pick for providing lint-free drying along with other household and craft uses.
The DII pack of six terry kitchen dish cloths (gray) is our budget pick for highly absorbent cleaning and drying throughout the home.
Table of Contents
- Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Kitchen Towels
- 1. Utopia Kitchen 12 Pack Flour Sack Kitchen Towels
- 2. DII Pack of Six Terry Kitchen Dish Cloths
- 3. Utopia Towels 12 Pack Kitchen Towels
- 4. Utopia Towels 12 Pack Bar Mop Towels
- 5. Fecido Twin Pack Classic Kitchen Towels
- 6. Sticky Toffee Four Pack Terry Kitchen Towels
- 7. Aunt Martha’s Seven Pack Flour Sack Large Kitchen Towels
- 8. Cotton Craft Eight Pack Euro Cafe Kitchen Towels
- 9. Brooklyn Bamboo Three Pack Kitchen Towels
- 10. Buff Home Three Pack Microfiber Kitchen Towels
- Things to Consider Before Buying a Kitchen Towel
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Kitchen Towels
1. Utopia Kitchen 12 Pack Flour Sack Kitchen Towels
Measuring a larger 28" by 28", the Utopia Kitchen 12 pack flour sack kitchen towels are made from pure ringspun white cotton. These lighter weight towels are lint free and the edges are hemmed. Some users have commented that they are not as absorbent as expected and they can be thinner than other types of flour sack. If you are looking to use them for crafts rather than in the kitchen, some may be off-square, so you may want to check them before starting your project.
2. DII Pack of Six Terry Kitchen Dish Cloths
Measuring 12" square, these DII pack of six terry kitchen dish cloths (gray) are ideal for a range of tasks in the kitchen and wider home. Made from pure cotton they are low lint and highly absorbent. The manufacturer advises these are cold water wash only, although some owners have washed them at higher temperatures with minimal shrinkage. They may also bleed dye on their first wash.
3. Utopia Towels 12 Pack Kitchen Towels
Made of pure ringspun cotton, the Utopia Towels 12 pack kitchen towels are white with a blue stripe. These are lighter weight towels which are highly absorbent and able to dry quickly after use. They measure 15" by 25" although there may be considerable shrinkage after the first wash.These towels may also be thinner than comparable cotton towels and may lack some absorbency, however, the bulk 12 pack means that you can change them frequently without running out of kitchen towels in between washes.
4. Utopia Towels 12 Pack Bar Mop Towels
With each towel measuring 16" by 19", the Utopia Towels 12 pack bar mop towels are ideal for cleaning spills as drying dishes. These white towels are made from pure ringspun cotton with a terry weave for extra absorbency. These may continue to shed lint for the first few washes and may be thinner than other types of bar mop towels.
5. Fecido Twin Pack Classic Kitchen Towels
The Fecido twin pack classic kitchen towels (red) measure 19" by 27" and are made from pure cotton. These are Portuguese-made heavy duty towels with a red checkered design that soften with each wash and are absorbent and lint-free.A small number of these towels have some quality control issues, as seams have started to come unstitched with little use, although the manufacturer has been responsive to any complaints raised. Like any kitchen towels, use of fabric softener can also limit their absorbency.
6. Sticky Toffee Four Pack Terry Kitchen Towels
Made from pure cotton, the Sticky Toffee four pack terry kitchen towels (blue) have a popcorn terry construction for thickness and absorbency. This four piece set comes ribbon wrapped and comprises two plain blue towels and two with ones with triple blue bands running through. Although the color is listed as blue, you may find that these are more of a green-blue or teal blue. Each towel measures 28" by 16" and are fully dryer safe, although these towels do not come with any hanging loop.
7. Aunt Martha’s Seven Pack Flour Sack Large Kitchen Towels
Measuring 33" by 38", the Aunt Martha’s seven pack flour sack large kitchen towels (white) are made from pure cotton that has been pre-washed and pre-bleached. These 130 thread count towels are extra absorbent and hemmed on all sides.
These are large kitchen towels so may not be useful for all drying tasks, although as well as using as kitchen towels, you may find them ideal for crafts such as embroidering or silk screening. You may find that these are not as absorbent as other types of kitchen towels and may not soften much with repeat washings.
8. Cotton Craft Eight Pack Euro Cafe Kitchen Towels
The Cotton Craft eight pack Euro Cafe kitchen towels (black) are made from 100% ringspun cotton. They have a waffle weave for extra absorbency and less lint, although it may take a number of washes before these are fully absorbent. The towels measure 16" by 28". Some owners have found that the color may sometimes change on one or more of these towels when washed, so you may want to launder in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.
9. Brooklyn Bamboo Three Pack Kitchen Towels
Made from organic bamboo, the Brooklyn Bamboo three pack kitchen towels (gray) are hypoallergenic, antifungal and able to dry faster. No chemicals or softeners are added to the bamboo fibers during manufacturer. These towels are suitable for machine washing and drying.
You may find that these are not as absorbent as other bamboo towels, and they can be prone to snagging. The colored towels that you receive may also be a slightly different color to those advertised. Bamboo is more durable and absorbent than cotton, and these towels will continue to soften after washing. These are narrower than other types of kitchen towel; measuring 26" by 8".
10. Buff Home Three Pack Microfiber Kitchen Towels
Measuring 16" by 24", these Buff Home microfiber kitchen towels are ideal for glassware, serving dishes and utensils, as well as for wiping countertops. Some users would prefer that they were more absorbent for drying dishes. These bright colored stripy towels also come with a one year satisfaction warranty and are designed to go through over 500 laundry cycles.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Kitchen Towel
Kitchen towels are suitable for many tasks, whether drying dishes, using as an oven mitt, wiping up spills from the countertop, dusting or even polishing the silver!
A decent towel is important when used for drying in the kitchen as it needs to be absorbent enough to assist speed drying and prevent formation of water spots on your plates and flatware. You should also look for towels that are lint-free; lint deposits often occur from towels that are cheaper quality or have a looser weave fabric. Some towels will shed lint during the first few washes and then stop.
Towels with higher thread counts tend to be more absorbent. If you use a less absorbent towel, it may mean you have to go through two or three when drying a lot of dishes. A stronger weave towel with quality hem stitching can mean that it will look its best after repeated wash and dry cycles.
Kitchen Towel Fabrics
Kitchen towels are often made of pure cotton. This means the towels are soft enough to absorb moisture, but durable enough for frequent washing. Cotton will shrink after washing and drying - average shrinkage can be around 11% or more. Better quality towels with a tighter cotton weave are usually more absorbent and can be more durable.
Linen towels can be very decorative, but the thinner and looser weave makes them less practical in a busy kitchen. Although some linens may be slightly more durable than cotton, they are not as soft as cotton and rather than absorbing moisture, linen tends to wick it away.
Microfiber can have some advantages when used as cloths in the home, but as a kitchen towel their use can sometimes be limited by their lack of absorbency.
Types of Kitchen Towel Weaves
Terry cloth is usually pure cotton. Terry towels are usually very absorbent as terry cloth consists of raised loops able to grab hold of moisture. These can deposit some lint with first use, but usually become lint-free after a few wash cycles.
Flour sack is a multipurpose cotton typically used for glassware, proofing bread, lining bread baskets, silver polishing and dusting. Although these tend to be thinner and not as absorbent as other types of towels they are often bigger than ‘standard’ sized kitchen towels. Flour sack is often a ringspun cotton made on a ring frame. Ringspun fibers are continuously twisted together and thinned tightly to make a fine, strong and smooth yarn. How soft the fabric is depends on how many times the fiber is twisted.
The name flour sack comes from the cotton sacks in which flour, sugar and other items were traded in during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Because the sack cotton was woven diagonally, it dried easier and people realized the sacks could be recycled as towels, pillow cases, diapers and more.
Jacquard is either a cotton or a cotton/linen weave and can be ideal for drying glasses as it is lint-free
Also known as honeycomb, waffle weave is an absorbent weave often made from cotton. As well as being absorbent, waffle weave cloth is also fast drying. The flat weave is a smooth cotton without any loops. This tends to be lint-free but may not be as absorbent as other types of towels.
Links Between Kitchen Towels and Food Poisoning
A 2015 study showed kitchen towels were the most contaminated kitchen surfaces tested, and that study participants frequently handled towels, even if not drying their hands. The researchers recommended that a kitchen towel be washed after it has been used for preparing a meal.
Some research carried out by scientists at the University of Mauritius in 2018 found that E. coli was more likely to be found on multi-purpose towels that had been in use for one month. The scientists reported that the E. coli present could come from bad hygiene or fecal contamination.
49% of the towels collected had bacterial growth on them, and this growth increased as the size of family increased. Significantly higher amounts of staphylococcus and coliform bacteria were found on towels from households were meat was eaten.
It is worth noting that while most of these bacteria are relatively harmless to many of us, some such as E. coli and staphylococcus are known to cause food poisoning.
Reducing the Risk of Contaminated Kitchen Towels
Practicing good kitchen hygiene, such as through handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, and using separate boards for raw and cooked foods, is probably the best way to reduce the risk of contaminating your towels. Kitchen hygiene can need even more attention if you have a bigger household.
As well as good hygiene and food safe practices, here are some other tips to help stop bacteria treating your kitchen towels as a petri dish:
- Keep separate kitchen towels for separate jobs. Use for hand drying, one for drying dishes etc and limit the use of multipurpose kitchen towels.
- Change kitchen towels and cloths at least daily and try to keep the use of each towel to just one person.
- Disinfect or wash kitchen towels and cloths at 140°F after use.
- Clean your washing up brushes regularly – you can usually just pop them through the dishwasher on a hot cycle.
In theory, we should put a kitchen towel in the hamper once we have finished after a meal, but in the real world, aiming for once a day - or less if the towel begins to smell sour - is more realistic. You should also allow them to dry out overnight before placing them in the hamper as if they are in there for a week before next wash day, they will start to smell or even develop mildew.
Towels should be laundered with other towels at 140°F rather than with clothes. Although labels may advise against hot washing; delicate cycles or lower temperatures do not usually get them biologically clean.
If there are stains, then you may need to pre-treat before putting through a wash cycle. If your towels are all white, then a spot of chlorine bleach will help keep them white, or if your towels are colored, you can used some powder oxygenated bleach. Avoid bleaching too often as this can weaken the fabric of the towel.
Fabric softener can prevent towels form being fully cleaned in the washing machine, and more importantly it leaves a film on the outer of the towel which will stop it from being as absorbent and may in some cases transfer to the pots that it is being used to dry.
Also avoid using any rinsing agents or starch, as if you use kitchen towels in food preparation, these may leave odor or a taste on your food.
Cotton towels are still the most popular type of kitchen towel, although microfiber and more environmentally friendly options such as bamboo are also becoming popular. There are some food safety concerns around the use of kitchen towels, although good hygiene and appropriate laundering will reduce the risk of tea towels becoming contaminated.Having to take the heat on a daily basis, a kitchen towel needs to be durable, absorbent and easy to wash and dry, so if your towels are looking worse for wear and you are ready to invest in some new ones, we trust our reviews of the best kitchen towels have been helpful.