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Which Turkish bath towels are best?

Turkish towels, also called fouta or peshtemal towels, are a traditional type of towel used in baths, and have been a staple of Hammam culture for hundreds of years. Woven from high-quality Turkish cotton, peshtemal towels absorb as much water as a traditional towel, dry faster, and take up less space. They’re a practical and attractive towel solution for toting around, especially in humid environments where cloth doesn’t dry quickly. A top choice for a Turkish bath towel is this Striped Turkish Peshtemal Towel from TheAnatolian, a high-quality, cute striped towel available in a variety of colors.

What to know before you buy a Turkish bath towel

Turkish towels came to be as an important aspect of Muslim bathing culture, or Hammam, spread along with the Ottoman Empire during the 14th through early 20th centuries. One of the other words often used to describe this type of towel is fouta, which refers to a cotton cloth used historically as an item of clothing. Nowadays, this cotton is also often used to make towels. Due to their lightweight nature, they were convenient to carry to and around public baths. They spread throughout several continents with the Ottoman Empire and remain a popular towel option today, at bathhouses, the beach and at home.

Turkish towels are typically woven of Turkish cotton, known for its extra-long fibers. The longer the fiber, the fewer joins there are in the material, making for a smoother, softer and stronger fabric that improves in texture with each subsequent wash. This makes them a great choice to use as either bath or beach towels. Some more modern-style Turkish towels are woven out of a blend of cotton and synthetic materials, but these won’t always be as absorbent, soft or versatile, even if the price may be lower.

What to look for in a quality Turkish bath towel

Many Turkish towels come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Look for colors that match your bathroom color scheme. The patterns may not be as wild as traditional beach towel options, due to the style of weaving, but there’s still a massive array of patterns and colors available to match any interior style. Common patterns include various stripes and solid colors, as well as other designs, like triangular patterns that can be easily woven and suit the style.

For a quality Turkish towel, you’ll want to make sure that the towel is woven out of authentic Turkish cotton for maximum absorbency and softness. It’s also best to look for a brand that originates in the region and uses sustainable cotton. There are plenty of knockoffs out there in the style of the peshtemal, but without quality weaving and materials, they won’t function as intended.

Turkish towels are thinner than your average terrycloth towel, but they still come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. Usually, any Turkish towel that’s on the thicker side will note that in the information about the product, so it’s safe to expect a relatively thin towel. Despite this, they’re still effective dryers. They will often have a larger surface area than expected in order to efficiently dry.

How much you can expect to spend on Turkish bath towels

Turkish towels range in price from $10-$30 and up, with quality increasing as the price does.

Turkish bath towel FAQ

A. Turkish bath towels can be washed as you would wash any towel, though they’re slightly more delicate due to the tassels. Wash on a gentle cycle and either line dry (they dry quickly, so line drying is easy) or tumble dry on low. Do not use chlorine bleach. Due to the nature of the weaving and material, they’ll become softer and more absorbent as they’re used and washed, so machine washing these is actually helpful. Always check the instructions for your particular towel, as some don’t allow machine washing.

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A. Because they’re made of natural cotton, some Turkish towels will often have a rougher texture at first. This fades with washing over time, and they’ll become softer. Cotton that’s soft from the get-go is achieved using harsh chemicals during washing, so the more natural the towel-weaving process, the rougher it might be to start out with. Pre-washed towels will often be marked as such, and these are usually softer to begin with.

What’s the best Turkish bath towel to buy?

Striped Turkish Peshtemal Towel

What you need to know: This is a highly reviewed peshtemal that’s woven from natural Turkish cotton and available in 12 different color options.

What you’ll love: They’re hand woven, and the seller is noted for quick communication and shipping. The store has many options available.

What you should consider: They’re not the cheapest towel available.

Where to buy: Sold by Etsy

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Gold Case Set of Six Turkish Towels

What you need to know: This affordable set of six extra large towels is available in a series of great color options, woven of natural Turkish cotton.

What you’ll love: Made of high-quality, natural cotton, these are a steal for the price.

What you should consider: Some reviews complained of the towels shedding lint while using.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Demmex Prewashed Cotton Peshtemal Towel

What you need to know: These light, soft cotton peshtemal towels come in a super-large size that’s perfect for many uses.

What you’ll love: The tassels are double knotted to minimize unraveling. They’re extremely soft, meaning they don’t need to be washed to be comfortable to use.

What you should consider: They only come in a few, muted colors. Some reviewers found them to be pilly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Arabella Matthews writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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