Towel Buying Guide

There's nothing like the feeling of a soft, clean towel on your skin. This towel buying guide will help you choose towels for your family that are comfortable, durable and fit your budget.

Towels 101

Towels are among the hardest working tools in your household, keeping you and your family clean and dry, and accenting the decor of your bathroom. There are a wide variety of sizes, styles and fabrics to choose from. Cotton is by far the most popular towel fabric based on its softness, absorbency and durability. But you have other choices such as bamboo, which has hypoallergenic properties, and microfibre, which is an extra soft, durable manmade material. With a bit of research, you'll soon be on your way to stocking your linen closet with everything from comfy bath towels to non-slip bath mats to handy fingertip towel for the kids.

Types of Towels


Bath Towels

Standard bath towels range from 27 by 52 inches to 30 by 58 inches and are must-have towels for drying yourself after a shower or bath. Although they’re not as big as bath sheet towels, they typically provide enough coverage to keep you comfy and warm after a good soak. Standard bath towels are also easier to hang dry after use and are more economical to clean because they take up less space in your washer and dryer. They come in a variety of solids, stripes and patterns to suit your style and budget.

Bath Sheet Towels

Bath sheet towels are oversized bath towels that range from 35 by 60 inches to 40 by 70 inches. They’re ideal for wrapping yourself up completely and staying warm after soaking in the bath or rinsing off in the shower. If you’re looking to upgrade your basic bath ritual to spa-worthy indulgence, choose thick, plush cotton bath sheets for the ultimate in comfort and luxury. They can be purchased in bath sheet towel sets to keep your bathroom coordinated and provide the best value.

Hand Towels

Hand towels range from 16 by 28 inches to 18 by 30 inches and are an everyday essential for your bathroom. They're large enough to dry your hands yet small enough to stack on a vanity or hang on a towel rack to dry quickly. Hand towels can also enhance your bathroom decor, especially if they're monogrammed or embroidered for an added touch of elegance. Be sure to stock up on this bathroom staple so you and your family always have them handy. 

Face Cloths

Face cloths, also known as washcloths, are often included in bathroom towel sets. Measuring just 13 by 13 inches, their petite size and quick-dry composition make them a practical choice for washing in the bath or shower. They’re also a handy size for kids to scrub their faces over the sink or clean up small spills on the bathroom vanity. Be sure to stock up on extra value packs, so you always have plenty of clean, dry face cloths at the ready.

Bath Mats

Bath mats, or tub mats, typically measure 27 by 52 inches and feature skid-resistant latex backing to help prevent slips and tumbles. Before entering your bath or shower, place your bath mat on the floor where you'll first step when exiting. Bath mats are tightly woven and highly absorbent to better soak up excess water and help protect floors from damage. You’ll want to choose one with a cushy pile for added comfort. Bath mats come in a variety of colours and styles to complement your bathroom decor.

Types of Towel Materials


Egyptian, Pima and Turkish Cotton Towels

The fibres of Egyptian cotton are longer and finer than those of regular cotton, resulting in towels that are highly durable and extra soft. Egyptian cotton is also more porous, so towels soak up water faster and hold more moisture. Pima cotton has similar qualities to Egyptian cotton, but it's grown in the United States and South America, making it a slightly more affordable option. Supima is a trademarked name for materials made from Pima cotton. Turkish cotton is another cotton variety recognized for its superior absorbency, softness and durability. 

Organic Cotton Towels

Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, but has the same qualities as non-organic cotton. By choosing to buy organic cotton towels, you and your family can enjoy the softness and absorbency of cotton while feeling good about doing your part for the environment. You can also find organic cotton towels labeled “quick-dry.” These towels dry faster, so your dryer doesn't have to work has hard. That's good for both the environment and your pocketbook.

Terry Cloth Towels

Terry cloth is an extra soft and absorbent fabric characterized by thick, uncut loops of material. The loops increase the amount of surface area available, and the more surface area, the greater the potential for absorbing moisture. Since cotton itself is naturally absorbent, terry cloth towels made from cotton are an ideal choice for everything from face cloths to beach towels. 

Microfibre Towels

Microfibre towels are manufactured from blended manmade fibres that are split at the ends during processing to make them highly absorbent. Microfibre towels are also extra soft and durable. The softness results from the thinness of the fibres combined with their unusually smooth texture, while the microfibre material is extremely strong and long lasting compared to natural fibres such as cotton. Microfibre towels are great for absorbing dirt, grime and makeup from your skin, and for wringing out long, wet hair. They also fold compactly for easy storage in luggage or gym bags.

Bamboo Towels

Not only are bamboo towels incredibly soft, they're easy on the environment because bamboo grows well without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. The absence of these harsh chemicals results in a hypoallergenic fabric that's a great choice for babies, kids and those with allergies or sensitive skin. Bamboo towels also retain the naturally occurring antibacterial qualities of the bamboo plant, making them resistant to mould and mildew.

Towel Buying Tips:

  • Buy bath towel sets to save time and money and to keep your set coordinated
  • Choose towel colours that match your bathroom decor
  • Look for double-turned edges and double stitching for extra durability

Towel Features

Materials +

Most towels are made of cotton, but the type of cotton fibre used affects softness, durability, absorbency and colour retention. Newer materials, such as bamboo, hemp and microfibre offer additional advantages such as antibacterial properties, resistance to mold and mildew and greater absorbency. When choosing towels, consider their primary purpose to determine the right material for your needs.

Fabric Weight +

All towels have a fabric weight measured in grams per square metre (GSM). This refers to the density of the towel and is reflected in the feel and absorbency. Towels with a lower GSM (300 to 400) are lighter, thinner and dry faster, making them handy for the gym or pool. Towels with a medium GSM (400 to 600) are denser and more absorbent, which makes them practical for the bathroom or beach. Towels with a higher GSM (600 to 900) are more absorbent and take longer to dry, so they’re best suited for guest towels.

Construction +

The yarn’s construction contributes to the feel and function of your towels. Combed cotton, which is processed to remove short, uneven fibres, creates towels that are soft, strong and durable. Ringspun cotton is made by twisting individual fibres together to make a rope of cotton fibres. The higher the twist count (the number of twists per inch of yarn), the softer and more durable the material. Lower twist counts result in thicker, plusher yarn.

Colour +

Towels come in a full range of colours and are an easy, affordable way to accent your bathroom decor. Neutral colours can play a complementary, supportive role while letting other room elements, including walls, floors and fixtures, get all the attention. Choose bold colours to set a different mood or usher in a change in season. Freshly laundered, fluffy white towels create a classic look for your bathroom and can be monogrammed for added elegance.

Style +

Towels come in a wide variety of styles to add a decorative touch to your bathroom. Towels may be jacquard (a pattern woven directly into the fabric), printed (a design is printed on the surface of the towel) or embellished (trim, monograms or designer embroidery is applied to the towel) to accent your bathroom and add interest and elegance.

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Towel Care Tips:

  • Wash new towels before using
  • Add a cup of vinegar to the wash cycle periodically to remove residue and musty smells
  • Wash dark and brightly coloured towels separately
  • Avoid fabric softeners to prevent residue that reduces absorbency
  • Use a lower heat setting on your dryer or alternate between air fluff and low heat settings to avoid damaging fibres
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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