Monday:  towels

I love bridal registries-it is fun to get a glimpse of the home the newlyweds are aspiring to create. Personality and trends of color, pattern and style are most apparent in the bath and bed linens choices.

For most of my domestic career, I have decorated every bathroom with embellished and/or thematic towels.

When we remodeled/updated our master bath a couple of years ago, I was reading everything I could on decorating-Pinterest became a part-time job and Home Depot employees greeted me by name.  And I came across this little gem:  101 Decorating Secrets from Interior Designers.  That is where I found an article written by Marni Jameson for the Seattle Times “The Perfect Towel Comes Only in White.”  Here are the bullet points:

  • Don’t rely on towels to provide bathroom pizazz. People often buy colored towels to jazz up a bathroom, but towels shouldn’t be the focal point any more than toilet paper should be. Add drama with wall color, fixtures, art, mirror frames and accessories. Let the towels be white.
  • Fabric is key to function. Look for high-grade, combed cotton. Avoid synthetics. Higher-grade cottons (Egyptian, Supima, Turkish) have a long staple, or fiber, so they last longer and absorb more. Combed cotton has had the shorter threads removed, so towels don’t pill or cover you with lint. Edges should be double turned and double stitched to prevent fraying.
  • Dense loops equal thirsty towels. Most towels are terry, meaning they have loops. Look for tightly woven loops that stand up straight like grass. You shouldn’t see the base of the towel. Velour towels feel nice, but aren’t as thirsty.
  • Don’t be a sucker for softness. Many people buy towels for how soft they feel. Manufacturers know this and coat towels with sizing to achieve that silky feel. Sizing, however, repels water, so towels push water around. After several washings, sizing comes out — a good thing — but towels feel coarser, leaving you feeling deceived. Adding vinegar to the rinse cycle helps cut through sizing. Never add fabric softener.
  • Too much of a good thing. Thick towels feel luxurious, but towels can be too thick. Thick towels get heavy, take longer to dry and hog shelf space. Find a happy medium. My criteria: A towel shouldn’t be so thick that you can’t dry inside your ears.
  • Cover your bottom line. When buying bath towels, open them for size. They run from 27 x 50 inches to 40 x 70 inches and many sizes in between. If you’re taller or larger than average, you may prefer a bath sheet. Select a size right for your body, erring toward generous. It should wrap you and cover the basics.
  • If you must display fancy towels, go ahead. Just don’t use them. Some towels are just decorative. I have trophy towels — spice-colored, satin-embellished — in my master bath, where my husband is under strict orders not to touch them. For everyday, we use white.

I have often been tempted to ignore the peach towels w/hand crocheted lace on the bride’s registry-giving her instead a copy of this article and 4 perfectly lovely white towels.  How much simpler my life would have been when there were 3 boys in my home to have had a stock pile of good white towels-but, I am loving it with just the two of us!


Did you learn anything you want to remember the next time you buy a new towel?

Do laundry with products that aren’t wishy washy. Whiten towels without chlorine bleach. We love GET CLEAN LAUNDRY. They really work and they are safe for you and your family.