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The kitchen can be a messy place, but the best dish towels, which should be highly durable and absorbent, work hard to keep things tidy and clean. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll find an attractive option that is just as utilitarian. Whether you need to sop up spilled milk or dry soaking wet dishes, these dish towels are just right for the job.
Here, the best dish towels available online.
Best Overall: Sur la Table Striped Kitchen Towels, Set of 3
This dish towel stands out as one that’s both fully functional and attractive enough to be out on display, earning the top spot on our list. The classic striped design—available in more than a dozen different colors from standard black or blue to vibrant orange and teal—goes with any decor style and has a classic look you can’t go wrong with. The construction is top-notch, too. Each towel in the set of three is made out of naturally absorbent cotton that zaps spills right up without streaking. A hanging loop makes storage—whether from a cabinet knob the oven door—a breeze.
Best Microfiber: Gryeer Microfiber Kitchen Towels
There’s nothing quite like microfiber. Why? The material, long considered superior for cleaning, has soft, small fibers that are super absorbent—seriously, the material holds up to six times its weight in water! That’s not all, though: The fabric doesn’t shed at all, so you can swipe glasses, mirrors, marble countertops, and more without leaving any streaks, smudges, or lint behind.
We love this set, because, unlike most microfiber towels that come in vibrant colors that don’t coordinate with most decor, its color palette is much more subdued. The gray and white towels, complete with contrasting piping, look just like any other dish towel you might buy for your kitchen. Plus, this particular set of towels is tough as nails and will last for years to come despite constant use.
Best Flour Sack: Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Dish Towels
If you’re looking for a quick and efficient way to sop up spills without leaving any smudges behind, try flour sack towels. These towels are incredibly thin and highly absorbent to dry dishes or clean counters.
These particular flour sack towels also have hemmed edges that make them extra durable—you won’t see any stray strands on anything you dry and you can count on having towels that won’t unravel over time.
Best Terry Cloth: Made By Design Solid Terry Dishcloth 6 Pack
When value is your primary concern, these all-white dishcloths deliver. Despite the rock bottom price, they’re much thicker and more durable than comparable options, thanks to a 100 percent cotton terry cloth construction.
The organic material won’t scratch or scuff delicate items, but it’s tough enough to scrub counters or heavy-duty items caked with food and other kitchen messes. They’re sizable, too. At 12 x 12 inches, the set of six is versatile enough to dry a range of smaller items, like glasses, or tackle a big, bulky pot.
Best for Dish Drying: Utopia Towels Kitchen Bar Mops Towels
If you’re on the hunt for a hardworking towel that will hold up to rigorous daily use, this bestseller is exactly what you’re looking for.
The 12-piece set comes with 12 towels, and each one is constructed of 100 percent ring spun cotton that makes the fabric extremely lightweight and absorbent. What’s more, a looped zero twist construction means you’ll deal with less lint, shedding, and fraying. Translation: It’ll take minimal effort to keep your dinnerware and glasses crystal clean.
Perhaps the best part? If you have these towels on hand, you can tuck your paper towels away for special cases only, because these are a perfectly suitable—and much greener and more cost-effective—replacement.
Best Patterned: Anthropologie Woven Geo Dishcloths, Set of 6
It’s funny how something as simple as a dish towel can make you happy—especially if they are as cute as the ones in this patterned set available at Anthropologie.
But despite their appealing aesthetic, these 12-inch square dishcloths are fully functional, too. They not only look great on the table or stacked next to the sink for easy access, but they also effectively dry dishes and wet surfaces, plus can be used as trivets for hot food.
As a great bonus, this decorative option is also easy to wash. Simply throw the towels in the washing machine and then tumble dry on low.
Best European: Grove Co. European Dish Cloth
Love the functionality of paper towels, but hate the waste they generate? Try the European dishcloth—a greener alternative to the widely-used kitchen item.
These incredibly durable and absorbent cloths are made from a mixture of cellulose and cotton that sucks up water (and other liquids) in an instant. They’re also much more attractive than similar options, thanks to painterly Scandinavian-inspired patterns in pastel hues.
You don’t have to worry about how you’ll keep them clean, either—they are microwave- and dishwasher-safe for easy disinfecting.
Best Budget: Gracie Oaks Dish Cloth Set
Going for the budget pick doesn’t mean going for the plain white option—and this set of 16 is proof. For less than a couple of dollars each, you’ll get versatile dish cloths that not only look great in your space, thanks to a classic striped design, but are also highly absorbent.
Because each towel is constructed out of 100 percent combed cotton loops, they’re tough enough to tackle the counter, but gentle enough to use for delicate tasks, like cleaning produce. The build lends durability, too. No matter how much use you get out of these cloths, you won’t notice any unraveling or fraying for years to come.
Best for Holidays: Williams Sonoma Super Absorbent Towels, Multi Pack Holiday Set
Rather than go hokey this holiday season, why not reach for a pack of dish towels that you can rely on all winter long. The beloved Williams Sonoma super-absorbent towels come in a special holiday color palette that’s just as fitting for December 24 and 25 as it is for February 1.
You won’t be sacrificing holiday style for functionality, either. Since these 100 percent Turkish cotton towels are known to be highly durable and absorbent—a real kitchen workhorse you can rely on.
Best for Modern Homes: Jo Faulkner Let’s Wash Our Hands Dish Towel
What could possibly be any more modern than a dish towel fit for the times we’re living in? This graphic option serves as an important reminder about proper hand-washing practices—a cheeky reminder to any guests and a helpful guide for young kids. And, because it’s made from cotton, you can count on it sopping up any water splashes or messes left behind, too.
Best for Bakers: Crate & Barrel Conversion Dish Towel
Bakers will love this dual-purpose towel. It not only makes quick work of any messes—and, let’s be honest, there are plenty when baking—but it also serves as a fully functional measurement guide to help in a pinch. How does it work, exactly? The cotton towel is printed with attractive, but large, easy-to-read common recipe conversions for temperature, weights, and measurements.
Best Farmhouse-Style: Linoto House Helper Treeless Linen Towels
Just because you want to go with a dish towel in a traditional farmhouse style doesn’t mean you have to reach for painterly patterns that might not go with the rest of your decor. Instead, why not try a washed linen that has the perfect amount of distressed charm to blend with the aesthetic, but doesn’t feature a specific pattern you might tire of.
We love this option for so much more than its versatility, though. These towels are made entirely of biodegradable natural linen and serve as great paper towel alternatives. Yes, you’ll have to make an initial investment, but considering the average family spends up to $300 per year on paper towels, you’ll definitely come out ahead in the long run.
Best Boho: Anthropologie Gabriella Dishcloths
There’s no doubt that Anthropologie is the place to go for all the best boho finds. Take this set of six dishcloths for example. Each one features a different, trendy pattern that you’ll go crazy for.
Of course, the quality and function are there, too. The cotton towels work hard to absorb spills or dry dishes, and they're great for tougher jobs, like cleaning and polishing stainless steel appliances or glass without scratching.
What to Look for in Dish Towels
Style If you hang your dish towels somewhere visible, then you probably want them to match your decor—or at least not be glaringly unattractive. Fortunately, there are dish towels that come in every style, color, and print imaginable. Some are even a great way to add a pop of color or style to your kitchen.
Absorbency Dish towels come in a variety of materials and in varying thicknesses. Your choice should depend largely on how you typically use your dish towels. If you use them frequently for drying dishes, you probably want ones that have a high absorbency. If, however, you just grab them once in a while for a quick swipe of your counter, then you can probably go with something thinner and less absorbent.
Size Again, think about how you’ll be using the dish towels. Some are small and able to get into small nooks and crannies while others are large and can cover a ton of territory. You may want to select an assortment of various sizes, so you always have the right towel on hand.
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This roundup was written by Brigitt Earley, who has written and edited hundreds of buying guides, particularly in the home space, for various publications over the course of the last 10 years.