Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Best Overall: Utopia White Bar Mop Towels at Amazon
"The set comes with 12 lightweight and absorbent towels, all of which are constructed of 100 percent ring-spun cotton."
Best Decorative: Gabriella Dishcloths at Anthropologie
"Great for a wide range of kitchen tasks, from drying wet surfaces and dishes to using as napkins or trivets at the dinner table."
Best Value: Utopia Blue Stripe Kitchen Towels at Amazon
"This set of 12 towels is strong and durable, yet attractive enough to be used as decorative towels."
Best Budget: Made by Design Solid Terry Dishcloth at Target
"These dish towels are much thicker and more durable than your average dish towel—especially at this price point."
Best Flour Sack: Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Dish Towels at Amazon
"These thin and highly absorbent cloths dry dishes and surfaces quickly and efficiently—without leaving any smudges or lint."
Best for Dishes: Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloth at Amazon
"Both sides of the dish cloth are incredibly quick drying to prevent odor-causing bacteria from forming on the surface."
Best Microfiber: VibraWipe Microfiber Cleaning Cloths at Amazon
"These dish cloths have very soft, small fibers that are super absorbent and don’t leave any trace behind."
Best Paper Towel Replacement: Swedish Dish Cloth at Amazon
"The super-absorbent cloths are made from biodegradable cellulose and all-natural cotton materials."
Best Overall: Utopia White Bar Mop Towels
If you are looking for a workhorse dish towel that will hold up to daily use, but doesn’t look like a rag on the counter, try these bar mop-style towels.
The set comes with 12 towels, all of which are constructed of 100 percent ring spun cotton, which makes the fabric lightweight and absorbent. The towels have loops on both sides to create extra surface area for drying, further increasing absorbency. And if you’re drying dishes or glassware? These dish towels not only have a zero twist construction, but also go through a combing process to reduce lint, shedding, and fraying to ensure your dinnerware and glasses are left crystal clean.
Reviewers are quick to point out that these dish towels make a great replacement for paper towels, since they’re just as effective, but much greener and much less expensive over time.
Best Decorative: Gabriella Dishcloths
These pretty dishcloths have a playful, vintage vibe that makes them great for a wide range of kitchen tasks, from drying wet surfaces and dishes to using as napkins or trivets at the dinner table.
But they don’t just look good—they work hard. Reviewers say these small, but mighty towels (they’re just 12-inch squares), are “terrific” for tough tasks like polishing silverware but are soft enough to dry delicate dishware without scratching and even to clean food off of kids’ faces after meals.
Despite their aesthetic appeal, they’re easy to wash, too. Simply throw them in the washing machine and then tumble dry on low.
Best Value: Utopia Blue Stripe Kitchen Towels
A great dish towel does so much more than clean up spills and dry dishes and glassware. These dish towels earn high praise, because they do all of the same things as their more utilitarian counterparts, but are attractive enough to take on some other tasks, too.
The set of 12 is made from a very strong and durable 100 percent ring-spun cotton, making them ultra-absorbent, very lightweight, and quick-drying (an important feature to keep unwanted bacteria at bay). But what sets them apart is the fact that they have an understated design element—the classic blue stripe—that makes them perfect for lining bread baskets and fruit bowls, draping over the oven door, or wrapping around the base of a wine bottle.
Reviewers are quick to point out that these aren’t fluffy towels meant to be soft on hands—they are very functional, multipurpose dish towels that are great for tough jobs in the kitchen but look just as attractive as some of the more decorative dish towels out there.
Best Budget: Made by Design Solid Terry Dishcloth
These all-white dish cloths are made with 100 percent cotton in a terry cloth construction, which means they’re tough enough to scrub heavy-duty items with stuck-on food, but absorbent enough for big spills. Measuring 12 x 12 inches, this particular set is a great size for smaller glassware, like wine glasses, but also works just as well on bulkier items, like pots and pans.
But what reviewers love most about these dish towels is the value you get. They say that the dish towels are much thicker and more durable than your average dish towel—especially at this price point.
And if you’re worried about the longevity of white towels, don’t be. Though these dish towels are pure white, they’re very easy to clean. Simply throw them in the washing machine with a little bleach or a stain fighter to combat tough spots.
Best Flour Sack: Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Dish Towels
Flour sack towels are very thin and highly absorbent cloths that are meant to dry dishes and surfaces quickly and efficiently—without leaving any smudges or lint behind. They also hold up very well over time despite heavy use over long periods of time, thanks to their hemmed edges that prevent them from unraveling.
Because flour sack dish towels are so thin and don’t leave stray fibers behind, they can be used for a number of other tasks, too. Toss some into your cleaning bucket for other household tasks like washing windows or dusting, or keep them all in the kitchen to line bowls, dry produce, or even strain liquid from ingredients like yogurt or shredded veggies. Some of the creative ways reviewers have thought to use these towels prove just how functional they are—one reviewer even uses them as liners in their child’s cloth diapers!
Best for Dishes: Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloth
Avid cooks will appreciate this incredibly hardworking dish cloth. Unlike a traditional dish cloth, the double-sided cloth has double the cleaning power—one side has textured scrubbing dots to help remove residue from pots, nonstick pans, and glassware; the other side is soft and absorbent to dry any number of items, including the countertop.
Both sides of the dish cloth are incredibly quick drying to prevent odor-causing bacteria from forming on the surface. They're machine washable and dryer safe, so you can give it a good, thorough clean when they get dirty.
Best Microfiber: VibraWipe Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
When it comes to cleaning, microfiber is the gold standard. Why? These dish cloths have very soft, small fibers that are super absorbent (they hold five to six times their weight!) and don’t leave any trace behind (no streaks, no smudges, and no lint). Though they’re often used to clean fragile items like windows or car exteriors, they also double as great kitchen towels—especially if you clean a lot of glassware or have a soft countertop surface, like marble.
These cloths are machine washable and can be dried on tumble dry low, though they'll last longer if you hang dry them, instead. To keep their super-absorbency intact, don't use any fabric softener on these microfiber cloths.
Best Paper Towel Replacement: Swedish Dish Cloth
These cloths are a far cry from your traditional dish cloth, but they’re a greener alternative for people who love the disposable nature of paper towels. The super-absorbent cloths are made from biodegradable cellulose and all-natural cotton materials that can hold up to 20 times their weight. They’re not meant to last forever, though. Each dish towel lasts up to 50 washes so the whole pack should last about a year.
Reviewers note that these cloths are much more practical for small-space living, since it’s much easier to store flat, stiff cloths than it is to store fluffy rags or dish towels. Plus, they’re more durable and less wasteful than traditional paper 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.