The Best Dish Towels to Clean up Any Mess

Our top pick is the Sur La Table Striped Kitchen Towel Set

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The 11 Best Dish Towels of 2022

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

A good dish towel should be absorbent, long-lasting, and able to tackle big messes. We researched dozens of dish towels, evaluating their absorbency, durability, and style.

Our top choice is the Sur La Table Striped Kitchen Towel Set, which includes three absorbent cotton towels that have a hanging loop for easy storage and come in various colors.

Here are the best dish towels available.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Sur la Table Striped Kitchen Towels, Set of 3

4.5
Striped Kitchen Towels

Courtesy of Sur la Table

The Sur La Table Set of 3 Striped Dish Towels are our top pick because they are both fully functional and attractive enough to be out on display. After all, you work to make your kitchen look lovely, so there's no reason your dish towels can't add to your overall aesthetic.

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, so you won't have to worry about replacing these anytime soon. 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 or the oven door—a breeze.

The only downside is the limited retailer availability since you must purchase these dish towels directly from Sur La Table's website.

Best Microfiber: Gryeer Microfiber Kitchen Towels

Gryeer Microfiber Kitchen Towels

Courtesy of Amazon

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 towels 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

4.4
Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Dish Towels

Courtesy of Amazon

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.

Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Dish Towels

 The Spruce / Sarah Vanbuskirk

Best for Dish Drying: Utopia Towels Kitchen Bar Mops Towels

4.6
Utopia Towels Kitchen Bar Mops Towels

Courtesy of Amazon

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.

Utopia Towels Kitchen Bar Mops

The Spruce / Sarah Vanbuskirk

Best Patterned: Anthropologie Woven Geo Dishcloths, Set of 6

Woven Geo Dishcloths

Courtesy of Anthropologie

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

European Dish Cloth

Courtesy of Grove Co.

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

Gracie Oaks Dish Cloth Set

Courtesy of Wayfair

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

Super Absorbent Towels

Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

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 Farmhouse-Style: Linoto House Helper Treeless Linen Towels

House Helper Treeless Linen Towels

Courtesy of Linoto

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.

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick is the Sur La Table Striped Kitchen Towel Set because it's functional and stylish. It includes three durable, absorbent cotton towels, and there are many colors to choose from. If you're looking for something a little more simple, opt for the Utopia Towels Bar Mop Set. This set of 12 towels is super lightweight, absorbent, and excellent at drying your dishes quickly.

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.

FAQ
  • What's the difference between a dish towel and a kitchen towel?

    Most of the time, dish towels and kitchen towels are two sides of the same coin—their only difference is their name. Both kitchen and dish towels are great for cleaning up messes and wiping off counters, and both can be easily laundered. However, some 'dish towels' are more decorative than functional—meant to be used for the drying of clean hands rather than the soaking up of spilled milk. But whether or not a towel is decorative or not is largely a matter of preference.

  • What is the most absorbent material for dish towels?

    Cotton is the most absorbent material for dish towels—not microfiber or linen or any other commonly touted dish towel material. Not only is cotton is great at soaking up excess liquids, it's durable and it's heat-resistant too. Plus, it's often very affordable. When it comes to picking dish towels, stick with cotton.

  • Do dish towels spread germs?

    Unfortunately, dish towels can easily spread germs and be a source of cross-contamination in your kitchen. Thankfully, however, this problem can be easily remedied with the help of a washing machine. If you're using your towels to wipe up heavy spills or soak up liquid from raw meat, wash them after every use. If you're using them to tidy up around the kitchen, wash them every day. If you're only using them to dry your hands or to brush off extra flour or dust every once in a while, wash them every few days.

Why Trust The Spruce?

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. Additional reporting was done by Rabekah Henderson, a freelance design and decor writer whose work has appeared on MyDomaine, Atomic Ranch, Cary Magazine, and American Farmhouse Style.

Updated by
Rabekah Henderson
Rabekah Henderson headshot
Rabekah Henderson is an NC-based contributing writer for The Spruce covering design, decor, and all things home.
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