If you've noticed that your towels could use an upgrade but aren't exactly sure what you need, our guide will help explain what each type of towel is for and why you may need it. There are countless towel options on the market, not just in terms of material, style and quality, but also size and price point, so picking the right ones can feel both confusing and overwhelming. What are washcloths and do you really need them? What's the difference between a bath towel and a bath sheet? Find out below.
Washcloths are the smallest of all the towels on the market. They are square-shaped towels that are typically 12"x12" or 13"x13" in size and are perfect for everyday face and body cleansing. They're soft enough so that they don't scratch your skin, but they have enough texture to gently exfoliate and remove dead skin cells. Because they are meant to be used daily and come into contact with your face, keeping washcloths clean is particularly important. Bacteria grows extremely fast in a humid environment like a bathroom, so washing washcloths in warm water after every use is very important.
Hand Towel Size
As is clear from the name, a hand towel is used to dry your hands and usually hangs by the sink for easy access after washing your hands. It is generally 15"x25" to 18"x30" large and sometimes has decorative edges like tassels or a fringe for some extra visual interest. Hand towels tend to be used more frequently than any other towel, so owning enough of them and having good quality ones is essential. If they are too thin, they won't absorb water as well and will constantly be wet, so make sure they are plush and absorbent enough to handle a high traffic area like a powder room. They are also a great way to add a pop of color or pattern to your bathroom if you hang one on a towel ring or drape it over a larger bath towel on a towel bar for a layered look.
Bath Towel Size
Bath towels are between 20"x40" and 30"x58" in size and are used to dry your body and hair after a shower or a bath. Their large surface makes it easier to dry off your entire body, but having a convenient spot to hang them on, like a towel hook or towel bar, is key since they take longer to dry and you don't want them to stay wet for too long for hygiene reasons. It is important to wash bath towels in warm water at least once a week or more to keep them clean and prevent any harmful bacteria from forming on them.
Bath Sheet Size
Bath sheets are even larger than bath towels and quite substantial in size as they often measure 40"x70" and go up in size from there. They tend to be more absorbent than bath towels and since they are larger, they make getting dried off after a shower even faster and easier. They are sometimes considered a more luxurious and expensive bath linen option and are often found in spas and hotels, but are a great choice for your home as well.
Bath Mat Size
A bath mat doesn't just provide a soft and cushy spot for when you step out of the shower of tub, it also serves a safety purpose. Most bath mats have non-slip backing which helps them stay in place to prevent slipping and falling, so having one near your shower or tub is essential. A standard bath mat measures 20"x30" but they come in various shapes and sizes, from rectangular and circular ones to longer runner-style ones. Bath mats are also a great way to add a decorative element to your bathroom and are an easy way to cover up a less than pretty tile floor.
Choosing a Towel Material
Cotton is the best choice when it comes to towels and most other linens. Egyptian or Turkish cotton towels are known to be some of the best on the market as they are soft, absorbent, durable, quick-drying and plush — all things you want in a good towel! Make sure to wash the towels before using them for the first time, not just because it's hygienic but also because washing them will get rid of any fibers that may be left on them from production and it will help make them more absorbent, which is what you want from your towel, of course!
Can Clothes and Towels Spread Germs? National Health Service, UK.