3 Ways to Fold Your Towels for Neater Storage

White and tan towels folded in bathroom next to houseplant and wicker basket with rolled gray towels

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

In This Article
Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 - 3 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 3 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

When you open your linen closet, do your towels come tumbling out or look like they were hit by a tornado? This happens when each towel is folded differently, so they don't stack well and stay in place. There are several methods for folding towels, including the tri-fold, deep fold, or narrow fold, that will give you the results you desire. Use the tri-fold and narrow fold to save space in small rooms, small closets, and on narrow, tight shelves. The narrow-fold method is also used for rolling towels for a fancy, spa look. The deep fold method for folding towels works when you need to maximize space on very deep shelves. The key to success is finding the folding style that fits your storage space and as an added benefit, your towels will have fewer wrinkles and look more attractive.


The one time you don't want to fold a towel too tightly is right after using it for a bath or shower. The towel should be placed over a towel bar, on a drying rack, or hung from a hook or bar to air-dry. Allow as much of the surface of the towel to be exposed to airflow as possible. Too many layers of wet towels lying on each other is an invitation for musty, foul-smelling towels.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Flat work surface


  • Towels


White marbled flat surface to fold towels with houseplant

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

Instructions on How To Fold Towels

Use these basic methods to fold any size towel, from beach and bath to smaller hand towels.

  1. Sort Towels by Size

    Not all bath towels are the same size. After they're freshly washed (or if you've just pulled them from their storage space to reorganize), sort your beach towels, bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths by size. If you want a really good-looking arrangement, also sort by color. This is the perfect time to weed out towels that are worn, ripped, or no longer absorbent. Most animal rescue groups will welcome a towel donation for their shelters.

    Cream, tan and gray towels sorted by size

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  2. Measure Your Storage Area

    Knowing the width and depth of the storage space will help you determine the best way to fold towels for your home. If you plan to use the towels as part of a decorative or necessary display, measure the towel bars or storage baskets (width, length, and depth) as well.

    Storage area for towels being measured with yellow measuring tape

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  3. Tri-Fold Method

    This fold can be done on a flat surface or while you are standing.

    1. Working with the finished side of the towel down, fold one corner of the narrow end of the towel over about two-thirds of the width.
    2. Make a crease down the length of the towel, making sure the width of the fold remains the same.
    3. Fold the remaining third of the towel over the folded portion. You now have a long, three-layer strip of towel.
    4. Fold the strip in half lengthwise, smooth, and then fold in half again to make a compact, stackable towel bundle.
    Cream towel laid flat with one third folded

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Cream towel folded as a three-layer strip long ways

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Cream towel as long strip folded in half

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Cream towel folded as small square bundle

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  4. Deep-Fold Method

    1. Place the towel on a flat surface with the finished side facing down.
    2. Working from the long side of the towel, fold one side of the towel to the center of the narrow end and make a crease down the length of the towel, keeping the fold width even.
    3. Grab the other long side of the towel and fold it to the centerline of the narrow end. Make a crease down the length of the towel. There are now two long parallel folds with edges that meet in the center of the towel.
    4. Fold the towel in half lengthwise so the raw edges are in the center. There are now four layers of towel in a long, skinny shape.
    5. Fold each narrow end of the towel toward the center of the strip. Leave a gap of about one or two inches between the folds so the final fold can be done easily.
    6. Do a final fold to bring the two halves of the towel together. This will give you a neat towel package with no raw edges showing.
    Large cream towel laid flat on marbles surface

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Cream towel folded longwise to the center and held by corners

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Opposite end of cream towel folded to center creating long parallel folds

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Cream towel folded into four layers in long skinny shape

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Cream towel in long skinny shape folded inwards with both ends to center

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Two halves of towel folded on top of each other to create a small towel package

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  5. Narrow Fold Method

    If your storage space is very narrow or you plan to roll the towels to fit in a basket or cubicle, the narrow fold works well.

    1. Working from the narrow end of the towel, fold the towel in half down its length. Make a crease and be sure that all of the corners are aligned.
    2. Fold the towel in half at the mid-point of the rectangle. Align all four corners of the fabric.
    3. To create a narrow packet, fold the rectangle into thirds starting at the narrow end. Store with the edges down on the shelf.
    4. To roll the towel, before making the final folds, start at the narrow open end of the rectangle and create a tight roll. This will place the edges of the towel in the center of the roll. Store with the folded edges facing up in a basket or out in a cubby.
    Cream towel folded in half long ways

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Cream towel folded from center of rectangle shape

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Cream towel folded into thirds to make narrow packet

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Towel rolled from long rectangle shape for storing

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

How Often Should You Fold Towels?

Towels should be folded after each time they are washed. Leaving towels in a heap is overwhelming, messy, and can lead to confusion regarding which towels are clean and which are dirty. It takes less than one minute per towel to complete a basic fold, and the task is perfect for doing while watching or listening to your favorites. The one rule that must be followed is that the towel should be completely dry before you fold it for storage or display, which discourages mildew growth.

  • How do you roll a towel and tuck it?

    Tucking the end of a towel helps them stay folded. Lay your towel on a flat surface. Fold one corner towards the center to create a point on one end. Smooth the towel. Fold the towel lengthwise and begin to tightly roll the towel from the non-pointed end. Once you finish rolling, tuck the pointed end into the rolled portion of the towel.

  • What is the correct way to fold a towel?

    Folding a towel correctly typically requires hiding the seams from view and creating a soft fold on the towel. When you stack multiple towels, they will look pretty and uniform in the linen closet or on a shelf.

  • How do you fold a towel to look like a spa towel?

    Spas and hotels are known for rolling and tucking their towels for that fancy, luxurious look. Display rolled and tucked towels standing up or laying down in a basket or in a wall-mounted rack. Or lay them down in the shape of a pyramid on a tray or shelf.

  • How do you fold a towel with a pocket?

    Another way to roll a towel for a fancy look is to create a pocket in which you can tuck a flower, piece of candy, or tiny soaps and shampoos for guest rooms. Pocketed towels are folded so one end tucks into the other end to form the pocket. Begin by folding a towel in half short end to short end. Fold it in half again side to side. Finally, fold one end of the towel into the middle of the towel and tuck the other end in to the opening to create the pocket. The towel will stay snug and tight and won't unfold even when you put a small item into the pocket.