Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy Turkish Towels
Posted by TANYA VAUGHAN
What is a Turkish towel?
A Turkish towel is a towel made in Turkey on looms with 100% Turkish cotton. Turkish bath and hand towels were invented in the 17th century in Bursa, Turkey and have been used in Turkish bathhouses for centuries. Known to be super absorbent when compared to traditional towels, their tightly woven cotton is typically styled in wide and narrow stripes. They also can be called Turkish peshtemal towels, fouta towels, pestemals, and hammams.
Turkish towels are considered to be the first towel invented.
The best Turkish towels, or fouta towels, are made with tightly woven cotton in a flat woven fabric and look as good in a trendy bath as they do on a dining room table.
So they are real classics! (love an original? The Bali Market's original towel is the Perfect Classic with typically striped design)
I’ll never forget my first Turkish towel.
My first 100 percent Turkish cotton towel was ocean blue with white stripes and perfectly tied fringes dangling on each side. It was thin and lightweight and filled with handmade goodness.
At the time, I wondered if thin bath towels could possibly be super absorbent. But I was intrigued. I asked if Turkish bath towels would do the job drying my skin after a shower or a swim in the pool and if the smaller Turkish hand towels could dry my hair. The seller, a free-spirited woman with long flowing hair and a laid back boho-style, showed me a “broken-in” Turkish towel - it had been washed multiple times and it was beautifully soft with a vintage look.
And she was about to teach me the secret to Turkish towels...
That first towel turned into an obsession with Turkish towels, and the start of The Bali Market, a company dedicated to providing the best Turkish towels - yes, from Turkey! - for people who want to minimize and simplify their lives with the highest quality cotton products. Bath towels, beach towels, guest towels, hand towels....I just couldn't get enough of this perfect towel.
As the owner of the Turkish towel company, The Bali Market, the biggest question I receive is "are Turkish towels really absorbent?" They totally are! Let me explain.
Want to know the secret I learned?
That day, the seller taught me that the secret to absorbency lies in the unique quality of 100% Turkish cotton. Turkish cotton has extra long fibers, flat woven, and with use the long Turkish cotton fibers soften and become delightfully absorbent.
It's the long flat woven fibers of Turkish cotton that make Turkish towels absorbent and of course hotel quality! [Fun Fact] Because they're thin, they also air dry super quick and are the perfect towel for both bath and beach!
A towel needs to be absorbent, so it's no wonder our most popular towel is the Waffle Weave towel. People say it's the most absorbent of our Turkish cotton collection.
That first Turkish bath towel with fringe or tassels became my favorite bath towel - and then some. It also became my go-to travel blanket on flights. It became my scarf when it was chilly. It became my pool towel. And of course it was the perfect beach towel. And when I wasn’t using it to dry something off or keep myself warm, I used it to decorate my apartment for a simple, minimalist look.
This towel became so much more than a towel. But we're not here to talk about my obsession..
Deciding if Turkish towels are right for you.
We'll also discuss what to look for when buying Turkish bath and hand towels, where to buy Turkish towels, and all the things you need to know if you're ready to get started with Turkish towels. Alright, let's go!
Now you know what a Turkish towel is, and you know that the secret to a Turkish towel's absorbency is thanks to Turkish cotton. But are all Turkish towels the same hotel quality? No way.
So how can you tell if a Turkish Towel company has quality towels or crummy towels?
Quality varies from weaver to weaver and a higher priced towel typically reflects a higher quality product. The average price range for quality bath towels is $30-$65.
You'll want to look for Turkish towels that are hand-loomed in Turkey, and made from 100% First Grade, 100% Turkish cotton. Turkish towels are not fast-fashion. They're an artisan crafted textile.
Pro tip: Avoid "made with Turkish cotton" - that means it's only partially made from Turkish cotton. It should say 100% Turkish Cotton.
How do you know if you're getting a quality beach towel?
We're all about authenticity at The Bali Market and, since we are a woman-owned Turkish towel retailer - we work directly with a woman-owned Turkish towel company in Turkey. They value using traditional wooden hand looms, and locally grown First Grade 100% Turkish cotton.
You can check out our bath and beach towels here if you're curious.
Be careful who you shop from. Make sure you're getting real Turkish towels. When you buy from The Bali Market you're getting the real thing.
Purchasing from a real Turkish towel company also means you’re supporting a community.
Families and entire communities depend on the production and sale of Turkish towels to support their livelihood. So every time you purchase a Bali Market hand, bath or beach towel you’re supporting a community, an ancient craft and a sustainable product. It’s definitely a win-win :)
Another common question I receive is,
are Turkish towels hard to care for?
The answer is no, but I totally get why you'd think that. They're different than most cotton towels. But their care is quite simple. Here's how to keep your towels looking and feeling awesome.
- You must wash your Turkish beach towels before you use it. It needs to be washed to become absorbent. You can also soak your towel in cool water overnight. This really helps your towel become more absorbent.
- Use a gentle cycle on your washing machine and a low heat on the dryer. Avoid fabric softeners and dryer sheets as they gunk up the fibers making them less absorbent. Wool dryer balls are a great alternative and even help dry your towels faster. And of course, avoid bleach!
- Turkish and African hammans (towels) air dry super quickly, so you can also hang them to dry, which is so awesome.
Another thing to keep in mind: Fringes are durable but may come untied from time to time. There’s a simple solution though. Learn how here ---> How to Fix Untied Fringes on Turkish Towels.
People love Turkish towels because they’re absorbent, lightweight and quick-drying.
Make sure your towels are super absorbent with this FREE guide
How to Make Turkish Towels as Absorbent as Possible
---->> Get Your FREE guide here
Sure, Turkish towels are all of those things. But what I love about them isn't that they make great towels, it's how they make you feel.
It's the simple joy that they bring you.
After all, a towel is a really personal belonging. Think about it. You use a towel everyday, multiple times a day, on your most exposed and intimate body parts. Honestly, your towel probably sees you naked more than anyone else in your life. So yes, they’re personal – and because Turkish towels only get better with use (fun fact), they easily become a part of more than your bathroom routine. They become a part of your home, a part of your life.
More Fun Ways to Use Premium Cotton Towels
How do you see yourself using your new towels? There are SO many ways to use them.
You can use them both as bath towels AND beach towels. They're the perfect accessory for those beach days or a special pool day. We offer Turkish hand towels for bath and kitchen as well. You can easily use the same towel for the bath and the beach because the style suits both settings. You can use it as a travel towel because they're lightweight and easily fit in a carry-on bag while leaving room for clothes, shoes, and other travel necessities.
On the beach you can use it as a cute cover-up, sarong or as a dress. To pull off this beachy-boho look, try The Bali Market's Essential Stripe beach towels. Beach days have never been better! Turkish beach towels made from 100 percent turkish cotton are the ultimate beach towel.
See how real-life The Bali Market customers use their towels ---> Seven Clever Ways to Use Turkish Towels
Turkish towels make the best travel towel because they air dry quickly. You won't have to pack a sopping wet towel in your bag!
To stay warm at home or on the plane you can use them as a light throw blanket or as a scarf. Our Diamond Design Turkish towel is thicker and warmer and is ideal as a throw blanket.
A Turkish towel can be all these things and more because they are incredibly versatile.
They can also help simplify your home. By replacing your bulky towels with thin and streamlined Turkish towels that take less room, you'll have a cleaner bathroom or linen closet and less laundry.
Looking for the most versatile towel? ---> Try the Perfect Classic.
Need more? Here are 30 ways to use a Turkish towel
FAQ About Turkish Towels
Still wondering if you'll like a Turkish towel? Check out these few frequently asked questions to make sure they're a right fit for you and your lifestyle.
How big are Turkish towels?
The typical size of our Turkish towels is 40 x 70”. A regular bath towel is 27” x 52” so comparatively they are larger than regular towels.
And what about Turkish hand towels?
The typical size of our Turkish hand towels is 20 x 40” whereas a standard hand towel is 20” x 30”. But the best part is they will actually take less room in your kitchen towel drawer! Plus look how cute they can be hung.
Are Turkish towels actually absorbent?
Yes! And with proper care they will become more absorbent. Over time the long fibers of the Turkish cotton open up allowing more water to absorb into the towel. (Can a Turkish towel absorb water quickly? Find out in the video below...)
What are the features of a high quality Turkish towel?
A turkish towel should not leave lint or fuzz on your body. It will shrink in the wash (unless it is pre-shrunk) but the threads should not pucker. The towel will get softer over time. It will feature handmade characteristics. It will feel thin and light but still have a substantial “feel” to it. Meaning, the threads should be dense so it doesn't feel flimsy.
Can I dry Turkish towels?
Yes. You can tumble dry Turkish towels on low heat or hang to air dry. They dry quickly and it’s important to not over-dry your towel. We also recommend using 100% New Zealand Wool dryer balls in lieu of dryer sheets for protection of your towel and the environment.
Are Turkish towels good for travel?
Yes! They are the best for travel for a few reasons. They are made from lightweight cotton so they roll up compactly and reduce bulk in your luggage. And they are quick drying towels so you’re not lugging around a wet towel. Also, their versatility allows you to use it as a blanket, a scarf or a wrap too so you can get many uses out of one item.
What if I don’t like using it as a bath towel?
That’s the beauty of versatility. If you find you don’t like using it as your daily towel, you can can drape it on your sofa for a light throw or use it as decoration by hanging it on a hook. You can also use it as a quick drying travel bath towel, or use it as a Turkish beach blanket. Plus, here are 27 other ways you can use your Turkish towels.
What customers are saying about The Bali Market Turkish towel company
Here's what a couple of interior designers have to say about The Bali Market towels. Read more real reviews from current The Bali Market customers here.
The best part of shopping with The Bali Market Turkish towel company is that you save when you bundle
Are you feeling excited and considering going fully Turkish with your towel collection? The Bali Market has bundles to get you started.
I get so excited about people having more streamlined linen closets, and having everything looking and feeling better. If you're in need of a closet detox checkout The Bali Market Turkish towel sets and save bundles.
A good portion of our customers like to buy 8-10 at a time. They buy 2 bath towels for each family member and usually at least one hand towel and also buy them for gifts.
Since these towels dry quickly you need less of them cluttering up your home.
I recommend you start with 2 bath towels and 2 hand towels per person. And to make that super easy for you to get what you need, the towels come in a 4-Piece Set of 2 bath towels and 2 hand towels.
If you bought all 4 towels separately it would be $120. But when you buy a 4-Piece Set they're just $100 - which saves you a bundle.
And since you dedicated the time to read this post to learn about Turkish towels, go ahead and take 20% off your first order of towels with code TOWELLOVE
Here's What You Do Next:
1. Choose your favorite style and color (feel free to mix & match)
2. Order 2 towels per person in your home (2 bath towels + 2 hand towels)
3. Wash your towels before using and use daily
Shop The Perfect Classic 4-Piece Turkish Towel Set Priced for value!
Shop Turkish Hand Towels (get 2 for $20 with code 2FOR20)
Shop All Turkish Bath, Beach & Hand Towels (First time trying Turkish towels from The Bali Market? Use code MYFIRST to save 10% on your entire order)
Grace Druecke On
Turkish towels definitely are considered a “no-sand” towel. Sand typically gets trapped in the loops of a traditional terry looped towel. Turkish towels have a flat weave so there’s no where for the sand to get stuck. I hope that helps!
Grace Druecke On
Hi Heidi, Great question. Yes, Turkish towels will shrink – they’re made from 100% cotton and that’s the nature of the fiber. If they’re pre-shrunk, you’ll notice less shrinkage. In your case they may have shrunk excessively because they had a loose weave. Turkish towels range in weight anywhere from 7 oz – 15 oz. A quality/tight weave classic style towel should weigh around 10 oz. Hope that helps.
Anna Nikulina On
Hi! Now sand free towels are becoming more popular. Are Turkish towels sand free?
Grace Druecke On
I recommend using a baking soda wash and vinegar rinse once in a while to keep your towels super clean. Heat damages everything, especially natural fibers like cotton. You can use hot water, you just might see more wear in your towels over time.
Hi! I have a question about cleaning Turkish towels. You always hear you should wash towels in hot water to kill any bacteria. Will these towels be ok in a hot water wash cycle?