Everyone uses kitchen towels, but you probably never gave them much thought. They can be used for so many things in your kitchen and even in other areas of your home. But did you know that different kitchen towel types have different uses?
Kitchen towels are intended to be used all over the kitchen for all types of cooking and cleaning, making them one of the most versatile and useful kitchen items you’ll own.
Kitchen towels are capable of absorbing liquids, but they are also used to dry hands, dry dishes and glasses, wipe up spills on your counters and appliances, clean off cutting boards and sometimes even to grab hot pots, pans and dishes. Some flat weave kitchen towels are even used as napkins!
The majority of kitchen towels are made of cotton which makes them great for absorbing a lot of liquid, but also durable enough to withstand a lot of wear and tear and washings. Most kitchen towels are also hemmed on the edges to give them reinforcement to make them long-lasting. In general, they are also tougher than the average bath towel, but not as thick.
It’s common for people to stock up on kitchen towels for their home since one should always make sure to have a clean one handy. Some people like to swap out their towel colors for different seasons and holidays as well which keeps your kitchen fun, bright and ever-changing. Your basic everyday towels can be used a couple of times, but then should be thrown in the wash. And the towels that you use to dry your hands on should never be the same towels that you use to dry your dishes with.
Check out our exclusive RITZ® Textile Glossary to familiarize yourself with some of the terminology that will be used in this article.
Since John Ritzenthaler Company has been making kitchen towels since 1892, we sure know a thing or two about them! We wanted to take the time to break down the five most commonly used types of kitchen towels here:
Terry Kitchen Towel
Terry kitchen towels are still the most commonly used kitchen towels and are a mainstay in the kitchen. They make perfect hand towels and are great for drying dishes, large pots and pans, and cleaning up spills. They can speed up the drying process and prevent water spots from forming on glassware and dishes. Terry kitchen towels are extremely absorbent because of their thick terry loops. Terry towels are long-lasting, durable and easily hold up with daily use. They make great bridal shower, housewarming, back-to-college and graduation gifts too! While it was hard to narrow it down to just one terry towel, our favorite is the T-fal Textiles (partner of RITZ®) Parquet Kitchen Towel which is made of 100% cotton and is available in a brightly colored set of two.
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Flat Weave Kitchen Towel
Flat weave kitchen towels are truly a kitchen staple and are endlessly useful in the home. They can be recognized by their yarn-dyed patterns woven right into the towel. One premium type of flat weave towel is a Jacquard towel. These are made on a special Jacquard loom that allows pictures or text to be woven into the towel which means that the design will last as long as the towel does! Flat weave towels are commonly used as napkins in both homes and restaurants because they are lint-free. This feature also makes them great for drying glassware and dishes.
Try lining your bread basket or wrapping herbs to help keep them fresh with a nice flat weave towel. Flat weave towels are a nice addition to serving tea as well when used to cover a teapot to keep it warm or covering tea sandwiches and sweets before serving them. One of our favorites is the Value Basics Herringbone Kitchen Towel. It’s 100% natural cotton and comes in a value 14-pack so you can stock up and will always have a clean one handy.
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Dual Kitchen Towel
Dual kitchen towels are a must-have for any kitchen. The best part about a dual towel is that it is specially woven to have two types of surfaces: flat weave on one side and absorbent cotton terry loops on the other.The lint free flat weave makes a dual towel perfect for drying dishes and leaving glasses streak-free. The terry side is super absorbent which means that you can dry an entire dinner party’s worth of dishes without needing a second towel. Terry cotton material is also great for drying your hands quickly. The combination of flat weave and terry loops means the towel feels super plush and can even cameo as a dish drying mat in a pinch! We offer a variety of fun, printed RITZ® dual towels that will add a pop of color to your kitchen. One of our favorites is the All-Clad (partner of RITZ®) Antimicrobial Dual Towel which is 100% cotton, oversized and anti-microbial.
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Flour Sack Towel
Flour sack towels are the ultimate multipurpose workhorse that can be used for almost anything in the kitchen and home. Historically, these towels were cut from cloth bags that were used to hold flour. You can recognize a flour sack towel by its thinness in comparison to other kitchen towels and it is most often solid white. They are made of 100% cotton and are very thin, making them quick-drying, lint-free, perfect for covering bread dough while it rises and lightweight enough to dry delicate herbs and greens without crushing them. Their thinness also makes them great for drying glassware and fine china that need to be handled with care. We recommend the 14-Pack Flour Sack Value Set so that you’ll always an extra one handy to use in the kitchen and for other house projects like cleaning your car, wiping windows, crafting and more.
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Microfiber cloth towels are very different from other kinds of kitchen towels and are the most eco-friendly of the bunch. When it comes to cleaning, microfiber cloths do it all! Their highly absorbent microscopic threads trap dirt and dust, allowing you to clean without using any harsh chemicals. These threads are made up of fibers that are one hundred times finer than human hair which creates a high density weave.
Microfiber cloths help reduce common allergens because it picks up more than other wiping products. Microfiber cloths are usually made with a blend of synthetic materials and come in a variety of thicknesses depending on your cleaning needs. This is a great alternative to cleaning with paper towels since you can wash microfiber cloths and reuse them again and again.
Microfiber cloths are the perfect tool to keeping your stainless steel appliances looking shiny, new and smudge-free and are also safe to use on nonstick cookware. They can even be used both wet or dry, depending on what you are cleaning! Our favorite microfiber cloth kit is the RITZ® 3-Pack Multi-Chore Microfiber Cloths. It comes with three different microfiber cloths for cleaning, drying and polishing so that you can assign a different cleaning task to each cloth in the pack.
The following are great for cleaning with microfiber cloths:
- Stainless Steel Appliances – Use a damp microfiber cloth to clean off any marks or fingerprints and
then use a dry microfiber cloth to buff the surface. This is a great eco-friendly cleaning option since no harsh cleaning products are required! The microfiber cloth does all the cleaning for you.
- Cabinets – Microfiber cloths can even be used to wipe down dirty kitchen cabinet doors. Simply dampen the cloth and wipe down the whole cabinet and you’ll be amazed by how clean they are.
- Granite & Marble Countertops – Microfiber cloths are safe to use on granite and marble countertops. Use a damp microfiber cloth and a granite / marble safe cleaner and you’re good to go!
- Chrome Fixtures – Dry microfiber cloths are great for that final swipe on your kitchen or chrome bathroom fixtures. The tiny fibers pick up leftover residue unlike paper towels which always leave something behind.
- Windows & Mirrors – Windows and mirrors will be clear and spotless when you clean them with a damp microfiber cloth.
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This Kitchen Towel Types article certainly does not include every single kitchen towel on the market, but we hope that it taught you something about the top five kitchen towels that we recommend. If you have questions about kitchen towels or are interested in any of the above, feel free to reach out to us here.