The Thing About Towels... – Rotator Rod

The Thing About Towels...

So, the thing about towels is that there are various sizes and materials.  Here's what you need to know.  The most common bath towels are thick and bulky and I love the lush and soft way they look so I buy them for color and decor in the bathroom.  Also after a relaxing bath they make me feel really pampered.   BUT but for the every-day task of drying myself off I prefer medium-thickness towels.  The ones that are thick enough to be soft but thin enough to dry your ears.

So first decide what you'll use the towels for.  I use Turkish and Egyptians with high GSM  for adding to my decor and wherever the towel will be seen - more about that later.  Then I choose medium weight smaller bath towels in neutral colors for daily use where they hang in the shower to dry.  



  • Cotton
    • Turkish - rather than absorb water Turkish cotton tends to push it away from our skin and then absorb it.  For this reason it holds less water and seems to dry more quickly than Egyptian cotton
    • Egyptian - very plush and absorbent.  For this reason, it holds more water and tends not to dry very quickly. 
    • Pima - American Pima Cotton was given the name “Pima” cotton in honor of the Native American Pima people who first harvested the cotton in the United States.  It has extra long staples (strands) which makes it durable, soft and absorbent.
    • Brushed - this is cotton that, prior to being made into strands for weaving is combed for dirt and impurities making it softer overall.  Combed cotton is a bit more expensive because of this extra step.
    • Ring Spun - this refers to the process of making the cotton strands themselves and does not affect
  • Bamboo - the fibers that contact your skin are made of bamboo, which is ultra soft and fine and these are woven into a cotton backing.  Bamboo cotton towels are very soft and, like Egyptian cotton initially repels water before it absorbs it, however bamboo cotton dries very quickly and, needless to say, is quickly renewable.
  • Microfiber -  because they are made of teeny tiny fibers, way smaller than a strand of hair, microfiber is very soft and light.  Like Egyptian cotton,  It's not quickly absorbent but  when it does absorb, it holds a lot of water.  Microfiber materials are totally synthetic made from petro chemicals, like polyester and nylon.  These fabrics are not biodegradable or renewable so from an ecological standpoint they're not great.


  • Sheets - run in the 33" x 65 to 35" x 70" range.  Much the same as beach towels
  • Bath towels - measure anywhere from 48 x 27 to 56 x 30".  I go for the smaller, myself.
  • Hand/Guest -  roughly 16" x 28"
  • Washcloth - 13" x 13"


    Weight of towels is measured in Grams per Square Meter (GSM) and reflects the density of the towel and can be anywhere between 300 GSM and 900 GSM. The higher the GSM, the thicker and heavier the towel. </p>

    • 300-400 GSM – light weight, quick-drying great for the gym or kitchen towel. &amp
    • 400-600 GSM – medium weight. These are great for beach towels, bath towels, guest towels.  I'm a fan of about 500-550 GSM for my everyday use.
    • 600-900 GSM – This is a premium, luxury weight. These towels are denser, heavier, more absorbent and take a little longer to dry.  When I have used these and hung them in my shower to dry, they get musty-smelling pretty quickly because of that drying time.

    Color & Decor

    This is where it gets fun! The colors are endless and how you decided is really dictated by what's going on in your bathroom already.  If you have neutral walls, curtain and counter spaces then towels are great as the major focus of your decor.  If this is your case, feel free to use bold colors, designs and textures.  As I mentioned earlier I like to use the thick luxurious towels for show.  Here's an example of using eye-catching towels for decor.

    On the other hand, if your bathroom already has brightly colored wall covering or a curtain you particularly like then you don't want your towels competing with that.  In my guest bath I have grey and lavender wall paper and a lavender counter top (really).  I use plain, nondescript grey and white very lush towels on the towel racks and hangers.