Health & Lifestyle

What are the different types of towels and the differences between them?


When it comes to towels there is a surprising amount of different styles, each with its own unique differences and uses. So, what are the different types of towels, and what are the differences between each of them? In this article, we’re going to explore towels in greater depth, so that you can gain a thorough understanding as to which are best suited to your needs and requirements. 

The Bath Towel 

Let’s kick it off with the obvious towel type: the bath towel. This is the most common towel type and one that you will typically use on a daily basis after taking a shower/bath. For bath towels, the typical sizes can vary, but look for something that is at least 28” X 55”. Seek out larger towels if you would like more coverage. 

Wash Cloth 

A washcloth is another towel type that can be found in the bathroom (aka a flannel). This is a smaller towel type (12” x 12” / 13” x 13”) and is used for washing the skin, i.e., when taking a bath. As the washcloth will be in regular contact with the skin, it’s better to have a soft material, that can also loosen dirt and remove old skin cells and toxins from the skin. 

Fingertip towel

Another small towel size is the fingertip towel, often used to try the hands. This is about 11” x 18” in size and is larger than a regular washcloth. This towel type is both used for decorative and functional purposes and is mainly found in guest bathrooms. You may also find a fingertip towel in the kitchen, for use after washing hands in the sink before cooking. 

Hand towel 

Similar to the fingertip towel, a hand towel is another small towel type that can be used for drying the hands after washing. You’ll find many of these hand towels draped over a ring bar attached to the wall in most bathrooms. These are typically 15” x 27” in size, though can be found in 18” x 32” as well. 

Bath sheet 

Another towel type is the bath sheet, which is larger than a traditional bath towel, coming in at 35” x 60” inches. If you are a larger person, or simply prefer greater coverage of the body when drying your body after a bath or shower, then a bath sheet is an excellent addition. They also provide great absorbency as well. 

The face towel 

Next up we have the face towel, which is just like a washcloth, but is typically used to dry the face. This is square in dimension coming in at around 12” x 12”. Some people often use face towels for cleaning the face and/or removing makeup. Naturally, if you are going to use it regularly then you should opt for a material that is especially soft and absorbent (e.g., bamboo or Egyptian cotton). 

Spa towel 

The spa towel is a towel type that is used during (you guessed it) spa sessions. These are soft and absorbent which makes them ideal for a spa setting. They may typically be laid across the body for decency’s sake and to make the user feel more comfortable. As these are typically washed after every single use, they should be made from a bleach-proof material, otherwise, they will lose their colour and durability. 

Kitchen towel

Another important towel type that many people use on a daily basis is the kitchen towel. This is used in the kitchen (shock horror) and is often referred to as a dishcloth, a dish towel, or a chef’s towel. These towels have greater durability than all other towel types as they are intended for heavy uses and significant wear and tear. Cotton and linen are the preferred material choices for kitchen towels. 

Tea towel

A tea towel is a variation of the kitchen towel and is typically made using linen or cotton. These were originally intended for tea ceremonies during the 18th century, but are now widely used around the world for covering warm baked goods and so on.  

Beach towel 

The beach towel is a type of towel that is specially designed and manufactured for use during the day and in direct sunlight. They are typically quite thin and used for laying down on the sand, or concrete beside a pool. They are always very colourful in appearance and dry out exceptionally quickly in the sun for re-use throughout the day. 

The gym towel 

Gym towels are specially designed for use in the gym during workouts in order to wipe sweat from the brow and body. You may also hear these towels referred to as being sweat towels, or workout towels. They can help to keep you cool whilst keeping the sweat from your eyes during intense exercise. 

Foot towel 

A foot towel is small and rectangular in shape and is typically used for drying the feet after getting out of the bathtub. This is a towel type that has two distinct sides; one which is soft and smooth, and the other which is specially designed to grip the floor to prevent unnecessary slippage. Foot towels are often referred to as bath-mats as well. 

A Pet towel 

Rather than having to dry your cat or dog after bathing them, using one of your towels, you can use a pet towel instead. These are ideal for when you don’t want to get a bad odour coming from their body on your own personal towels and often use synthetic microfibers for extra comfort. 

Hotel towel 

And then we have the hotel towel! These are arguably the best towels because they are always ultra-soft, fresh, clean, and we get to use them when we are travelling on vacation. For example, have you ever wanted to take a Thai Hotel Towel home with you? We know we have! 


And there we have it! A comprehensive guide to the many different types of towels that there are available on the market. We hope that you have found this article helpful and now know what each of the different towel types are intended for.

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