With their ultra-absorbent pile weave and lightweight feel, Turkish towels are a cozy addition to any home. But to keep these towels fluffy and functional over time, proper care is essential.
This comprehensive guide will teach you how to care for Turkish towels using the right techniques for:
Follow these Turkish towel care tips to enhance softness, maximize absorbency, prevent damage, and prolong the life of your towels.
An Introduction to Turkish Towels
Before diving into care, let’s briefly overview what makes Turkish towels special:
- Originate in Turkey, used at baths dating back to the 1800s
- Woven from Turkish cotton praised for extra long fibers
- Traditional manufacturing by hand using vintage looms
- Turkish cotton is the preferred material, prized for softness and durability
- Also found in bamboo, microfiber, blends, and organic fabrics
- Avoid lower quality 100% synthetic towels
- Made using a low twisted pile weave, called hav or havi
- The pile loops give a thin, textured, slightly nubby feel
- Very breathable and fast drying due to loose weave
- Ultra lightweight and highly absorbent
- Soft, combed surface gently dries skin
- Compact for travel, camping, and beaches
- Durable and easy to care for long-term
Now that you know why Turkish towels are so prized, let’s go over the optimal way to care for them.
Washing Your Turkish Towels
Cleaning is one of the most important aspects of Turkish towel care. With proper washing techniques, you can keep towels fresh and prevent damage.
Washing Machine vs. Handwashing
While handwashing is gentlest, Turkish towels can generally withstand regular machine washing without problems:
- Use the delicate or gentle cycle on cold water
- Skip the harsher normal or heavy duty settings
Handwashing allows meticulous control for stubborn stains. But for routine washing, the machine works fine.
Always opt for the coldest water temperature when washing Turkish towels:
- Hot water can degrade fibers prematurely
- Warm or cold water sufficiently removes most dirt and oils
- Cold water maintains the fluffiness of the pile loops
Only use hot water if disinfecting towels after illness. Otherwise stick to cold washes.
The best detergents for Turkish towels are:
- Sensitive skin or baby detergents
- Liquid detergents instead of powder
- Non-bleach and fragrance/dye free formulations
- Green, eco-friendly natural ingredient blends
Avoid harsh detergents with chemicals or brighteners that strip away softness.
Bleach and Fabric Softener
Never use bleach, fabric softeners or dryer sheets when washing Turkish towels. These can coat fibers and diminish absorbency:
- Chlorine bleach degrades cotton fibers
- Liquid softeners reduce wicking properties
- Dryer sheets leave a residue on the pile loops
Skip these additives to preserve the towels’ natural softness and thirstiness.
Wash Turkish towels in smaller loads to avoid bunching:
- Overcrowding causes friction damage from towels rubbing together
- Do 2-3 towels per load, using the delicate cycle
With the proper gentle wash cycle, mild detergent, and cold water, your Turkish towels will come out fresh and fluffy every time.
Drying Turkish Towels
After washing, it’s imperative to dry your towels thoroughly to prevent mildew smells and bacterial growth. Here are the best practices for drying Turkish towels:
Tumble drying on low heat is the most convenient option. Be sure to:
- Use the delicate, low heat, or air fluff setting
- Avoid high heat – it degrades fibers over time
- Dry towels separately to prevent knotting
- Remove promptly when dry to prevent over-drying
The air tumble option also works well for more delicate towels.
You can air dry inside or outdoors:
- Lay flat or hang to dry out of direct sunlight
- Choose well-ventilated areas away from moisture
- Flip periodically for even drying front and back
Properly air dried towels take 1-2 days to fully dry depending on humidity.
Drying Best Practices
No matter your drying method:
- Don’t overload dryers or overhang drying racks
- Use lower heat and monitor progress
- Make sure towels are 100% dry before removing
With ample airflow and low heat, your Turkish towels will emerge from the dryer or rack fluffy and ready to use again.
Folding Turkish Towels
Folding is useful for storage and transporting towels neatly. Turkish towels can be folded using various techniques:
- Lay towel flat with length parallel to your body
- Fold vertically inward from one side about 1/3 of the way
- Repeat from the opposite side
- Fold horizontally in half
This creates a compact folded rectangle.
Half Hamburger Fold
- Lay towel vertically with length perpendicular to your body
- Fold top third down horizontally
- Fold bottom third up horizontally over it
- Fold in half vertically
The double folds resemble a hamburger.
- Lay towel vertically and start rolling up from short end
- Roll into tube shape to desired thickness
- Fasten roll closed with ties, elastic, or clips
This makes a spiral bundle perfect for packages.
- Lay towel diagonally into a triangle
- Lift the right corner up and fold inward
- Continue “z-folding” inward until at thick triangle remains
Fun for gift wrapping towels or napkin style folds.
Get creative and fold towels according to use and storage needs. Proper folding keeps towels organized and crease-free.
Storing Your Turkish Towels
To maximize the lifespan of your towels, storage practices matter:
Cool, Dry Location
Choose a clean and moisture-free storage spot:
- Avoid musty basements or humid attics
- Opt for bedroom or linen closets
Excess moisture can breed mildew and bacteria.
Store towels in a breathable fabric organizer or basket:
- Avoid sealing in plastic containers or vacuum bags
- Allow airflow to prevent dampness
- Mesh pop-up hampers work great
Pro tip: add cedar blocks or sachets as a natural insect and odor deterrent.
Protected from Light
If possible, avoid prolonged direct sunlight:
- UV rays eventually fade dyes and degrade fibers
- Opt for dark or opaque storage bins
Don’t aggressively cram towels into a container:
- Overstuffing can warp shape and damage loops
- Fold to desired size without over-compressing
With breathable, shaded storage in a cool closet or shelf, your Turkish towels will stay fresh and ready for years of cozy use.
Extending the Lifespan of Turkish Towels
If you care for them properly, expect your high quality Turkish towels to last for a decade or longer. Here are some additional tips:
- Wash after each use for bacteria control rather than letting dirt accumulate
- Alternate towels in rotation so they wear evenly with rest periods
- Avoid harsh cleaning products like bleach that degrade fibers
- Be gentle when handling to prevent pulled loops or tears
- Hang to dry completely before reusing to prevent mildew
- Wash similar colors together to prevent dye transfer
- Wash and replace any towels with stubborn musty odors
- Mend any loose strings or holes immediately to curtail bigger damage
Your towels may fade and thin slowly over many washes, but should avoid major decline if well cared for.
Revitalizing Old Turkish Towels
To restore newer-looking fluff and absorbency to older towels:
Baking Soda Scrub
- Dissolve 1⁄2 cup baking soda in a sink or basin of cold water
- Submerge towels and let soak 15-20 minutes
- Gently scrub towels together
- Rinse clean.
The alkaline baking soda removes residues that dull towels over time.
White Vinegar Rinse
- Fill sink with cool water and 1 cup white vinegar
- Soak towels 30 minutes
- Rinse thoroughly
The vinegar mild acidity helps break down detergent and mineral deposits.
- Place dry towels in the dryer with a damp washcloth
- Tumble 5-10 minutes on no heat/air only setting
- Remove promptly once fluffed
The moisture rehydrates fibers while tumbling re-separates pile loops.
Keep Turkish Towels Soft and Absorbent
Caring for your Turkish towels properly makes all the difference in maintaining their famous comfort and functionality.
Follow these best practice guidelines for washing, drying, folding, and storing, and your towels will deliver years of cozy service. Show them some TLC, and they’ll continue pampering you after every bath and swim.
From their breathable cotton pile weave to their lightweight compactness, Turkish towels bring efficiency and luxury to anybody’s linen closet. With the right carekeeping, you’ll always have a trusty towel ready to embrace you after life’s daily dips.