The Complete Guide to Buying Towels

June 29, 2016
The Complete Guide to Buying Towels

Having soft and absorbent towels at home are one of life's little pleasures, but there's more to buying towels than meets the eye. We chatted to linen expert Lauren Roe, of I Love Linen, to learn more about the different qualities of towels in the market.

Check out our complete guide below on how to buy towels online.

Towels, like sheets, are cotton graded. The measure GSM or grams per square metre, determines the quality of towels and how much water can be absorbed by the cotton threads. Superior towels should have a GSM of between 400 and 600, whilst low quality towels are between 200 – 300 GSM.

“A higher GSM means that more cotton has been used in the construction of the towels. The more cotton in a towels will result in a towel that is more absorbent.” Lauren explains. “The more cotton in a towel means it will take multiple washes to shed excess cotton fibres. This does not mean that the towel is of poor quality and falling apart, it means that the towel contains a greater amount of cotton and must shed the excess.”

“Another type of towel type is the Turkish towel, these towels are thinner than traditional bath towels but are still super absorbent. There are very different from that lush thick traditional towel style spotted in most Australian homes; being lighter weight they are perfect for the beach, as they are easily portable.” Lauren says.

When it comes to caring for bath towels, particularly a higher GSM towel, Lauren suggests avoiding fabric softener as it can sometimes impede the process of good quality towels shedding the excess cotton as well as potentially limiting water absorption of the fibres. To avoid damaging your brand new towels, always ask or check that they have been properly tested before purchasing and that they have care instructions assigned to them. Another element to keep in mind when purchasing towels is making sure to check the banding on the towel. If the company hasn’t properly wash tested its products, shrinkage may occur - so make sure to check the label or ask the sales person before buying.

“There’s nothing worse than a shrunken band to ruin the shape of your brand new towel” Lauren says.

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What Are The Different Towel Sizes

If you have the room in your bathroom and you want to feel cosier in winter, then look to purchasing a set of bath sheets. The only difference between a bath towel and a bath sheet is generally the size and how much space it will take up in your washing machine and on your towel rack. If there is one piece of advice that Lauren can give for buying towels, it is to be careful with darker coloured towels, as the darker the towel colour, the longer the towel will take to shed excess cotton fibres if you have purchased a higher GSM towel.

“A dark coloured towel has to be dyed more times for the colour to be locked in. Always wash dark towels on their own until you are certain that the excess cotton has been removed. It’s better to err on the side of caution. But don’t be alarmed if it takes a few washes to remove the excess, as this again is not a sign of a cheap towel!” Lauren says.

Different Towel Sizes

  • Face Washer = 33 cm x 33 cm

  • Hand Towel = 45 cm x 65 cm

  • Bath Towel = 69 cm x 140 cm

  • Bath Sheet = 91 cm x 167 cm

  • Bath Mat = 60 cm x 80 cm

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House Of Home would like to thank Lauren Roe from I Love Linen for explaining to us everything there is to know about bed linen.

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