Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Sometimes plain, sometimes colourful, they can be found in almost every kitchen: tea towels. Produced and bought for drying washed dishes, they can also be used to cover pots and dishes, as oven gloves or, within easy reach, as towels.

With our tea towel guide 2022 we want to help you decide which tea towels are right for you. For this purpose, we have compared different types of tea towels with each other and compiled the respective advantages and disadvantages for you. This will make it easier for you to choose the right tea towels.




Summary

  • Tea towels are a much used and environmentally friendly way to dry your dishes.
  • Tea towels are basically available in 4 different materials. Cotton, pure linen, microfibre and mixed fabric.
  • When buying, particular attention should be paid to the size, colour and design so that the tea towels meet individual needs.

The best Tea Towels: Our Picks

Tea Towels: buying and rating criteria

There is a large selection of different tea towels. To make it easier for you to choose the right product, we have listed the most important aspects for comparing tea towels.

What exactly you have to look for in these criteria is explained below.

Size

To ensure that the tea towels fit in the kitchen and are productive enough for the utensils to be dried, they must also be the right size. Square towels are available from 40 x 40 cm to 80 x 80 cm. Long towels are available from 40 x 60 cm to 80 x 50 cm. Whether you choose square or oblong tea towels is a matter of personal preference.

Colour

Tea towels are available in pretty much any colour. They can be divided into the following categories:

  • Neutral: Black, white and grey go with virtually all other colours and patterns and can be combined endlessly.
  • Dark: Dark green, dark blue, purple and anthracite fit into a generally darkly designed kitchen and dirt is not so easy to spot on them.
  • Eye-catching: Orange, red, yellow, pink, turquoise and petrol add colour accents to your kitchen. Especially in neon, they are a real eye-catcher.
  • Delicate: Pastel shades, pink, cream, beige and mint fit into a light, feminine kitchen.

Which colour the tea towels should be depends on the general colour scheme of the kitchen.

Design

In addition to plain-coloured cloths, tea towels also come in many different designs. Here are some examples:

  • Styles: Suitable for kitchens in maritime, country house, vintage, retro, 70s or modern style.
  • City and country designs: Tea towels with design elements of countries like France or Scandinavia or cities like New York.
  • Nature designs: Animal lovers get their money’s worth with motifs of moose, birds or hedgehogs. Camping or hunting motifs are also available.
  • Seasonal designs: Popular seasonal designs for tea towels are autumn or Christmas motifs.
  • Food designs: Whether savoury with onions, fruity with lemon or sweet with cupcakes, there is a suitable tea towel design for every hobby cook.
  • Funny: Comic motifs or funny sayings can make kitchen work easier on tea towels.
  • Personalised: Whether for yourself or as a loving gift, there is also the option of personalising tea towels.

The design that suits you best depends on your kitchen and your personal taste.

Tea towels: frequently asked questions and answers

In order to be sufficiently informed before you buy, we have compiled and answered the most important questions about tea towels in the following section.

What are tea towels and who are they suitable for?

Dishtowels are cloths made of absorbent materials that are used for drying previously washed kitchen utensils. They are suitable for anyone who does not have a dishwasher, but also if you only have a few items that need to be washed by hand.

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Tea towels belong in every sustainable kitchen. (Image source: Caroline Attwood / Unsplash)

Apart from the fact that tea towels are usually sold in sets anyway, it is also worth buying more than one tea towel. Since the tea towel has to be washed after use, you will need another one during this time. Therefore, you should have at least 2.

What types of tea towels are there?

Tea towels are made of different materials, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. In the following, we would like to give you an overview of the different types of tea towels.

Dishtowels made of cotton are cheap to buy and are also hard-wearing and very absorbent. With an Oeko-Tex certificate, they are environmentally friendly cotton of high quality.

Since cotton is not very fine, it can possibly cause small tears or scratches. In addition, cotton tea towels can start to lint after repeated use, which can lead to unsightly lint residues on the dishes. Linen is a natural fabric that is relatively expensive to purchase. In addition, it can happen that the tea towel hardens somewhat after repeated washing. On the other hand, the material is durable and hard-wearing. Due to its texture, it does not fluff, does not scratch and is ideal for polishing dishes.

Dishcloths made of microfibre are more absorbent than cotton, for example, due to their honeycomb structure. They also polish surfaces without leaving streaks. However, they can be relatively expensive to buy. Microfibre cloths are also more difficult to care for, as they must not be washed so hot and must instead be treated with special detergent (hygiene rinser).

Blended fabrics have the advantage that they can combine certain material advantages due to the different components.

One of the most popular mixed fabrics is half-linen, which consists of 50 % cotton and 50 % linen. This combines the lint-free and stable nature of linen with the absorbency of cotton, which is also cheaper to obtain overall due to the lower proportion of linen. However, care must be taken when washing, as the material can otherwise become hard.

Another popular blended fabric is bamboo. Bamboo hollow fibres are naturally antibacterial, and the tea towels, which are made of a proportion of polyamide or polyester, are also soft and absorbent. Depending on the proportion of polyamide / polyester, care must be taken when washing, as synthetic fibres must not be washed so hot. In the following, we have compiled this information for you in a clear table.

Types advantages disadvantages
Cotton very absorbent, hard-wearing, inexpensive can cause scratches, can lint
Linen does not lint, hard-wearing, suitable for polishing relatively expensive, hardens somewhat after several washes
Microfibre very absorbent, suitable for polishing cannot be washed too hot, can be expensive
Blended fabric very absorbent, hard-wearing, soft not easy to care for

Which material is best for you depends on what qualities are important to you in a tea towel.

How much do tea towels cost?

There are sometimes large price ranges between the individual tea towel materials. We have compiled a small overview of how much you can expect to pay for each tea towel.

Product type price range (per cloth)
Cotton 0.69 – 6 euros
Linen 6 – 18 euros
Microfibre 2 – 12 euros
Mixed fabric 1.50 – 5 euros

Cotton tea towels are the cheapest to buy at 69 cents to 6 euros per cloth. Mixed fabrics start at around 1.50 euros and remain in the inexpensive range up to 5 euros. Microfibre tea towels are available from 2 euros, but can be expensive up to 12 euros per piece and are therefore in the middle price range. The most expensive dishtowels are made of pure linen. These start at 6 euros per cloth and can cost up to 18 euros per piece.

What are the alternatives to tea towels?

If you don’t want to use tea towels to dry your kitchen utensils, there are other options. We have summarised the alternatives in a table below.

Alternative Description
Kitchen roll A kitchen roll consists of many individually usable absorbent paper sheets. Because of its single use, the kitchen roll is not the most environmentally friendly way to dry dishes.
Towels Unlike tea towels, towels are not always made of suitable material for drying dishes. For example, towels can get very linty when drying dishes.
Draining mat Wet dishes are placed on a draining mat to dry on. However, this process can take several hours.
Draining rack A draining rack works exactly like a draining mat, except that it is a framework. Again, this process can take some time to dry the dishes.

Using a kitchen roll is the least environmentally friendly of the options presented. Towels can be a useful alternative to tea towels, but it is important to choose the right material. A draining mat and rack allow your kitchen utensils to dry freely without having to do it yourself. However, it may take some time for the dishes to dry in this way.

How often should you change dishtowels?

Since you should generally only use a tea towel to dry kitchen utensils that have already been washed, it will not get dirty with continued use. However, it will retain more and more water until it becomes so saturated that it no longer dries properly.

Depending on how often you use it, you should replace it every 1 to 2 weeks or at the latest when the tea towel feels very damp to the touch.

To use the tea towel as long and hygienically as possible, you should hang it up. This ensures that it is sufficiently ventilated, which dries it better and thus provides less breeding ground for harmful bacteria. If you use a tea towel for other purposes, such as covering pots or food, you should change it as soon as it becomes dirty.

How do I wash tea towels properly?

In general, it is advisable to wash tea towels at at least 60 degrees, as this is the only way to guarantee that most germs die off. If there is an extreme germ load or immune deficiency in the household, they should even be washed at 90 degrees.

Most germs die at a temperature of 60 degrees.

In addition, you should look at the washing instructions for the tea towels, as depending on the material, there may be a pictorial description of how to handle the fabric. If you want to use your tea towels hygienically in the long term, it is best to always follow these instructions.

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To ensure hygiene, some items must be washed at high temperatures. (Image source: moerschy / Pixabay)

Conclusion

Tea towels are suitable for anyone who washes kitchen utensils and dishes by hand and doesn’t want to wait long for things to dry afterwards. In addition, the cloths can be used for other purposes in an emergency and can be used to cover pots and food or as oven gloves.

When buying dishtowels, the first thing to look out for is the material, as a distinction can be made here between cotton, pure linen, microfibre and mixed fabrics. In addition, the size, colour and design play an important role in choosing the right tea towel. Ultimately, personal preference is the most important factor when deciding on a tea towel.

(Cover picture: Khodzhamedov/ 123rf)

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