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Shopping Guide for Best Kitchen Towel Sets

Towel sets aren’t limited to the plush collections found in hotel rooms and bathroom linen closets.

Many people buy towel sets for their kitchen, too. The typical kitchen towel isn’t as luxurious as its bathroom counterparts, but it serves an important purpose nonetheless.

Some kitchen towels are completely lint-free, making them ideal for drying dishes, cups, and silverware. Others absorb liquids especially well and are designed to tackle spills, drips, and other liquid emergencies. And of course, kitchen hand towels provide a convenient — often decorative — place for you to wipe your hands while working.

At BestReviews, we combine consumer feedback with independent research and expert interviews to provide honest, unbiased shopping advice for our readers. Our ultimate goal: to become your go-to source for trustworthy product recommendations whenever you’re faced with a buying decision.

We have compiled a shortlist of reasonably priced kitchen towel sets that we believe will provide you with years of quality service.

Your kitchen has probably seen its share of spills. For this reason, you can never have enough towels on hand.

Types of Kitchen Towels

The definition of a “kitchen towel” is open to interpretation. Everything from a roll of disposable paper towels to a set of decorative hand towels fits the general description.

Here’s a look at the most common kitchen towel types:

Kitchen towel types

Tea Towel

The tea towel is a workhorse kitchen linen. Often sold in sets of four or five, its name highlights its ancestral purpose: drying the household tea set.

A tea towel’s natural absorbency and lint-free nature make it ideal for washing dishes, but it’s not necessarily the best choice for drying your hands or handling cookware.

EXPERT TIP

Kitchen towels vary greatly in materials they are come in. Some are great for soaking up spills, others do an amazing job of getting rid of grease, and still others for wiping dishes sparkly clean.


Staff  | BestReviews
Kitchen towel types

Dish Towel

A standard tea towel can also be referred to as a dish towel, but when you compare different brands, you’ll likely notice some subtle differences.

Dish towels are often thicker in texture than tea towels. Some have an abrasive and/or ribbed texture that enables them to thoroughly wash and dry dishes, cutlery, and cookware.

Because they’re more utilitarian than decorative, most dish towels remain tucked inside a drawer when not in use.

A basic set of decorative hand towels can change the look and feel of the entire room.

Staff
BestReviews
Kitchen towel types

Pot Holder

The typical pot holder is a thick square of reinforced cloth designed to protect tabletops and human flesh from hot handles and lids. Most have a finished edge and an attached fabric loop for easy access.

Some pot holders are lined with a heat-resistant material like silicone. Others are designed to double as oven mitts. Because they often sit in public view, many pot holders showcase decorative colors and designs.

Kitchen towel types

Hand Towel

Kitchen hand towels are often made of thick terry cloth that closely resembles the material in a bathing washcloth or guest towel.

Some cooks tuck a hand towel into the waistband of an apron while preparing food. Others hook the towel to a refrigerator or drawer handle for quick access. Hand towels can be quite plain or extremely decorative. They can replace paper towels as the first line of defense against small spills.

EXPERT TIP

The best kitchen towels are absorbent, lint-free, and easy to launder.


Staff  | BestReviews

Kitchen Towel Materials

Cotton is a naturally “thirsty” fiber that can be woven into a cloth that will not create lint. It’s a popular towel material, but it’s not the only one on the market. You’ll also see towels made of wood-based fibers and manmade microfiber on store shelves.

Materials

Plain Linen

Because the first tea towels were designed to clean and polish tea sets, the material needed to be lint-free. Plain cotton linen may be thin, but it absorbs the final drops of water on dishware and sheds no unsightly fibers.

Plain linen is also considered food-safe. As such, many cooks use it as a protective cover for breads and other hot foods.

DID YOU KNOW?

Tea towels require frequent replacement. Fortunately, manufacturers often sell them in packs of four, five, or more.

Materials

Ribbed Cotton

The material found in dish towels (and some hand towels) is a more processed form of linen. Cotton thread is used to create a thicker ribbed finish, giving the towel an abrasive quality that aids in dishwashing, pot holding, and surface cleaning.

Many ribbed kitchen towels feature color schemes or graphics that match or enhance the room’s decor.

Materials

Terry Cloth

Cotton terry cloth is extremely absorbent thanks to the numerous threads woven into the material. It’s an ideal fabric for both functional and decorative hand towel sets. You’ll also see it used in some pot holders and oven mitts.

Many consumers put their seasonal hand towels on display for decorative reasons, but they keep a set of functional terry cloth towels tucked away for dishwashing and surface cleaning.

Materials

Microfiber

Microfiber is a synthetic material consisting of thousands of extremely tiny fibers. When working in tandem, these fibers sweep up dust and dirt far more efficiently than regular cotton.

If you’re looking to get your kitchen surfaces and dishes squeaky clean, you may want to sample this simple synthetic technology. Some people swear by the effectiveness of their microfiber towels.

EXPERT TIP

To name a few uses of different kitchen towels — plain linens are great for soaking water, ribbed linens for washing up, terry cloth for drying hands, and microfiber cloths for wiping off countertops.


Staff  | BestReviews

Care and Maintenance

Kitchen towels are often your first line of defense against spills, boil-overs, and other cooking emergencies. As such, they can go from perfectly clean to heavily soiled in a matter of minutes.

If you want to preserve the quality and functionality of your kitchen towels for as long as possible, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use your tea towels for no more than a day or two between launderings. A damp cloth develops mildew if it’s allowed to sit for too long.
  • Food-borne bacteria can also contaminate a kitchen towel. If food touches your towel, replace it with a clean one, and launder and sanitize the soiled towel as soon as you can.
  • While pot holders and dry tea towels may not appear soiled, they can still develop mildew during storage.
  • Keep a generous supply of kitchen towels on hand. One set of soiled linens can be laundered while a fresh, clean set takes its place.

There is no agreed-upon standard in the world of towel labeling. So just head on to the kitchen section and pick a linen that suits your needs, regardless of description.

Staff
BestReviews

Why Buy a Kitchen Towel Set?

From spilled juice in the morning, to dirty wine glasses at night — kitchen towels are in demand from sunrise to sunset in many homes. It makes good economic sense to buy them in bulk when possible.

Here are a few other great reasons to buy more than one kitchen towel at a time:

  • You can quickly replace a soiled towel with a fresh one when the need arises.
  • You can designate one set to be used as hand towels and another to be strictly for washing or drying dishes.
  • You can coordinate your colors and designs to match your home décor and the seasons.
  • Instead of wasting paper towels, you’ll be reusing cotton ones — a greener way of life.
  • You’re likely to spend less money per towel when you buy in bulk.
Having kitchen towels around is a complete must for every household. They are invaluable helpers when it comes to accidental spills, or washing and cleaning up after a meal. You can use them for every surface — from dishes to gas hobs, to even water sediments on your tap.

FAQ

Q: Why should I use cloth kitchen towels when disposable paper towels are available?

A: For starters, cotton kitchen towels are more versatile than paper towels. The same cotton towel can be used to hold a hot lid, clean up a spill, and wash dishes — all in the same day. A paper towel only accomplishes one of these feats before becoming unusable.

And of course, when you use kitchen towels, you’re not sending hundreds of used paper towels to the landfill. You’re living a greener life by reusing your materials.

Q: Should I opt for tea towels, dish towels, or hand towels? The labels are confusing.

A: The original lint-free linen towel designed for kitchen use was called a tea towel, and it’s still marketed as such in many kitchen supply and retail stores. Often sold in sets, it’s a great all-purpose kitchen towel.

You’ll also see dish towels and hand towels on shelves in the kitchen section, many of which are thicker and more absorbent than traditional tea towels.

But truth be told, there is no agreed-upon standard in the world of towel labeling. Generally speaking, you should head toward the kitchen linen section and look for a product that fits your needs, regardless of description.

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