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Types of Kitchen Towels: A Detailed Guide

Posted on July 29 2022

Types of Kitchen Towels: A Detailed Guide

The kitchen is a place where members of the family gather, cook, eat, talk, laugh, and bond over the ups and downs of life. It is one of the most important areas of any home, so all of its elements must remain in tip-top shape.

Keeping the kitchen clean and hygienic is crucial to your household's long-term health and well-being. It’s vital to clean the surfaces and tools used for meal preparation thoroughly, but the rest of the kitchen should not go ignored.

One of the best ways to keep the kitchen clean and prevent the spread of germs and bacteria is to use high-quality kitchen towels. These linen accessories are often underrated, but they are incredibly important elements of a good kitchen. They are versatile, absorbent tools that clean up spills, dry dishes and hands, cover dishes, and even decorate tables.

Choosing the best kitchen towels, tea towels, dish towels, hand towels, or chef towels takes a bit of research. They are made with different materials that are suited for very specific uses.

This guide dives deep into the world of kitchen towels to help you choose linens that will suit all of your needs.

Types of Kitchen Towels

You can use one of these different types of towels in the kitchen:

Tea Towels

A tea towel is used to dry tea-related utensils, cutlery, and other kitchen items. They are also great for covering teapots. These types of towels are commonly placed in a dish used to serve muffins, scones, and other teatime snacks.

Aside from these functional purposes, tea towels are often used as a decor piece for tea and breakfast setups.

Usually made of linen or terry cloth, they are also thinner and less absorbent than the other kitchen towels on this list. This makes them less suited for other uses in the kitchen, such as cleaning spills and stains.


Dish Towels

Dish towels are particularly useful for drying dishes after washing. They speed up the drying process and prevent water spots from forming on the plates.

These towels are highly absorbent and do not leave behind traces of lint. They can be easily used for one or two drying sessions but must be frequently rotated and laundered. Otherwise, they will accumulate debris and dirty up freshly washed dishes.

Dish towels are usually kept separate from other kitchen towels because of their highly specialized use.



Chef Towels

A chef towel is an essential and often-used tool in a chef’s arsenal. They have a wide range of uses in a professional kitchen, and they are considered a chef’s go-to tool—ranking only below knives.

Professional kitchens are incredibly busy, so the tools and equipment must be highly durable and long-lasting. These towels are no exception—they are designed to withstand repeated abuse for extended hours in the kitchen.

In general, chef towels look comparatively sterile and clinical compared to tea towels and dish towels. They are usually plain white or striped. They aren’t designed for aesthetics but to provide much-needed functionality for busy people in a very active workplace.

Chef towels are used to dry and cover dishes, plates, veggies, and herbs, clean knives and cutting boards in between uses, clean up spills, and handle hot dishes.


Hand Towels

Hand towels are commonly used to dry your hands as you work in the kitchen. They are specifically designed for this purpose, so they are much softer on the skin than other types of kitchen towels. They are often made of hypoallergenic and skin-friendly materials such as cotton or linen. 

Materials Used to Make Kitchen Towels


Cotton is incredibly soft, absorbent, and versatile. It is the most commonly used material to make kitchen towels of all types; only the stitch and weave may differ.

Kitchen towels with a tight weave are usually more durable and absorbent.




Microfiber kitchen towels consist of tiny, super fine microfibers that are great for lifting dirt and food particles from surfaces and getting rid of tough stains. This material is fantastic for cleaning, but it may be a bit more fragile and less durable when used too often.

While microfiber can easily lift stubborn dirt particles left behind on kitchen counters, it is not particularly absorbent, especially when compared to other towel materials. This is why they are not as widely used as kitchen towels made of cotton and linen.

Terry Cloth

Terry cloth is a spongy material traditionally woven from cotton. It is covered with tiny, protruding loops of thread that make it very absorbent. Terry cloth is often used to make kitchen hand towels and dish towels.

These towels can quickly dry hands and dishes, wipe down surfaces, and hold hot pots, pans, and warm dishware.


Linen is often used to give decorative kitchen towels a fancy and more luxurious look. Kitchen towels made with this material are very absorbent and do not leave lint behind when used to dry or wipe down surfaces. Linen is excellent for drying dishes and hands and cleaning stains and spills.

Linen is made up of very delicate fibers that are great for cleaning high-end, fragile kitchenware and fine china without harming the surface. These towels are also incredibly strong and durable and can last for a long time.


Our Conclusion

Choosing the perfect kitchen towel is not easy enough to do. With the help of our handy guide, you should be able to discern the kitchen towel type and material that will suit all of your household’s needs.

My Kitchen Linens offers a wide range of high-quality cotton and linen kitchen towels. They are great for cleaning spills, drying dishes and hands, covering vegetables, holding hot dishes, and for many other uses in the kitchen.

They are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, so you can be sure to find a set or two that you will love and treasure for a long time to come. Visit our store online and browse our collection of premium kitchen towels.



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