What To Look For When Searching For Soft And Absorbent Bath Towels

Unlike other products, we don’t see a barrage of commercials for brands of towels on television and online, telling us which brand to buy. Yet there’s a wide array of choices once you hit a home, department, or discount store. What should you look for? Which towel is right for you? Here’s what you should look for when searching for soft and absorbent towels.

At least, our fluffy and absorbent colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports assume that you aren’t in the market for think and scratchy bath towels: if that’s what you’re into, just follow the exact opposite of the advice here. For the rest of us, here are some towel-shopping tips.

Softness in the store can be deceiving. A cotton towel may have a silky texture in the store, which fades after a couple of washes. How can you get around that? You can’t give a towel a test wash in the store, unfortunately, but you can check what it’s made of.

Being made of part rayon will give them a nice silky feel, and Pima and Egyptian cotton are less prone to fuzzies that cause roughness. Cotton/polyester blend towels are more durable, but less soft.

Take care of your towels. Consumer Reports’ textile engineers recommend staying away from liquid fabric softeners, using dryer sheets instead if you need that extra soft coating. Use a good quality detergent, and bleach for white towels.

Watch for fading. Don’t invest in pricey towels if anyone in your household is using benzoyl peroxide to treat skin problems at the moment, since it can fade towels and wash cloths after coming in contact. To help your memory, buy an extra washcloth in the same color as a set of towels, and keep it aside for a comparison. If it no longer matches up with your towels after a few washings, take the towels back to the store if their return policy is still in effect, or snap a few comparison pictures and send a complaint letter if it isn’t.

How to Choose Bath Towels That Last [Consumer Reports]