How to buy and CleanTowels
What in the world did people do before towels were invented? Towels are one of those everyday items that everyone has an opinion about. Think about it: at hotels, one of the signs of elegance and luxury is a rack filled with thick, huge and fluffy white towels, while motels and lower-priced vacation getaways are often associated with thin, standard-sized, barely absorbent pieces of cloth.
You may not have much say about the towels offered on vacation, but at home, you can purchase the best towels by simply knowing the facts. When you’re buying towels, it’s easy to be fooled by price or the initial feel of the fabric. What’s really important, however, is durability, absorbency, softness and lack of shrinkage.
If you’re going to purchase bath towels, you’ll want absorbency. Look for thick loops packed so closely together that you can barely see the fabric base. This type of towel will also last longer. To check, separate a few loops and inspect the towel. All towel edges should be securely stitched and tightly woven. Some people love velour towels, because they feel so plush and smooth, but they are not as absorbent as other types. Velour towels often are great as hand or face towels.
If you’re heading for the beach, absorbency is not as important, since you’ll be using your towel to lie on the sand, cover a hot beach chair or wrap around you after a refreshing swim. We recommend splurging on a big size: in this case, bigger really is better.
When it comes to washing your towels, it’s important to wash your towels before using them for the first time. Of course, wash white towels separately from colored towels and don’t use bleach. The first time you wash a towel, add one half to one cup of white vinegar to set the dyes and help prevent fading (white vinegar is also great to use if your towels start to smell musty). All towels will shrink a bit during the first few washes. If a towel shrinks a lot, however, (and we mean more than a few inches), you should bring it back to the store.
Other towel care tips: don’t use fabric softener or iron towels, as this will decrease absorbency. When you’re drying towels, don’t over-dry them since this will weaken fibers. Use low temperatures and take the towels out when they’re slightly damp and then line dry. If you’re going to air dry only, be sure to shake out the towels before and after to fluff them up.
One last piece of advice: if you throw your towels in a car trunk or beach bag after a long day in the sun, don’t forget to remove them as soon as possible and dry thoroughly to avoid a musty, unpleasant odor.
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