The Instant Bathroom Update:
There are probably quite a few areas in your home that you feel might need a bit of updating. Furniture? Window coverings? Carpet? Maybe the tile needs to be replaced. Maybe the backyard could do with a deck. Those are all great options…and maybe a good opportunity for a bit of DIY? But one of the fastest, easiest, least-expensive, and most satisfying ways to breathe new life into one of the most-loved and most-used rooms of your home is to replace the towels in your bath! Once you start out though, you’ll find you do have lots of options…maybe too many. So how do you find the right towels for you? We’ve got all you need to make the best decision right here!
The Look and Feel
A lot goes into a good quality bath towel, so you’ll need to know what to look for. First, consider GSM (grams per square meter). This refers to the weight and quality of the towel, its density. In the past you may have been told to look for “thread count,” but that can be deceiving, since that is really only an indicator of how tightly the fabric has been woven, not the quality of the fabric itself. GSM, on the other hand, can give you a better idea of how the towel will feel, look, and absorb water.
Towels are usually between 300-900 GSM; the lower the number, the lighter and thinner the towel will be. A towel with a GSM between 300-400 GSM doesn't make the best bath towel, but it would work well as a kitchen or gym towel since it absorbs smaller amounts of liquid and will dry fairly quickly. Towels between 400-600 GSM make an excellent choice for both beach towels as well as bath towels, since their absorbency is higher. And if you are looking at a towel with a GSM of 600-900, these will be the most plush, heaviest towels with the highest absorbency. The only drawback? They will take a bit longer to dry than towels with lower GSM.
Type of Fabric
Another important factor you will want to take into consideration when choosing a new towel is type of fabric. Today, you can find towels of microfiber (made from engineered fibers) and Modal (made from the cellulose of beech trees), even bamboo and hemp. But hands down, in terms of quality, appearance, feel, performance, and durability, your best bet will be towels made from 100% cotton. And among your choices there, the largest and best selections will be either Egyptian, pima, or Turkish cottons. Egyptian cotton and the newer pima cotton, made from American-grown cotton, have been popular choices, but we are seeing consumers turn to Turkish cotton increasingly in recent years. Its tight, flat weave, is highly absorbent, very soft, but as it’s so lightweight, Turkish cotton also take a fraction of the time (and energy) to dry that other cottons do, and the countless patterns and colors offered by Turkish Peshtemal towels make them an easy pick for creating a colourful display (it also makes them ideal for travel and small storage spaces).
So, you've selected a range of bright and beautiful new towels to decorate the bathroom, but you definitely don’t want them getting dingy and frayed like the last ones…so how can you properly care for them?
It’s always advised to wash your new towels before their first use, because manufacturers often treat them with fabric softeners, which makes them look great in the store, but also limits their absorbency.
As for daily care, you might not realize it, but the main culprit behind stiff towels is not lack of fabric softener…it’s a build-up of detergent! So wash your towels in warm water, with a gentle detergent, like Woolite, and a half a cup of baking soda, which will help keep the fabric smelling fresh and free from chemical residue. Also, replace fabric softener with vinegar. Just one cup about every six weeks will keep the cotton soft, absorbent, and looking lovely. And finally, set your dryer to a lower setting, since a high-heat setting can often damage the fabric, leading to that dreaded thinning and fraying.
Styling Your New Towels
Now that you have your new towels and you know how to keep them looking beautiful… all that’s left is to style them! Designers often consider Turkish towels one of the fastest, easiest, most versatile, and least expensive ways to add loads of style to your bathroom. Depending on your current storage options, towels stacked or rolled always give a high-end, luxe “spa” feel to your space. If you’re short on square footage, consider adding shelves, or hooks with woven wicker baskets to display the towels, to get all the colour and texture of the Turkish towels without compromising floor space. Another low-cost, high-impact option is to repaint the walls of your bathroom, using the towels either as a colour contrast or compliment to the new walls.
As you can see, regardless of your budget or the size of your bathroom, there are towels out there that will help to breathe new life into your space, creating the haven, the sanctuary, you crave (and deserve)! Take care of them, and they will beautifully take care of you and your family for years to come.