Why are Turkish towels special?

What is Special about Turkish Towels?

Turkish towels are actually called Peshtemal towels with different spellings of the name. They originate from Turkish baths in the 17th century when bathers wanted an absorbent, full coverage towel. In modern days they are considered the ultimate towel and come in a rainbow colours and styles from international companies. Let’s dive into why people love Turkish Towels.

NOTE: The highest quality peshtemal towels, the ones with a tight weave and Turkish cotton yearn are on topic for this article. The small, roughly made Turkish towels with a loose weave are for another article. See HERE for that where I spill the tea on that subject. 

Woman in a spa waring white Turkish towels on her body and hair

Turkish Towels are Versatile

Absorbent, fast to dry and lightweight, these soft towels will pull water from skin and hair. The smooth surface opens the door to take these from the bath to the beach because sand doesn’t stick. Travellers are bringing them on the plain as a scarf or tucking them into their cary ons to us use as a light blanket. 

Turkish towels are also being used in non traditional ways by creative minds who want their best home goods to do more. Many people are using these as decorative light blankets, sarongs, shawls and even table clothes. 

Woman in yoga clothes drying herself with a Turkish towel, smiling

Turkish Towels Last a Long Time

The mark of a high quality Turkish towel is how well they wash and dry in standard machines. The best Turkish towels can wash with your regular cottons because they don’t use a lot of water. No need for fabric softeners, high quality Turkish cotton doesn’t need any help staying soft.

Ideally the towel will come prewashed and won’t shrink or bleed in the first cycle. If the product listing is recommending that you soak or hand wash when you first receive it, the recommendation is to expect some bleeding and shrinking. Look at the reviews to see how they hold up in the first few uses. 

Man coming out of a shower wrapping himself in a blue and white Turkish towel

Turkish Towels Take Less Water and Space

Traditional Turkish towels are smooth on both sides. They should offer large surfaces that are light weight and fold small. For example, one pure Turkish cotton peshtemal that offers a 90cm x 170 c/m or 3’ by 6’ surface will weight 370 grams or 0.83lbs. This same towel will fold small enough to fit into a bag. (Size and weight taken from Pomp & Sass spa quality Turkish towels pompandsass.ca)

Fun fact: Pomp & Sass body towels fold small enough to fit 15 into a single dresser drawer. See them HERE

When talking about water usage for washing a Turkish towel, you should expect to use very little. This is why they are often thrown into other loads, they don’t need a lot. To put it into perspective, a small sink should be enough to wash a body towel.

Black woman lounging on a couch using a blue and white Turkish towel as a light blanket Canada
What is so Special about Turkish Towels?

This large, absorbent surface is versatile, hard wearing and needs very little water to wash. Use them in the bath, at the beach, for travel and even as decorative items. Throw them into your regular cotton cycle and never struggle with your linen closet again. 

It’s no wonder people prefer Turkish towels but I wish North America would call them Peshtemals. After all, Turkish towels can refer to any towel made with Turkish cotton. 

Written by Nikky Starrett (she/they) Founder of Pomp & Sass. 
This article is the opinion of the author.

Support Nikky’s small business by buying your towels at Pomp & Sass. Wholesale orders available through our contact form.

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