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Towels are and essential bathroom accessory that are not only practical but can also be an important element in creating that designer look to your home.
Everyone loves a sumptuously plush and wonderfully soft fluffy towel after a shower, bath, or even a spa. Knowing what makes a good towel and understanding the difference between the huge number and variety of towels on the market can be confusing.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND YOUR HUMBLE TOWEL
The prime function of a towel is to take the moisture away from the body after a shower or bath.
Whilst performing this task, the towel should remain absorbent for the duration of the drying process and should not become too damp or wet, which results in a wet clammy feeling against the skin.
For a towel to perform this function effectively, there are certain quality and technical considerations that are required in both the selection of the yarns and in the production process of the product.
As you may be aware a towel is made up of cotton yarns woven together – forming a base and loops.
The function of the loops is to take the moisture away from the body. To do this effectively, the loops are best made from combed cotton – this is a fine grade-A- cotton in long continuous strands, excellent for transferring the moisture.
The next factor that helps in the transfer of the moisture is the thickness of the cotton yarn. The cotton weight of a towel helps determine its absorbency. The higher the surface density the more capacity the towel has to wick moisture away. The density is expressed as Grams per Square Meter (GSM) and typically ranges between 300-900 GSM. As a general rule the higher the GSM the more absorbent the towel. There is however always a trade off as a high-density towel will take longer to dry. A medium weight towel of around 500-600 GSM is often a good choice as it represents a good balance between absorbency and drying time.
The base of the towel is the “STORAGE” area of the towel. Once the long thin loops have transmitted the moisture away, the function of the base is to store this moisture so the towel can continue to work effectively and not become too wet or clammy on the loop surface.
To perform this function the base yarns should be thicker than the loop yarns so that the moisture can be stored. Good quality thick yarns absorb and store the moisture.
When using a towel, one should not have to move away from those portions of the fabric which are becoming saturated. Good towels continue to absorb water, remaining dry on the surface.
CARING FOR TOWELS
Washing Your Towels
Always wash new towels before use to remove any dust or loose fibres.
We recommend that towels are given a warm machine wash which will give the best results. Cold washing may not produce a softness and hot washing may cause towels to feel harsh.
Wash towels separately and do not mix colours, some dark colours may be subject to some initial loose colour which cause slight staining onto other articles. Follow the detergent manufacturer’s recommended quantity of detergent to avoid excessive detergent dosages. Ensure that the detergent is fully dissolved before adding the towels to the washing water, undissolved detergent can adversely affect the colour.
For best results do not overload the washing machine. The towels should move freely which will ensure a good wash and a thorough rinse. Avoid the use of bleaches which can degrade the fibre and reduce the life expectancy of the towel if used on a regular basis.
Some fabrics softeners contains silicons which can inhibit the absorbency of the towel if they are used on a regular basis. Regular use of fabric softeners is therefore not recommended. If your towels do not absorb, wash in the normal manner but omit the fabric softener. This should restore the normal absorbency to the towel.
Towels can shed when they are new. This is a sign of the quality & quantity of cotton in the towel, but you may find it annoying. Washing the towels in White Vinegar will help to set the colour and cut down on the fluffing. Use the vinegar as if it is liquid detergent; throw a cup into the water while the machine is filling-don’t add detergent.
Drying Your Towels
Line drying is preferred, however tumble drying on a warm setting also produces a soft feel. Whichever method is used, the towel should not be left wet for a prolonged period of time. Over drying in a tumble dryer should also be avoided as this produces a harsh feel and will also reduce the life expectancy of the towel. It can also cause the ‘header’ to shrink or tighten. This can make the towel look puckered or misshapen.
Avoid direct contact with household and personal hygiene products which may contain substances which will bleach the colour of towels. After using hand cleansers, hair and facial preparations, thoroughly wash off before using the towel. These substances can bleach the colour when in a concentrated form.