Turkish Towel – Things It’s Good You Know

  • By: Tiffany Peris
  • Time to read: 9 min.

When traveling to different destinations for various purposes, you will most likely pack a Turkish towel in your luggage. If you already have a Turkish towel, you will know that the towel has different features that set it apart from other towels.

In this article, we discuss Turkish towels and the different features of the towel that we believe you should know. If you read the article in full, you will understand why Turkish towel has been popular. Moreover, you will also be well informed on taking good care of your Turkish towel.

What Is A Turkish Towel?

A Turkish towel is a type of towel that is made in Turkey. Turkish towel is also referred to as Hammam, Fouta, Pestemals, or Peshtemal towel. The towel is made from pure (100%) Turkish cotton.

The Turkish towel was invented in the 17th Century in Bursa city, and since then, it has been used in Turkey and other countries around the world. I repurchased my first Turkish towel in 2010. The towel was light green and had white stripes. The towel’s fringes were perfectly tied on every side.

While compared to other towels that I have used in the past, I found Turkish towels to be thin and, at the same time, lightweight. The thinness of the towel made me wonder if it would absorb water. To my surprise, the towel was far much better than any other towel that I had used in the past. It dried my skin well after showering, while it also dried within a very short time after washing it.

How To Wash Turkish Towels First Time

While Turkish cotton towels are compared to other cotton towels available in the market, such as Egyptian cotton towels, you will find that the Turkish towel is different in various ways. For example, the towel is thin and lighter than most towels, apart from being expensive. Thus, due to the differences, you could be wondering how you are supposed to wash your Turkish cotton towels for the first time.

I must point out that the first wash for your Turkish towel is significant since it is the wash that will make sure that your towel reaches its maximum softness and absorbency.

Here is a simple process on how you can wash your Turkish towels for the first time

Step 1: Set the washing machine to a regular wash cycle

Step 2: Add a cup of white distilled vinegar. Make sure that you don’t use any detergent. Remember, the first wash aims to ensure that your towel will have maximum softness and absorbency. In addition, the towel is clean since it’s new.

You should never use detergent when washing your Turkish towel for the first time to dry it. If you use the detergent, you will not achieve maximum softness and absorbency.

Step 3: Load the Turkish towel into the washing machine.

Step 4: Turn on the washing machine and wait for the wash cycle to complete.

Step 5: Dry the Turkish towel using the cotton setting in the dryer.

You should never use a fabric softener or dryer sheet when drying your Turkish towel. The softener will only deposit a wax coating on the Turkish towel, which will break down the fibers of the Turkish cotton in your towel, thus making the towel less absorbent.

If you do not want to use vinegar or a washing machine for the first time you are washing your Turkish towel, you can soak the towel in cold water for a minimum of twelve hours. However, you must ensure that the towel is fully immersed in the cold water for 12 hours.

After 12 hours, remove the Turkish towel from cold water and wring it out. Dry the towel in the dryer or hang it on a clothesline to dry. If you are hanging your towel on a clothesline, make sure that you do not hang it in direct sunlight to avoid sun bleaching.

How To Wash Turkish Towels

After you have used your Turkish towel, you should wash the towel regularly to avoid the accumulation of dirt and other microbes on the towel. Indeed, if your towel accumulates a lot of dirt, it could end up smelling like an onion.

Step 1: Set your washing machine to a cotton wash cycle and use a cold or warm water setting.

Step 2: Load your Turkish towel into the washing machine. You can wash the towel with other whites.

Step 3: Add washing detergent using the dosage specified by the detergent manufacturer.

Step 4: Turn on the washing machine and wait for the wash cycle to complete.

Step 5: Take out the Turkish towel from the washing machine and dry it in a dryer or clothesline. If drying the towel with a dryer, use a gentle dry cycle.

To ensure that your Turkish towel is always bright, soft, and does not have any odor, add a cup of white vinegar once a month in the detergent compartment of your washing machine when washing the towel.

Do Turkish Towels Shrink

The nature of cotton fibers that make up the Turkish towels will determine whether Turkish cotton will shrink or not. The fibers of Turkish cotton usually are longer when compared to other cotton fibers. Therefore, as the towel is washed, the fibers become softer while increasing absorbency.

Turkish towel shrinks when washed in high water temperatures or are dried in a high-temperature dryer setting. Specifically, when the fibers of the Turkish towel come into contact with hot water and hot temperatures in the washer and dryer, the fibers relax after tension is created, thus causing a shrinkage.

If you wash your Turkish towel in a standard wash setting, there will be minimal shrinkage that you cannot even note. However, if you use the hottest water setting and dry the towel in very high temperatures, your Turkish towel can shrink anything by 3 – 5%.  

If you want to shrink your Turkish towel, wash the towel in hot water and dry it in a very hot dryer setter. Your Turkish towel will shrink when subjected to temperatures above 130 Fahrenheit in the washing machine or the dryer.

What Is Special About Turkish Towels

If you haven’t used Turkish towels in the past, you could be wondering what makes the towels unique compared to other towels to the extent that they are even higher priced. Here are some reasons why Turkish towels are special compared to standard towels.

Dry Very Quickly

When compared to regular towels, Turkish towels dry fast. Indeed, you can wash and dry your Turkish towel inside the house in about 4 – 6 hours, while for regular towels, we all know that you will need more than 12 hours if you were to dry them inside the use and never use a dryer.

Highly Absorbent

Turkish towels have higher absorbency than regular towels. When drying myself with a Turkish towel after a shower, I noted that the process was quicker than is the case with a regular cotton towel. Specifically, I have to rub the towel once or twice on my skin, while with other regular towels, I usually rub myself a couple of times to make sure that the towel has completely absorbed the water in my skin.

Maintains Its Perfect Condition

Despite using my Turkish towel, I have noted that it is like the towel renews itself since it always looks like a new towel after washing. Unfortunately, the same cannot be the case with a regular towel as it wears out with use.

Easy To Carry Around

Turkish towels are compact and easy to carry around. The towels are flat woven, thin, and lighter. You can even put one in your handbag. However, that is never the case with a regular towel as it is bulk and takes a lot of space.

How To Soften Turkish Towels

To make your Turkish towels soft, you should soak the towels in cold or warm water for 12 hours. During the 12 hours, the towel should be fully immersed in the water.

When Turkish towels are soaked in water for a few hours, they absorb water, and when the fibers absorb water, the fibers become soft. Thus, if your Turkish towels are stiff, you can soak them in cold water to soften them.

You can also soften a stiff Turkish towel with vinegar. When washing, add a cup of white vinegar to the washing machine and load your towel into the washer. When the wash cycle ends, you will notice that your Turkish towel is soft.

Can You Put Turkish Towels In The Dryer?

Yes, you can put your Turkish towel in the dryer and dry them. However, make sure that the dryer temperature is not more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit since if the temperature is above that, you will most likely shrink your Turkish towel.

Cotton fabrics can be dried with a dryer simply using the cotton dry cycle or a gentle dry cycle. If you don’t have a dryer or don’t want to put your Turkish towel in the dryer, you can hang your Turkish towel on a clothesline.  

Do Turkish Towels Dry Quickly?

Yes, Turkish towels dry faster. One of the differences between Turkish towels and regular towels is that Turkish towels dry very quickly because they are overweight.

You can either tumble dry your Turkish towel using low heat or dry it on a clothesline.

Can Turkish Towels Be Used As Bath Towels?

The fact that you are used to the bulky regular towel means that you will wonder whether Turkish towels, with their lightweight feature, can be used as bath towels.

Turkish towels are the best bath towels that you can get. The towel is lightweight, dries quickly, and has high absorbency value – what else could you want from a bath towel?

Pros And Cons Of Turkish Towels

Even if Turkish towels are among the best towels globally, they also have shortcomings. It is thus suitable that you have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the Turkish towels so that you can make an informed decision on whether to buy the towels or not.

Pros Of Turkish Towels

The towels are highly durable – The cotton fibers used in Turkish towels are usually long, meaning that there are minimal joints among the fibers. As a result, Turkish towels last longer than other towels.

Highly Absorbent – Turkish towels absorb moisture better than most towels. Thus, when drying with Turkish towels, you can ensure that the towels will efficiently and quickly absorb the water.

Lightweight – Turkish towels are thin, and this makes them lightweight. As a result, you can easily carry the towels to the beach or even on a flight. For other towels, you might need hand luggage or even a suitcase to take them with you.

Highly versatile – While most other towels are mainly used for drying purposes, that is never the case with Turkish towels, as they can be used for different purposes. Turkish towels can be used as a throw blanket, scarf, yoga mat, bath towel, table coverings, and picnic blanket.

They save space – Turkish towels do not require a lot of space to store since they are thin.

Cons Of Turkish Towels

They are expensive – While compared to the price of regular towels, Turkish towels are highly-priced. Specifically, the prices of Turkish towels start from $15, while for regular towels, you can get one for a dollar.

They Fringe– All Turkish towels have a fringe. If you do not like a fringe on your towels, then a Turkish towel is not for you.

They Can Shrink – If you mistakenly wash your Turkish towels in a hot temperature setting, they are likely to shrink.


Turkish towels are great and unique. They are worth the money paid as they last longer, while their high absorbency, versatility, and durability set them apart from other towels.

After buying your Turkish towel, soak them in cold or warm water for a couple of hours to make them softer. Then, wash them in cotton settings, and you can enjoy the towels for a long time.