12 Types of Towels: Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to towels, there are many different types to choose from. Which one is right for you? Here’s a breakdown of the most common types of towels, so you can make the best decision for your needs.

People use different towels for cleaning different parts of their body, that’s why you will find hand towels, face towels, foot towels, and fingertip towels; all for different purposes. In addition, there are bath towels for usage after bathing, gym towels for wiping off sweat, and pet towels for drying your pets after they bathe. Moreover, there are beach towels, spa towels, and washcloths

We will go through the purpose and available dimensions of each of these towels. And then common materials from which towels are made. Read on to learn more.

Types of Towels Based on Use

Towels are one of the household items that we use daily when doing different jobs. That’s why there are various types of towels based on our usage.

From the so many types, we have listed the 12 common types of towels here.

1.     Bath Towels

black and blue bath towels

As the name suggests, this is the type of towel is used after taking bath or shower. The softer the towel is, the more comfortable the bath experience.

Speaking of its sizes, it comes in different sizes i.e. 28″ × 55″, 27″ × 55″, and 30″ × 58″ inches. The standard one is 28″ × 55″. Due to its size, you can dry off your body with it, but it is not large enough to wrap around the whole body.

Bath towels are usually found folded on the towel racks. To get a soft and luxuriant experience, these towels are usually made from cotton, which is an excellent absorbent.

2.     Bath Sheets

The bath sheet serves the same purpose as the bath towel. However, it is bigger compared to a bath towel and can be wrapped around the whole body.

Bath sheets mostly come in sizes 35″ × 75″ and 40″ × 80″. The larger size means more surface contact with the body; this results in more water absorbency and rapid drying.

Bath sheets are most desirable for women who want to do makeup after taking shower. However, men can also use them while shaving.

Like bath towels, bath sheets are also made of cotton because of their good absorbing and quick drying properties.

3.     Hand Towels

two white hand towels

Hand towels are short towels you can use to dry up your hands after using a sink. You will find them hooked on bars near wash basins in bathrooms and kitchens.

As mentioned earlier, they come in small sizes i.e. 15″ × 28″ and 16″ × 32″, as their purpose is just to clean off hands.

Hand towels are usually made from cotton, linen, or polyester. These materials help you maintain good hygiene and quickly dry your hands.

4.     Face Towel

a woman is using a face towel to clean the face

A face towel is to clean off your face after washing.  The face towel is square-shaped and much smaller compared to the other types, normally available in 12″ × 12″. You can easily carry it in your bag. The face towels are ideal for women to protect their skin and remove makeup.

Since the towel is to be used on the face, it needs to be quite soft and have absorbent capabilities. That’s why face towels are usually made of cotton, linen, and synthetic microfibers.

5.     Wash Cloths

Wash Cloths are normally used to wash and clean your skin while showering. They are similar to face towels and have a square shape. However, they are used during bath rather than after it.

Since washcloths are used to wash off your skin, soft materials like cotton and polyester are used to make them.

Washcloths also come in square dimensions i.e. 12″ × 12″, and 13″ × 13″.

6.     Foot Towels / Bath Mats

a bath mat on the bathroom floor

Foot Towel is actually a Bath Mat used for catching up water after you walk out of the shower. The interesting thing about this towel is the two different textures on the top and bottom. The top side is a bit softer than a regular mat, but the bottom side has a rough rubber texture to stay firm on the floor.

You will find foot towels in numerous attractive designs. Having a lovely foot towel may improve the aesthetics of your bathroom and save you time spent mopping the floor. Like other towels, the top side is usually made from cotton, while the bottom is of rubber.

Speaking of sizes, again various options are there. You can get one with 20″ × 30″, 24″ × 36″, or in between.

7.     Finger Tip Towel

two finger tip towels on a small plate

A fingertip towel is a little hand towel designed for drying the tips of one’s fingers quickly.  Though its primary function is aesthetic. This is something you’ll find in the kitchen and the guest bathroom. 

Its dimensions of 11″ × 18″ place it somewhere in between a washcloth and a hand towel. However, it is quite difficult to find a fingertip towel as most people end up buying the hand towel instead of it.

To make a fingertip towel, the most common materials are cotton, linen, bamboo, and synthetic microfibers. They come in a variety of hues, styles, and prints.

8.     Gym Towel

a woman is resting on the floor with gym towel around her neck

After an exercise, whether indoors, outdoors, or at home, a gym towel is useful for sweeping away perspiration. A gym towel is also known by another name, “sweat towel,” which describes its primary use during physical activity.

Speaking of size, gym towels are smaller than standard bath towels but larger than face towels. However, it becomes much easier for you to burn out calories when you have a reliable towel to wipe away your sweat.  

A good gym towel should soak up a lot of sweat and dry out relatively quickly so that you can keep using it constantly during a workout.  Accordingly, you will find it in different materials like linen, bamboo, or microfiber, but cotton is the best option for a gym towel.

9.     Beach Towel

four beach towels on the beach

Beach towels are designed for single-day usage. They are thin and perfect for relaxing on the sand or the concrete next to the pool. 

Beach towels look great in sun-drying colors and are ready to use in no time. They are a must-have item for a day at the beach. Occasionally, you can also use them to wrap around your body. They can be as big as 40″ × 70″. 

For a beach towel, cotton, synthetic microfibers, or linen are the finest options.

10.  Spa Towel

At the spa, you may utilize this towel for many different purposes, including relaxing, sitting, and even propping up your head. It’s the size of a bath sheet since it has to accommodate the entire body. 

For rapid and easy perspiration removal, nothing beats the softness and absorbency of a spa towel. Cotton is ideal for spa towels since it is both absorbent and resistant to bleaching. 

Since spa towels are laundered so frequently, they must be resistant to bleach else their color will deteriorate.

11.  Pet Towel

a dog is wrapped in towel

After bathing a pet, you may dry it off using a pet towel. Towels designed specifically for dogs prevent the spread of germs; keep them dry and feel fresh after bathing or washing.

Synthetic microfiber is the greatest material for a pet towel since it readily absorbs water, is easy to clean, and doesn’t harbor odors.

Towels for pets come in a wide range of sizes since their size is determined by the pet’s dimensions.

12.  Paper Towel

a hand is holding on a roll of paper towel

Paper Towel is a disposable towel made out of paper. It is more hygienic and safer since you throw it away after use.

You will find it packaged in form of rolls or paper sheets. You can use it for bathroom or kitchen use.

Materials Used for Making Towels

Since we have covered most types of towels, let’s explore the materials employed in making different towel types


Cotton is the ideal material for making towels since it is a purely organic compound with no chemical impurities.

In addition, it is soft and doesn’t irritate any kind of skin. Moreover, cotton is a good absorbent of water, and dries up quickly. These qualities make it an ideal candidate for making towels.

Cotton Polyester Blend

When it comes to the sheer volume of towels produced, a cotton-polyester blend is closest only to pure cotton. 

The combination of cotton and polyester creates a material that is not only very absorbent but also fade-resistant, airy, and long-lasting.

Due to these properties, it is used for producing the vast majority of towels, particularly dish and hand towels, which are subjected to heavy usage and abuse.


Linen is also a natural material like cotton. Interestingly, it was the first material used in the making of towels.

It is anti-microbial, soft, durable, and long-lasting. Furthermore, its good absorbing and quick drying abilities make it a good choice for towels.


Towels of the highest quality may be crafted from this Lyocell, a wood cellulose fiber. Its unique characteristics make it exceptionally comfortable to use on the face and body. It can absorb liquids just as well as cotton does. 

Since towels are typically made of cotton, however, sometimes a cotton-lyocell combination can also be used.

Synthetic Fibers

Apart from natural fibers, synthetic fibers composed of polyesters and polyamides are also common in the towel industry.

The synthetic fibers are thinner than the silk threads. In addition, they are effective absorbers despite their small size and lightweight. It’s worth mentioning that they dry rather rapidly as well.

Towels constructed of synthetic microfibers are lightweight and absorbent, making them perfect for beach towels, and pet towels.

Final Words

A towel is the most important item in your bathroom and kitchen. As you have read, the towel has so many types, and each one is used for specific purposes. I hope that this post has enlightened your knowledge of the usage and types of towels.

If you have any questions or want to share any other types, let us know in the comments.

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