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A kitchen towel is one of the most versatile kitchen items you will own. They are more durable than the average bath towel and are used to wipe up spills, clean off cutting boards, dry dishes, dry hands, and even hold hold hot plates and dishes.
Kitchen towels are usually made of cotton, giving them durability to stand up to repeat washing, absorbency, and softness. They are intended for fairly heavy uses, but can also add a touch of style to your kitchen. You should always have a fresh, clean kitchen towel every time you cook.
As you probably know, cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet. Cotton is grown on 2.5% of the world's farmland but uses 16-25 % of all chemical pesticides and fertilizers. In the US alone, approximately 600 tons of pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used on cotton fields every year.
Cotton makes the best material for kitchen towels, as it is the most absorbent. When you choose organic cotton , you are voting with your dollar for a cleaner world. You are supporting a greener, more sustainable industry and helping keep pollution out of our air and water, but you already knew that 😉
- Absorbent- A good kitchen towel needs to be absorbent. Cotton is the most absorbent material and a tight weave will give the highest absorbency.
- Well-Sized - This is very important. A large kitchen towel can be used for more tasks, and will last longer before you need to grab a new one.
- Attractive - Kitchen towels are usually hung to dry in the open where everyone can see them, so they should look pleasing.
- Durable - A kitchen towel will be washed repeatedly and must be able to be thrown in the washer and dryer without it falling apart. Look for thick, soft, well-woven and hemmed kitchen towels.
- Easy to Care For - You want your towels to be machine washable and able to go in the dryer.
- Lint-free - High-quality cotton kitchen towels will stay lint-free.
- High-Quality - Avoid buying cheap kitchen towels and instead look for the highest quality you can afford. Cheap towels tend to be made of thin, low-quality cotton and wear out quickly. Cheap towels also shed lint, making them more bothersome than useful.
- Cotton instead of linen - cotton does a better job at picking up water.
- Look for a waffle or basket weave - they are the most absorbent. The textured pockets will capture more water and be more effective at wiping up spills.
- Standards and Certifications - Look for products that are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The GOTS goes far beyond verifying the organic farming process to include every step of manufacturing.
- Organic cotton from India or Egypt - this cotton tends to be softer because the summers there are longer and the cotton fibers grow longer.
- Low impact dyes - traditional or low impact dyes have less of an environmental burden. Look for products that are not finished with any chemical finishes like formaldehyde.
The Ultimate Green Store carries one of our favorite organic textile brands, Coyuchi, in kitchen towels. They tick off all of our favorite boxes being organic, cotton and waffle weave (and great striped colors!):
The number of incredible textile artisans on Etsy has grown since we first published this post. Two of our favorites are:
There are also some organic cotton kitchen towels that we really like available on Amazon. My favorites include:
Do you have organic cotton towels? What is your favorite brand?
This post was originally published on October 12, 2016.