When shopping for towels, it is important to consider the GSM, or grams per square meter. A higher GSM means a heavier towel, which is typically more absorbent. For bath towels, a GSM of 500 or higher is recommended.

Spa towels
Stacked white spa towels


Bath towels are typically the hardest working members of your bed & breakfast or household. They keep us dry and clean, add to the look and feel of a bathroom, and can even be expected to wipe up muddy floors or dry your pet after its weekly wash. When shopping for towels, it is important to avoid choosing a towel from touch alone. Here are some tips for finding high-quality towels and knowing how the GSM of a towel can play a vital part in the selection process:

  • Consider the GSM. GSM stands for grams per square meter and is a measure of the weight of the towel. A higher GSM means a heavier towel, which is typically more absorbent. For bath towels, a GSM of 500 or higher is recommended.
  • Feel the fabric. A high-quality towel will feel soft and plush to the touch. It should also be absorbent and retain its shape after being washed.
  • Look for a dense weave. A dense weave means that the towel is made with tightly woven threads. This will make the towel more durable and absorbent.
  • Pay attention to the construction. A well-made towel will be constructed with high-quality materials and stitching. The seams should be strong and the edges should be finished neatly.
  • Consider the color and pattern. The color and pattern of the towel are a matter of personal preference. However, it is important to choose a color that will complement the décor of your bathroom.

By following these tips, you can find high-quality bath towels that will last for years to come.”


To ensure the towel feels cozy and luxurious, check the care label and ensure it states the towel is 100% cotton. Cotton fibers naturally attract water and can hold almost 25 times its weight in liquid. For extra comfort, 100% combed cotton ensures that the shorter threads have been removed, keeping the towel strong and prevent pilling. However, most towels are made of cotton, but the look and feel of towels largely depends on the type of cotton used. Towels designed and priced for everyday use are typically made of standard cotton, while the more expensive Egyptian cotton towels have a much longer threads, allowing each towel to have more moisture absorbing loops per inch.

The number and the length of loops is also an important factor in choosing the right towel. The denser the loops, the more absorbent the towel will be so check the stitch for thick, tightly packed loops. If however you can see the base of the towel, then this is an indicator of a poor quality towel. The key to the longevity of a towel is for the hems to be double stitched all the way around the edges of the towel. This extra reinforcement reduces fraying and will give your bath towels a longer life.

The best way to judge the quality of a towel is to hold it. A high quality towel feels much heavier than it looks and in turn will be much more absorbent. The weight of a towel is measured by the GSM (Grams per Square Metre). Low GSM (300-400) towels are light and thin whilst high GSM (450-600) towels are thicker and heavier. A towel that weighs less than 400 GSM is likely to be thin and typically suitable for a gym bag or trips to the beach. If you are purchasing a hand towel or guest towel then it is advisable for the GSM to be at least 400. For Bath Towels, a higher GSM of 500 will provide a soft and absorbent towel. Typically, the higher the GSM, the better performance you will have from the towel.


We would certainly recommend washing a new towel before using. Firstly for hygiene purposes and also a towel becomes much more absorbent after the first wash.


  • Always follow the washing instructions placed on the label of the towel. 
  • If there is a stray pulled loop on the towel, cut off with a pair of scissors. This will not cause any damage to the towel.
  • Richard Haworth suggest using detergent specifically for coloured towels and to avoid brightening detergents as this will affect the towel colour. 
  • Richard Haworth Towels can be washed at 50ºC.
  • A harsh texture to towels and bathrobes and an off-white colour are signs of bleach damage. It is best to avoid bleaching agents when washing towels.
  • Bathroom detergents and some beauty products such as cleansers contain bleaching agents and may cause permanent discolouration to your towel.
  • Washing too hot can cause the bars on the towels to shrink.
  • Fabric conditioner will reduce the absorbency of the towel, as it coats the yarn of the towel making it less efficient.
  • Do not dry clean towels.


Terry is a cloth with either loops all over on both sides of the fabric or patterned loops on both sides. It is formed through a weaving process with an extra warp yarn to make the loops.  Characteristics of terry cloth are as follows; long wearing, easy to launder with little or no ironing required. Terry can be bleached, dyed, or printed (similar to screen printing). Better quality terry has a close, firm underweave, with very close loops (the genreal rule of thumb is the closer the loops, the better the quality of terry). Terry is very absorbent, and the longer the loop, the greater the absorbency. When the pile is only on one side, it is called “Turkish toweling”.


Most terry cloth is made with cotton because the absorbent fibre gets stronger when wet and it can be washed in very hot water using strong bleach and detergent without harm. Terry cloth is usually made with looped pile because the loops act like very small sponges. Looped pile is also better able to withstand the strain of rubbing, pulling twisting and tugging by the user. Loosely twisted loops are softer and more absorbent than tightly twisted loops, which produce a rougher fabric. Long pile is more absorbent than short pile. Terry cloth is most absorbent when it has loops on both sides. Cotton can absorb up to 27 times its own weight in water.


Velour towels are terry towels where the loops have been cropped to give a smoother texture and to make the design clearer.


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About Dominic Johnson 395 Articles
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