Between my bathroom reveal and this popular roundup, I’ve been getting more questions than usual in regards to turkish towels. How to take care of them? What to do before using them? How to wash / dry them? Are they actually absorbent and soft? I’m answering all of the questions and putting the myths to rest in this post! Click through for my tried and true guide to using turkish towels in your home.
Obviously I love turkish towels because they add pattern, texture, and a worldly luxury to my kitchen and bath. In addition to their beautiful aesthetic, houseguests always comment on how soft and absorbent they are. Don’t be fooled by their lightweight appearance. There was no bigger skeptic than Emmett. When I replaced our regular plush towels in our Ohio bathroom with turkish towels, he was the first to question them. It only took one shower for him to convert… and that’s saying something because he’s a really picky guy.
This instagram image I posted a few years ago spawned lots of questions about soaking turkish towels, and three years later I’m finally sharing my method. Here’s how I take care of my towels to keep them in tip top, ultra soft condition.
1.) S O A K T H E M
Before the first use, you’ll want to soak your towels for 12 hours (or overnight) in cold water. This ensures they’ll retain maximum absorbency and softness.
How and why is this necessary? In short, it allows the cotton fibers to bloom and expand. What does that mean? Super soft towels that instantly soak up water.
2.) H A N G T H E M T O D R Y
After your towels soak in a cool bath for 12 hours, wring them and hang them to air dry. It’s important they air dry for the first time rather than going directly into the dryer.
If you’re wondering if you’ll have to repeat this process throughout the towel’s lifetime, the answer is no. You only need to do this once- prior to their first use. So if you’re thinking these require a lot of maintenance, that’s totally not the case.
3.) D A I L Y U S E
Obviously you’ll use the towels often or on the daily, and they’ll need cleaned like any other bath towel. Check out the list below for what to do and what to avoid…
- Machine wash on cold with similar colors.
- Tumble dry on low / medium heat for maximum softness.
- From time to time (I do this once a month), add a cup of vinegar to the wash… it will kill bacteria, remove any soap residue, and acts as a natural fabric softener for your towels.
- Use bleach.
- Use fabric softener. Although it’s a bit counterintuitive, fabric softener will make your towels less absorbent. Use vinegar instead.
The more you use the towels, the softer they become- like a favorite shirt of pair of jeans. Give them time and take good care of them, and they’ll basically last forever! You can find the exact towels from my bathroom here and here. You can also shop my favorites in the slider below. If anyone has questions, shoot me a note in the comment section!
RachelNovember 28, 2017 at 6:16 am
I hang mine dry every time but it’s worth the hassle. They are amazing! I had been looking for waffle weave towels and so glad I decided on these instead. They still look nice after 2 years and they dry quickly—excellent for anyone who lives in climates where regular towels get moldy fast.
SarahNovember 28, 2017 at 7:44 am
I do love a good waffle weave turkish towel! Luckily, we don’t have humidity in Utah, so mold hasn’t been an issue.
NaomiNovember 28, 2017 at 8:09 am
I never heard of using vinegar instead of fabric softener! Can you do it with delicate clothes, or is it just for natural fiber towels? Can I use it on dark towels or only white/light colored ones (doesn’t it strip the dye)?
SarahNovember 28, 2017 at 8:51 am
You can use it for any laundry load! I use white distilled vinegar, which acts as a natural fabric softener and leaves no residue on clothing or towels. Just add 1/2 cup to the final rinse cycle. It shouldn’t affect the dye.
JenniferNovember 28, 2017 at 9:00 am
Hmmm… well I didn’t do the soak in the tub part and have already washed and dried a set I own. Any advice? They’re soft but not super absorbent currently, and maybe the lack of soaking is why. My husband has banished them to the guest bathroom haha I have another set from our wedding registry ill try the soak tip, and see if they absorb better. I am determined to make him love them!
SarahNovember 28, 2017 at 9:25 am
I’d maybe try washing them again and add white distilled vinegar during the last rinse cycle. That should help to soften them up and make them better at absorbing. Definitely soak the new ones! Good luck with the husband ;) ha!
AkshayNovember 28, 2017 at 11:59 pm
Sarah you are really smart thanks for your tips, great going, very helpful.
Jennifer S.November 30, 2017 at 12:00 am
Oh so awesome I had no idea! Thanks for the tip, I will do that next time!
AngelaNovember 30, 2017 at 6:31 pm
Jennifer and I had the same experience! Was so hoping the boy would love them, but they aren’t very absorbent. Wish i had known this two days ago. Nice info and thanks for sharing.
Barbra FiteJuly 9, 2020 at 11:32 am
I have some towels I have already washed but are not absorbent, would the 12 hour soak help them?? I also have several yet to be washed and will try the soaking 1st. I hope this works. Thank you
SuzSeptember 16, 2020 at 12:54 pm
Hello, Why is it important to let them air-dry the first time after soaking? I was hoping I could immediately put in the wash after soaking for 12 hours but was wondering about how important the first air-dry step was. Thank you!