Best Dish Towels of 2020

Updated
Categories Dishwashing
Notice the difference with these dish towels.

Have you been hanging onto your old, fraying, fading dish towels for a while now? Maybe you’ve always opted for paper towels over dish towels.

Well, we think it’s time for an upgrade. With our 10 best dish towel recommendations, you’ll find something that can dry your dishes quickly, effectively and gently.

Plus, dish towels can do more than just dry dishes. They’re definitely a kitchen must-have.

Looking for cotton, bamboo, microfiber, or something to match your kitchen decor? Either way, you’ve come to the right place.


What Are Dish Towels For?

Dish towels are primarily for drying your dishes. While air drying is preferred by many, sometimes you need to towel dry the dishes. For example, knives, pots and pans should be dried with a towel rather than air dried to prevent rusting and warping. Also, you may need to hand dry some dishes to make space on your drying rack.

However, dish towels can be used for other purposes. You can use them to dry your hands, wipe hands after dealing with wet ingredients, and for cleaning up kitchen spills.

Are Dish Towels Sanitary?

Dish towels can be a breeding ground for bacteria (1). This is most common with towels used for multiple purposes, such as cleaning dishes, spills, wiping hands and if you have kids, perhaps they’ve used the dish towel for their runny nose.

The best way to keep your dish towels sanitary is to avoid cross-contamination. Have three available at all times: one for dishes, one for hands and one for spills.

You should also switch out your dish towels often, ideally, every day. Especially if you use the dish towels to wipe your hands after handling meat.

Air drying is the most sanitary option for dishes, but sometimes, dish towels are necessary.

What Is the Difference Between a Tea Towel and a Kitchen Towel?

Kitchen towels are used for multiple purposes in the kitchen. This includes drying dishes, handling hot plates, cleaning up spills and crumbs, and wiping your hands. They are a bit sturdier and more durable — they’re a great kitchen staple.

Tea towels, on the other hand, are traditionally more of a decorative item. They may be handmade, embroidered or more stylish. They’re usually made from linen or soft cotton, rather than a more durable material like microfiber cloths or thicker cotton.

Tea towels can be used for cleaning more delicate items like china, jewelry or cutlery, as well as glass trays or even drying vegetables. They can even be used as a napkin.

However, the terms kitchen towel, dish towel and tea towels are often used interchangeably now. But by definition, they are different.

How to Choose the Best Dish Towels?

When shopping for your dish towel, here are the top factors you should consider.

Material

There are five main material types to choose from.

Terry Cloth

Terry cloth is what most bath towels are made from, but dish towels are often made with this material too.

PROS:
  • Thick.
  • Absorbent.
  • Available in different colors and designs.
  • Easily washable, and can be tumble dried, too.
CONS:
  • Can fray quite easily.
  • Take longer to dry, so harbour bacteria and odors more easily.

Cotton

Cotton is another popular material for dish towels.

PROS:
  • Super soft.
  • Minimize smudging and watermarks.
  • Absorbent.
  • Durable.
  • Lint-free.
CONS:
  • May shrink in hot washes.
  • Get wet very quickly, so they need to be changed often.

Bamboo

Bamboo dish towels are a great, eco-friendly, option. A big selling point for bamboo is that it’s antimicrobial and antibacterial but scientific evidence on that is still a bit murky (2).

PROS:
  • Possibly antimicrobial and antibacterial.
  • Soft.
  • Quick-drying.
  • Absorbent.
CONS:
  • More costly.
  • Low budget options aren’t as high quality.

Flour Sack

Flour sack towels are made from finely woven 100% cotton. They’re great multi-purpose towels to have in the home.

PROS:
  • Soft.
  • Absorbent.
  • Undyed, so they can help to remove stains.
  • Lint-free.
  • Aesthetic.
CONS:
  • They need to be washed a few times before becoming super absorbent.
  • Wrinkle easily.

Microfiber

Lastly, consider microfiber when shopping for a dish towel.

PROS:
  • Soft.
  • Absorbent.
  • Lots of different size and thickness options.
  • Multipurpose
  • Can be reused hundreds of times.
CONS:
  • Low-quality cloths may leave lint behind.
  • Color may run in the washing cycle.

Budget

Consider your budget when shopping. Dish towels aren’t super expensive, but you can save money by buying in bulk.

Size

Dish cloths come in a huge range of sizes. We recommend a bigger size if you’re going to be drying lots of dishes, so that you can use it for longer before it becomes too damp. However, smaller sizes may be easier to use.

Hygiene

For ultimate hygiene, choose a quick-drying cloth. Terry cloths take the longest to dry, while bamboo is one of the quicker options. Plus, bamboo can be naturally antibacterial. We also recommend buying a pack of towels so you can avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen.

Aesthetics

A beautiful dish towel can really spruce up your kitchen, and many of our options are aesthetically pleasing. However, it’s definitely not necessary to choose style over function.


The Best Dish Towels of 2020

We’ve spent hours researching expert advice, material types and dish towels to find the best on the market. After looking at customer reviews, as well as applying our own insight, here’s our breakdown of the top 10.

1. Fecido Classic Kitchen Dish Towels

Best Large Dish Towel

Fecido Classic Kitchen Dish Towels with Hanging Loop - Heavy Duty Absorbent Dish Clothes - European Made 100% Cotton Tea Towels - Set of Two, Red
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If you need extra large dish towels, here’s a brilliant choice. These measure at 19 by 27 inches, so they’re one of our bigger choices. However, it’s not too big that it feels difficult to use or gets in the way.

It’s the perfect size for everyday use, but it’s also ideal for work situations. Whether you work in a cafe or a restaurant, or want to encourage people to use reusable towels in the office, this works!

These towels are actually commercial-grade quality. They’re super dense, soft and heavy-duty. They only get softer with each wash, too.

These towels come in a wide variety of colors so you can choose the best ones for your kitchen decor. Don’t worry about leaving bright-colored lint behind, even with one of the bolder shades. These lovely towels won’t leave behind lint or streaks.

PROS:
  • Durable and high quality.
  • Soft.
  • Absorbent.
  • Generously sized.
CONS:
  • Some customers said the stitching became undone.
  • Pricey.

Additional Specs

Material 100% cotton
Size 19 x 27 inches
Quick Drying Somewhat
Number of Towels Two
Color Options 12

2. Urban Villa Kitchen Towels

Best Cotton Dish Towel

Urban Villa Kitchen Towels,Trendy Stripes, 100% Cotton Dish Towels,Mitered Corners, (Size: 20X30 Inch), Indigo Blue/White Highly Absorbent Bar Towels & Tea Towels - (Set of 6)
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The Urban Villa towels are an amazing option, especially if you’re looking for cotton towels. Made from 100% cotton, and available in 11 different colors, this pack of six towels can handle your dish drying needs.

These towels are strong and durable. Yet, they’re soft enough to use on delicate items like china, pots, pans and cutlery. They’re also quite absorbent, so your dishes will be bone dry before you store them. Plus, the towels dry quickly so you can avoid bacteria buildup in the meantime.

Just keep in mind that they’re quite thin, so they do get damp fast. You might go through a couple to get all the dishes dry.

Available in a 20 by 30-inch size, these are the perfect size for a variety of uses. When you need to wash them, machine and tumble dry according to the care label. You’ll be super wowed by the fact these don’t fade or bleed in the wash either.

PROS:
  • Perfect size.
  • Absorbent.
  • Quick-drying.
  • Soft and gentle.
CONS:
  • May shrink in the wash.
  • Quite thin so don’t hold a lot of water.

Additional Specs

Material 100% cotton
Size 20 x 30 inches
Quick Drying Yes
Number of Towels Six
Color Options 11

3. Gryeer Microfiber Kitchen Towels

Best Microfiber Dish Towel

Gryeer Microfiber Kitchen Towels, Super Absorbent, Extra Large and Thick Dish Towels, Stripe Designed, 8 Pack, 28 x 20 Inch, Gray
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Notice the difference with these microfiber towels. These are super absorbent, even more effective than cotton towels, and will dry much faster. These towels are at least 350gsm, so they’re nice and thick.

They’re a bit larger than normal kitchen towels, measuring 26 by 18 inches, but that just means you get more use out of each one before washing. They’re ideal for drying dishes, cleaning up messes, cleaning your cars, dusting and other household chores.

They’re made from 80% polyester and 20% polyamide, making them a super quality microfiber. They don’t color bleed or shed lint, so you can enjoy streak and lint-free dishes.

Lastly, they’re very gentle. So if you’re using them to dry your hands, even folks with sensitive skin will enjoy them. Plus, they won’t scratch up your kitchen appliances or dishes.

PROS:
  • Super-absorbent.
  • High quality.
  • Five color options.
  • Lint-free.
CONS:
  • Quite staticky, so other items cling to them.
  • Size makes them difficult to store.

Additional Specs

Material Microfiber
Size 28 x 20 inches
Quick Drying Yes
Number of Towels Eight
Color Options Five

4. Cotton Craft Waffle Weave Towels

Best Terry Cloth Dish Towel

Cotton Craft - 12 Pack - Euro Cafe Waffle Weave Terry Kitchen Towels - 16x28 Inches -White - 400 GSM quality - 100% Ringspun 2 Ply Cotton - Highly Absorbent Low Lint - Multi Purpose
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If you’re used to, and happen to love, the texture of bath towels — you can get these Cotton Craft Towels. They’re terry cloth waffle weave towels, so you can trust they’ll be super absorbent and easy to clean.

In fact, you can use these for a variety of uses around the home. Whether that’s as a hand towel, cleaning up spills, or drying dishes, these have many uses. Made from 100% pure two-ply ringspun cotton, with a 400gsm thickness, these are durable and high-quality towels.

Available in six color options, the waffle-weave design of each one limits the lint and helps with absorbency. They soak up water instantly without leaving too much lint behind.

Keep in Mind

They’re not as quick-drying as other towels. Plus, there’s no guarantee they’re completely lint-free.
PROS:
  • 100% cotton.
  • Terry cloth waffle texture for high absorbency.
  • Thick and durable.
  • Easy to clean.
CONS:
  • Not as soft as other towels.
  • Not quick drying.

Additional Specs

Material 100% cotton
Size 16 x 28 inches
Quick Drying No
Number of Towels 12
Color Options Six

5. ecotiva Bamboo Kitchen Towels

Best Bamboo Dish Towel

Bamboo Kitchen Towels (8 Pack) - Eco Friendly Dish Cloths for Washing Dishes - Kitchen Washcloths for Dishes - Kitchen Dish Rags - Kitchen Rags - Dish Rags That Don’t Smell
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These bamboo towels claim to be antibacterial and antimicrobial. They’re made with a super-absorbent material. In fact, they can beat that horrible experience of just pushing water around rather than actually absorbing it. They claim to be four times as absorbent as cotton.

They’re a bit on the smaller side, being 13 by 13 inches, but they’re easy to use. They can easily fit into nooks and crannies to dry every inch of your dishes. You’ll have no trouble cleaning inside glasses, all-round pots and pans, and long handles.

Normally, a small size would be irritating as you’d have to switch up your towel often. But because these towels are absorbent and so quick drying — it’s no problem. Just hang them on their little hook, and allow them to dry.

PROS:
  • Antibacterial and antimicrobial.
  • Absorbent.
  • Fast-drying.
  • Multifunctional.
CONS:
  • A bit small for some tasks.
  • May shrink when washed. Follow instructions well to avoid this.

Additional Specs

Material 100% bamboo
Size 13 x 13 inches
Quick Drying Yes
Number of Towels Eight
Color Options One

6. Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Dish Towels

Best Flour Sack Dish Towel

Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Dish Towels, 12 Pack Cotton Kitchen Towels - 28 x 28 Inches
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Choosing flour sacks means a good dish towel, but they’re super effective at other household tasks. You can use them for cleaning windows and dusting, as a cheese strainer, removing stains, cloth diapers and more. Experiment and find out how far your flour sack can go!

This 12 pack of flour sacks provide you 28 by 28-inch towels, making them the perfect size for a variety of tasks. They’re made with 100% pure ring spun cotton, and knitted diagonally, so they absorb well but dry quickly.

They’re very lightweight, which makes them good for storing and transporting, but it does mean they get damp quite quickly. To dry a load of dishes, you might need to use a couple. But we think the high quality, lint-free finish and versatility makes up for that.

PROS:
  • Versatile and multi-purpose.
  • Large size.
  • Eco friendly.
  • Quick-drying.
CONS:
  • Thin towels.
  • The weave isn’t tight enough.

Additional Specs

Material 100% pure ring-spun cotton
Size 28 x 28 inches
Quick Drying Yes
Number of Towels 12
Color Options One

7. Bumble Antimicrobial Barmop Kitchen Towels

Best Antibacterial Dish Towel

Bumble 12-Pack Antimicrobial Barmop Kitchen Towels / 16” x 19” Premium Kitchen Towels/Super Absorbent Heavy Weight Cotton/Ribbed Weave (Clean)
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Go the extra mile and aim for ultimate hygiene with the Bumble Barmop Towels. Kitchen towels can get pretty unsanitary, but these antimicrobial dish towels are one to consider.

Keep your kitchen extra clean with these. No breeding bacteria, no foul smells, no contaminating surfaces where you prepare food. These towels are made to ensure that bacteria doesn’t stick around.

How does this work? These towels are dipped in an antimicrobial finishing solution that prevents bacteria growth for up to 20 washes. Since you probably use these towels for a multitude of purposes, this is an ensured way to keep germs away for a while. Just keep in mind that after 20 wash cycles, the antimicrobial coating will begin to fade.

Besides being antibacterial, these towels are soft, absorbent, low lint, have hanging loops and come in a range of design options. Plus, if you have any questions, Bumble offers incredible customer service!

PROS:
  • Antibacterial and antimicrobial.
  • Soft and absorbent.
  • Many color options.
  • Great customer service.
CONS:
  • Only antimicrobial for 20 washes.
  • May shrink and pill after being washed.

Additional Specs

Material Cotton blend
Size 16 x 19 inches
Quick Drying Yes
Number of Towels 12
Color Options Five

8. KAF H Lemons All Over Dish Towel

Best Stylish Dish Towel

KAF Home Pantry Lemons All Over Kitchen Dish Towel Set of 4, 100-Percent Cotton, 18 x 28-inch
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Treat yourself to dish towels that look good, feel good and function well, too. This set of four dish towels is the perfect bundle to brighten your kitchen. The yellow design suits most kitchen decor and gives your home a bit of a cottage chic vibe. If you don’t like the lemons, you can opt for the watermelon bundle.

Made from 100% cotton, these are more like tea towels, but can still be used for drying dishes. They are thinner than some of our other suggestions, and not as absorbent. Still, in addition to some microfiber cloths, you can’t go wrong. Especially if you’re just looking for something stylish.

These are ideal for small drying jobs and will air dry quickly. Hang them up on the loop to fully air dry between uses, so that the towel doesn’t breed bacteria or produce bad odors.

Cold Wash

Always wash these towels in cold water so the colors don’t bleed or fade.
PROS:
  • Stylish and cute.
  • Hanging loop for air drying.
  • Great gift.
  • Large size.
CONS:
  • Not super absorbent.
  • Fabric is quite rough.

Additional Specs

Material 100% cotton
Size 18 x 28 inches
Quick Drying Yes
Number of Towels Four
Color Options Two

9. Cuisinart Bamboo Kitchen Towels

Best Soft Dish Towel

Cuisinart Bamboo Kitchen Towels, 2pk Drizzle Grey – Soft, Absorbent, Anti-Microbial Kitchen Hand Towel Set – Perfect for Drying Dishes or Hands, 16 x 26 Inches – Bamboo Cotton Blend
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For ultimate softness, the Cuisinart Bamboo Kitchen Towels are definitely to be considered. Made with ultra-soft and absorbent bamboo and cotton, these antimicrobial and lush towels are perfect for spills, messes and drying dishes.

The blend of cotton and bamboo makes them both smooth and cushiony, but also durable and long-lasting. You can wash these time and time again, and they will withstand being reused.

Cuisinart claims that the bamboo fibers are naturally antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal without the addition of any other chemicals. Overall, these sustainable and eco-friendly towels are the perfect addition to your household chores.

These towels are available in five different colors so you can find your favourite. They’re very lightweight and dry quickly so you can avoid bad smells in the meantime.

PROS:
  • Antimicrobial and antibacterial.
  • Sustainable and eco-friendly.
  • Ultra-soft and absorbent.
  • Quick-drying.
CONS:
  • They are quite thin.
  • Snag easily.

Additional Specs

Material Bamboo cotton blend
Size 16 x 26 inches
Quick Drying Yes
Number of Towels Two
Color Options Five

10. TOBEHIGHER Dishcloth Dish Towels

Best Budget Dish Towel

TOBEHIGHER Kitchen Dishcloth Dish Rags - 9 pcs, Super Absorbent Dish Cloths, Lint Free Wash Cloth Set, 10.2 x 10.2 inches - New Version
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Unlike some of our other recommendations, these towels are made from a more unique material: wood fiber. Wood fiber is a high-quality material that is self-cleaning. It will naturally separate from oil when immersed with water which is good for washing dishes. But these are also effective at drying dishes, too.

These cloths are softer than your average dish towel, making them great for using on delicate and glass items. They won’t leave behind streaks or lint, either.

After you’ve washed and dried your dishes, simply run these under warm water and air dry. This cleans the cloths and ensures there isn’t a bad odor.

Lastly, these are budget-friendly. For a small price, you get a pack of nine lovely towels.

PROS:
  • Self-cleaning material.
  • Very soft.
  • Streak and lint-free.
  • No need for chemicals to clean them.
CONS:
  • Quite thin, so won’t be as absorbent.
  • Not as durable as other towels.

Additional Specs

Material Wood fiber
Size 10.2 x 10.2 inches
Quick Drying Yes
Number of Towels Nine
Color Options One, but includes three colors

Dish Towel Comparison Chart

Product Best Material Size Quick Drying Color Options
Fecido Classic Kitchen Dish Towels Large Towel 100% cotton 19 x 27″ Yes 12
Urban Villa Kitchen Towels Cotton Towel 100% cotton 20 x 30″ Yes 11
Gryeer Microfiber Kitchen Towels Microfiber Microfiber 28 x 20″ Yes 5
Cotton Craft Waffle Weave Towels Terry Cloth 100% cotton 16 x 28″ No 6
ecotiva Bamboo Kitchen Towels Bamboo Towel 100% bamboo 13 x 13″ Yes 1
Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Towels Flour Sack 100% pure ring spun cotton 28 x 28″ Yes 1
Bumble Antimicrobial Barmop Towels Antibacterial Cotton blend 16 x 19″ Yes 1
KAF H Lemons All Over Dish Towel Stylish 100% cotton 18 x 28″ Yes 2
Cuisinart Bamboo Kitchen Towels Soft Towel Bamboo cotton blend 16 x 26″ Yes 5
TOBEHIGHER Dishcloth Dish Towels Budget Pick Wood fiber 10.2 x 10.2″ Yes 1
Jump to the Full Dish Towel Reviews

Dish Towel FAQs

Is It Bad to Wash Kitchen Towels with Bath Towels?

Both bath towels and kitchen towels can host a lot of bad germs. If you’re able to wash both towels at a hot temperature, then it’s fine to wash these towels together as this can kill germs. However, always check the care label first to make sure that your dish towels can handle high temperatures.

Also, if you have microfiber towels, they should be washed separately from regular cotton towels. Otherwise, they’ll grab onto lint and other residue which can lessen their effectiveness.

How Long Do Dish Towels Last?

It definitely depends on the brand, material and quality. For example, the Bumble towels only last 20 washes before they lose their antibacterial qualities. Of course, you can use them as regular towels after that.

In general though, dish towels should last a good few years. To prolong their life, use and wash them properly.

It’s time to replace them when:

  • They aren’t absorbent anymore.
  • They’re frayed or have holes in them.
  • They start to smell quite quickly after being used.

Why Do Dish Towels Smell?

We ask a lot of our dish towels. From wiping our hands, to drying dishes, to cleaning up messes, to absorbing spills, dish towels can smell pretty terrible. This is a mix of different food, drink, grease, grime, and bacteria. Also — if your dish towel remains wet for a long time, it stays damp and can start to smell really bad.

How Often Should You Wash Dish Towels?

It depends what you’re using them for. We recommend having three in the kitchen: one for hands, one for drying dishes and one for spills. If you have one, we recommend washing it once a day. If you have different towels for different uses, you can go two to three days between washes.

The one you need to watch out for is the one for drying and wiping your hands. If you have just touched raw food, such as meat and eggs, and wipe the juices onto a dish towel — that will need washed every single day. Otherwise, it’s a host for bad bacteria and it can spread to other people in the home.

How Do You Kill Bacteria on Towels?

Hot water, vinegar and detergent.

Toss the towels into the washing machine and use the hottest water possible. Add a cup of vinegar to the machine and begin the cycle. Do another wash with regular detergent to give the towels a good clean. Tumble dry if possible.

Warning

Always check the care label on the towel to make sure it can handle these settings. Modify if necessary.

Time to Choose

Now that you’ve seen the list of the best dish towels on the market, it’s time to choose your favorite. Are you going to go for a bamboo one, that’s eco-friendly, antibacterial and super soft?

Maybe you’re in the market for something stylish, that can add coziness to your kitchen. Perhaps you want something that’s easy to wash and dry, like a terry cloth towel.

Whatever you choose, be sure to use it properly, wash it often and don’t cross contaminate.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!
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