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Why do cotton towels look and feel the way they do? Many different elements go into the engineering of a 100 percent cotton towel to enable it to dry your body.

Why Cotton?
Cotton is hydrophilic -- having a strong affinity for water -- as compared to synthetic fibers that are hydrophobic -- lacking an affinity for water. Water-loving cotton absorbs and acts as a blotter to remove the water from your body. Hydrophobic fibers do not absorb and feel damp to your touch.

The terry loops in a towel further enhance its drying ability. The more loops, the greater the drying power.

Another measure of a towel’s drying ability is its thickness. Thick towels contain more cotton yarn; the thick loops will dry you better than thin loops made with less cotton.

Make Sure It’s Cotton
Since cotton content plays such an integral role in the effectiveness of towels, it is important to make sure you are purchasing cotton.

Many towels carry the Seal of Cotton trademark which identifies it as a 100 percent cotton product.

Also, towel manufacturers and many retailers have quality standards for their towels. Dealing with established stores and buying 100 percent cotton towels manufactured by major U.S. textile mills ensures that you will receive the very best value in your towel purchases.

With such a wide variety of types of towels on the market, it can be challenging to determine which type is best for you.

To help in your decision-making, following are definitions for each type of cotton towel.

  • Terry – cotton terry towels are woven on a loom. Terry towels utilize an additional yarn to form loops which cover both sides of the towel. These loops are normally referred to as "Pile" or "Loop Surfaces."
  • Printed – colorful designs are printed on the surface of either terry or velour towels. Designs are normally printed on one side.
  • Velour – velour or sheared towels are produced in the same fashion that terry is produced with an additional process that cuts the terry loops on one side. The aesthetics of the velour side provide a decorative look. The terry side should face the skin for optimum drying.
  • Jacquard – either terry or velour, these are patterned towels. The design is woven right into the towel and is constructed on a special type of loom.
  • Embellished – in order to provide more fashion to towels, some manufacturers add embroidery or lace to a towel. This variety helps add a decorative look to a bathroom.


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