Absorbent Towels Are Useful Towels
We like absorbent towels because they have the ability to soak up liquid and that liquid will stay within the fibers until the towels are tossed in a dryer, wrung out or the towel dries on its own.
When it comes to new bath towels, in particular, good absorbency gets us dried off faster after bathing, keeps us more comfortable and allows us to get dressed and out of the house. There are many different types of absorbent towels. Some combine style with function, others are purely functional. Let’s take a look at a few of the many options.
Terrycloth, Angel-Tex, Bamboo and Microfiber Towels – Each Absorbent, Each Different
Terry cloth is one of the most absorbent and popular type of towels on the market. It makes an ultra absorbent cotton towel, cotton bath sheet or even a synthetic blend ultra absorbent towel if it’s not 100% cotton. The thing that makes terry terry and gives it it’s extra absorbency is the weave. Rather than most bathroom towels which have open ended fibers on the surface of the towel, terry cloth is woven into loops which makes it plush and absorbent. A big factor that determines how absorbent a towel will be is the amount of surface on the towel. The loop weave produces more surface area on the towel which provides more fabric which equals more absorbency. Terry is not the only type of towel that uses a loop weave, but it’s probably the most well-known.
When it comes to pure function, Angel-Tex is a winner. It’s a synthetic, man-made material that has excellent absorbency and drinks up large or small amounts of liquids faster than regular towels. Created with an advanced, proprietary technology, Angel-Tex is made from fibers that are finer than the usual micro-fiber. The result is a lightweight, soft and super thirsty material that literally “lifts” excess moisture.
Bamboo is a natural textile made from the pulp of bamboo grass. It is heavily pulped until it separates into thin, fiber threads. The best thing about bamboo is it maintains many of its properties such as strength and absorbency even in a thread-like condition. Bamboo is highly water absorbent and is able to hold three times its weight in water, which gives bamboo material its wicking ability to pull moisture away from the skin. For that reason, bamboo makes excellent absorbent towels. A few extra pluses for bamboo are that the plant grows quickly and it doesn’t require pesticides to thrive, making it a very environmentally friendly material.
Microfiber in general (like Angel-Tex which is a type of microfiber) is synthetic and designed specifically to be absorbent like a shammy. Microfibers are small synthetic fibers measuring less than one denier, a unit of measurement based on a natural standard (a single strand of silk is one denier). The size, shape and combination of these fibers are selected for certain characteristics such as softness, durability, absorption, wicking ability or even water repellency and filtering. Microfiber towels are made from a special blend of these fibers. The structure and composition of the individual fibers is altered by splitting the ends of each fiber in the weave. Splitting the ends makes the fabric ultra absorbent. When the fibers are not split, the fabric stays water repellent.
Getting the Most Out of Towels and Keeping Them Absorbent
When shopping for absorbent towels, it’s not always the most expensive towels that work the best. Cotton and cotton blends are very absorbent materials as are bamboo, microfiber and terry weave towels. The absorbency of the towel is directly proportional to the length of the staples (with cotton) or the fibers with other material. If you’re looking for cotton towels, that means stick with Egyptian, Turkish, pima or other long staple cottons.
Sometimes, in the manufacturing process of towels, wax or other material is applied to the fabric to make it easier to weave or knit. Also sometimes there may be a coating of dye residue still on the fabric. When the towel is purchased and first used, it might seem to repel water rather than absorb it. That is because of the coating left on the fabric. To rid the fabric of any coating, wash the towel in hot water before using it. Some find a new towel may need to be washed twice before using. Make sure and wash the towels separately, especially for these first 1 or 2 washings to prevent the color from running on other laundry.
To make towels more absorbent, avoid using fabric softener when washing them. The softener coats the material with a thin layer of chemicals that can make the fabric water-repellent.