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Understanding Bath Towel Sizes

  • by Kendra Cosenza
  • 6 min read

Luxury bath towels come in a variety of sizes, with each serving its own unique purpose. This article explains the various towel size options so that you can choose your perfect-sized towel based on personal preference and intended use.

All About Bath Towel Sizes: What You Need to Know

Buying a set of luxury towels is an exciting process. And there are so many stunning styles to choose from. But sifting through all the options in the marketplace can quickly become overwhelming. On a daily basis, the Fine Linen and Bath Design Team helps our clients evaluate their choices to choose the perfect towel. Over the years we've discovered that one of the biggest factors in the process--knowing which towel size to buy--is a bit of a mystery to even the most experienced shoppers.

As a leading online retailer of luxury home linen, our mission includes educating clients so they can make the absolute best purchasing decisions possible. We love talking about luxury linen! So read on to learn more about towel sizes, including the standard options and lesser-known offerings like wash mitts and fingertip towels.

What Are the Most Common Towel Sizes?

The majority of luxury towel styles include offerings in standard sizes. There may be slight variations among brands, but these measure up approximately as follows:

  • Wash cloth 12" x 12"
  • Hand towels 17 x 30"
  • Standard bath towels 28" x 54"
  • Bath sheets 40" x 72"

Bath Sheet and Towel Size Guide

What Additional Size Options are Available?

Many brands offer additional sizes and types of towels that fall in between the standard sizing. Common examples of these are wash mitts, guest/fingertip towels, larger hand towels, bath mats, decorative towels, kitchen towels, Euro bath sheets, and beach towels.

Wash Mitt: A Towel "Glove"

Wash mitts are great alternatives to typical washcloths. They tend to be most popular for children's bath time, but adults love and use them, too!

Guest and Fingertip Towels: Any Difference?

There is no difference between a guest towel and a fingertip towel. Both tend to be sized in between wash cloths and hand towels, around 12" x 20" inches. These towels are ideal for round or half-round hooks, which can be installed over a vanity top and require less clearance space than hand towels.

Large and Extra-Large Hand Towels: Why the Additional Sizes?

In addition to preferring a larger-sized hand towel, some people use these towels for their hair (regular hand towels are too small to wrap up long hair, and bath towels can be large and quite heavy). Additionally, larger hand towels are a great size to use for children.

Matouk Milagro Bath Towels

Bath Sheets: Size Options Galore

Bath sheet sizes can vary quite a bit from one brand to another; some manufacturers even offer two different sizes, the standard, and the slightly smaller "Euro" bath sheet. Choosing whether to use a bath sheet and in which size really comes down to personal preference. Some clients find bath sheets too big and bulky; for others, these oversized towels are the very definition of luxury. Just keep in mind that bath sheets do require more space when washing; just a couple of these jumbo towels can fill up a machine.

Fine Cotton: The Basis of High-Quality Towels

No matter the size, style, or manufacturer, we cannot talk about towels without touching on the topic of cotton and how different cotton fibers affect the look, feel, performance, and price of your towel.

Zero-twist and Low-twist Yarn

Look for zero-twist or low-twist cotton when purchasing luxury towels. When cotton fibers are extra-long, strong, and supple, they do not need to be twisted much (or at all) to make a luxurious, absorbent fabric. In contrast, high twist yarn becomes harder and less absorbent.

Egyptian Cotton and Giza Extra-long-staple Cotton

Egyptian cotton towels are known to be supple, attractive, and soft to the touch. These bath linens are super absorbent and durable. Egyptian Giza cotton towels are made from cotton grown in the fertile Giza valley of the Nile River, where the unique growing conditions and hand harvesting yield the finest cotton on Earth.

Microfiber and Microcotton

Microfiber towels are known for being quick drying. Microfiber and Micro Cotton towels are generally lightweight and less absorbent than types of fibres. They made great gym towels but are suitable for home use, and other on-the-go activities.

Organic Cotton

Organic cotton towels are typically made from 100% fair trade certified organic cotton. Certified organic cotton has the strictest social and environmental standards. These soft towels are generally light to medium weight and dry fairly quickly -- they are mid-weight absorbent towels.

Pima Cotton or Supima Cotton

Pima cotton (or the name brand Supima) offers luxurious softness, high absorbency, fast-drying breathability, and strength through many washes. Pima cotton is a great towel while still being affordable.

What Are the Best High-Quality Towels?

There is no one simple answer: the perfect towel for one client could be far from ideal for another. Along with your size preferences, we ask a simple series of questions to determine your preferences across other essential areas, including towel weight; feel; color preferences; and price range. At that point, we have a strong idea of what to recommend, and are happy to send out a few complimentary swatch samples that should lead us to finding the perfect towel for YOU! (Note: click here to read our blog about GSM, which is a measure of towel weight.)

How Many Bath Towel Do You Need?

The number of each size bath towel you should buy depends on the size of your household, the frequency of use, and personal preference. Here is a general guideline:

  • Hand Towels: 2 to 3 towels per person, or at least 6 to 8 hand towels for a household of 3 people.
  • Bath Towels: 2 to 3 towels per person, or at least 6 to 8 bath towels for a household of 3 people.
  • Bath Sheets: 1 to 2 towels per person, or 3 to 5 bath sheets for a household of 3 people.

You can also use these guidelines for outfitting a guest bathroom, bearing in mind that these towels will be used much less frequently. Having a plentiful supply and a range of towel size choices in a guest bath will make a welcome difference to the comfort of your guests. You may also want to double up on hand towels for guest baths and powder rooms. Remember to rotate your towels regularly through the wash, the bath, and the linen cabinet to ensure they wear evenly.

Check the price on quality towels

How To Wash and Revive Luxury Bath Towels

No matter the size, high-quality cotton bath towels should be laundered with care to keep them looking and feeling great. At Fine Linen and Bath, we offer a specific set of guidelines that include using Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent. This concentrated, pH-neutral detergent is made with a proprietary enzyme blend that effectively cleans while preserving the beauty and integrity luxury towels. Learn about how laundry enzymes can treat tough stains here. We also recommend avoiding harsh chemicals like bleach and never using fabric softener or dyer sheets; instead, use wool dryer balls to soften towels and reduce drying time. 

Over time, even the highest quality luxury towels can become scratchy, stiff, and dull. They may even lose their absorbency. This is due to towel build-up, which happens from detergent and the minerals in hard water. The good news is you can restore your towels to a like-new feel with baking soda and vinegar. Follow these two simple steps:

1. Wash your towels in hot/warm water with one cup of white distilled vinegar. Do NOT use detergent or fabric softener. This will clean the individual fibers of your towel.

2. Run your towels a second time in hot/warm water with only half-cup of baking soda. This will help freshen and remove any smells. Again, NO detergent or fabric softener.

Dry towels as usual without dryer sheets. Your towels will feel soft and fluffy and smell fresh! (Note: you can also use this method to refresh a scratchy beach towel).

Fine Linen and Bath: An In-Store Shopping Experience Delivered to You Online 

At Fine Linen and Bath, our mission is to deliver a concierge luxury linen shopping experience with online convenience. Browse our website to access an expansive collection of bedding, bath, table linens, and accessories from the world's premier brands.

When you need answers, consultation, or help to narrow your choices, our team of expert design consultants is here to assist you. We offer individualized recommendations, personal consultation, and even complimentary swatch samples for your review. We'll help you make the right buying decisions for your style, budget, and design goals.

Please connect with us online or -- even better -- give us a call at (866) 352-4522. We'd love to get to know you!