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A towel is a towel, right? Wrong. There are many different types. The glossary below contains helpful towel terminology.
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."
Velour – Velour towels are produced in the same fashion as terry, but with an additional process that shears the terry loops to a shorter length on one side. Some people prefer the decorative sheen that results. The terry side should face the skin for optimum drying.
Printed – Colorful designs are printed on the surface of both terry or velour towels. Designs are normally printed on one side.
Jacquard – These towels feature a slightly upraised area of fabric, which creates a decorative effect. The design is woven right into the towel on a special jacquard loom.
When purchasing towels, thickness should not be your only determining factor. New fibers hitting the market are both lighter and more absorbent than traditional cotton. Some are made of natural fibers It is said that there is a new movement when it comes to big fluffy towels, people are having a downsizing mentality. New towel technologies in include Modal, a natural fiber made from beech wood, that when blended with cotton creates a lightweight, highly absorbent towel. Consumers shouldn't be put off by the initial stiffness of some towels, in the weaving process, a potato starch is sometimes used on the thread and some of that may remain. Towels will get softer as you wash them.
Attractive towels can be made from many different fibers, but functional concerns should be considered when stocking up on these bathroom essentials. As a towel's main purpose is to blot up water, 100 percent cotton towels are the best for the job. Cotton is hydrophilic, which means it has a strong affinity for water. Synthetic fibers, on the other hand are hydrophobic; this means that a cotton-polyester towel will not be as absorbent as an all-cotton towel. Cotton actually absorbs moisture within the structure of the fiber, between its various layers or walls.
Terry Cloth or Velour?
A terry cloth towel features loops that enhance its drying ability. The more loops, the greater the drying power. But some people prefer the sheen of a velour towel, which is created by a shearing process that removes part of the terry and shortens the fabric pile. But keep in mind that the velour towel's shorter loops makes it slightly less absorbent. However, this does not affect its performance as long as it is used to blot, rather than rub dry. Shoppers who can't decide which they prefer, are in luck: some towels feature terry on one side and velour on the other.
Another measure of a towel's drying ability is its thickness. Thick towels contain more cotton yarn; the thick loops will dry the body better than thin loops made with less cotton.
Make Sure It's Cotton since cotton content plays such a key role in a towel's effectiveness, consumers can be sure they are purchasing 100 percent cotton towels by looking for the Seal of Cotton trademark, which appears on many towels, bath and bedding items. In fact, two out of three Americans would rather buy all-cotton towels from an unknown manufacturer than a cotton/polyester blend towel from an established brand, according to the recent studies.
Towel Care Tips
Good towels should last more than a decade, which means consumers should consider making an "investment" by purchasing the highest quality towels they can afford.
Here are some tips that will help prolong the life of a towel:
-Launder frequently with soft water and detergent.
-Avoid fabric softeners as they contain silicones that will make them virtually water repellent.
-Deeply colored towels will bleed during the first three or four washings, so wash them separately at first. After that, continue to wash similar colors together.
-Do not bleach colored towels.
-Wash white towels separately because subtle pick-up from colored items will occur gradually over time.
-If drying by hanging, shake towel once while still wet, and again after dry. This will fluff the terry loops.
-Do not iron towels, as it will reduce absorbency.
The towels shown are all from www.Macys.com