Types of Kitchen Towels

One of the most important but least thought about kitchen accoutrements is the kitchen towel. Available in a variety of attractive colors and patterns, kitchen towels can extend or complement the décor of the kitchen. But that is not their main function. To maintain a sanitary and efficient kitchen, several different types of kitchen towels, suited to different purposes, should be available.

The following type of towel should be available in one's kitchen:

    • Dish towels for drying dishes, pots and pans, and kitchen implements after hand washing or dishwasher cleaning
    • Glassware or tea towels
    • Hand towels for drying hands
    • Counter towels or bar mop towels for drying counters, cleaning up spills, etc.

Kitchen towels with different uses should be kept separate and not used for multiple purposes. Laundering the towels daily is another step to help ensure cleanliness.

Fiber and Weave

home institute 1 The fiber and weave of the towels are important factors in selecting the right towel for the job. Some kitchen towels need to be absorbent, while others chiefly need to be lint-free.

The main types of kitchen towel are:

Waffle weave — Generally used with cotton fiber, this weave, also called honeycomb, produces an absorbent kitchen towel useful for drying large items such as pots and pans. Waffle weave towels can also be used as hand towels. Some manufacturers also offer a smaller waffle weave, which may be known as “mini.”

Terry cloth — This is a highly absorbent cotton material with loops. It is used for hand towels, for counter towels or bar mop towels, also called simply bar towels, and for dish towels.

Jacquard — Made of cotton or “semi linen,” which is a 50/50 cotton linen blend, jacquard towels are lint free, thus ideal for drying glassware. They also tend to have interesting color choices and elegant and complex patterns.

Flour Sack — This multi-purpose cotton material is used for lint free towels that are not only used to dry glassware, but to line bread baskets, cover rising dough, polish silver, and dusting. Towels used for polishing and dusting should be kept separate from those used in food preparation and service or drying. This can be achieved by using different colors in order to distinguish which towels are for which task. These towels are absorbent enough that they can also be used as dish towels.

Flat Weave — A 100 percent cotton towel that’s absorbent, this type of towel can be used for drying dishes. When folded on itself, it doubles as a hot pad, useful for grasping hot pot handles or lids to move them safely.

Paper Towels — Available in various absorbencies and weaves, paper towels are made to handle some of the jobs that formerly were exclusively done performed by cloth kitchen towels. While they cannot serve as potholders or make a good cover for rising dough, paper towels can wipe counters, clean up spills, line a bread basket, and in a pinch, dry a dish or glass and polish a shiny surface. They may also be useful for cleaning up surfaces contaminated with food such as raw meat, as well as for cleaning up a spill that could stain your cloth kitchen towel.

Made in plain white and with a variety of patterns, paper towels can also serve similar decorative functions to their cloth counterparts. Some brands use recycled paper and you may also find paper towels that are whitened without chlorine.

Written by Mary Elizabeth

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