How to Wash a Turkish Towel: A Step-by-Step Guide

In this detailed guide, we’ll cover everything you need to understand about washing Turkish towels. We’ll discuss washing methods, how to deal with stains, how to store towels when not in use and figure out when it’s time to get new ones.

By using the correct methods, you can maintain the fresh look and feel of your Turkish towels for a long time.


Turkish towels have a long history that began in Turkey, where people used them in Turkish baths to dry off after taking a bath. These lightweight cotton towels became famous for their ability to soak up water fast and dry quickly.

Nowadays, these thin but super absorbent towels are well-liked for beaches and baths globally. Their gentle feel and enjoyable, colorful patterns have made them a common choice in many households.

Yet, taking care of these towels requires a careful approach to maintain their softness and quality. Rough treatment can harm the loops, leading to lint and reduced absorbency over time.

Why Proper Washing Matters

Taking good care of your Turkish towels is important to keep them in good condition and make them last longer. If you don’t wash them properly, they can become rough, develop holes, lose their shape, and be more likely to get mildew.


Washing them gently and correctly prevents the fibers from wearing out too soon. It also gets rid of smells, dirt, body oils, and other things that can make the towels less absorbent.

Preparing Your Turkish Towels for Washing

Before washing your towels, take a few preparatory steps:

  • Check the care label – Some Turkish towels may have specific washing instructions, so always check the tag first. Follow any special guidelines provided.
  • Shake out – Shake out the towels to dislodge any loose dirt or debris before washing. This prevents that grit from grinding into the fibers.
  • Pretreat stains – For tough spots or stains, first treat the area by rubbing with a stain remover or detergent or simply soaking in water. This will lift the stain, preventing it from getting worse during washing.

Washing Methods for Turkish Towels

You can clean them easily either by hand or using a washing machine. Each method has its steps and considerations.

Hand Washing

Washing towels by hand is simple and gentle. Follow these steps:

  1. Fill a sink or tub with cool water and a small amount of mild liquid detergent or soap.
  1. Put the towels in the water completely and let them soak for 15-30 minutes. This allows the detergent to penetrate the fibers.
  1. Move the towels around in the water by gently swishing them. Avoid twisting, wringing, or scrubbing too hard.
  1. Drain the dirty wash water and refill the tub with fresh cool water for rinsing. Rinse multiple times if needed until the water is clear.
  1. After rinsing, gently press towels to remove excess moisture but don’t twist tightly.
  1. Hang towels after washing so they can dry completely. Don’t leave wet.
Someone hand washing a dirty Turkish towel.

Using Washing Machine

For those preferring the convenience of a washing machine, follow these steps:

  1. Separate your towels: Avoid washing towels with other clothes to prevent potential color bleeding.
  1. Use a mild detergent: Use a detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics and use the recommended amount to avoid excess suds.
  1. Adjust machine settings: Select the delicate cycle on your machine, and wash in cool water. Additionally, choose a low or delicate spin speed to protect the fabric.
  1. Initiate the wash cycle: Let the machine go through a gentle cycle with cool water for a thorough yet gentle cleaning process.
  1. Air Dry for Best Results: Once the machine-washing cycle is complete, hang them to air dry and avoid machine drying.

Drying the Towels

Proper drying helps Turkish towels stay soft and absorbent.

  • Lay towels flat or hang them to air dry. Do not use a clothes dryer.
  • When drying, keep them away from direct sunlight to prevent colors from fading. Dry them in the shade.
  • Make sure towels are completely dry before storing them or using them again. Any remaining moisture can allow mildew.

Storing and Maintaining Turkish Towels

Follow these tips to keep towels in optimal condition:

  • Store the towels in a breathable container, such as a cloth bag or basket. Avoid using plastic for storage.
  • Wash new towels before using them for the first time to make sure they absorb well.
  • Wash the towels regularly, about 1-2 times a month, depending on how often you use them.
  • When washing, avoid fabric softener as it can leave residues that affect the towel absorbency.
Turkish towels loosely folded and stored in a woven basket.

Benefits of Properly Caring

Investing a little time in taking good care of your towels has several benefits:

  1. Improving Absorbency: By taking care of your towels, you ensure they continue to absorb moisture efficiently.
  1. Preserving Colors: Regular care helps maintain the vibrant colors of your towels even after multiple washes.
  1. Increasing Lifespan: Proper care extends the life and durability of your towels, allowing you to use them for many years.
  1. Preventing Odors: Taking care of wet towels helps prevent unpleasant musty odors caused by bacterial buildup.
  1. Saving Money: By avoiding unnecessary replacements, you save money in the long run.

So, give your towels a bit of extra care, and they’ll stay in good condition for a long time!

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Towel

Watch out for these signs:

  1. The towel is thin, has holes, or has a loose and irregular weave.
  2. It sheds a lot of lint and doesn’t absorb well anymore.
  3. The colors are noticeably fading.
  4. There are small balls of fabric or areas that are bunched up on the surface.
  5. Even after washing, there’s a mildew smell.


In summary, it’s important to take good care of your Turkish towels to keep them soft, absorbent, and colorful. By using the suggested washing methods, drying techniques, and storage tips, you can make your towels last longer and avoid any unpleasant odors or problems.

By investing a little time and effort in caring for your Turkish towels, you can enjoy their benefits for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wash Turkish towels in a washing machine?

Yes, you can wash Turkish towels in a washing machine. For best results, use a mild detergent made for delicate fabrics. Keep them separate from your regular clothes, and select a gentle cycle with cool water. Skip the fabric softener, and let them air dry rather than using a machine dryer.

How do you make Turkish towels soft again?

To make Turkish towels soft again, follow these steps:

  • Add ½ cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle.
  • Avoid using fabric softener, as it can reduce absorbency.
  • Air dry the towels instead of using a clothes dryer.

How long do Turkish cotton towels last?

Turkish cotton towels can last for several years with proper care. Just wash them regularly, avoid using strong chemicals, and follow the care instructions that come with them. This will help keep them soft, absorbent, and in great shape.

Do Turkish towels shrink in the dryer?

Turkish towels are less likely to shrink if you follow proper care instructions. To minimize the risk of shrinking, wash them in cool water, avoid using high heat when drying, and choose air drying instead of machine drying. Always look at the care label for detailed instructions.


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