I have an old monthly calendar that lists the traditional sales for each month of the year. Despite the fact that you can find items for sale generally throughout the year, you can still find what Department stores traditionally call their ‘White Sale‘.
In 1828, John Wanamaker, founder of the Wanamaker Department stores in Philadelphia decreed January to be the time for stores to hold ‘White Sales’.Wanamaker promoted this sale because sales were normally slow at this time and well, linens back then were typically white. So, you can still find today at many department stores their ‘White Sales’ for bed linens and towels.
It is time for me to look for towels for our home. I did some research and found some very interesting information on selecting towels for your home. Towels, like a good set of cookware, are one of those household items that make it worthwhile to invest some money into them. Good quality towels could save you money over time. Especially, if you care for them properly.
Here’s what I learned.
*Just like sheets, with their thread count, towels have a rating called GSM (grams per square meter). The higher the GSM number, the more material has gone into each square of fabric. Typically a GSM over 500 is a good indication of a quality towel. This will make the towel heavier and thicker – which in turn may lengthen the time for the towel to dry in your dryer.
*All towels are made from cotton and because of this, from what I have read, all towels will shrink. How you care for your towels, then, will become important. It is in the drying of the towels that the shrinkage occurs, therefore according to some in the linen business, drying your towels at low or no heat will prolong their life. Drying your towels in the dryer will also make them fluffier than drying them on the clothesline – perhaps a combination of drying on the line and in the dryer could produce the desired softness and longevity. Worth trying, I think. Love linens on the line. Also, I learned that it is important to wash your towels at the highest heat possible,
*Are all cottons created equal? Most cottons, wherever they’re grown are the same. There is a distinction in Egyptian cotton, specifically that which has long fibers or ‘extra long staple‘. Pima cotton, grown in the south, and Turkish cotton are also prized for their long fibers. It is important to note here to read labels. Not all towels claiming to be ‘Egyptian Cotton’ is 100% Egyptian Cotton – look for labels that specify that distinction – 100%.
What else do you need to know about what makes a good towel?
*Pile and Loop. This is the third thread woven into the fabric of the towel to create the thick, fluffy absorbent layer one desires. Typically, fabric is constructed by weaving fibers in two directions.
*Absorbency - What do you expect from a good towel? You want the towel to wick away the moisture from your body and to not become too wet, the weaving of the towel produces this effect. This is where the good, long staple cotton comes in. These long, narrow loops are best in absorbing moisture. The basic structure of the towel should also work with the pile or the loops of the towel. This is where you want thicker yarn to draw the moisture from the pile or loops.
*Feel – good construction in the towel will feel soft and firm, not weak or limp. Don’t be fooled by the softness of the towel at the stores. Manufacturers add softeners to make them feel softer, yet lack the base quality in cotton fibers that will show up in time. The heavier, denser the towel, the more likely it is a good towel.
So, now, you’re armed with basic knowledge of what to look for in a good towel, knowing that to get the best towel for your budget, certain things need to be considered: GSM; type of cotton, absorbency, structure and weight.
*wash your new towels before using. Manufacturers add chemicals to the towel to protect while stored and to give it a good appearance at the store.
*DO NOT use Chlorine Bleach when washing your towels.
*Always wash towels separately
*Follow manufacture’s directions – too little or too much detergent can affect the cleanliness of your towel.
*Do not overdry your towels – overdrying can affect the absorbency and life of the towel.
*How many towels does one family need? I found the answer varies. For us, 2 to 3 per person – my daughter uses two towels at once – my husband only one at a time…so calculating usage and factoring in potential guests is subjective and a very personal choice.
With these things in mind, I did some shopping myself – online. Good resources for shopping for me are over an hour away – therefore, with my research in hand I did some comparison ‘shopping’ online and came up with two sources, Amazon and Overstock.com. My new, and did I share WHITE, towels will be coming soon – I’ll share with you what I purchase and how well I like them. I am looking forward to their fluffy goodness!
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