As soon as we stepped foot into the small workshop on a side street in the popular Galata area of Istanbul with one loom, 5 cats and the best tea we had tasted all day, we knew that these were the best Turkish towels to be found. In a sea of low-quality, machine-made Turkish towels, these ones stand out for their craftsmanship and quality.
Turkish towels, known as peshtemals, are a bit of an enigma to those who are unfamiliar with them. Those who have them, however, say they’ll never use anything else. Turkish towels that are made from 100% First Grade Turkish cotton are known for their softness and wickability, traits that - believe it or not - actually improve with use over time. The difference is the long fibers found only in Turkish cotton.
The Turkish towels we carry online and at the Nashville tea bar are large - 38"x78" - and have many uses. You can use them as a bath towel, to be sure. However, their ability to dry quickly, and their ultra-soft, thin, loom-woven fabric makes them perfect to use as a pareo or sarong. They are super-absorbent and make a great beach blanket or pool towel when you don’t want to carry a heavy soggy terry cloth towel. They are lighter weight and take up less space when folded, which makes them ideal for small shelf spaces and easy to toss in the car or carry-on for use as a travel blanket. Beautiful as well as highly functional, Turkish towels are also perfect to wear as a scarf or wrap, display as a decorative wall-hanging, or drape over the back of your favorite recliner or sofa to use as a light throw.
Our Turkish towels are artisan-crafted textiles made by hand on a loop, and you can be confident knowing that your purchase supports families and communities that depend on income from the sales of the peshtemals to support their livelihood.
To have the best experience with your towel, you take care with washing them. Getting started on the right foot is the key to unlocking their softness and absorbency. It’s therefore important to wash your Turkish towel first before you use it. Washing it first serves to loosen the cotton fibers and open them up, making them softer and more absorbent. If you’re not comfortable putting it in your washing machine, simply soak it overnight in cool water.
If you do use your machine for that inaugural wash, you’ll want to follow a few important tips so that your fabric softens like it should. First, only use a gentle cycle on your washing machine. When you dry it, only use low heat on the dryer. Turkish towels air dry very quickly, so if you don’t want to risk an overly hot dryer, simply hanging them to dry is probably the easiest and most effective option. Do NOT use high heat, fabric softeners, bleach or dryer sheets, as the cotton fibers will not respond well and you’ll not get the softness you expect.
Turkish towels really do get better with use. With just a little extra care in washing, you’ll be able to find so many fun ways to use yours. And the softness! It’s not just about how they feel...it’s about how they make you feel.