cleaning,  decorating

Linen Bath Towels: Should I Make the Switch?

I keep tripping over linen bath towels.

Online, not literally.

In my own house I’m tripping over regular cotton towels. Note to self: put towel hooks at height where kids can reach them.

It has me wondering, should I make the switch from cotton (terry cloth) towels to linen towels?

I know, I know. It’s a big question for a Monday. Real life changing stuff here.

Photo by AnthropologieMore bathroom photos

According to what I’ve read, linen bath towels are more absorbent than cotton towels.

They are faster drying, so no musty smells.

They take up less space.

They last longer – up to 30 years! Craziness.

Apparently, linen towels get softer and better with age too.

Kind of like me a nice pair of blue jeans.


There’s always a but.

Linen towels aren’t anywhere near as plush as terry towels. I think it would be akin to toweling off with a tablecloth.

They also are more expensive. Sometimes WAY more expensive. If linen towels truly last 30 years though, it seems like they would be a good deal in the long run.

Photo by Look for shabby-chic style home design pictures                                                                                                      

I don’t know anyone who uses linen towels on the regular, but they are quite common in parts of Europe.

It makes sense knowing that many Europeans prefer to air-dry their laundry. Regular cotton towels take FOREVER to air dry. Trust me, I’ve been experiencing this first-hand.

Many backpackers swear by linen towels too because of size, ability to dry quickly and resistance to smells.

(Brahmsmount Towels – Brahmsmount)

I found this blog post by LinenMaven about the pros and cons of switching to linen to be helpful. I haven’t found any blog posts written by the cotton industry on this topic, but I only spent a cursory amount of time on the search.

Should I make the switch? Have any of you?

If you’ve known me for more than two minutes, you’ll know I have a frugal streak. I tend to think  long and hard before spending money – especially on something like towels.

I also really, really like the feeling of wrapping up in a plush towel after a shower. It feels so luxurious. Although, I’ve been drying my towels on the radiator lately. On the plushness spectrum, my towels are a bit more on the sandpaper side of things. Exfoliation for the win!

Have any of you made the switch to linen towels? If I decide to go this route, I’ll be happy to share my experiences!

P.S. Here are some linen towels I found online, some through affiliate links:

(LinenMe Bath Towel – Amazon)

(Bless Linen Bath Towel – Amazon)

(Luxoteks Linen Towel – Etsy)

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  • Dawn Olsson

    They kind of look like tablecloths. I don’t think of linen as absorbent–just wrinkly. Actually, until I read your blog, I didn’t even know linen towels were an option. You try them first and let me know what you think.

  • Sandy Smith

    I agree with Dawn. My towels seem to last forever but then I use them until holes start to appear. I think I’d stick to the Terry cloth Towels. However I’m noted to be the last to try new things. In case you are wondering about the email address below-I changed my email address. Sandy

    • annisa

      Our holey towels became “river towels” when I was growing up. Remember that? I was saving “river towels” when I became an adult until I remembered that I didn’t spend my summers at the river! Ha!

  • Nana

    I started switching to linen towelling a few years back, and honestly, I’d never go back to terry towels. The linen towels are super absorbent, and dry extremely fast hanging on the towel rack. No more musty smelling towels! Not to mention the space savings, which is such a bonus. Initially it does take a bit of getting used to the lack of ‘fluff’ when first using the linen towels, as it seems like a thin cloth wouldn’t do much in terms of soaking up water. It does though, and very well. When I wash mine, I hang them up on a drying rack and they are dry very quickly. I don’t use the dryer, as it wears down the linen fabric itself. I’m also using huck linen towels that have been in the family for 60 years, and they still look like new. The switch can happen gradually, start with one and see how you like it instead of investing in the entire bunch at once.

    • annisa

      Oh my goodness! You’ve had towels for 60 years? That is absolutely amazing. Now I need to google huck linen. Thank you! I have 3 towels right now. One from one company and two from a separate company. I can actually tell a difference between the two company’s products, so it has been very interesting. I’m definitely still dipping my toe into this pond, but I like the direction it is heading.

      • Nana

        Yes, they’ve been around for that long. Mind you, they were used as ‘show’ towels before, not for heavy everyday use. I think that plays a big part in their longevity. Me, well I just use them all the time. Linen is incredibly resilient.
        I wash them in a front loading machine and hang on a rack to dry. I think the agitator arm in top loading washers is harsh on any fabric. The dryer will also quickly destroy anything linen, so air drying is key.
        Yes, different companies have different quality. It really does make a difference. The tighter the weave, the better it holds up.
        I find that my favourite is to dry my hair with these vintage huck towels, they soak up the water in a very different way than terry towels. Just wrap one around your hair and let sit for a while. Try it and see.

  • Herman

    I can across a listing for linen towels and I was impressed. I appreciate this article. I was considering making my own towels with some of the resources on alibaba and similar sites. What do you think?

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