The kitchen towel is one of the most versatile tools in your kitchen. Having a good set of dish towels allows you to stabilize a cutting board, wipe down spills, and dry tools and your hands. Mostly made of cotton, they also work well as a banneton lining for your sourdough breads or patting salmon dry before pan-frying. Kitchen towels can even stand in as an oven mitt to handle hot pans and pots. When choosing towels, you'll need to consider a few key factors, like the type of material, how absorbent it is, ease in washing and drying, how it handles glassware, and the size of the cloth.
To help you find the best kitchen towels for sparkling clean counters all the time, we sent top-rated ones to our experienced product tester. Each one was carefully tested during hours of home kitchen testing and used to clean up different types of spills as well as being reviewed based on absorbency and material. The kitchen towels were also rated on versatility, ease of cleaning, and overall value.
We selected the best kitchen towels that cover a variety of uses.
Now Designs Ripple Dish Towel
Variety of colors match any kitchen
100% cotton has great absorbency
Ribbed style helps with scrubbing
Terrycloth can leave lint behind on surfaces
Turkish cotton is well known for its softness and absorbency. It stands true for these kitchen towels as well. Measuring 24 x 18 inches, these towels are soft, thick, and incredibly absorbent. The Now Designs towels come in a set of two and many colors to fit your kitchen design, from Bali Blue to London Grey and feature a ridged design.
The versatile towels can be used to dry hands, pots, dinnerware, and even stemware. Easy to maintain as they are machine washable, they are a solid addition to your kitchen linen collection. They are sturdy and functional enough for daily use, but the texture and various color shades contribute to a design you’ll want to have seen in your kitchen.
Price at time of publish: $18
Material: Turkish cotton | Dimensions: 18 x 28 inches | Machine Washable: Yes | Count: 2 per pack
Zeppoli Classic White Kitchen Towels
Linen/cotton blend minimizes lint
Blend also allows for faster drying
Comes in multiple colors
Thin fabric, so less absorbent
Not lifetime quality
Made with strong and durable cotton material, these 25 x 14-inch kitchen towels showcase a herringbone weave that makes them lightweight, absorbent, and minimizes lint. They're quick to dry, which lowers the risk of mildew or any lingering funky smells.
Easy to throw in the washer and dryer with minimal shrinkage, plus a 30-pack means you will have a near-constant supply of kitchen towels for your use. Keep a pair or two in your kitchen at all times, and you will eliminate the need to use paper towels for all those little cleanup jobs.
Price at time of publish: $40
Material: Linen/cotton | Dimensions: 14 x 25 inches | Machine Washable: Yes | Count: 15 or 30 per pack
Best for Food Prep
Utopia Towels Kitchen Bar Mops Towels
Holds up to repeated uses
Textured surface useful for scrubbing
Comes in many colors
These Utopia Towels stand up to the rigors of food prep in both home and professional kitchens. Measuring 16 x 19 inches, the size is perfect to put under a chopping board to stabilize it, and the appropriate thickness makes it easy to give your knife a quick clean-up before getting on with the next chopping job.
Hemmed edges prevent unraveling, while the ring-spun cotton makes them super absorbent and lightweight. The terry loops on both sides create extra surface area for completely drying off all surfaces and scrubbing off spills without scratching any surfaces. At the end of the day, throw them in the wash, and they will be ready to tackle another busy kitchen day with you.
Price at time of publish: $18
Material: Ring-spun cotton | Dimensions: 16 x 19 inches | Machine Washable: Yes | Count: 2
Best for Dishes
Zeppoli Flour Sack Towels
Sheet-like cotton sheds very little lint
Max-sized for larger kitchen tasks
Flexible and versatile
Not great for grabbing hot surfaces
“I love drying dishes,” said no one ever, but it is a chore that just needs to be done. Why not make it easy with a kitchen towel that does most of the job for you?
Although the label says "flour sack" towels, this 12-pack of towels from Zeppoli is not produced from actual flour sacks like in the olden days. Made of natural ring-spun cotton, which is sturdy and highly absorbent, these lightweight towels make drying dishes an almost pleasant experience. Measuring 31 x 31 inches, these towels can be used to line a breadbasket, clean up spills, and cover vegetables. They are easy to wash and dry quickly.
Price at time of publish: $25
Material: Ring-spun cotton | Dimensions: 31 x 31 inches | Machine Washable: Yes | Count: 12
Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Non-Abrasive, Reusable and Washable
Textured surface useful for scrubbing
Smaller and more agile for delicate jobs
Not heat resistant
Synthetic fibers don’t absorb the same way cotton would
If talking about microfiber makes you think of dull unimaginative towels, these Amazon Basics towels are going to be a fun surprise. The colorful dish towels, which measure 16 x 12 inches, come in two different trios of colors and are designed to absorb a lot of liquid. They dry dishes and cleanup surfaces with ease, all while leaving no trace of lint or fabric.
Composed of 90 percent polyester and 10 percent polyamide, you can even use these to clean counters, cabinet doors, and glass appliance doors. You may even find yourself polishing your wine glasses and tableware for no apparent reason. This pack of 30 towels will keep you company in the kitchen for a long time, and effectively dust surfaces or clean dishware when dry, or can be paired with liquid cleaners for other surfaces.
Price at time of publish: $14
Material: Polyester/polyamide blend | Dimensions: 12 x 16 inches | Machine Washable: Yes | Count: 24
Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Tea Towels
Lots of fun colors
Nearly lint-free fabric
Thinner and more agile for delicate jobs
Thinner towel not great for handling hot surfaces
This 12-pack of flour sack dish towels are an excellent way to minimize use of paper towels in the kitchen. Soft enough to use for hand drying, they're also sturdy enough for all the vigorous kitchen tasks.
Measuring 28 x 28 inches, these towels are lint-free and machine washable. Flour-sack towels make some of the best dish drying towels because they are highly absorbent and leave no residue behind—just a streak-free shine. These are thin enough to be used as cheesecloths, or for cleaning up various tumbles and spills in the kitchen.
Price at time of publish: $25
Material: Cotton | Dimensions: 28 x 28 inches | Machine Washable: Yes | Count: 12
Best Waffle Weave
Mia's Dream Cotton Dish Towels
Stylish enough to be used as guest towels
Lots of rich color choices
Waffle weave helps with drying
Not lifetime quality
The Mia’s Dream kitchen towel's honeycomb design makes it lightweight, breathable, and absorbent. The waffle weave is soft yet sturdy, and known for being lint-free and soft on glassware. So, bring out the fine dishes and glasses that dry like a “dream.” While 100 percent cotton towels can’t make cleaning up enjoyable, they will make it efficient.
These towels come in a variety of colors, and the size, 13 x 28 inches, is just right for many jobs in the kitchen. The towels have a long hanging loop to make drying and storage easy, just hang them up so you aren't stuck with just leaving them on your stove handle or in a drawer.
Price at time of publish: $14
Material: Cotton | Dimensions: 13 x 28 inches | Machine Washable: Yes | Count: 3
Harringdons Kitchen Dish Towels
Commercial grade quality
Holds up to repeated use
Made with pure cotton, this is a commercial-grade towel that's great for home use. Generously sized at 28 x 20 inches, these towels feature a slight herringbone weave and are lightweight, absorbent, and quick-drying. The weave on these towels is tight but not overly stiff, and falls somewhere between a “typical” cotton towel and an unwashed flour sack towel.
Use them for cleaning, hand drying, dish drying, or simply for any additional baking-related projects. These towels are constructed to last and face the rigors of the kitchen. While they absorb a lot of liquid, they themselves do not get soggy, which allows you to get a lot more done with just one towel.
Price at time of publish: $27
Material: Cotton | Dimensions: 13 x 28 inches | Machine Washable: Yes | Count: 12
Best for Gifting
Anthropologie Baker Stripe Dish Towels
Cheerful, retro stripe design
Hold their shape through repeated washings
Mid-weight fabric works for almost any kitchen task
Colors fade with time
This set of four unique and decorative kitchen towels from Anthropologie make a great gift for someone who loves cooking and spending time in the kitchen. The three color combinations, each whimsical and soft, add a little splash of fun to your decor. Measuring 28 x 21 inches, these towels are thin and delicate in texture, but absorbent enough to make drying anything a breeze. The cotton fabric doesn’t wrinkle after washing, and the towels are machine washable without issue. Plus, you don’t have to think twice about wrapping, the brand takes care of that for you.
Price at time of publish: $20
Material: Cotton | Dimensions: 28 x 21 inches | Machine Washable: Yes | Count: 4
Best for Embroidery
Aunt Martha's White Flour Sack Dish Towels
Hemmed all around
Great for larger kitchen jobs
Lighter weight not the best for heavier kitchen tasks
If you want to let your creative ideas take shape and custom-make embroidered kitchen towels, Aunt Martha’s flour sack towels are a good bet. They feel a bit stiffer at first touch then some of the other flour sack bag options, which is exactly why these come highly recommended by crafters.
These 28 x 28 inch towels are fully hemmed, have a close weave made from 130-thread count, and are lint-free—all the things that are needed in a good base for embroidery. And once you have put your creative designs on them, these are excellent towels to use in the kitchen because of their lightweight and absorbent features. They also are great for proofing bread, rolling pies, and drying dishes.
Price at time of publish: $8
Material: Cotton | Dimensions: 28 x 28 inches | Machine Washable: Yes | Count: 2
If you are looking for a towel to just dry the dishes without any streaks, Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths is a great pick for flawless drying. Alternatively, consider the Zeppoli Classic White Kitchen Towels for a great budget option.
How We Tested
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ease of use, material, or price—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our home tester also spent hours conducting tests on these kitchen towels, assessing their absorbency, versatility, and material. She tested if the towels left behind any lint when drying and how well they cleaned up messes. In addition, she tested how well they worked when grabbing hot plates or bowls from the microwave. Finally, she gave them each a rating based on material, absorbency, versatility, ease of cleaning, and overall value.
What to Look for When Buying Kitchen Towels
The majority of kitchen towels are made of cotton or linen. These durable fabrics can stand up to the wear of kitchen use and regular washing and tend to be soft enough to avoid scratching your dishware. Some materials and weaves—linen, ring spun, and waffle, for instance—are more absorbent than others. Absorbency is most important because you want a towel that will actually dry surfaces rather than just moving the water around, which is what you'll find with some of the cheapest towels. Microfiber and flour sack towels are also a popular choice because they're absorbent and lint free, so they're great for polishing glassware and delicate dishes. Because each material has its own advantages, you might consider buying various kitchen towels to meet all your needs.
Size and Use
Kitchen towels vary in size, so it's critical to think about your cooking style and how you'll use them. The smallest are rectangular and average 15 inches wide by 20 inches long. These are good for wiping your hands and drying dishes, as well as other random kitchen tasks. Tea towels are a type of cotton dish towel that's typically around 28 inches square. They can be quite decorative; they were originally intended to adorn tea servings but tend to be more utilitarian today. Flour sack towels tend to be the largest, at about 30 inches square. These lint-free towels are great when you need to cover bread, baked goods, and other foods as they rest or cool.
Drying and Washing
Two key considerations in choosing kitchen towels are how quickly they air dry in the kitchen and how easy they are to clean. Since you're likely to reuse kitchen towels for a couple of days, you want a fabric that will dry thoroughly so it's ready for the next cooking project. Thinner fabrics tend to be the best, but some thick towels with a particular weave or material are competitive in this area.
Kitchen towels should be machine washable because you want to ensure all the kitchen grime they absorb is removed. If you don't have a washer at home, think about stocking enough towels to last until your regular laundromat trip. While microfiber towels are absorbent and lint free, they do need to be cleaned more carefully.
Where do you hang kitchen towels?
Hanging your kitchen towels lets them dry out in between uses, and there are several places you can hang them. For instance, the handle on your oven or dishwasher is convenient as long as you don't let the towel drape onto the floor when opening the door. The edge of the sink is good if the towel won't get wet or soiled. If you have the space, consider a kitchen towel holder. There are countertop, wall-mounted, and under-the-counter options available. Consider if a hook or bar design is a good fit for your kitchen. Whatever you choose, avoid hanging multiple towels on top of each other so your towels have space to dry.
How often should you change or wash kitchen towels?
Whenever cleaning up particularly messy spills in the kitchen, replace the kitchen towel right away. Toss it in the laundry and get a clean one to use. However, with average kitchen use, it's best to change kitchen towels every couple of days.
How do you wash kitchen towels?
The best way to clean kitchen towels depends on the material, and most are machine washable. Wash cotton and linen towels in hot water; soak them in a mix of warm water and vinegar before washing to remove odors if needed. When necessary, use bleach to keep all-white towels spotless and color-safe bleach for other towels or mixed loads. Always transfer towels from the washer to the dryer right away to avoid bacteria and mildew.
Microfiber kitchen towels require a little more attention to retain the material's excellent absorbency and cleaning ability and to keep them lint free. Make sure the load does not include lint-producing fabrics, such as cotton; use a separate laundry bin for microfiber. Machine wash in warm water with a mild detergent (preferably free of dyes and perfumes) and tumble dry on low heat.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
As a chef, Renu Dhar has cooked in different kitchens using a variety of kitchen towels. Over the years she has used most of these recommendations for various jobs in the kitchen.
Jacqueline Weiss is a professional food writer with over five years of experience, and a lifelong lover of working in the kitchen. Her writing has appeared in Eat This Not That, EatingWell, AllRecipes, Simply Recipes, and elsewhere.