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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Which Dish Cloths are Best for Drying



stack of pastel dish towels with white spoon rest on top against black background
Find the best dish towels to dry dishes in your kitchen.

The older I get the more I just want my kitchen towels to WORK. Sure, they should look nice. But is quality too much to ask for?

See the Harringdons Dish Towels at Amazon. They don’t compromise quality for style.

You may have seen this for yourself. You go into a friend’s kitchen to help clean up after a lovely meal. After washing the dishes, you look around and see very handsome looking towels, embroidered with fine patterns or lovely artwork. Yet, they are not absorbent.

They don’t actually dry dishes! They just move the water around. A sham of mockery and a mockery of a sham!

Best Dish Cloths for DryingHow Many in a Pack? How Affordable are They?
Harringdons Kitchen Dish Towels Set of 12-Tea Towels 100% Cotton. Large Dish Cloths 28"x20" Soft and Absorbent. White with Blue, Green and red Stripes, 4 of Each. There's no Substitute for Quality1. Harringdons Kitchen Dish Towels Set of 12 12/$$$
COTTON CRAFT Euro Café Set of 8 Waffle Weave Pure Cotton Super Absorbent Multipurpose Kitchen Towels, Dishcloths, Tea Towels, Charcoal2. Cotton Craft Waffle Weave Terry Kitchen Towels 8/$$$
Sticky Toffee Cotton Terry Kitchen Dishcloth, 8 Pack, 12 in x 12 in, Gray Stripe3. Sticky Toffee Cotton Terry Kitchen Dishcloth 8/$$
DII Terry Combo Windowpane Dishcloths Absorbant, Multi-Use, Fast Drying and Machine Washable, 12x12", Gray 6 Piece4. DII Terry Kitchen Dish Cloths 6/$$
Williams-Sonoma Classic Striped Dishcloths, Dishrags, Drizzle Grey (Set of 4)5. Williams-Sonoma Dish Cloths 4/$$$
Utopia Towels 12 Pack Dish Towels, 15 x 25 Inches Ultra Soft Cotton Dish Cloths, Blue6. Utopia Towels Kitchen Dish Cloths 12/$$
SINLAND Microfiber Dish Towels Kitchen Drying Towel Waffle Weave Hand Towel 3 Pack 16inch X 24inch White7. Sinland Microfiber Waffle Weave Kitchen Towels 3/$$

Decorative towels: good for decoration, not drying

Decorative towels make for beautiful decor, but they need to be supplemented with something that can actually do the job. Luckily, I’ve done the research for you! Here are the things to be aware of, the things to look out for and, ultimately, a few good examples of quality dish towels that I can recommend.

Which materials make for effective dishcloths?

Traditionally, terry toweling was the most effective! These are uncut loops of cloth (think of your standard bath towel) that absorb the water. There’s also a waffle weave (think raised squares) or the basket weave (over under over under).

In more recent times, microfibers have become a synthetic alternative. For me, there is little difference between these styles. It all comes down to your own personal preference.

I would say that it is always better to go for cotton over linen. While your linen towels may have an advantage on the aesthetics, they are inferior in the actual purpose of the towel. Again, if you want pretty decoration, hang them wherever you’ll enjoy seeing them. But when it’s time to dry the dishes, pull out a cotton towel instead.

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I also advise that you wash your towel before putting it to use. Often, manufacturers will apply a special fabric softener to new towels so that they appear extra soft and fluffy while sitting on the shelf. Unfortunately, this reduces their absorbent properties, and they don’t work too well the first time ’round. Give them a wash or two before you put them to use if you want to unlock their true drying capabilities.

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Best dishcloths for drying

Cotton is best!
Cotton is best!

So, which towels will get your dishes sparkling? Here are a few that I think combine value for money with high absorbency.

You need a good towel to clean a cast iron teapot. Here’s my guide.

Cotton Craft Waffle Weave Terry Kitchen Towels

COTTON CRAFT - 8 Pack - Euro Cafe Waffle Weave Terry Kitchen Towels - 16x28 Inches - Charcoal - 400 GSM Quality - 100% Ringspun 2 Ply Cotton - Highly Absorbent Low Lint - Multi Purpose

These dish towels from Cotton Craft have top quality performance at an affordable price. They’re made of 2 ply rings-pun cotton terry cloth and have a waffle weave design, made for impressive performance and durability.

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They also produce very little lint, but again, be sure to wash them before using them for the first time. You can also use them for all purposes around the house! Hand towels, bar towels, and more.

Sticky Toffee Cotton Terry Kitchen Dishcloth

Sticky Toffee Cotton Terry Kitchen Dishcloth, 8 Pack, 12 in x 12 in, Gray Stripe

Another great option is the 100% cotton terrycloth dishcloths from Sticky Toffee. They’re super absorbent and measure about 12 by 12 inches, so they’re the perfect size to fit in any kitchen.

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They’re constructed with a popcorn terry design, which is great for drying, but also cleaning and scrubbing as well! Their versatility is unmatched.

Even better, they’re machine washable for easy upkeep! It’s important to regularly wash your dishcloths to avoid any germy buildup. They come in a set of 8 – 4 solid colored and 4 striped. You can also order them gift wrapped if you’re giving them to someone else!

Paper towels can be environmentally friendly, too! Find out which recycled paper towel brands perform well while reducing waste!

DII Terry Kitchen Dish Cloths

This set of 6 dishcloths is perfect if you’re on a budget, but don’t want to compromise quality. They measure 12 by 12 inches too, so you’re also not compromising on size with this purchase either. They also come in 19, that’s right 19, different colors, so you can match these to any and all kitchen decor!

DII Terry Combo Windowpane Dishcloths Absorbant, Multi-Use, Fast Drying and Machine Washable, 12x12, Gray

In terms of construction, these cloths are made out of cotton and tightly woven for durability. The cotton is also surprisingly absorbent considering the price.

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Williams-Sonoma Classic Striped Dishcloths, Dishrags, Drizzle Grey (Set of 4)

If you prefer a luxury option, consider the towels from Williams-Sonoma. Made from Turkish cotton in the classic striped pattern, they are slightly more expensive than some of the other options. However, their durability means that, in regards to value for money, they are definitely a sound bet!

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The Williams-Sonoma towels feature a convenient hanging loop to make them easy to store when you’re not using them. You can find a set of four towels that are 15 inches square.

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Utopia Towels Kitchen Dish Cloths

Utopia Towels 12 Pack Dish Towels, 15 x 25 Inches Ultra Soft Cotton Dish Cloths, Blue

Looking for a more middle range option? Utopia Kitchen‘s towels are a great option. They’re 100% durable cotton and come in a set of 12. They’re also very lightweight, but they still get the job done in terms of absorbency. Since they’re fairly lightweight and thin, they also dry quickly, which prevents bacteria buildup.

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Sinland Microfiber Waffle Weave Kitchen Towels

SINLAND Microfiber Dish Towels Kitchen Drying Towel Waffle Weave Hand Towel 3 Pack 16inch X 24inch White

Are you a little rough on your towels and don’t want to spend a lot? As a budget option that is still good at drying, I recommend these towels by Sinland. They are very absorbent and can be wrung dry. Sometimes microfiber towels can have a slightly sticky feel, but these ones have a very soft texture. They are even gentle enough for washing your face!

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The Sinland dish towels are white with a colored lining, reinforced to help prevent unraveling even after long-term usage. I recommend picking up the 3-pack of 16” x 24” cloths.

Dish drying duty doesn’t have to be a chore.

There’s nothing wrong with hanging up beautiful, decorative towels in your kitchen, especially for those times when company stops by. However, you might want to keep a stash of sturdy dish clothes in the drawer for those times you need to get some drying done. Any of the brands listed above will keep your dishes shiny and water-spot free!

For some advice on how to keep your kitchen towels stain- and odor-free, check out how to wash your dish cloths! You might also be interested in this post for more great dish towels for drying dishes.

Or, if you’re a busy bee with no time for polishing the silverware, head on over here for my recommendation on a great dishwasher for those pots and pans.

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Additional Resources

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Bryce Heitman

Bryce is not a real professor, but he's real nerdy in the kitchen. He's been barbecuing, chopping, and generally blazing food for many decades. He thinks there's definitely a better spatula or utensil out there that hasn't been invented yet.

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