My cat Kady wrapped in a cotton towel
What Mom wants
Decent towels or a wrap
We all know that Mother's Day is celebrated in May, but I bet some of you didn't know that Towel Day is too.
Towel Day began in 2001 as a tribute to the late Douglas Adams (1952 - 2001), author of the wildly popular cult sci-fi series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
A fan, D. Clyde Williamson, proposed that a special day, two weeks following Adams's death (May 11th, 2001), should be declared Towel Day. Well, it caught on and fans of his work all over the world celebrate Towel Day on May 25th every year.
How, you might wonder? By carrying a towel with them throughout the day - kinda like Linus van Pelt (from the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz).
Purportedly, on Adams's tomb it states, "Never go anywhere without your towel." Yet, when I researched Douglas Adams's grave, I found only the description Writer on it. (Perhaps there's some fictional message or inside joke I'm not getting).
And Towel Day isn't limited to mere humans, all life forms in the galaxy are encouraged to celebrate. Sure, there are a number of ways that Towel Day is observed - but the crucial point is that you must have a towel.
Why a towel wrap?
The following 14 second video illustrates my reason:
This just seems so wrong
Both people had to grasp their towels (52 sec mark):
Forget Velcro (too risky)
Go for snaps
Now, if there's one thing that really chaps my hide is Velcro (not the company, but any type of hook-and-loop fastener) that gets loosey goosey after a few washes.
Boca Terry Women's Spa Wrap - 100% Combed Velour Cotton
For the gym, beach, or getting the door
Amazon Price: $50.00 $26.00 Buy Now
(price as of May 1, 2014)
After 20 years of buying towels, I can safely say that 100% combed cotton is my favorite. Combed cotton has the shorter threads or bits of fabric literally "combed" out of it. But what about all the newer types, like bamboo, microfiber, or modal?
Here's the gist:
Bamboo is a highly renewable source, however, when it comes to towels most are actually bamboo rayon. Textile professor Matthew Gerring (Academy of Art University) confirmed in The Sweethome article by Melissa Tan The Best Bath Towel for Your Wet, Naked Body that the process of making bamboo rayon fiber releases dangerous levels of pollution (which is actually worse for the environment than cotton).
Microfiber is usually a blend of polyester and polyamide fibers (in an 80/20 ratio). They are touted as good for travel since they pack thinner - but I feel they are best for dusting and polishing. They are just too thin for my vote and it isn't a natural fiber.
Pima (aka Supima) is made from the same plant used for Egyptian towels. In an HGTV article by Katie Allison Granju A Basic Guide to Bath Towels, Carla Sanclemente, an interior designer, explained that towels advertised as "made with" Egyptian or pima cotton often have other synthetic materials in them. She advises checking that the label states either 100% Egyptian cotton or the Supima trademark (indicating it is 100% American pima cotton).
Modal is made by spinning cellulose fibers from beech trees. It's actually a type of rayon. I personally am not keen on it, but claims are that it's more absorbent than cotton.
Turkish towels are made from cotton grown in the Aegean region. While considered luxurious, they are not as absorbent as 100% Egyptian cotton towels.
Peruvian pima cotton is grown - you guessed it - along the coast of Peru. It's less likely to shed, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin. (It's hard to find, at least in my area of Canada).
Density (or Weight)
The weight is measured in grams per square meter or simply GSM. Some sources state the higher the GSM, the better the quality. However, really thick towels can be quite heavy when wet (and don't air out as quickly). A lighter towel made of high quality cotton may feel nicer than a heavier towel made with a lower grade cotton or cotton blend.
Opinions certainly vary, some feel that GSM 500 - 800 is best. Others state that towels with a 500 to 600 GSM are adequate, but not ideal.
My personal preference is 650 GSM - it's thick enough to dry me off and keep me warm.
And just to confuse you, towel weight is also measured in ounces. Luxury spa towels usually weigh between 24 and 28 ounces.
Colors and Care
I almost always buy white towels so that I can add a little bleach to the wash water. Bleach kills bacteria and helps remove stains - but too much bleach, too often, is also hard on fabrics.
If you choose colored towels, Judith Wilson, an LA designer, recommends adding 1 cup of [white] vinegar to the first wash cycle. She claims it helps to set colors and prevent fading.
Danielle Travali states in her article How to Pick the Best Towels - The Ultimate Guide that once a month, you should add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle because it helps to remove detergent (which impedes absorbency).
6pc Solid Jade Combed Bath Towel Set 100% Egyptian Cotton by sheetsnthings
My all time favorite towel specs
100% Egyptian Combed Cotton (650 GSM)
Amazon Price: $129.99 $34.99 Buy Now
(price as of May 1, 2014)