8 Essential Kitchen Towel Sizes You Need To Know

Kitchen countertop with kitchen towels wooden spoons and serving plate organizer

Whether you’re a home cook or a professional chef, you’ll need hand towels to manage these messes and help with other things (i.e., wipe dishes and Chinaware). Kitchen towels feature absorbent yet non-abrasive materials to clean and dry up surfaces and objects. They are also durable, withstanding the abuse of frequent hand and machine washings. Towels for the kitchen come in various materials, shapes, colors, patterns, styles, and sizes. Below we break down these differences and underscore each kitchen towel sizes function or purpose.

Dish Towels

Dish towel size

As the name implies, dish towels are perfect for wiping liquid spills. They leverage terry cloth’s remarkable absorption capabilities to dry objects and surfaces in the kitchen. You can use it to clean post-meal baby messes and countertop spills. You can also use it to dry your hands. 

The weave of a dish towel is loose, allowing it to trap moisture between fibers. This unique characteristic also lends this kitchen towel a slightly rough but non-abrasive texture. Most users consider it fluffy, like cotton. Hence, its absorbent capabilities are unparalleled.

Dish towels vary in size, although the most common versions measure 28 inches on all sides (about 72 centimeters).

Tea Towels

Tea towel size

These kitchen towels aren’t different from dish versions. Unsurprisingly, many folks call them interchangeably. However, we must recognize these items vary. Tea towels are as large as dish towels, spanning 28 inches on all four sides. That’s where the similarity ends.

Most tea towels feature linen, although you can expect cotton versions from your favorite home improvement or kitchen supplies store. Because linen and cotton have tightly packed fibers, their absorption capabilities cannot match terry cloth. The good news is this fiber arrangement lends tea towels a smoother and softer surface.

Hence, tea towels are perfect drying kitchen utensils, glassware, and dishes that you don’t want to leave swirl marks and lint. It’s also ideal for lining bread baskets, kitchen shelves, and food trays. 

Some homeowners use it to cover fruits, vegetables, and other food items to protect them against dust, flies, bugs, and other contaminants. A tea towel’s soft and smooth surface makes it suitable for wrapping bread, muffins, cookies, rolls, other pastries, and similar food. 

Terry Cloth Towel

Terry towel cloth size

Most people assume a terry cloth towel is the same as a dish towel. After all, the latter features terry cloth with remarkable liquid-absorbing properties. And they are correct. Terry cloth towels have a fluffy texture. They are ideal for cleaning tables and countertops, drying kitchen utensils and dishes, and wiping liquid spills.

However, terry cloth towels are rectangular, while dish towels are squarish. Although they vary in size, most terry cloth kitchen towels have a lengthwise span of 26 inches (about 66 centimeters) or 2 inches (5 centimeters) shorter than a dish version. Its two shorter sides only measure 16 inches or 41 centimeters.

Flat-weave Towel

Flat-weave size

Kitchen towels vary in weave type or how fibers connect to produce a smooth and absorbent surface. Flat-weave towels earned their name from the two-dimensional arrangement of fibers, unlike three-dimensional waffle-weave towels. 

Flat-weave kitchen towels vary in absorbency, depending on the material. For example, linen fabrics might be uber-smooth but their water-absorbing capabilities are nowhere near terry cloth or cotton.

Like other kitchen items, flat-weave towels come in varying sizes. However, the most common designs are as lengthy as terry cloth towels (26 inches or 66 centimeters) but broader by 2 inches (5 centimeters) at about 18 inches (46 centimeters).

Microfiber Towel

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Modern families use microfiber cloth for cleaning just about anything. It’s perfect for polishing mirrors, buffing car surfaces, dusting, and drying shower glass. In the kitchen, microfiber towels are miracle workers. They are as absorbent as dish towels but don’t leave lint and streaks on surfaces.

Unsurprisingly, these kitchen towels are perfect for picking up dirt, debris, dust, and other particles off countertops, tables, cabinets, and other kitchen fixtures. You can find microfiber towels in almost any imaginable size, although the most common is about the same size as a flat-weave towel (26×18 inches or 66×46 centimeters).

Flour Sack Towels

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This kitchen washcloth is nothing more than a repurposed flour sack or bag. Manufacturers clean used flour bags and cut them into kitchen towel sizes to improve their utility. Such towels are examples of flat-weaves, making them less absorbent than high-pile fabrics (i.e., terry cloth). 

Nevertheless, flour sack towels are general-purpose cleaning cloths. They are handy in and out of the kitchen. Like other towels, flour sack variants come in different sizes. However, the most popular version is 2 inches longer and 1 inch broader than a microfiber towel at 28×19 inches or 71×49 centimeters.

Swedish Dishcloths

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Also called sponge cloths, Swedish dishcloths are eco-friendly alternatives to traditional paper towels. They are super-absorbent, able to draw in water 15 times the dishcloth’s weight. It’s also thick yet soft, making the Swedish dishcloth a powerhouse in kitchen mess cleanups. 

It’s like chamois, becoming stiff when dry but uber-soft when wet. They contain 70% cellulose and 30% cotton, lending to the dishcloth’s super-absorbent properties. Most Swedish dishcloths measure 7×8 or 7×7 inches (18×20 or 18×18 centimeters).

Chef’s Towels

Chef-s towel

Professional chefs have side towels they tuck in front of their waists, allowing them to wipe their hands and clean countertops and food preparation surfaces easily. These kitchen towels are 100% cotton and are perfect for covering, gripping, and insulating kitchen items.

Most chef’s towels are about 19.5 inches broad (50 centimeters) and 27.5 inches long (70 centimeters). However, other sizes are available to suit a chef’s needs, and hung in the kitchen where they can be in easy reach.

What is the Difference between a Tea Towel and a Dish Towel?

The principal difference between dish and tea towels is the fabric. Dish towels are almost exclusively terry cloth, while tea towels feature linen or a combination of cotton and linen. These differences contribute to the towel’s varying attributes (i.e., dish towels are more absorbent, while tea towels are softer).

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