We all do dishes and we all use towels in the kitchen. Right?
Do you think about the towels you use for drying dishes, pots and your hands? Do you care? (I certainly hope you are not using paper towels for the quick hand dry!!)

Having grown up in the era of terry cloth towels… you know, those oh-so-thin retro printed towels…I am SO grateful that there are now such great alternatives and such a huge variety available.

My tea towel of choice is made of linen. It absorbs water SO much better than anything else and I have found, it lasts much longer, and with a soak in fabric brightener occasionally, stays bright and crisp. 

Until recently it was hard to find good, quality linen towels: ten years ago I always bought mine in France, at the street markets and then vintage towels at the brocante fairs. But now there are so many excellent, small manufacturers doing unusual prints.

So here are a variety of styles I’ve chosen for you. Fabrics vary from 100% linen to 50/50 cotton and linen, to all cotton.

Tea Towels

#1.    #2.    #3.    #4.    #5.    #6.    #7. 

A tea towel = a dish towel.
Well, almost. The following is from Diane Fagan Affleck of the American Textile History Museum: 

“A tea towel seems to be what I would term a dish towel,” Affleck explains. “The difference between what this kind of dish towel and what a lot of people think of is that it’s a flat-woven fabric made from linen (earlier) and cotton (more recently),” she adds. And one thing is clear: “It is definitely not a terry towel.”

And here is a very interesting history of tea towels, in Weaving Today.  The article highlights the many uses and fabrics in the history of this everyday household article.

For me, some of the best designs are the simplest, as these below:


Another favorite source: Cotton and Flax.

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Linen. From Studio Patro, one of my all time favorite sources on Etsy.


This is 100% cotton and ships from the UK. Find it on Etsy.



Flour sack towels from KitchStudios.

So many cute ideas out there. I have found that Etsy is just about the best source around for these. Let me know if you try any of these sources…