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How to Wash Turkish Towels, our complete guide

how to wash turkish towels

So perhaps you’ve made the fantastic decision of purchasing your first Turkish towel or maybe you’re still considering a purchase but you’d like to know how different caring for Turkish towels is to regular towels. Well, I asked exactly the same questions when I bought my first Turkish (or Peshtemal) towel and here’s what I found.

As a general rule, Turkish towels should be washed at 30 degrees with items of similar colour. You should avoid fabric softener when washing your towels and avoid tumble drying. If you’re not happy with the air dry look you can iron your Peshtemal towel on the cotton setting.

If you care for your towel with these principles in mind your towel will have a very long life.

In this article, I answer all the common questions that are asked when people need advice on how to wash Turkish towels. I cover the wash, dry, and iron phases of laundering as well as some tips for when this doesn’t quite go to plan.


Before we get into the regular washing routine of Turkish towels there is one very important thing to get right and it’s as soon as you receive your towel.

How to Wash Turkish Towels First Time?

This is an incredibly important step and so please do not skip it. The first thing you should do to your Peshtemal is to soak it.

Why Soak Turkish Towels?

There are a couple of reasons why you should soak your towel before its first use.

  1. When you first purchase your towel it may come with a coating from the manufacturing process which should be removed.
  2. Your towel may feel slightly rough when you first open it. By soaking the towel you’ll allow the fibres to expand and you’ll find it much softer to the touch.
  3. Don’t panic but…. your towel may shrink slightly after its first use. This is completely normal and soaking it in a more gentle environment will help this process along.

How Long Should I Soak Turkish Towels?

When you first receive your Turkish towel, to remove any manufacturing coating and to soften your towel for first use you should soak it for no less than 12 hours. It’s recommended that you soak your towel on its own in either your sink or bathtub.

Drying Your Peshtemal after its Initial Soak

Once you’ve finished soaking your towel it’s important that you do not spin dry or use a tumble dryer to dry the towel. You should simply wring out the towel by hand and then hang it to air dry.

Regular Washing of Turkish Towels

Once you’ve completed the first wash of your Peshtemal you would not need to soak the towel again and so washing moves to a more regular routine.

Washing Turkish towels is very similar to washing any other kind of towel. If you want a more gentle wash, don’t have many items or just don’t like to use a washing machine then you can go ahead and hand wash your Peshtemal however do so with cold or lukewarm water.

If you prefer to use a washing machine then you should follow this guidance

  • Put on a gentle cycle
  • Use the cotton program
  • Reduce the temperature to 30 degrees
  • Wash with other items of similar colours
  • Do not use a fabric softener
  • Do not use bleach

How Often to Wash Turkish Towels?

On average you should wash towels each week however because Turkish towels become less smelly over time due to their fast drying time you will end up washing them less than regular cotton towels. It’s worth remembering though that washing habits are a very personal choice.

In some use cases though, this becomes a very difficult question to answer. You’ll probably know that there are so many uses for Turkish towels this will also depend on what the towel is being used for. If you’re using your towel for a lounge throw then you may not want to wash it quite so often.

What’s the Best Laundry Detergent for Turkish Towels?

vegan laundry detergent strips fresh lemon
Vegan Laundry Detergent

There isn’t really a laundry detergent that stands out from the reset when it comes to Turkish towels. In all honesty, you could continue to use the same detergent you’ve used for your previous towels however we’re eco-friendly here, so it wouldn’t be right for me not to take advantage of this question.

If you haven’t tried the laundry sheets yet then you absolutely should.

We know there is a bunch of problems with using laundry powder let alone how big and bulky it is to transport. Liquid detergent is the same with the additional concern around plastic bottle waste.

It’s no wonder that laundry sheets are taking the market by storm. They are chemical-free, incredibly light and include no plastic whatsoever. On top of that, they work really very well.

Why Can’t You Use Fabric Softener on Turkish Towels?

One of the most valuable benefits of Turkish towels is how absorbent they are. Compared to cotton towels they really do absorb so much more water from your body and that’s something you don’t want to spoil.

You can’t see it but fabric softener leaves a coating on any fabric, not just towels. this coating is effectively acting as a barrier between the water and the towel.

This barrier is what causes your towel to become less absorbent therefore you should avoid fabric softeners when washing Turkish towels.

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    Drying Turkish towels isn’t difficult or dissimilar from regular cotton towels however where it may differ is that some manufacturers do not recommend tumble drying their towels.

    But before we get into using appliances let’s start with how well the towels air dry.

    Are Turkish towels fast drying?

    The truth is yes they are. Compared to regular cotton towels, Peshtemals dry very fast. In fact, we did a very non-scientific experiment where we took a regular towel and a Turkish towel, completely soaked them, wrung them out and hung them out on the washing line and here were the results.

    Towel TypeDrying Time
    Regular Cotton Towel2 hours 35 minutes
    Turkish Towel1 hour 25 minutes

    So you can see from our crazy experiment that the Turkish towel dried in almost 50% of the time it took the regular towel to dry.

    How to Hang Turkish Towels

    hang turkish towels on bath
    Hanging Turkish Towels

    Turkish towels, and in fact any towel, will benefit from being hung with the most surface area exposes to the environment. If the towel is folded before hanging even just once the towel will take a lot longer to dry than if it was not folded at all.

    Once the towel is dry, then because of its beautiful designs and lovely fringe you can really make a design statement by the way you hang them in your bathroom.

    I prefer to fold in half lengthways and hang either on a towel rail or over the side of the bath. Some people prefer to hang their Peshtemals on single hooks. Both are equally impressive and greatly enhance your home decor.

    What Happens if you put a Turkish Towel in the Dryer?

    Can Turkish towels go in the dryer is a very common question I get asked by customers wanting to purchase Turkish towels. As with many things in life the answer is… it depends!

    As already mentioned many manufacturers do not recommend tumble drying their towels.

    If the care instructions say that you shouldn’t tumble dry your towel then don’t. If however, the instructions say you can then you should only dry on low heat.

    If you ignore these and dry your towels on high heat the long cotton fibres that produce most of the benefits of Turkish towels will get damaged making your towel hard and less absorbent.


    Can You Iron Turkish Towels?

    Ironing any towels is really just a personal preference and I think in the main most people do not iron their towels however as the Turkish towel is not as fluffy as regular cotton towels you might wonder if this is a good idea or not.

    As a general rule, you are able to iron Turkish towels however you should always check the care label on your product before doing so. As the towel is made from cotton if you do iron your Peshtemal then use the cotton setting on your iron with a small amount of steam if necessary.

    Although it’s possible to iron Peshtemal towels you should try to avoid doing anything that might cause the fibres to react and so here are a few little tips to avoid ironing altogether.

    1. Do not overfill the washing machine. Not only is the wash less effective but if your items a pushed tight together they will only increase the number of creases post wash.
    2. When you remove each item from the washing machine make sure you shake it out first before hanging it out to dry.
    3. When hanging on the line make sure there are no wrinkles in the fabric which could cause creases.

    All common sense stuff to be honest, if followed I think you won’t need to iron your Turkish towels.

    Troubleshooting Tips

    If you do follow the advice in this article then your Turkish towel should remain in great condition and last you a very long time but as with any item of clothing or fabric product sometimes things can go slightly wrong which you’ll need to resolve. Here are a few common troubleshooting questions regarding Turkish towels.

    • How to keep Turkish towels soft
    • My Turkish towels are stiff
    • My Turkish towels are rough
    • My Turkish towels are hard after washing

    These questions are all related and the same advice should be followed for them all.

    The key to making sure Turkish towels start their life soft is to ensure you follow the first use advice around soaking the towel for 12 hours. If you didn’t follow this when you purchased your towel, then whilst it may not have the same impact you could try soaking the towel for the 12 hours as described above.

    If you did soak your towel before the first use then the most common reason for towels going hard is either using too much detergent, using fabric softener or ironing on high heat.

    If by mistake you’ve used too much detergent or used fabric softener then the best and easiest way to revive your towel is to wash the towel with a cup of distilled white vinegar added directly to the drum. Make sure for this wash you do not include detergent and of course, you should not be using softener anyway.

    The vinegar will remove any of the chemicals and coating that have built up on the towel itself. Once removed from the wash shake the towel and gently agitate it to fluff up the fibres.

    If you have ironed your Turkish towel on very high heat then whilst you can still try the tips above it’s quite likely that the cotton fibres are damaged and sadly this is irreversible.

    Another common question related to Turkish towels is:

    • Do Turkish towels shrink

    Well, the answer is, they shouldn’t apart from only slightly after the first wash. This is 100% expected and shouldn’t cause you any concerns.

    Products Featured in this Article

    UK Pick
    Lüks Linen Turkish Towels

    In our opinion Lüks Turkish towel are the best on the market. The materials and techniques used in the manufacture of all Lüks products are natural and traditional, ensuring every item is designed for use, tactile and possesses longevity. Lüks offer a 20 year repair or replace guarantee ensuring you get piece of mind when making that all important purchasing decision.

    Our Rating: 9.8/10

    100% Organic Cotton Turkish Towel

    • GOTS Certified 100% organic cotton
    • Double knotted tassels
    • 20 fantastic designs
    • Soft, absorbent, quick drying & compact
    • Size : 71x36 inches (180x90cm) , Weight : 0.95lb (430Gr)

    Our Rating: 9.2/10


    I hope this article has given you some insight into the best ways to care for your Turkish towels. Whilst there are a few differences between Peshtemals and regular cotton towels there’s really nothing to be concerned about.

    There are so many benefits to Turkish towels that it’s super important that you are able to care for them correctly ensuring they have a long and happy life – especially as they are slightly more expensive than the other options available.

    Have you just bought your first Peshtemal towel or have you owned Turkish towels for a while now?

    I would love to hear from you, so please do leave a comment below.

    53 Eco Friendly Swaps That You Can Start Today

    Start living a greener life with our FREE downloadable guide to eco friendly alternatives for everyday essentials!

    We'll also add you to our mailing list where you'll receive awesome offers, tips and advice only available to our customers and subscribers

    For Instant Access complete the form below

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