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10 best tea towels for sparkling clean pots and glassware

Washing up may be boring, but that doesn’t mean your kit needs to be. Take a look at our pick of the best tea towels to keep your dishes diamond-clean and streak-free.

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Mar 30, 2023

Tea towel on kitchen worktop

Tea towels are a household essential, but if you decide to scrimp on your tea towel purchases, you’ll soon find that it’s a false economy. A cheap tea towel won’t absorb water anywhere near as well as a high-quality one, and you’ll end up spending twice as long on a drying job that turns out to be half as good, streaky or leaves your dishes still feeling damp. Poor quality towels can also leave your dishes covered in lint and quickly become discoloured, misshapen and unsightly.

When investing in your kitchen routine, whether it's something small like the best cleaning products or a big-ticket item like an efficient freezer, you want to make sure what you're spending your money on actually makes your life easier. Here at Mumsnet, we know that no one wants to spend more time on household chores than they really need to, so we’ve done the hard work for you and come up with our pick of the best tea towels out there.

Our first port of call was the Mumsnet forums where we extensively researched the tea towels recommended by parents on our forums. We know the value of a real, independent suggestion, so all of our shopping guides, covering everything from the best oven cleaner to the top American fridge freezer, start with products vetted by Mumsnet users. We also checked out home  expert websites and authentic consumer reviews to ensure we're only bringing you the very best of the best. 

Here are the best tea towels to buy in 2023.

1. Best overall tea towels: Lamont Poli Dri Tea Towels

Lamont tea towels

Price on writing: £16 for three | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Pack size: 3 | Price per towel: Approx £5.30 | Fabric: Premium cotton

What we love

  • Super absorbent 
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Quick-drying

What to know

  • Costly per towel

What Mumsnet users say

“Lamont Poli Dri. Last for years. Expensive but worth it.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user hairymuffet)

Definitely Lamont Poli Dri. A bit pricey at around £4.75 each but well worth it.” (Rated by Mumsnet user Rosielil)

Our verdict

When it comes to finding a good quality tea towel that is absorbent, dries dishes quickly and leaves plates streak-free, Mumsnetters couldn’t speak more highly of Lamont Poli Dri. Very much a case of ‘you get what you pay for’, Mumsnet users (along with a whole host of five-star consumer reviews) felt that these tea towels were certainly worth the additional cost. 

The Lamont Poli Dri tea towels are made from thick, super-absorbent premium cotton and come in a choice of seven colours to match every kitchen aesthetic. Durable and hardwearing to stand the test of time, they also wash well without becoming misshapen. Whether you choose to wash pots by hand or in the best dishwasher, we think they're a worthwhile buy to add to your kitchen.

2. Best budget tea towels: IKEA HILDEGUN Tea Towel

IKEA HILDEGUN Tea Towel

Price on writing: £1 | Buy now from IKEA

Key specs

Pack size: One | Price per towel: £0.75 | Fabric: Cotton 

What we love

  • Budget-friendly
  • Absorbent

What to know

  • Crease easily 
  • Can shrink after washing 

What Mumsnet users say

IKEA are the best. There is a lovely one, cream with red stripes on there.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Xiaoxiong)

Yes, yes to those IKEA ones.” (Rated by Mumsnet user Deux)

Our verdict

If you’re on a tight budget at the moment (energy prices anyone?!) or are simply trying to keep costs down, then you can’t get much cheaper than these IKEA HILDEGUN tea towels. 

Don’t be put off by the budget price, however. Whilst they’re not the thickest towel on our list, they’re still surprisingly absorbent and come in a clean, simple design with colours that won’t run. Some reviewers did find that they need ironing after washing to avoid creases however, and there is a risk they may shrink from repeated use so they may be more likely to end up in your kitchen bin sooner than other options.  

Related: Discover the best fridge freezer, as recommended by Mumsnet users

3. Best multipack of tea towels: Utopia Towels Kitchen Towel Set

Utopia Towels 12 Kitchen Towel Set

Price on writing: £15 for 12 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Pack size: 12 | Price per towel: Approx £1.25 | Fabric: Ring-spun cotton

What we love

  • Larger pack size 
  • Absorbent  
  • Generously sized 

What to know

  • Some reviewers found threads came loose during washing

Our verdict

Bored of always washing your tea towels or not being able to find one when the dishes are piling up on your drying rack? This larger-sized multipack from Utopia includes 12 towels meaning no matter how much you find yourself at the kitchen sink *sob*, you will always be able to get your hands on a clean dishcloth when you need it.

Available in a choice of seven bold and bright colours, the Utopia tea towels are generously sized and made from thick, high-quality, ring-spun cotton - a fabric which is not only absorbent but durable and long-lasting too. 

These towels do require a pre-wash to fluff up before use and some reviewers did notice that the odd thread came loose, but for a reasonably priced set of tea towels that does the job, we still rate these as a large, multipack choice. 

4. Best absorbent tea towels: Gryeer Microfibre Tea Towels

Gryeer Microfibre Tea Towels

Price on writing: £14 for eight | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs 

Pack size: 8 | Price per towel:  Approx £1.75 | Fabric: Microfibre 

What we love

  • Absorbent material 
  • Quick and efficient drying
  • Won't fray or become misshapen  

What to know

  • Less eco-friendly choice  

Our verdict

Some traditional style tea towels can feel like you’re simply moving the water around on the dishes as you dry, whereas microfibre towels offer significant levels of absorbency that can make your dish drying quick and efficient every time. 

Made from thick material and larger in size than many, these durable towels are hemmed at the edges to prevent them fraying or becoming misshapen after washing. They also come in a wide range of colour choices with white and colour stripes, from a subtle and classic grey to a fresh lemon yellow. 

5. Best terry cloth tea towels: John Lewis Terry Check Tea Towels

John Lewis towel

Price on writing: £5 | Buy now from John Lewis 

Key specs 

Pack size: One | Price per towel: £5 | Fabric: Terry cotton 

What we love

  • Won’t crease or lose shape 
  • Muted, classic colour choices

What to know

  • Costly 

What Mumsnet users say

I use the John Lewis terry check ones at £5 each in our caravan as they have good absorbency and don’t look all creased.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user RingtheBells

We use the JL terry ones too. Best tea towels ever.” (Reviewed by Mumsnet user AwkwardSquad

Our verdict

From a trusted household brand, Mumsnetters and consumers couldn’t speak more highly of the John Lewis Terry Check Tea Towel, with multiple exclamations that these are the ‘best’ tea towels in terms of thickness and durability. 

With a high-quality design that won’t crease, crumple or lose shape, these soft and absorbent terry cotton towels come in a choice of five check print colours in a muted, more classic colour tone which will feel at home in every contemporary kitchen. 

Related: Complete your cleaning kit with the best glass cleaner, as tried and tested by Mumsnet users

6. Best microfibre tea towels: E-cloth microfibre Classic Check Tea Towel

E-cloth microfibre Classic Check Tea Towel

Price on writing: £5 | Buy now from Lakeland

Key specs

Pack size: One | Price per towel: £5 | Fabric: Microfibre 

What we love

  • Super-absorbent microfibre
  • No streaks left behind

What to know

  • Costly
  • Could be bigger

Our verdict

For fast and efficient dish clothes that won’t leave streaks, the Lakeland e-Cloth Microfibre Tea Towels are a popular choice. In a traditional black and white check design, these will blend well into every style of kitchen, whilst the super absorbent microfibre dries and polishes your dishes at the same time.

Whilst a few reviewers felt they could have been bigger, many rated this choice for helping glassware sparkle and shine, so they're ideal for a quick polish after a cycle using the best dishwasher tablets

7. Best hard-wearing tea towels: Vogue Wonderdry Tea Towels

Vogue Wonderdry Tea Towels

Price on writing: £11 for 10 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Pack size: 10 | Price per towel: Approx £1.12 | Fabric: Cotton and polyester mix 

What we love

  • The large pack size offers excellent value for money
  • Durable  

What to know

  • Requires thorough pre-wash before use

What Mumsnet users say

These are brilliant. Have to wash them a few times to get their absorbency going, but that's fairly normal. I think of them as being quality ones that might be used in non-domestic kitchens.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Yearsyonder)

Our verdict

Another larger pack size that offers excellent value for money, the Vogue Wonderdry Tea Towels are made from a cotton and polyester mix that won't shed on your plates, so long as you do a thorough pre-wash before use.

Large in size, thick and absorbent, these are hard-wearing tea towels you can wash and reuse time and time again. 

Related: Kitchen overflowing? We've carefully selected the best chest freezer, ideal for storing frozen food in your garage

8. Best waffle tea towels: John Lewis ANYDAY Waffle Cotton Tea Towels

John Lewis ANYDAY Waffle Cotton Tea Towels

Price on writing: £8 for three | Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs

Pack size: Three | Price per towel: £2.66 | Fabric: Waffle cotton

What we love

  • High quality
  • Suitable for everyday use 

What to know

  • Could be thicker 

What Mumsnet users say

“I got bright waffle tea towels from John Lewis within the last 12 months. I chose mustard, there were other colours.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Iannistunut)

Our verdict

Whether you wash pots by hand or have a dishwasher (or even a slimline dishwasher), it's a good idea to have a basic set of tea towels to hand. If you’re after a set of towels that are both absorbent and machine washable for easy, everyday use, these simple yet effective John Lewis ANYDAY towels come in packs of three mixed colours so you can always have one on rotation.

Each tea towel comes with a traditional border pattern in one of three on-trend colours: terracotta (orange), ochre (yellow) and dusty green (mint). They're not the thickest towel on the market, but this basic set offers great value if you don't want to pay £5 a pop for one tea towel.

9. Best linen tea towels: Linen Union Glass Cloths

Linen Union Glass Cloths

Price on writing: £18 for six | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs 

Pack size: 6 | Price per towel: £3 | Fabric: Linen cotton mix 

What we love

  • Polishes and dries simultaneously 
  • Style of tea towel is catering industry recommended

What to know

  • Not as soft or fluffy as other tea towels

What Mumsnet users say

Linen Union Glass Cloths, they’re about £27 for 12 from Amazon. They dry well without streaking, wash on a boil wash and last forever it seems.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user ThatLibraryMiss

Seconding the Linen Glass Cloths.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Cynderella) 

Our verdict

If you’re bored of always seeing streaks on your glassware and find yourself repeatedly needing to polish your wine glass before you top it up, Linen Union Glass Cloths could be the perfect solution.

Made from a cotton and linen mix, these durable tea towels are often seen in bars and restaurants, and whilst you shouldn’t expect them to be as fluffy and soft as some other tea towels, they’re a great option for successfully drying and polishing your glassware at the same time. 

Related: Best vacuum sealer for keeping food fresher for longer

10. Most fun tea towels: Radical Tea Towels

Radical Tea Towels

Price on writing: From £13 | Buy now from Radical Tea Towels

Key specs 

Pack size: One | Price per towel: From £13 | Fabric: Organic cotton

What we love

  • Striking conversation starters
  • Bold and bright designs

What to know

  • Costly 

What Mumsnet users say

Radical tea towels are superb.” (Loved by Mumsnet user MrsMaiselsMuff)

Our verdict

If you like your tea towels to make a statement and aren’t afraid to pay a little more for the luxury, Radical Tea Towels offers a wide range of striking tea towel designs with a political slant. From literary figures to rebels, philosophers and women’s rights campaigns, these tea towels are a great way to spark up a conversation during house parties! (Plus, for extra wow factor when entertaining, don't miss our guide to the best placemats - there's plenty of options sure to impress.)

Made from organic unbleached cotton, and printed, cut and sewn in the UK, they’re also generously sized and absorbent. We think they'd make a great housewarming present too.

What’s the best material for tea towels?

For an unbiased view, you can’t beat the recommendations of thousands of happy consumers and, when it comes to tea towels, they all agree that the best material for tea towels is microfibre. 

Unlike some of the thinner traditional cotton tea towels, a decent microfibre towel absorbs liquids more quickly, which helps you to dry your dishes much faster to ensure a swift, streak-free finish.

Thicker, high-quality cotton, particularly double weaved, waffled or terry cotton, however, can still offer a highly absorbent tea towel choice for your kitchen. 

How often should tea towels be washed?

The answer to this largely depends on what you’re using your tea towels for and how often you’re using them. If you’re simply using your tea towels to dry just-washed dishes, then you won’t need to wash them that frequently.

However, thanks to tea towels being so absorbent, they are also the perfect home for bacteria, mildew and even mould, so it’s always a good idea to wash them every few days.

If you’re using your tea towels for more than just drying, such as wiping surfaces, cleaning up spills or food messes (and everything in between), then you need to be washing your tea towels every day – although as long as you have three or four then this shouldn’t be a problem.

How often should you buy new tea towels?

Like any household item that takes a hit day in, day out, your tea towels will eventually start to show their age and need replacing. The more you look after them, the longer they will last, so wash them frequently to stop the build-up of bacteria.

If you get to the point where your tea towels don’t smell too fresh even after a hot wash, then it’s time to say goodbye and invest in some new ones. Look to replace your tea towels every two years.

What are the most absorbent tea towels?

The most absorbent tea towels to buy are the superb Gryeer Microfibre Tea Towels, which aren’t just thick and soft but can soak up even the messiest of spills in seconds. 

For overall all-round quality, durability, and streak-free drying with more eco-friendly fabric, we rate the slightly more expensive Lamont Poli Dri Tea Towels which wash well and get the job done quickly and efficiently. 

How we chose our recommendations

Products tried and tested by Mumsnet users

When it comes to household products, our Mumsnet community have tried a huge range of products - the good, the bad and the ugly. We first sought out the trusted opinions of the Mumsnet users, many of whom have a favourite type of tea towel that they rate, recommend and use in their own home. 

We gathered our users' opinions on the brands they rated as well as the fabrics and styles that they felt were the most efficient and effective when washing their dishes and glassware. 

Expert recommendations

Next, we looked for reviews and feedback from industry experts. We want to be confident that the products we recommend are fit for purpose, so we looked out for award-winning products or those that were well regarded in the catering and food industries. 

Authentic consumer reviews

Finally, to bring you our definitive list of the best tea towels you can buy today, we thoroughly investigated genuine, in-depth customer reviews on retailer sites such as Amazon, John Lewis, Lakeland and to get wider consumer experiences regarding the tea towels on our shortlist. 

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

Read next: Discover the best mini fridge for compact cooling

Main image credit: Gryeer

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