9 best tea towels for 2021

10 March 2021

tea towels

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.

Tea towels are a household essential, but if you decide to scrimp then 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. Poor quality towels can also leave your dishes covered in lint.

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.

You don’t need to break the bank to find a decent tea towel, so why not sort yourself out with one of our selections? Your investment is sure to save time and money in the long run, leaving you with a few more precious minutes to yourself. Sounds good to us!

Here are the best tea towels to buy in 2021.

1. Best overall tea towels: Gryeer Microfibre Tea Towels

1. Best overall tea towels: Gryeer Microfibre Tea Towels

Thousands of happy customers swear by these luxuriously thick microfibre tea towels and we can see why.

Unlike traditional cotton towels, which just push water around, a decent microfibre towel absorbs liquid much more quickly, helping you to dry your dishes faster and accomplish a swift streak-free finish so that you can get out of the kitchen as soon as possible.

The Gryeer Microfibre Tea Towels are the most absorbent tea towels we’ve found. We love the choice of classy colours too, so you won’t even have to hide these away when you’re not using them.

  • Pack size: 8
  • Price per towel: £1.87

2. Best budget tea towels: SensioHome 100% Natural Cotton Terry Tea Towels

2. Best budget tea towels: SensioHome 100% Natural Cotton Terry Tea Towels

If you need to find a cheaper set of tea towels but don’t want to lose out on quality, this set is a great option.

Made from 100% organic cotton, these terry tea towels come highly recommended and will still do a great job on your dishes despite the bargain price.

Fluff-free, highly absorbent and extra durable, they will still be performing well after hundreds of washes.

  • Pack size: 5
  • Price per towel: £1.79

3. Best microfibre tea towels: Polyte Ultra Premium Waffle Weave Microfibre Tea Towels

3. Best microfibre tea towels: Polyte Ultra Premium Waffle Weave Microfibre Tea Towels

While we swear by the Gryeer Microfibre Tea Towels, these lovely waffle weave dish towels are also a strong contender in the microfibre category.

Coming in at a similar price per item to the Gryeer, these gorgeous towels are a luxurious take on the classic microfibre design, combining all the absorbency of the fabric with a smart waffle weave.

Soft enough to be used on even the most delicate items, these top quality tea towels are a big hit with shoppers. We like the fact that they come free of any annoying labels to get in the way.

  • Pack size: 8
  • Price per towel: From £1.24

4. Best terry cloth tea towels: Sticky Toffee 100% Cotton Terry Tea Towels

4. Best terry cloth tea towels: Sticky Toffee 100% Cotton Terry Tea Towels

For a top quality terry towelling tea towel, look no further than these lovely towels from Sticky Toffee.

A whole host of happy reviewers swear by the durable, absorbent fabric which gives a perfect finish to any cleaning or drying job.

There’s a huge selection of colours to choose from and each set comes tied up in attractive packaging making it a great gift for a hostess or a housewarming party (when those are allowed again).

  • Pack size: 9
  • Price per towel: £2.39

5. Best eco-friendly tea towels: Madras Collection Flour Sack Organic Cotton Tea Towels

5. Best eco-friendly tea towels: Madras Collection Flour Sack Organic Cotton Tea Towels

If you have sensitive skin, or are keen to buy tea towels that are ecologically and socially sound, then consider these flour sack organic cotton tea towels – just a little more expensive than our other recommendations.

Certified with the Global Organic Textile Standard, which is recognised as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres, it defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.

The soft cotton is a great fabric for all manner of drying or cleaning jobs, although we suggest washing them before use to improve their absorbency.

  • Pack size: 10
  • Price per towel: From £2.95

6. Best mixed texture tea towels: Bumble Tea Towels

6. Best mixed texture tea towels: Bumble Tea Towels

If you need to update your tea towels but you’re not sure what texture is right for you, then this handy set is just what you need.

It gives you three different textures of tea towel and two of each: a brushed cotton, a thicker woven cotton and a terry towelling waffle tea towel. So if you prefer a different sort of tea towel for certain jobs, then you can update your collection all in one go.

There’s a good range of colours to choose from (we like the classy sage green) and hundreds of customers testify to the high quality of the different materials, even after several washes.

  • Pack size: 6
  • Price per towel: £3.17

7. Best waffle weave tea towels: Rayker Classic Waffle Weave Tea Towels

7. Best waffle weave tea towels: Rayker Classic Waffle Weave Tea Towels

You can’t beat a lovely waffle tea towel for a touch of vintage style and these beautiful tea towels have that in bucketloads.

Available in three colourways that will perfectly accessorise any modern kitchen, these classic tea towels are highly absorbent, even without being washed first, and won’t lose their colour even after countless washes.

  • Pack size: 4
  • Price per towel: £3.25

8. Best cotton tea towels: Maison Hermine 100% Cotton Tea Towels

8. Best cotton tea towels: Maison Hermine 100% Cotton Tea Towels

This offering from Maison Hermine is more than just the average tea towel – ideal if you want an accessory that will bring a touch of class to your kitchen.

Not only are these tea towels highly rated for their functionality, but the vibrant design will brighten up even the dreariest of days.

They’re not the cheapest, and certainly not the most absorbent of tea towels if that’s what you’re looking for, but if you want something special then you won’t be disappointed.

  • Pack size: 3
  • Price per towel: £5.99

9. Most fun tea towels: KLL Funny Kitchen Towels

9. Most fun tea towels: KLL Funny Kitchen Towels

Perfect if you’re looking for a great housewarming gift, or even if you just want to brighten things up in your own kitchen, these cheeky tea towels will certainly put a smile on your face.

Made from an absorbent waffle weave material, they will perform as well as any plain tea towel, but with 100% more laughs. OK, they’re pretty pricey but, after the year we’ve had, we reckon you can justify it.

  • Pack size: 4
  • Price per towel: £6.75

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 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.

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.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which tea towels discerning Mumsnet users had bought for their homes.

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which tea towels had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customers reviews said about them. Having collated all that information, we picked the tea towels we thought would make the best buys in several interest categories.

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.

Mumsnet carries some affiliate marketing links, so if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale (more details here).