Kitchen towels need an upgrade? These are the ones you should buy.

By Melanie Fincher
Updated April 13, 2021
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six sets of towels are displayed on a white burst background
Credit: Allrecipes Illustration

Dish towels are one of the most reached for items in the kitchen. So why don't we put a little more thought into which ones we buy? Let's be honest, cleaning kitchen messes is just a normal day in the life of a home cook. So let's all thank the humble dish towel for doing the dirty work for us.

Whether you're a young cook looking to purchase your first set of dish towels, or you're simply looking to upgrade your existing set, these are the best dish towels on the market. We scoured the internet, specifically the reviews sections, to find the dish towels people are most excited about. Keep reading to see our picks for the best 13 dish towels to buy, and find the right one for you.

Best Dish Towels at a Glance:

What to Consider When Buying Dish Towels

Types of Dish Towels

Which dish towel you choose to buy all comes down to how you intend to use them. Most of the time, you'll be using dish towels to dry dishes, cookware, hands, and other surfaces. But dish towels can also be used to handle hot cookware, clean big spills, and polish glassware.

Here we'll break down the difference between common dish towel materials so you can decide which one is a fit for you. While some dish towels are double-sided or feature different types within a set, you may also want to consider getting a combination of different materials so you can tackle every kitchen task.

  • Flour Sack: Flour sack dish towels, sometimes referred to as tea towels, are made from linen, which has soft fibers that are great for polishing fine china or glassware. They won't leave any fluff or other residue on your crystal-clear glassware. And they dry extremely quickly. The only con to flour sack towels is they're not the best at absorbing liquids because they're so thin.
  • Terry Cloth: If you are looking for absorbency that can handle big spills, terry cloth dish towels might be the right fit for you. Terry cloth material, often made from cotton, is made of piles of loops tightly sewn together. This is the type of fabric that's often used for bath towels or bathrobes because it's great at soaking up moisture. This makes it a great pick for tackling kitchen messes, but it will take a little time to dry.
  • Cotton: Tightly-woven cotton is arguably the best material for dish towels because it is both very absorbent and leaves very little lent behind. It's ideal for drying dishes, hands, and for handling hot cookware, as it's both durable and extremely heat-tolerant.
  • Microfiber: Microfiber towels are plush and thick, making them ideal for tackling big spills. Many of them have added absorbency and dry very quickly. Plus, they're great for use on glassware because they're lint-free. The only downside to them is that they can be damaged when used on hot surfaces so you won't want to use them as an oven mitt.

With the best type of dish towel in mind for you and your kitchen, keep scrolling to see our 12 picks for the best dish towels you can buy.

Best Overall: All-Clad Dual Woven Stripe Hand Towels

All Clad Dual Woven Stripe Hand Towel Set in gray
Credit: Wayfair

All-Clad is known for creating high-quality kitchen products that will last a lifetime, and these top-rated dish towels are no exception. The smart design of these dual-sided towels makes them ideal for tackling a variety of kitchen tasks.

One side is made from absorbent terry while the other is made from flatter, woven-weave cotton that's perfect for use on glassware and other delicate dishes.

The simple stripe design comes in a dozen colors so there's an option for every kitchen. Not to mention they've been treated with an antimicrobial agent to prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria. One reviewer says, "These look nice and classy, but the 'hidden' terry cloth back side makes them thick, soft, and thirsty!"

Buy It: All-Clad Dual Woven Stripe Hand Towels, Set of 3, $22; Amazon or $8 each; Bed Bath & Beyond

Runner-Up: T-fal Tea Towel and Dishcloth

T-fal Tea Towel and Dish Cloth set in brown
Credit: Wayfair

If you're looking to tackle big messes, these cotton terry dish towels are soft and absorbent workhorses. With over 3500 glowing reviews on Amazon, it's safe to say these are a popular pick.

One reviewer puts it this way: "Doing dishes is not my favorite task, but these dishcloths dry beautifully and are very pretty!" This set comes with two towels in over eight vibrant colors to choose from. And at $10 per set, you can't pass these up.

Buy It: T-fal Tea Towel and Dishcloth, Set of 2, $10; Amazon or Target

Best Dishcloth: Sticky Toffee Cotton Terry Kitchen Dishcloth Towels

Sticky Toffee Cotton Terry Kitchen Dishcloth Towels, 8 Pack, 12 in x 12 in, Yellow Stripe
Credit: Amazon

If dish towels are a workhorse, dishcloths are the little engine that could of every kitchen. We grab them for wiping down counters, scrubbing pans, cleaning off shelves, and every other small task we can imagine. And when they're nasty, they go straight into the washing machine, to be washed dozens (hundreds!) of times. So if we're honest, dishcloths often show their age long before towels.

That's why you need high-quality dishcloths that will stand up to that use, as these 12x12-inch cotton terry dishcloths will do, according to more than 13,500 Amazon reviewers.

"Thick and durable. Great for wiping up spills, floors, walls, etc. Will buy again," writes one reviewer.

Another adds, "Fabulous material, very expensive looking. They work great and look fab in the kitchen. A must buy."

Buy It: Sticky Toffee Cotton Terry Kitchen Dishcloth Towels, Set of 8, $14; Amazon or Walmart

Best Budget Pick: Made By Design Cotton Dishcloths

6pk Cotton Dishcloths - Made By Design
Credit: Target

Turns out you don't have to spend much at all to get high-quality dish towels for all your kitchen needs. At just under $1 a piece, these affordable towels already have rave reviews on Target.

The 100 percent cotton terry material is extremely absorbent, and the towels come in classic gray or white. One five-star reviewer says, "Very absorbent kitchen cleaning towels. One will clean my entire kitchen. Bought both white and gray."

Buy It: Made By Design Cotton Dishcloths, Set of 6, $4; Target

Most Versatile: Williams Sonoma All Purpose Pantry Towels

Williams Sonoma All Purpose Pantry Towel Set in white
Credit: Williams-Sonoma

This set, available exclusively at Williams Sonoma, is consistently listed as one of the best dish towel sets on the market. Each towel features a waffle texture on one side and terry loops on the other so you can take on any kitchen clean-up project.

Take it from this five-star reviewer: "These are the best kitchen towels around! You could dry five sinks full of dishes with one I towel I am convinced. I purchased these over six months ago and they have been the best I have ever owned by far."

These top-rated towels are a great value at just $5 each. Choose from nine different solid colors to match your kitchen decor perfectly. They're machine-washable, and according to Williams-Sonoma, the more you wash them the softer they get.

Buy It: Williams Sonoma All-Purpose Pantry Towels, Set of 4, $20; Williams Sonoma

Ultra Absorbent: KitchenAid Albany 4-Piece Striped Tea Towel Set

KitchenAid Albany 4 Piece Striped Tea Towel Set
Credit: Wayfair

We had to include this set from KitchenAid, since reviewers had nothing but great things to say about it. This four-piece set is perfect for a first apartment or for replacing your old set of dish towels. A happy customer says, "They were just the gift I needed for my daughter."

Two of the towels are made from highly-absorbent cotton for soaking up spills, while the other two are made from a cotton-polyester blend that's perfect for cleaning glassware and other dishes. This versatile set can tackle all your kitchen messes in style.

Buy It: KitchenAid Albany 4-Piece Striped Tea Towel Set, $18; Amazon or Target

Best Cotton: Utopia Ultra-Soft Cotton Dish Cloths, Set of 12

White and blue striped cotton dish cloths
Credit: Amazon

The pure cotton weave on these classic dish towels softens with every wash. They're thick and absorbent without leaving lint or scratches behind. If you're looking for dish towels that will hold up through years of use, look no further.

One happy customer says, "One of my first attempts to reduce my waste was making the decision to stop buying paper towels and napkins. I decided to go old school and invest in a nice big set of dish towels that were high quality enough to tackle my occasional big spill but also good looking enough for me to want to proudly display them not only by my sink but also on my dining table. So glad I found these because they are everything I was looking for and more."

Buy It: Utopia Ultra-Soft Cotton Dish Cloths, Set of 12, $15; Amazon

Best Terry: Crate and Barrel Waffle-Terry Dish Towels

Crate and Barrel Waffle-Terry Dish Towels
Credit: Crate and Barrel

Reviewers love these double-sided towels for their versatility — one side is made of waffle weave that's perfect for lint-free drying while the other side is terry cloth for top-notch absorbency. Choose from a variety of solid colors to fit your kitchen decor.

"Where other towels simply move the water around and you still have to air dry, this one actually dries dishes by sucking up excess moisture," says one satisfied reviewer.

Buy It: Crate and Barrel Waffle-Terry Dish Towels, Set of 2, $13; Crate and Barrel

Best Microfiber: MU Kitchen Kitchen Towel

MU Kitchen 16" x 24" Microfiber Dish Towel, Cactus
Credit: Walmart

Reviewers are raving about these non-abrasive microfiber towels: "Not only are these towels a great value, but they are also extremely effective! They wick the moisture away almost instantly, and the towels themselves dry very fast. Plus they are super soft on the skin. I've tried a lot of different towels and these are by far the best I've ever used! I will definitely be buying more of these," says one.

The 100 percent microfilament polyester is ideal for soaking up big spills and drying dishes without leaving any lint. These also make great towels for cleaning glass stove tops because they won't scratch the surface.

Buy It: MU Kitchen Microfiber Dish Towel, $9; Walmart or Target

Best Flour Sack: Aunti Em's Kitchen Dish Towels With Vintage Design

Kitchen Dish Towels with Vintage Design for Kitchen
Credit: Amazon

If you're looking to dry fine china or glassware, these flour sack towels are great for polishing up your most delicate dishes. "I love the hooks on the ends to hang from and the edges are hemmed nicely. I have used them in the kitchen and they dry the dishes like a dream, no lint and I don't have to wipe and wipe til they are dry. Very happy with my experience so far and would purchase again," says one five-star reviewer.

These kitchen towels are also over-sized, offering lots of surface area for drying loads of dishes. At just $1.50 a piece, they are a great value.

Buy It: Aunti Em's Kitchen Dish Towels With Vintage Design, Set of 13, $20; Amazon

Best Design: Gracie Oaks Fairley Dish Cloths

Gracie Oaks Fairley Dish Cloth
Credit: Wayfair

If you like to layer pattern and color in your kitchen, look no further than this trio of stylish dish towels from Wayfair. Available in six colors, each set includes a gingham, buffalo check, and stripe towel of the same color. And each color coordinates well with the others in the line.

But you're not buying these just for looks. These towels need to pull their weight in your kitchen — and they will. Made with 100 percent absorbent cotton, the towels' tight weave makes for less lint left behind on glassware or surfaces.

"I love this set. These towels are a generous size, are absorbent, and are so very cute!" one happy reviewer writes.

Buy it: Gracie Oaks Fairley Dish Cloths, Set of 3, $21; Wayfair

Best for Gifting: Martha Stewart 3-Piece Waffle Weave Kitchen Towels

Martha Stewart Collection 3-Pc. Waffle Weave Kitchen Towels, Created for Macy's
Credit: Macy's

Beautiful kitchen towels make wonderful gifts for new homeowners and newlyweds; they're also very much appreciated as a hostess gift. Include a pack of kitchen towels when you take a casserole to a new mom or friend recovering from a procedure. They'll appreciate the beautiful new additions to their kitchen and the thoughtful reminder of you each time they use them.

These waffle weave towels from Martha Stewart are elegant enough for a gift but practical enough for everyday use. The set of three towels includes oversized (20 inches by 30 inches) cotton towels in three understated by classic designs.

"Good looking, very absorbent, and nice and large--maybe the best kitchen towels I've ever had, regardless of price. Will definitely be ordering more," writes one reviewer.

Buy it: Martha Stewart 3-Piece Waffle Weave Kitchen Towels, $29; Macy's