Choosing the Right Towel: Turkish vs Egyptian Towels


Turkish towels and Egyptian Towels are often misjudged as the same type, because they are both regarded as the finest quality towels. Yet, Turkish and Egyptian towels are very different.

Turkish towels are lightweight, easy to maintain, durable, and multipurpose towels, whereas Egyptian towels are comfortable, thick, very absorbent, soft, less durable, and easily shed.

These differences become very important where one may wander or get confused about whether Turkish towels or Egyptian towels are the right choices for them. 

Let’s have a look at both towels so that you can decide the right towel for yourself.

Turkish Towel vs Egyptian Towel:

Egyptian TowelTurkish Towel
Very high absorbency, hard to dry, requires warm air to dry, can smellHigh absorbency, but very quick drying capability, does not smell
is used mostly in hotels because very soft and comfortableis used at beaches, outdoors bath houses where durability is important
Fluffy, thick, heavyThin, flat, lightweight, foldable and takes very little space.
Can shedCan be used many times, most durable towel type
Egyptian vs Turkish Towel
Egyptian Towels in a Turkish Bazaar

Why are Egyptian Towels different from Turkish Towels?

Egyptian towels are different from Turkish towels in two ways. The variety of cotton and weaving techniques are different. Turkish cotton has long fibers which are woven tightly producing a thin but a durable cloth.

Egyptian cotton is known for its strength and softness. This cotton is collected by hand and spun into a fine thread, which can provide a greater number of threads. Egyptian cotton is also known for its water absorption and is well suited for clothing, sheets, and other garments.

Yet, absorbency makes Egyptian cotton a poor choice for bath towels, because this fabric retains moisture for a long time after use which can cause mold and smell.

This is an inevitable trade-off. The more absorbent a towel, the longer towel will stay moisturized, and eventually more bad scented will it get.

Turkish Towels are also called Peshtemal

Turkish towels are almost the opposite.

Turkish cotton has features that distinguish it from other cottons. Turkish cotton is made up of long, thin and durable fibers. These long fibers enable Turkish cotton to be woven like Turkish carpet. 

Turkish towel cloth is not fluffy and it is very thin. This decreases drying time and moisture absorption to a minimum. By reducing the wetness, the growth of bacteria on the towel is prevented. 

Thus, towels made from Turkish cotton offer a much healthier and more comfortable use. Additionally, Turkish towels do not smell like other towels. 

In short, Egyptian towels are more comfortable, absorbent and slower to dry and less durable. Whereas Turkish towels are slightly less absorbent, dry faster, very firm and hygienic.

Which is softer Turkish or Egyptian cotton towels?

Egyptian cotton towels are softer than Turkish cotton towels because Egyptian cotton has thick fibers making it softer and fluffy. This is the reason most hotels use Egyptian towels.

Yet, if not cared for Egyptian towels do not preserve their softness and become harder.

Jessica Alba wearing a Turkish towel as a scarf. Turkish towels can be used in many ways, unlike regular towels.

Is Turkish or Egyptian cotton better?

Both have their own features and it’s a little difficult to decide which one is the winner, it is more dependent on which one you like the most for your comfort.

I would choose Turkish cotton and Turkish towels, because they are more easily cleaned, smell fresh, and durable. Egyptian towels are very comfortable in their first uses, but a month later they start to smell and very easily shed.

Egyptian cotton Fibers are thick and heavy, while Turkish Cotton fibers are thin, long and lightweight.

The light weight of Turkish cotton enables its use in other areas such as table cloth, beach wear, even as a skirt. Yet, a heavy fluffy Egyptian towel is always a towel. 

With faster absorbency and slow drying, Egyptian Cotton is not easily cleaned. Egyptian towels can have a bad smell if not washed properly and it is not long lasting.

For more you can read my article on “Why Turkish Towels are Unique?”

Turkish Towels are also excellent beach towers. Sand does not stick to the towel.

Where to Buy Turkish Towels?

Amazon is another perfect place for buying Turkish and Egyptian towels in other countries. Here are four of my favorite designs. Click to check them.

Turkish Towel design 1 on Amazon and Turkish Towel design 2 on Amazon

Egyptian Towel design 1 on Amazon and Egyptian Towel design 2 on Amazon

Below is a general advice for washing towels, for Turkish towels check my specific article on “How to Wash Turkish Towels”

How to prevent your towels getting hard?

– Shake your towels; Be sure to whisk your towel when it comes out of the washing machine.

– Make sure your towels are completely dry; Even if it is absolutely dry, be sure to ventilate them, otherwise your towels will smell like mold with wetness. However, there is a very thin line between them.

– Folding properly is very important: Yes, you did not hear wrong, very simple, but important detail is to fold it neatly. Fold towels in thirds and place them on the shelves with the outer edges facing the front.

– Maintain the color of your towels:

 You can keep the color of your towels as bright as the first day, please wash them separately according to their colors.

 Use half of the recommended amount of detergent or keep the amount of detergent to a minimum level. If possible, add a cup of white vinegar to the softener section of the washing machine. Vinegar is a natural cleaner, very effective and will aid in softening your towels.

Further Reading

Why Turkish Towels are Unique? 14 Things to Know

How To Wash Your Turkish Towels (Step by Step Guide)

What is a Peshtemal? Why Should You Use Them?

17 Famous Turkish Fashion Brands That You Can Shop Online

7 Best Turkish Shopping Websites to Buy Watches

10 Fantastic Turkish Accessories Online Shopping Websites

Efe Genit

I am a father, a passionate traveler, and a Turkish lawyer. You can enjoy my guides and tips about Turkey that only Turkish locals would know.

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