Bath towels are woven pieces of fabric either cotton or cotton-polyester which are used to absorb moisture on the body after bathing. Bath towels are often sold in a set with face towels and wash cloths and are at all times the biggest of the three towels. Bath towels are usually woven with a loop or pile that’s soft and absorbent and is thus used to wick the water away from the physique. Special looms called dobby looms are used to make this cotton pile.

Bath towels are typically of a single colour however could also be decorated with machine-sewn embroidery, woven in fancy jacquard patterns (pre-decided laptop program pushed designs) and even printed in stripes. Since towels are exposed to a lot water and are washed on sizzling-water wash settings more frequently than other textiles, printed towels may not retain their pattern very lengthy. Most towels have a two selvage edges or completed woven edges alongside the sides and are hemmed (lower and sewn down) at the highest and backside. Some toweling manufacturers produce the yarn used for the toweling, weave the towels, dye them, lower and sew hems, and prepared them for distribution. Others buy the yarn already spun from other wholesalers and solely weave the toweling.


Until the early nineteenth century, when the textile business mechanized, bath toweling could be relatively expensive to buy or time-consuming to create. There is some query how essential these sanitary linens were for the average particular person-after all, bathing was not nearly as universally fashionable 200 years ago as it’s right now! Most nine-teenth century toweling that survives is, certainly, toweling probably used behind or on prime of the washstand, the piece of furniture that held the wash basin and pitcher with water in the days earlier than indoor plumbing. A lot of this toweling was hand-woven, plain-woven natural linen. Fancy ladies’ magazines and mail order catalogs function fancier jacquard-woven colored linen patterns (significantly crimson and white) but these had been more prone to be hand and face cloths. It wasn’t until the 1890s that the more tender and absorbent terry cloth changed the plain linen toweling.

Because the cotton industry mechanized on this nation, toweling material could be purchased by the yard in addition to in completed goods. By the 1890s, an American home-wife could go to the overall store or order through the mail both woven, sewn, and hemmed Turkish toweling (terry cloth) or could purchase terry cloth by the ‘y’ard, lower it to the appropriate bath towel size her household liked, and hem it herself. A wide range of toweling was available-diaper weaves, huck-abacks, “crash” toweling-primarily in cotton as linen was not commercially woven on this country in nice amount by the 1890s. Weaving factories began mass production of terry cloth towels by the top of the 9-teenth century and have been producing them in comparable trend ever since.

Uncooked Materials

Uncooked materials embrace cotton or cotton and polyester, depending on the composition of the towel in production. Some towel factories purchase the primary raw material, cotton, in 500 lb (227 kg) bales and spin them with synthetics with a purpose to get the type of yarn they need for manufacturing. Nonetheless, some factories purchase the yarn from a supplier. These yarn spools of cotton-polyester mix yarn is purchased in big quantities in 7.5 lb (3.Four kg) spools of yarn. A single spool of yarn unravels to 66,000 yd (60,324 m) of thread.

Yarn have to be coated or sized in order for it to be woven more easily. One such trade coating contains PVA starch, urea, and wax. Bleaches are generally used to whiten a towel earlier than dyeing it (whether it is to be dyed). Once more, these bleaches range relying on the manufacturer, but might embrace as many as 10 ingredients (a few of them proprietary) together with hydrogen peroxide, a caustic defoamer, or if the towel is to remain white, an optical brightener to make the white look brighter. Artificial or chemical dyes, of complex composition, which make towels each colorfast and shiny, may also be used.


Most towels will not be specially designed in complex patterns. The overwhelming majority is simple terry towels woven on dobby looms with loop piles, sewn edges at top and backside. Sizes range as do colors relying on the order. Increasingly, white or inventory towels are sent to wholesalers or others to decorate with laptop-driven embroidery or decorate with applique fabric or decoration. This occurs in a unique location and is usually accomplished by another firm.

The Manufacturing

Course of


– 1 As talked about above, some factories spin their very own yarn for bath towels. If this is completed on the manufacturing facility, the manufacturer receives enormous 500 lb (227 kg) bales of both high or “middling grade” (of medium quality) cotton for conversion into yarn (quality will depend on the producer and high quality of the towel in production). These bales are damaged open by an automated Uniflock machine that nips a bit off the highest of every bale, opens it up after which lays it down. The Uniflock opening machine blends the cotton fibers together by repeatedly beating it so impurities fall out or are filtered out (these bales comprise many impurities inside the raw cotton). The more pure fibers are blown by means of tubes to a mixing unit the place the cotton is blended collectively before they are spun. Larger quality towels use cotton with fibers which might be blended together three times earlier than spinning. In some factories, the cotton is blended with polyester throughout this mixing course of.

– 2 The blended fibers are then blown through tubes to carding machines where revolving cylinders with wire teeth are used to straighten the fibers and continue to take away impurities earlier than spinning. The cotton fibers, while not yet yarn, are shaping up into parallel fibers in preparation for spinning.

– Three These parallel fibers are then condensed into a sliver-a twisted rope of cotton fibers. These slivers are despatched into another machine in which they are blended once more and sent between other rollers for straightening. The last word objective is long, straight, parallel fibers as a result of they produce stronger yarns. For those who have virtually any inquiries with regards to in which as well as the way to work with microfiber yoga towel (look at this website), you’ll be able to call us in our webpage. (Stronger yarns require less twisting which additionally produces sturdy yarns but makes them less mushy and absorbent.) The fibers are wound on a large roll and despatched on a cart and fed into the combing machine.

– 4 Fibers are combed here, further straightening the fibers with a finer set of wire teeth than used on the carding machine. Combing removes the shorter fibers, that are coarser and woollier, leaving the finer, longer, silkier cotton fibers for spinning into yarn. Once combed, the fibers are formed into a twisted rope sliver again.

– 5 The slivers travel to roving machines where the fibers are additional twisted and straightened and formed into rovings. The roving frame also slightly twists the fibers. The result is an extended roving of cotton, which is then wound onto bobbins in the ultimate step before spinning.

– 6 Now the roving is prepared for spinning. The bobbin is spun on a ring-spinning machine, which mechanically draws out or pulls the cotton roving out into a single strand. The fibers basically catch one another to form one continuous thread and twists the thread barely as it’s pulled or As soon as the toweling is made, it’s wound on an off-loom take-up reel. It is then transported to bleaching as huge rolls of fabric and put right into a water bath with bleaching chemicals corresponding to hydrogen peroxide, caustic defoamers, and other proprietary components. All toweling must be dyed pure white before it is dyed any colour.

spun. As soon as the yarn is spun, it is robotically wound on massive wheels that resemble rounds of cheese when stuffed with thread.


– 7 Warp is longitudinal threads in a piece of woven materials that are tightly stretched or warped on a beam. Latitudinal threads called weft or filler are passed underneath and over the warp to kind the fabric. The massive spools of just-spun cotton are able to be warped or wound on a beam that will be inserted into the loom for weaving. If the yarn is purchased, the 7.5 lb (3.Four kg) spools are readied for warping. A warping beam is then warped in which threads are anchored and wrapped to a large beam in hundreds of parallel rows. Different towel widths require different numbers of warp threads.- Eight These large beams, full of wrapped warp threads, are positioned into a rack that holds as much as 12 beams and sized in preparation for weaving. The threads have to be sized or stiffened to make the piece easier to weave. PVA starch, urea, and wax are rolled onto and pressed into the yarn. The threads are then run over drying cans-Teflon-coated cans with steam heat emanating from with-in. This helps to dry the warp threads shortly. (1,000 warp ends are pulled over nine cans to dry.) These beams, with coated threads, are now despatched to the looms.


– 9 The beams are picked up by a pallet jack or hydraulic carry truck and transported to looms. These looms vary in width but could also be as slim as 85 in (216 cm) or as broad as 153 in (389 cm). (Not surprisingly, the wider the loom, the slower the weaving because it takes longer for microfiber gym towel weft threads to cross the warp.) The beams are lifted onto the looms mechanically with a warp jack, which might bear the load and size of the beam.- 10 Towels are woven on dobby looms, meaning every loom has two units or warp and thus two warp beams-one warp is called the bottom warp and forms the body of the towel and the opposite is called the pile warp and it produces the terry pile or loop. Each set of warp threads is rigorously fed by way of a set of metal eyes and is hooked up to a harness. (Harnesses are separate, parallel frames that can change of their vertical relationships to each other.) These harnesses mechanically elevate and decrease these warp threads in order that the weft or filler could be passed between them. The intersection of the warp and weft is woven fabric. The filler yarn is programmed so that it’s loosely laid into the woven fabric. When this free filler is overwhelmed or pressed into the fabric, the slack is pushed up becoming somewhat loop. After being dyed, the towel is hemmed and cut into standardized sizes.

Shuttles, which carry the filler threads, are actually shot throughout these giant looms at top-speeds-these towel-making looms may have 18 shuttles fired throughout the warp from a firing cylinder. One shuttle follows right behind the subsequent. As quickly because the one shuttle shoots across the warp threads, the shuttle drops down and is transported back to firing cylinder and is shot throughout once more. A typical towel-weaving machine has 350 shuttle insertions in a single minute-nearly six shuttles fired across each second. Thus, towels are woven very quickly on these large mechanized dobby looms. In one small towel-making manufacturing unit, 250 dozen bath towels can be made in one loom in a single week-and there are 50 looms within the manufacturing unit.


– eleven As soon as the toweling is made (it is one lengthy terry cloth roll and has no starting or end), it’s wound on an off-loom take-up reel. It’s then transported to bleaching as big rolls of fabric and put into a water bath with bleaching chemicals comparable to hydrogen peroxide, caustic defoamers, and different proprietary components. All toweling have to be dyed pure white earlier than it’s dyed any shade. The wet toweling laden with chemicals is then subjected to tremendously high temperatures. The heat makes the chemicals react, bleaching the towel. The roll is then washed at least once and as many as three times in a large washer to get all chemicals out of the toweling. The toweling is dried, and whether it is to remain white toweling, it is ready to be reduce at the top and backside, lock-stitched sewn, and have a label attached (all of this is completed with one machine).


– 12 Whether it is to be dyed, the large, dried uncut rolls are taken to large vats of chemical dyes, which have confirmed over time to provide colorfast toweling after extensive residential laundering. After being immersed within the vat, the toweling is removed and pressed between two heavy rollers which forces the dye down into the toweling. A thorough steaming sets the colour. The toweling is once more steam-dried, fluffed in the drying process, after which the dyed towels are ready for reducing, hemming, and labeling.

Chopping, folding, and packaging

– thirteen Ultimate visible inspection of the reduce and hemmed towels occurs and they are handfolded and conveyed to packaging, where automatic packaging equipment kinds a bag across the towels and UPC labels are attached to the bags. These packaged towels are despatched to the inventory room, awaiting transport out of the plant.

High quality Management

Towels are rigorously checked for high quality management throughout the manufacturing course of. If yarn is purchased, it’s randomly checked for weight and must be the standard established by the company (lighter yarn spools point out the yarn is thinner than desired and will not make as sturdy toweling). Bleach and dye vats are periodically checked for acceptable chemical constitution.

Throughout the weaving process, some firms pass the cloth over a lighted inspection table. Right here the weavers and quality inspectors monitor the towel for weaving imperfections. Barely unevenly woven towels may be straightened out and touched up. But those that cannot could also be labeled “seconds” or imperfect or utterly rejected by the company. As in all points of the process, visible checks are a key to high quality control-all involved in the process perceive minimum requirements and monitor the product at all times.


Potentially dangerous byproducts are sometimes blended in the water that’s used to bleach, wash, and dye the towel fabric. Particularly, the bleaching course of includes substances (peroxides and other caustics) that can’t be discharged untreated into any water provide. Many toweling factories run their own water therapy plants to insure that the water the plant discharges meets minimum requirements for pH, temperature, and many others.

Where to Learn Extra


Montgomery Ward & Co. Spring and Summer season 1895 Catalogue and Purchaser’s Guide. NY: Dover Publications, Inc. 1969.

Tate, Blair. The Warp: A Weaving Reference. Ashville, NC: Lark Books, 1991.


Fieldcrest Cannon. “The Making of Royal Velvet Towels.” Unpublished script for a video on towel production. Kannapolis, NC, 1998.