Which bamboo bath towels are worth buying?
November 27, 2012 11:37 AM   Subscribe

Bamboo bath towels - which ones are worth buying?

We've been looking for quality bamboo towels but they seem to be very difficult to find. We're looking for absorbent bath towels that won't smell musty after a few days like our current ones do and read that bamboo towels are anti-microbial and tend to not smell like other towels, thus beginning our search.

I found these 65% bamboo towels which seem well-reviewed but I'm not sure if the anti-microbial qualities of bamboo will be present or if we should only be looking for 100% bamboo towels.

Do 100% bamboo towels even exist?

We'd love some recommendations and input from bamboo towel owners.
posted by aceyprime to Shopping (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Quick note, as I discovered when looking into 'bamboo' sheets: the cloth is rayon or viscose, sourced from bamboo cellulose. Lyocell is another trade name.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:00 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

IANA bamboo towel owner, but you may be barking up the wrong tree here. The stuff sold commercially as bamboo is rayon, and rayon can be made out of any wood fiber. It doesn't really matter that bamboo rayon is made from bamboo. The antimicrobial qualities are not retained at all in the extrusion process that makes bamboo rayon soft.

100% rayon towels are probably hard to find because they would be delicate, linty, and shreddy -- rayon is a pretty fragile fiber.

To prevent musty smells, I'd try using 100% cotton towels or linen if you're fancy; making sure they get aired out adequately; and adding vinegar when you wash them.
posted by clavicle at 12:04 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I bought some bamboo towels from this company several years ago, and they're still going strong.

I cut all of the tags off the ones I have when I bought them, so I'm not sure what percentage of the fabric is cotton or bamboo (the ones shown are of a slightly different design to those that I have).

Regarding mustiness, I've never noticed a problem. The washing basket gets emptied a couple of times a week, so at most the towels are in the basket for 4-5 days. I don't know about anti-microbial or anything like that. All I know is that they don't smell.
posted by Solomon at 12:15 PM on November 27, 2012

I dabble in a few fiber based crafts, and yeah, "bamboo" fiber is just rayon. They've done a fab job of marketing it as an eco-alternative in the past few years. If it's not made in the US its probably not even bamboo, but some generic wood.

It sounds like your towels aren't drying on the rack, so I'd look at thinner, lighter weight or non-terrycloth towels. They won't be fluffy and cuddly, but they'll dry you off and not get funky—something like a microfiber towel.
posted by fontophilic at 12:24 PM on November 27, 2012

Turkish bath towels are fantastic. Not "thick turkish cotton." They're called Peshtemals or Hammam towels.
posted by barnone at 1:12 PM on November 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

Thanks to clavicle for the article detailing how bamboo textiles are not antimicrobial and companies were committing fraud in advertising as such. Thanks also for the 100% cotton towel recommendation.

Thanks to fontophilic for the recommendation on thinner, lighter weight towels, possibly a microfiber towel.

Still not sure what to buy but I have a much better understanding of what I should be looking for. Thanks!
posted by aceyprime at 5:20 AM on November 28, 2012

I have some towels marketed as fast drying - they have strips of terry loop alternating with plain woven strips, giving it a sort of corduroy look. These aren't the ones I have but they look like they have a similar construction, so you can see what I'm talking about. If the mustiness problem is with drying, these might help - they definitely dry faster than other typical cotton terry towels.
posted by clerestory at 6:46 AM on November 28, 2012

« Older who uses fUnNy gRaPhIcaL cOnVenTiOnS??!$%?   |   What is on my roadmap for a Top 20 MBA program?... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.