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Towels are constructed with the same principles of sheeting fabric, but feature an additional process. With sheeting fabric, fibres run in two directions. Towelling has a third fibre, which forms the pile or loop of the towel, which is woven into the base fabric. During the weaving process, the three threads are combined in line with a given pattern. By varying the types of cotton used for each thread type, and by altering the weaving pattern, it is possible to produce different towels.

How does a towel work?

It is the loops in a towel that do the drying. The number of loops in a towel determines its drying ability. The higher the number of loops, the greater the absorbency.

What does gsm mean?

gsm is a measure of weight: ‘grams per square meter’. Take care not to confuse gsm with grams pp, which mean ‘grams per piece’. While both measurements are perfectly valid, the results will be quite different. For example, a towel 75cm wide x 150cm long that weighs 500gsm will be 0.562 grams per piece. 

How do I measure the quality of a towel?

There are many different components to a towel, but the general rule is that a heavier towel is suitable for the bathroom, where it can dry out easily between uses, whereas a lighter weight towel is better suited for use at the pool or beach, where it gets more frequent use in one period. The yarn is very important and will reflect in the price of the towel. 

Why is cotton so widely used in towels?

Cotton is an ideal fibre for towels as it is extremely absorbent. No other natural fibre can compare to cotton when it comes to absorbency, softness, durability and ease of care. Most towels are made of cotton, but it is the quality of the cotton that makes all the difference. The longer the staple, the more valued the thread. The basic ingredient of a luxury towel is said to be Egyptian cotton, with its extra long staple.

What is velour?

Velour is part of the finishing process of a towel. When a towel is made on a towel loom, there are loops on either side of the towel. Part of the finishing process is to shave the top of the loops off one side to create a soft velvety finish on the towel. If you look carefully, you can see this. 

Why don’t velour towels dry as well as terry towels?

The velour side of the towel is definitely not meant for drying… it is soft and smooth designed to be sat on or laid on by the pool or at the beach. The scientific action of water on the velour means that the water does not absorb as easily and you should always use the terry towelling side of a velour towel to dry yourself. 

How will I know if my towels are absorbent?

The best way to determine if a towel is absorbent is to tip a small capful of water directly onto the towel. If the water disappears into the towel immediately, and the towel feels almost dry around the area, this indicates that the towel has good absorbency characteristics.

When washing towels, be careful not to excessively use fabric softeners. This will coat towel fibres and create poor absorbency by repelling water instead of absorbing it.
John Batman Group towels are made from good quality yarns that do not require softeners. Finishing drying of towels in a tumble dryer will improve the fluffy appearance and absorbent properties of cotton fibres. 

Should coloured towels be vat dyed?

Yes. Yarn or towels are dyed in big dyeing vats or vessels, similar to other textile dyeing methods. The vat dyeing process is more expensive and involves more processing time to ensure the maximum colour fastness that is required to withstand the harsher laundering and drying conditions of a commercial environment.

John Batman Group towels are vat dyed. A plain towel is made on the loom from yarn in its natural or raw state and then the whole towel is dyed, hence plain dyed towels.

Will my towels shrink?

All towels shrink when they are first washed. The extent of shrinking is influenced by the size of the different yarns used, the density of the weave, differences in weave pattern, and most importantly the laundering temperatures used when cleaning the towels. 

Can I trim a pulled thread?

Pulled threads occur when the loops catch on rough or sharp objects. As our towels are woven, pulled threads will not unravel the fabric. Simply snip off the pulled loop with a pair of sharp scissors. Trimming off pulled threads will avoid further damage and will not affect the softness or durability of the towel. 

Why do towels initially have linting/fluffing/pilling?

Cotton, being a natural fibre, will have a tendency to lint during initial washing. This is a completely normal process particularly for towels with a longer pile. Dark colours will tend to shed even more than lighter colours due to spending up to 4 times longer in the dyeing vat.

If your towels do have excessive linting or pilling, wash the towels two or three times towels as per the manufacturer’s instructions to remove the surface lint/fluff. It is important not to overload the washing machine as overloading allows for re-depositing of lint back onto towels. It is recommended to finish drying towels in a tumble dryer as this will assist in the removal of surface lint. The dryer should be set at a warm temperature and the towels should not be over dried. Remember to clean out the filters on your washing machine and dryers. 

How long should a towel last?

To ensure your commercial towels have a long life span, it is important to purchase well-made towels suitable for commercial use. Generally speaking, a towel should last approximately 150-200 washes depending on how the towel has been made and the laundering practices of the establishment. Factors such as heat from laundering and drying, chemicals and physical treatment all contribute to the wearing process.

Will my towels maintain their whiteness?

Your towels should maintain their whiteness with the proper use of quality chemicals and by adhering to the correct washing procedures. Greying can occur over time however through the use of impure water quality and colour loss can occur with the over use of optical brighteners. 

Coloured towels – streaky patches/colour loss

It is advisable not to use detergents with optical brighteners as they only brighten whites and can seriously affect the colour of towels. Brighteners, if not properly dissolved, can also leave a residue on the towel that will be visible as streaking after the towel has dried.

Solution: Avoid use of optical brighteners where possible and ensure detergents are properly dissolved prior to commencement of washing cycle. Filling the washer prior to adding the detergent should prevent any detergent from depositing directly onto your towels, leaving a concentrated patch. Using the correct amount of detergent required for the size of the load will also help to eliminate this problem. 

Coloured towels – colour loss/colour changes

This damage on towels can usually be attributed to excessive sun exposure, or the towel coming into contact with a form of bleach commonly found in cleaning agents and facial cleansers which contain Benzoyl Peroxide. Make up can also cause discolouration. The effect is often not seen until the towel is next washed.

Solution: Avoid leaving damp towels on floors or places where bleach can be reactivated e.g. tile grout. If towels are line dried, avoid direct sunlight by drying in the shade avoiding the hottest times of the day.

How should I care for my towels?

Always wash new towels before use. Remove any dust or loose fibres and follow the washing instructions provided on the towel care label. 

View Caring For Your Towels section for detailed information.