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What is a Tea Towel?

What is a Tea Towel?

Artist, Leslie Zemsky's 2019 floral design printed on our tea towels. One towel is spread on the table and folded ones are next to it.

Artist Leslie Zemsky’s floral design printed on our tea towels.

The basic definition of a tea towel is a cloth used for drying dishes and utensils. However, it’s used for much more than that! They used to be made of linen (and yes, they still are or even a blend) but the most common ones are cotton. What I LOVE about them — besides being a wonderful surface to print beautiful art that hangs causally in your kitchen — is that the flour sack towels are lint-free. What’s the big deal about that? Well, that terry cloth hand towel you have in your kitchen will leave lint on nearly every surface you use it on — so who wants that mixed into their food/drink?

The history of tea towels goes way back. The Farmer’s Almanac has a helpful writeup to explain its history and the many functions that these cotton towels provide. Click here to read.

Artist Leslie Zemsky Veggie collage printed onto tea towel. It is spread on the table with a tea pot, tea cup filled with tea and a creamer arrangment

Artist Leslie Zemsky’s Veggie collage printed onto tea towel.

Here’s just a few great uses I’ve come across in my readings and in my own experiences:

  • Excellent for drying glasses and dishes without leaving lint
  • Perfect to cover fresh baked goods to absorb the steam and prevent soggy or stale bread
  • Napkins
  • Placemats
  • Cleaning and drying surfaces
  • Insulator when tied around a tea pot to keep the tea hot
  • Makes a beautiful substitute for wrapping paper

Do you have other uses for them? In my researching, I’ve even read that people have used them as a cloth diapers! Clearly, they are quite the versatile addition to any household.

Before I close, I just wanted to add that I have ordered and used so many tea towels from different manufacturers. Believe me, it’s not “If you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all” in the tea towel world. There is definitely a line in the sand when it comes to quality. I’ve searched for several years but have found an excellent product to print on. People have raved about the quality of my towels. It’s made with 100% recycled cotton that is tightly woven in a diagonal pattern. They have a hand sewn hem all around with a hang tag in the corner and measures a generous 27″x27″. So much care and detail has been taken into consideration from start to finish when they designed these towels. If you touch it you will notice the difference right away. It’s a quality you would be proud to give as a gift.

A stack of tea towels. Only the underside of the corner is shown with the hang tag sewn into it.

These 100% flour sack cotton tea towels are nicely hemmed and have a corner hang tag.