Patterned Towels?

Yes, I know that towels have been discussed before, but I want advice on patterned towels. Does anyone use them? Or do you guys just use solid-colored towels (all white, all black, etc.)? I was a firm believer in white towels, but after a while, I got sick of the stains, or guests washing them themselves, and the dingy look. Then I turned to darker gray towels, which are overall good, but turn a pink-ish hue when people use certain chemicals on their faces. I feel like I can’t win. So, now I’m looking into patterned towels. Any ideas? Recommendations that work for you? Thanks!

For 8 of the 9 years I’ve been doing this I’ve used all white with good success. I know people love to say “we’re not hotels” but there are reasons that hotels use all white. If you have stains that can’t be removed or a dingyness I suggest replacing the towels with new white ones and donating the old ones to your local animal shelters. They are always looking for towels.

One thing I’ve noticed about towels is that they get to the point that they aren’t soft and fluffy like new ones and so I replace them even though they are still bright white.


I would suggest that the patterned towels will suffer the same reaction to peroxides that any colored towel would. We started with white, considered black or gray, but stick with white, because we can more easily treat stains. In the end we just keep buying more to replace ones that don’t clean up. We switched from tan and gray sheets to white as well for this reason.

PS: Does anyone know how to prevent people from deciding that their Airbnb vacation is the PERFECT time to change their hair color?


You can’t. But a product called Out White Brite has removed the hair dye I’ve found on towels.

You could put in your house rules that guests can’t use hair dye and charge for extra cleaning when they do it anyway but in my experience it’s not worth the effort to charge those kinds of damages. But it might act as a a deterrent.

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When I used to dye my hair, I had to do it every 3 weeks, because it grows fast and there would be an inch of grey roots showing by then. So I occasionally had to do it when travelling, but I always packed my ratty old brown towel for that purpose.

So I guess you could try providing something like that, just as hosts provide black make-up washcloths or some clean, but perhaps worn and stained towels for pets. Trying to get guests not to dye their hair would be an exercise in futility.

As I haven’t hosted hoards of guests and never had them irretrievably stain towels, I still have and use a lot of the towels I started out hosting with years ago. One guest asked me how I keep the towels so soft, which I had never even thought about before. I don’t use fabric softener, and wash everything in cool water. But I don’t use a dryer, everything gets line-dried, so maybe that makes a difference?

That would make some sense, as the lint in dryer traps is essentially fabric fibers. The less fiber in the towels, the stiffer it seems they would become.

I recently noted a post here about washcloths, even from the same set, looking different than the towels after many washes. I have recently noticed this with some brands. The same thing will probably happen with patterned towels. I have also usually found patterned ones to be a little less soft overall, but there may be brands that are not. My take from all these posts is that there is no perfect towel - some wash easy, some stain easy, some are softer, some last better, etc. White seems popular here but they look horrid with my off white bathroom color schemes.

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I don’t use fabric softener. I seasonally line dry but I finish them off in the dryer because things dried on the line are stiffer, not softer. Maybe it’s related to the hard water here.

In any case the Charisma towels (Costco) are very nice and always less than $10 each. I spend a tiny percentage of my gross on towels so I guess I’ve just never been able to relate to the many posts here about towel trouble. And the towels will never go to waste. I’m fine with using stained or bleached towels myself and since I have the dog boarding business I don’t even need to make the trip to the shelter.

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I guess it could, but I have hard water, too. Heavy in calcium. Maybe the type of minerals in the water could be a factor.

My friend who hosted for years loved those Costco towels. She found that a lot of stains washed right out, and that they stood up well to the amount of washing involved in hosting.

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I have solid colored towels. I’ve been using a medium blue color. I purchased them at Kolhs on sale for $7 each. At the end of the season, I donate them to the animal shelter. They’re so affordable that I just replace them at the end of the season so guests always get new or fairly new towels.

not sure how, we tend to put most towels in the dryer for 5-10 minutes after they come off the line because drying in the sun is great but it really dries them out a bit too much (great for sheets though! that little bit of stiffness feels like they’ve been starched).

We use grey towels, but that’s really just the aesthetic of our place. I’m possibly going to str my current beach home for the summer and will do all white towels here because that’s what I have. I wouldn’t do patterned towels because it doesn’t suit our style, but I see no reason not to do so, unless the towels are cheap. And having said that, I don’t often see quality brand towels in a pattern…

I really don’t know, either, I was just throwing out some possible reasons for why towels might get stiff. Like I said, I don’t use a dryer at all, and all of my good towels have stayed soft.

I found this article which gives some reasons for towels not staying soft.,contribute%20to%20stinky%2C%20stiff%20towels.

The “product buildup” and high heat dryer may be reasons mine stay soft, since I use a mild detergent designed for baby clothes, use less detergent than most people tend to use, and never use a dryer.

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same. we use one of those enviro detergents, pretty cheap too, and use only a tiny amount of product as our towels generally get used once and then washed. we only wash towels with towels. and our dryer is a condenser type, so it doesn’t quite dry things to a crips, it’s a more gentle dry (which can be annoying if you need to dry something quickly). I’m also a fan of vinegar and few drops of lavendar or euc in the wash. makes the machine smell great.

My white heavy towel turn dingy after awhile. I’m trying out colored lighter weight towels now. My patterned towels lasted one season. After one gets ruined its hard to replace, and you end up replacing everything.

That’s why I’ve gone with a color scheme, rather than matched sets. I have a sage green, and a burnt orange scheme. When a guest took one of the sage green towels on a booze cruise and never brought it back, I found a sage green and pale green subtly patterned bath towel to replace it. The hand towels for that “set” are a darker green, and the hand towels for the burnt orange bath towels are beige.

My place is eclectic and colorful, so it all looks purposeful.

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I have switched from terry cloth towels to Turkish towels, which are bigger, lighter, softer, thinner - they don’t take forever to dry in the dryer (off season) and often people ask where I got them. They are absorbent like a good tea towel - I’ll never go back to terry cloth.

Turkish towels are beautiful. But pricey.
I had a guest who travels with her own, as she can use it as a beach blanket, a beach towel and a beach wrap, and they are light and take up hardly any space in luggage when rolled up tight.

They can be pricey to be sure - but I get mine from Amazon - made in Turkey - and while not as thick and luxurious as some, they are pretty amazing. My husband and I both prefer them now for ourselves. I just can’t justify the time in the dryer (n winter) for terry. And I’ve only had 1 complaint, and several positive comments.

Thanks for all the responses. Looks like no actual patterned towels that anyone has found, but I’m going to experiment with some colors. Fingers crossed!!

I don’t know where you are located, but I have seen plenty of patterned towels in lots of stores in Canada. It’s never been something I thought hard to find if that’s what you want.

I just Googled “patterned towels” and pages of options come up.