So, you've decided to move to sustainable, artisan made, turkish towels? If you're like us, you're never going back. If treated well, peshtemals will last a very long time. Here are some tips and tricks to help them maintain maximum absorbency and softness.
GIVE THEM A SOAK
For your towels to reach maximum absorbency, let them soak in cold water over night. The kitchen sink or the tub will accommodate them. The next morning, ring them and give them their first wash in the washing machine followed by drying on the line. You'll only need to do this once. This will allow the cotton fibres to open up and will prepare them to absorb more water.
There is no such thing as over using a pesthemal towel. They might be made by artisans, one piece at a time, but they are not to be treated as a museum piece. Use them daily, wash them regularly, take them to beach or to the gym, stuff them in your carry-on; just enjoy them! Each wash will make them softer and more absorbent, eventually turning them into a perfectly broken in towel, similar to a vintage pair of jeans.
Save on hot water bills and keep the cotton fibres happy: wash your Turkish towels in cool water, on a gentle cycle whenever possible.
Do not use bleach on your towels. Also, avoid adding fabric softener to your wash as this will cause the pesthemals to become less absorbent over time. This means less chemicals in the water and less chemicals on your skin!
If you feel like your towels are not as absorbent or soft as before, there could be some detergent build up. Give them a normal wash and then, put them through a second cycle using vinegar in lieu of soap. This should bring them back to their former glory.
The best feature of peshtemal towels, apart from their softness, is how quickly they dry. Whether inside or outside, we're always surprised at how fast they dry out. Simply air dry your pesthemals on the line, on a rack or even on their towel holders. It's better for the towel, the delicate hand-knotted tassels and the environment.
If you feel compelled to put them in the dryer, please make sur to use the delicate setting. You may however have to retie tassels a little more often.
Who knew I would start ironing towels, I can barely iron a shirt... Apart from taking out unwanted wrinkles, the towel becomes even softer and the bright colours are more vivid. While this step is completely a personal choice, it does make a positive difference and allows you to inspect the weaving for pulled threads and untied tassels.
Threads will pull eventually no matter how careful you are. Some weaving patterns are tighter than others, but still, pulled loops are part of a towel's life. When you realize it's time, simply cut off the piece of thread that is popping out. This will not affect the integrity of the towel as it is woven.
Over time, some hand-knotted tassels may become untied in the washing machine. This is also a normal occurrence. Here's how to fix them: Fixing an untied tassel.