WHAT THEY’RE MADE OF Pure cotton is the most common textile used for towelling. It can withstand high temperatures and takes dyes well. But cotton towels do take a while to dry.

BEACH TOWELS Photo Gallery

Combed cotton helps to keep the towel strong and prevents pilling. Terry cotton towels are generally thick. You’ll see that the fibres loop on both sides of the towel; the longer the loop, the greater the absorbency (and the more sand the towel will pick up). Velour is 100% cotton. The loops are cropped, giving a smooth, soft texture. It looks and feels luxurious, but is less absorbent than other types and sand catches in the fibres. Microfibre towels dry quickly.

SHOPPING TIPS You want a towel with thick, tightly packed loops for greater absorbency; and stitched, double­turned edges, which prevent fraying. The higher the ‘gsm’ (grams per square metre), the more luxurious and absorbent the towel is.

CARE TIPS If the label says ‘no chlorine bleach’, then don’t douse it in bleach! Bleach weakens the fibres over time, which lowers their absorbency. Fabric conditioner softens towels, but also coats the fibres so they’re less absorbent. To freshen towels that have a mildewy smell, add 1 cup of vinegar to the load and wash on the hot cycle. Don’t use detergent. Clean the lint filter in your dryer after every use.

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