We all must have used Terry Towels at some point in time, be it in the form of Bath Towels, kitchen towels, or maybe bathrobes too. 

Did we ever wonder how they come into existence? 

Before terry towels came in, we used cloth towels, but they were less absorbing and less capable of drying. So, there was a need for a more reliable drying fabric. 


So came the terry towels. 

We will explore the entire world of Terry towels today. 


The Word ‘Terry’ is derived from the French word ‘tire,’ which means ‘draw out.’ The first-ever manufacturing of the terry fabric was done in the 1850s. 

Terry is a woven fabric with loops known for its capability to soak large amounts of water.

It majorly is produced with 100% cotton but may contain polyester sometimes. 

It is designed in a lot of colours according to the use.

So, is terry cloth the same as a towel? 

Terry cloth is used to make a towel. Different types of towels are made with the same terry cloth but in different sizes and designs as per the use. We will discover it ahead. 

A high-quality terry fabric must include the following properties – 

  • Good water absorption ability

  • Quick-dry ability 

  • Mechanical comfort 

  • Good surface texture 

Fibre Raw materials used for terry towels – 

  1. Cotton

  2. Bamboo

  3. Model

  4. Lyocell

  5. Flax

  6. Synthetics microfibers (polyester, nylon)

  7. Cashmere

What are terry towels used for? 

Let us look into the uses now !! 

Terry towels are considered to be very absorbing, soft, and durable. Terry cloth towels are more absorbing as they are made of cotton entirely. 

They can be used to make bathrobes, mats, towels, swimsuit cover-ups, baby rompers, cleaning rags, mops, or even face towels. 


Terry towels are classified based on features like dimensions, construction, finishing, weight, etc. 

Another way of classifying terry towels is the end-use of towels, whether used as a bath towel, a face towel, kitchen towel, or hand towel. 

It is also classified based on weave – like a 2- pick terry, 3- pick terry or 5-pick terry, and so on. 

Manufacturing process 

Terry towels are made by weaving yarn on the loom and then dyeing it into desired colours. 

Many towels are weaved together parallel to each other. 

Then, these parallel towels are cut and split up after dyeing is done. 

Hemming of edges follows this process to prevent the unravelling of threads. 

Traditionally, cutting used to be done by scissors, but now automatic machines took over. 

These fabrics are then made by employing different techniques like knitting, knotting, tufting, etc. 

Discharge printing is used for decorating the borders with prints. It helps in getting some good quality prints, generates minimal pollution, and is economical. 

But, this process is considered to be slow. 

Types of Terry Towels 

1. Terry Cloth towels – They are generally used to dry the face or hands and are the smallest. The standard dimensions are 30*30 cm. 

2. Terry Hand towels – They are a bit bigger in size and are used majorly to wipe hands and face after washing. Its dimensions are 40*60 cm. 

3. Terry Bath Towel – These are regular body towels as it absorbs more and have dimensions of 70*140 cm. 

4. Terry Bath sheet – These are the largest bath towels in size 90*210 cm; they have a quick-drying ability. 

5. Terry Bath Mats – These towels are used as foot mats in bathrooms with a dense density and 50*70 cm dimensions.

6. Terry Beach towels – They have the largest dimensions of 272*500 cm with bright colours and designs. 

7. Terry Kitchen towels – They are used in the kitchen to dry and wipe the dishes. 

8. Terry Yoga mats – They are soft for activities like gymnastics, yoga with anti-slip properties. Its dimensions are 61*183 cm. 

9. Terry Golf towels – They are used for personal use while playing golf. They are exceptionally soft with low density and dimensions of 30*50 cm. 

10. Terry cotton towels – They are quite varied when it comes to uses. They can be used after a bath for drying skin or even the face. 

Cotton and Terry cloth

What is the difference between cotton and terry cloth? 

Cotton is a seed that is harvested to be used as a fabric. It is the primary product. It is fiber. 

Terry Cloth is made of cotton, which has absorbing powers and is used for towels. It is the secondary product of cotton. It is a weave. 

Cotton terry towels 

They are perfect for use as towels as they are highly absorbing. They are woven in looping patterns. 

They are famous in spas and saunas. 

Alternatives to terry cloth 

Terry Cloth and Microfiber 

Terry cloth is a type of cotton which is absorbing, from which bath towels and other towels are manufactured. It is made entirely from natural cotton with polyester to supplement it. 

Microfiber is made from synthetic material and is absorbing enough. It is majorly used for car washing and in restaurants by waiters. 

French Terry 

It is used in casual clothing and knit with loops on one side and piles of yarn. It is also absorbing. 

It is considered softer and smoother than terry cloth, but terry towels are more absorbing. 

It is somewhat confusing whether a terry cloth can be considered a towel. Is it a towel? 

Samuel Holt started Terry Towelling in 1841, France, in cotton. 

Terry cloth ( also called terry towelling ) is a fabric used in the making of towels. 

It is used in towels as it has good soaking abilities. They are thicker and heavier and are used for luxury robes in hotels. 

Now, why is it also called Terry towelling?

It is called towelling as the terry cloth is soft on one side and has a towelling loop on the other side. 

Its advantages are as follows – 

  • It is versatile 
  • It is made by natural materials
  • They are very absorbing and fit for household or commercial use 
  • They are machine washable 
  • It would not result in any skin irritation and is safe 
  • It has no potential of bacteria breeding as it gets dry easily 
  • It is also usable for pets as it has an excellent wet strength 
  • It is vibrant as it is made of cotton 
  • They are eligible for recycling 
  • They are widely and easily available 

Terry cloth can be made of cotton or even silk to make it softer. They are comfortable as they are soft and absorbing. 

While using terry towels, one must keep in mind the following things. 

  1. Avoiding fabric softeners is very important in order to prevent residue on towels 
  2. Adding vinegar into towels can sometimes remove residues and also helps in keeping up absorbency. 
  3. Avoid contact with skin products to prevent bleaching of towels 
  4. Wash before use to keep up the colour. 

Terry Towels Manufacturers 

Indian textile industry is expected to grow by five times over the next ten years to reach $500 billion on the back of polyester fabric demand. 

Some top manufacturers are – 

  • Rangoli Furnishing Pvt Ltd

     They have been a trusted wholesale supplier of high-quality towels since 1993. Our superior quality terry towels have reached across the globe to various suppliers. With certified standards, we believe in making connections.

  • Alok Industries Ltd

    They focus on five core sectors of cotton, yarn, apparel fabric, home textiles, garments, and polyester. They have an excellent network of retailers and India’s biggest manufacturers.

  • Arvind Mill

    founded in 1931, specialises in high-quality fabrics. They have a legacy of working with Flying Machine, USPA, Newport, etc.

  • Trident Group

    It has spanned its export business into 100 countries and is one of the country’s largest yarn spinners. They are the largest terry towel producers in the world. 

Apart from Rangoli, Trident has become the world’s largest terry towel producer by doubling its towel manufacturing capacity in 2014-15 to 90,000 mtpa, which is 360 million pieces produced per annum. 

In India, terry fabrics are manufactured majorly in power loom and decentralized handloom sectors. 

Its major producing centers are Sholapur, Chennai, and Erode. 

It is often thought that terry production is done in the organised sector, but the organized sector did only 10-15% of the total terry production in the last decade. 

Some major terry towel production units in India are – Bombay Dyeing, Modern Terry Towels, Abhishek Industries, Garware Wall Paper, Welspun Polyesters, Trimbak Industries, Sharda Terry Towel, Santogen Exports, Vanasthali Textiles, etc. 

Some common problems associated with terry cotton and the solutions – 

  • Problems of washing and drying terry cloth 

There are concerns about the shrinking of terry cloth. As it is made of 100% cotton, it can be easily washed and dried. 

But it must be made sure that it is 100% cotton. 

Fabric with colour might bleed a bit, but it is common. It can be washed with cold or warm water. 

  • Problems of frayed edges of the cloth

There is always a fear of a messed up terry cloth as it is entirely woven. 

But, it can be easily managed by cutting the frayed pieces; sewing along the edges can also prevent the threads from fraying. 

  • Is it skin-friendly? 

As it is made from 100% natural fibers, it is very safe. 

Washing them before use can add to its secure usage. 

Some critical factors to be considered while picking a terry fabric are the absorption rate and its ability to quickly absorb, retain, and transfer liquid water from various surfaces like human skin, dishes, and furniture. 

Terry fabric’s prices can vary from ₹100 to ₹600 according to the quality and composition, fiber content, structure, weight, width, type, colour, etc. 

There is a wide range to choose the right terry cloth. But, it is a must to have them in one’s collection of towels.