Turkish beach towel in navy

The Difference Between Peshtemal and Terrycloth

What is a Peshtemal?

Peshtemal, also known as a hammam towel, fouta towel, or Turkish towel, is a towel loomed with a unique flat weave that helps the towel be both absorbent and lightweight. Traditional peshtemals are woven by hand on a loom and their tassels are hand-tied. Their history stretches back centuries to the Ottoman Empire, where citizens frequented hammams, or Turkish bath, and used peshtemal to cover their bodies while bathing and to dry off afterwards.

Authentic peshtemals are exclusively produced in Turkey’s Aegean region, specifically Denizli. This is attributed to Aegean cotton’s long staple, which is necessary to produce a quality peshtemal. The extended staple ensures the creation of durable and absorbent fabric that retains a soft and smooth texture.Cotton with a shorter staple results in a coarser, rougher feel due to the jagged edges. Peshtemal are naturally sand resistant because cotton fibers are woven too tightly to allow sand particles to get trapped inside. They also offer a larger surface area than terry, facilitating efficient quick drying. The long-staple cotton and unique design allow the peshtemal to offer the absorption capacity of thicker terrycloth while remaining remarkably lightweight.

How is Peshtemal Different from Terrycloth?

Peshtemals have a unique flat weave with tight cotton loops that absorb and dry water efficiently. Terrycloth, on the other hand, is woven with large loops that absorb water easily but dry moisture much more slowly. These towels are often not woven from 100% cotton, and can feature synthetic blends of cotton, polyester, or other materials. Terrycloth comes in a variety of pile, or heights of the cotton loops, which can be more or less absorbent depending on the thickness. Unfortunately, with a thick pile also comes longer drying times. Damp towels are a breeding ground for bacteria and odors and can be dangerous if the towel is not washed frequently enough.

 Peshtemal vs. terrycloth

Terrycloth’s use typically is limited to the bathroom, while peshtemal offers much more versatility. While peshtemals often go by the name “Turkish beach towel” in English-speaking countries, there is not limited to the beach. They are excellent bath towels, picnic blankets, travel blanket, beach sarongs, and more. They are also more eco-friendly than bulky bath towels, taking up less space in drying machines and drying faster due to the thin pile.

Bodrum Interiors offers a high-quality, authentic peshtemal loomed with care in Denizli, Turkey. Bring the magic of peshtemal to your home today!


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