Brief History Of Kitchen Towels
Tea towels originated in 18th-century England as an accessory for the rich made from soft, lint-free linen, a fiber derived from the flax of linseed plants. The soft linen texture of the fabric made them a versatile tool for the lady of the household to dry her bone china, delicate tea sets, and other prized possessions too precious to trust their servants with. They also came in handy during tea time when they were seen wrapped around teapots for insulation and preventing inelegant drips or draped over a plate of freshly baked pastries just before serving time. Not only did tea towels serve a variety of functional purposes, but they were also a way for ladies to create art and show off their embroidery skills, designing each towel to match the rest of their kitchen table linens and creating beautiful heirlooms to be passed down generation after generation.
Over time, with the increasing availability of textiles and sewing material, factories began mass-producing these towels along with many other household linens during the Industrial Revolution. The tea towels progressed through this process and became available for consumer purchase in a wide variety of fashionable styles and colors that easily coordinated with any kitchens décor. It was at this time in the 19th century that tea towel manufacturers began using cotton materials for its softness, durability, and absorbency.
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Ways To Use Tea Towels
- University of Toronto
Katherine Martinko is an expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto.
Who knew these fabric rectangles could be so phenomenally versatile?
Every now and then I stumble across a headline that kickstarts my brainstorming. Today, it was Food52’s article on “8 Ways to Use a Kitchen Towel Besides Drying Dishes.” Immediately I started wondering what my own list would look like, before sneaking a peek at theirs. In a matter of minutes, I had a surprising long list, helped by some Internet wisdom. I guess I use my tea towels in more ways than I realize!
These little rectangles of fabric are impressively versatile, so do not underestimate their ability to make your kitchen tasks easier. Keep them clean and stock a few varieties for different purposes. I like super-absorbent cotton terry ones for drying wet dishes and cleaning up messes, and the stiffer flour sack/linen types for covering dough and creating a stable base for mixing bowls but more on that below!
Why Choose Flour Sack Towels By Cotton Creations
If you are looking for a type of towel that is soft yet durable and versatile yet effective, flour sack towels are your best option. Cotton Creations dish towels are made from cotton material that is soft to the touch but also capable of withstanding consistent use with tough kitchen tasks and re-washing in full load wash cycles. Our high-quality flour sack material and durable thread count gives them a very long lifetime. These towels are also lint-free! So you wont have to worry about unwanted fluff getting left behind after drying your dishes or wiping your windows. They are capable of a wide range of possible applications including:
- Drying or polishing dishes
- Makeshift diaper, bib or burp cloth
- Cleaning cloth for your car
You can even customize your tea towels and dsih towels with any design you like using Cotton CreationsDesign Station.
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Why Do We Call It A Tea Towel
The word tea in this phrase harkens back to England in the 18th century when households had a specific linen cloth that the lady of the house would use to dry her nice, expensive china pieces that would be used for tea.
These linen cloths were also used to insulate teapots when they were in use as well as a cover for baked items. These little towels were so indispensable at tea time that the name stuck with them into the present day.
Women and girls would use tea towels to embroider. They created personalised designs or initials on them and gave them as gifts to family members and friends.
We still decorate Tea Towels and give them as gifts today. Get one personalise here
Over time, tea towels began to change. In the 19th and 20th centuries, these towels were made with a more decorative look, sporting checks or stripes.
What A Tea Towel Is
The term tea towel came into fashion during the 18th century when households would use the towels, often made from finely woven linen fibers, while serving tea to catch the occasional drip. Historically they would also be used to carefully dry fine china to prevent scratches.
Today, they are defined as flat-weave dish towels that measure approximately 16 inches by 28 inches to 18 inches by 30 inches. While tea towels are still used for drying dishes in the kitchen and catching drips at tea time, here are 13 great ways you can incorporate them into your decorating and routine housekeeping.
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How Do You Use Kitchen Towels
After washing, herbs and vegetables, you may pat them dry with a quality kitchen towel since it is both gentle and absorbent, and you can do it in a short amount of time. To remove extra moisture from the leafy greens, you need to lay them in a clean kitchen towel, carefully roll up the towel, and then twist it. The towel may also be used to dab water off greens.
What Are Tea Towels For
Towels made of tea are a wonderful addition to the table setting for anything from a steaming bowl of oats to a steaming cup of coffee or even sweets. While preventing the crockery from shifting, these absorbent towels quickly mop up any accidental spills or drips.
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What Is The Difference Between Kitchen And Tea Towel
These days, there is a wide selection of towels available for purchase.The kitchen towel is the heading that is most commonly used to refer to this group, but there is another heading that one must be aware of.In this day and age, the tea towel is most frequently made of cotton, linen, or woven cotton.Towels of this quality and build are designed to survive for a long time and are capable of absorbing liquids rapidly.
Why Some Prefer Tea Towels Over Dish Towels
Cathal Mac an Bheatha/Unsplash
In a day and age when people tend to love kitschy home accessories with fun prints and sayings printed on them, tea towels have made a comeback in recent years. While tea towels dont absorb liquids as well as standard dish towels do, some people might still prefer the stylish nature of tea towels and the fact that they can still do plenty, even if they are more like the step-sibling of the dish towel than a blood-related relative.
Some people might also love the fact that tea towels make it possible to bring back the days of cloth napkins. It’s hard to believe that anyone would use cloth napkins for every meal, and thats likely not the case. But for special occasions or times when you want to be a little more formal, it can be convenient to break out the tea towels as cloth napkins. They can also be used for dusting furniture or polishing silverware and while those aren’t the most interesting uses for tea towels, they offer more ways to get your moneys worth out of these kitchen towels.
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A Tea Towel Is A Piece Of Soft Cloth Made Of Linen Or Cotton Tea Towels Are Usually The Size Of A Hand Towel
Our wholesale organic cotton tea towels are made of GOTS certified organic cotton and can be customized to any size you would like.
Here are 8 ways to use tea towels:
Wrap baked goods like bread, baguettes, muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and so on.
You can wrap your freshly baked bakery in our non-toxic tea towels. You can keep them warm in tea towels! If you are baking goods to give away make it more personal and use the tea towels to wrap.
Use as a hot pad/napkins
Effective when you fold it. Plain organic cotton tea towels are great to use as napkins
Keep your greens crisp
Most likely you are using a paper towel to dry your greens after washing them so switch to these eco-friendly tea towels.
Use it to dry or store dishes
If you are going for dinner at your friends house and taking wine as a gift wrap your wine bottle in the tea towels!
Instead of paper towels use tea towels to dry your hands
Personalize and decorate your bathroom
Style your guest bathroom with tea towels! They will look great and your guests can use them to dry their hands.
Tea towels can also be used for the shelf and tray lining. You can also pass personalized tea towels as heirlooms. Printed tea towels are also great to gift to newlyweds.
What To Clean With A Tea Towel
You do not have to use tea towels exclusively for tea sets. Its lint-free fabric makes it a top choice for window cleaning.
You can also save energy in your home by wrapping a tea towel around a food container instead of using a paper towel. Note that you can place your tea towel in the oven, but only at a low temperature and at short intervals.
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Examples Of Tea Towel In A Sentence
tea towel ABC Newstea towel Washington Postclevelandtea towel Washington Posttea towel Robb Reporttea towel San Diego Union-Tribunetea towel Washington Posttea towel Washington Post
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘tea towel.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Using Tea Towels For Protection
A pretty ironed linen tea towel is perfect for lining a tea tray. Tea towels are also good for folding and lining the salad drawer in a fridge so that tomatoes, lettuce, and other fruit and vegetables are not bruised. Tea towels can be used to line shelves where glasses are stored to prevent accidental chips and are ideal protective layers between saucepans, casserole dishes and glass serving bowls.
Another great use for a tea towel is stretched across the draining board to protect glassware and china after it has been washed. Many chefs like to place a tea towel under their chopping board to prevent it from slipping.
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What Can You Wrap In Wholesale Organic Cotton Tea Towels
You may wrap them in tea towels to keep them warm!
Tea Towel Vs Dish Towel
Tea towels and dish towels are both types of kitchen towels. Originally an accessory for the upper class in 18th century England, tea towels are usually much thinner and are traditionally made from linen. They can be used to polish delicate china, furniture, jewelry and more and are also often used as décor. Dish towels, on the other hand, originated in the early 20th century America when the Great Depression forced housewives to get creative with the rough cotton from their animal feed sacks and reuse the material for towels, clothing, and other household textiles. Dish towels are used exclusively for washing and drying dishes and should be kept separate from other towels to prevent the spread of bacteria. They are generally made from a more durable, absorbent cotton material.
The distinction between tea towels and dish towels can also depend on the language used in any given place and how they refer to a cloth used for drying dishes. A quick check of Google Trends reveals that many people from the UK, Australia and New Zealand have searched for tea towels online but almost none have searched for dish towels. On the other hand, the U.S. and Canada have had many searched for dish towel with much fewer results for tea towels. Apparently, Google treats tea towels and dish towels the same way, both showing the same search results.
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As A Polishing Towel For Glassware
While most commercial kitchens have dedicated polishing towels made out of microfibre, thats not always necessary in a home kitchen. One of the main reasons for having microfibre polishing rags in a kitchen is for how quickly they dry and how often they can be used. In a service where youre polishing hundreds of glasses as they come out of the dish-pit, it makes sense to have a polishing rag. They work really well to quickly polish glassware I have some at home.
For doing a single round of wine glasses or some glassware you just cleaned, however, the tea towel handles the task without any issue. Once it becomes wet it loses a lot of the polishing quality, but for the final touches on your porcelain and glassware, the tea towel doesnt leave any lint behind and leaves your cocktail glasses looking mint.
What Is A Tea Towel
Kitchen towel, dish towel, flour-sack towel these are all different names for what is essentially the same item: a tea towel. You may be wondering why there are so many ways to describe this accessory. The answer to that query has more to do with the history of the tea towel than anything else. But before we launch into a quick look at the origins of the tea towel, let’s first understand what a tea towel is.
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The Main Uses Of Tea Towels
There are a number of practical uses for tea towels in the kitchen and these include dusting and polishing as the linen is so soft. Tea towels are perfect for using to polish fine crystal glassware, silver ornaments and even pieces of jewelry. In complete contrast, pristine tea towels can be used as food covers, for wrapping a loaf of bread rolls to keep them warm and as napkins.
Kitchen Towels Vs Dish Towels
Dish towels, or towels used solely for washing and drying dishware, are probably the most limited type of kitchen towel. These absorbent towels are great for hand-washing dishes, speeding up the drying process without leaving any lint and preventing water spots. They should be constantly rotated, kept clean and be separated from other kitchen towels to prevent spreading bacteria. Dish towels can come in a variety of materials but, unlike looped terrycloth towels, flour sack towels made from cotton like the ones from Cotton Creations are able to dry dishes quickly and effectively without leaving behind any streaks or lint. This tight-woven, sturdy hemmed cotton material is soft and durable. Flour sack towels make great dish towels because they will hill hold up nicely through repeated uses and washes.
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Choose The Greenest Option
If you are buying new tea towels, the good news is that linen is a sustainable material. If you are planning to replace your kitchen towels, dont choose plain cotton ones as too many pesticides are used in the cultivation of cotton. Watch out instead for kitchen towels made from organic cotton as no pesticides will have been used in their production.
Other good choices of material for kitchen towels include hemp and linen as these are both more sustainable than conventional cotton.
Household And Other Uses For The Tea Towel
Beyond culinary chores, the tea towel has achieved universal applications, and the list keeps growing as people continue to rely on their extreme usefulness. Due to the tea towels unique absorbency and lint-free quality, it is the preferred towel to use on window panes.
It is an excellent polishing cloth because of its softness, which is also why mom finds them the best towel to use on baby. They make excellent diapers due to their durability and absorbency. They make the best burping cloths, and they dont retain smells or stains. Women love the absorbency for drying their hair after a shower or bath.
Woodworkers prefer the soft tea towel cloth for finish carpentry. Wiping down pieces to clear them of sawdust in preparation for and applying stain and finish makes the work a pleasure.
Akin to the kerchief, their absorbency makes them a great workout towel whether wiping the sweat from arduous work or the repetition of a workout. They are great for taking up the moisture from equipment after use as well.
Gun owners prefer a soft cloth for cleaning their weapons, and the tea towel is the perfect choice for keeping them clean and ready to fire.
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