Not only a cleansing method but also a relaxing, almost therapeutic process, the hammam (Turkish bath) is an ancient tradition that withstands the test of time. Going to a public bath still remains a common practice for many Turks who enjoy a deep, full-body cleansing in a charming atmosphere where the social aspect is also key to the overall experience. Turks built the hammam concept on the Roman bath but improved and elegantly adapted it to their needs. From the 18th Century onwards, visitors from the West met the Hammam culture with open arms.
Maxime Du Camp, the famed French writer who once traveled to Istanbul in 1844, later wrote “…seul les Turcs savent se baigner” in his memoirs: Only Turks know how to bathe. A highly exaggerated claim, indeed, but there’s no doubt that Du Camp was very impressed by his experience in the Ottoman Empire’s best hammams, where he felt himself invaded by a feeling of endless well-being everytime he bathed. He was also careful enough to notice the blue and white cotton fabric that the tellaks, (the attendants) were wrapping his body with and the ‘soft, (almost) floating fabric’ he was covered in while resting after the bath. What Du Camp was admiring like many other foreign guests, was, in fact, the peshtemal – the original Turkish Towel – one of the most unique pieces of textile.
The peshtemal existed long before the first bath towels came into existence. Made of pure Turkish cotton, which has longer fibers that make the threads stronger and smoother. Consequently, the towels are famously soft, light, and highly absorbent. Unlike ordinary towels, they take up significantly less space and dry quickly. The usefulness of a Turkish towel extends beyond the bath. It can be gracefully and easily be worn as a beach dress or sarong. This luxurious item also makes a lovely scarf or shawl. Additionally, the Turkish towel can add a tasteful touch as a throw anywhere in your home. It is perfect at the beach, pool, sports facility, spa, health center, or hotel.
Knowing how to care for your Turkish towel is an investment in your comfort and style. Your towel requires special care to maintain the consistency of the material and maximize its absorbency and softness. Handling your towel properly will help ensure that you enjoy it for years to come.
How to Care for Turkish Towels
Before initial use:
Soak your Turkish towel in cold water for 12 hours or overnight. Wring towel gently and hang to air dry. This allows the cotton fibers to expand and become more absorbent. After each wash, your towel will become softer and more absorbent.
Machine wash at warm or cold setting (40°C maximum) with similar colors on gentle cycle. Wash small loads to ensure removal of dirt and detergent from your towels
Avoid bleaching agents.
Avoid fabric softeners as they will make your towels less absorbent. Fabric softeners often contain silicones that make the towels water repellent. Instead, use vinegar. Once a month, add one cup of vinegar to your wash to soften your towels naturally, kill bacteria, and remove soap residue.
Include baking soda in your wash to help loosen up fibers, remove grime and chemicals, and make your towels softer.
Place towels in the dryer at the lowest heat setting. Too much heat will affect the integrity of the cotton and make the towel hard.
Use a few dryer balls or unused tennis balls to help remove lumps and fluff your towels.
If desired, use iron on low setting.
For best results, air dry.
Check Mediterien Deep Turkish towels, crafted with care in the Mediterranean.