The humble dish towel is oft overlooked among products that can help to make doing the dishes easier and more effective, but good dish towels can truly do just that - plus they’re less wasteful than using paper towels to clean up other kitchen messes. Not all dishcloths are created equally, however, and not all kitchen towels are right for every job. We’ve rounded up the very best dishcloths and dish towels on the market and offered some tips about making the most of different types of kitchen towels, from the super-popular Swedish dishcloths, to quick-drying flour sack towels and multitasking microfiber dish towels, to, of course, the more standard terry cloth and waffle weave styles.
If you haven’t yet been introduced to Swedish dishcloths, please allow us to tell you how wonderful they are! They go far beyond regular dish towels — they can double as sponges for washing dishes, take the place of paper towels when it comes to wiping up spills and can be used for cleaning jobs from scrubbing the tub to washing the floors.
Swedish Dishcloth Cellulose Sponge Cloths (starting at $16.95, originally starting at $24.99, for a set of 10; amazon.com)
Skoy Cloth Eco-Friendly Swedish Dishcloth ($7.99 for a set of 4; amazon.com)
For smaller households, the Skoy dishcloths will be a good choice, since one cloth goes a long way.
Another thing to love about Swedish dishcloths is that they come in tons of super-fun colors, patterns and motifs. Generally speaking, a kitchen towel isn’t something you’d give as a gift, but a multitasker as cute as this makes a perfect present — for a loved one or for yourself.
ThreeBlueBirds3 Dogwood Swedish Dishcloth ($6.95; etsy.com)
Floral patterns abound, like this dogwood Swedish cloth in shades of white, gray and green.
Boldfaced Bish Cloths ($18 for a set of 3; etsy.com)
If you like to inject humor into your cleaning routine, Bish Cloths feature funny sayings and takes on popular song lyrics from Carly Rae Jepsen, Alanis Morissette and The Police.
ThreeBlueBirds3 Love Ya Swedish Dishcloth ($6.95; etsy.com)
This with its heart pattern is a sweet way to show a member of your household that you love them — and maybe to take the sting out of it when you ask them to clean up after themselves.
Dream Cloths ($12 for a set of 3; whogivesacrap.org)
We dig the abstract, brightly colored art motifs on these dishcloths too, from a brand with an unforgettable name.
Microfiber dish towels
Microfiber dish towels are excellent multitaskers — they’re great for drying dishes and glassware of all kinds without leaving streaks or lint, and they can do double duty when it comes time to wipe out a sticky sink or get a greasy stovetop clean.
Gryeer Microfiber Kitchen Towels ($16.99 for a set of 8; amazon.com)
The Gryeer microfiber kitchen towels get high marks for durability and absorbency, and they come in 10 different colors.
Kimteny Coral Velvet Dish Towels ($11.89 for a set of 12; amazon.com)
If a multitasking towel is what you’re looking for, look no further than these dish towels. They’re smaller than traditional dishcloths, so they’re easier to manage when used in lieu of a sponge or paper towel for cleaning.
MU Kitchen Microfiber Dishcloth With Scrubber ($11.99 for a set of 2; target.com)
Another take on the multitasking microfiber towel is the MU Kitchen microfiber dishcloth, which comes in six color choices and is fitted with a scouring pad.
Flour sack dishcloths
Flour sack dishcloths are thin and lightweight, so they don’t take up a lot of storage space and they dry very quickly. Unlike their close cousin the tea towel, which doesn’t excel at drying, flour sack dishcloths are highly absorbent and dry water off of dishes and glassware quickly and easily.
Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Dish Towels ($14.99 for a set of 12; amazon.com)
A basic set of white flour sack dish towels, like these highly rated towels, is a great investment, especially just before the holiday season — and all the dish-doing that comes along with it! — gets into full swing.
Made By Design Flour Sack Kitchen Towels ($3.99 for a set of 4; target.com)
The this highly rated set of Made By Design basic flour sack discloths is a bargain at just $3.99 — you might want to pick up two (or more).
Farm Animal Flour Sack Printed Kitchen Towel White ($3.49; target.com)
For a flour sack dishcloth with a little more whimsy, try this charming pick.
Waffle dish towels
Waffle dishcloths are a great choice both for absorbency and for thickness, which helps to protect delicate items like glass or fine china when laid out on a countertop to provide extra drying space. Waffle dish towels can also be used as hand towels in kitchens or powder rooms.
Py Home & Sports Waffle Weave Kitchen Towels (starting at $11.99 for a set of 4; amazon.com)
One benefit of having a set of thick cotton dish towels, like these two-ply waffle weave towels, is that they can double as pot holders and trivets when folded into a square.
Prep & Savour Dishcloth ($19.99 for a set of 4; wayfair.com)
The Prep & Savour dishcloth is a waffle dish towel that’s highly absorbent but not overly thick. Reviewers love the variety of colors available — 18 shades, including traditional colors like white, beige and navy, and offbeat choices like eggplant, artichoke green and mineral gray.
Lillian Dish Towels ($24 for a set of 3; anthropologie.com)
Dish towels can be functional and pretty, like these dish towels with their ombre gradient grid designs in assorted colors and fringed edges.
Top overall value
Sometimes a dish towel is just a dish towel, and you want something that does the job without costing a whole lot of money. Regardless of what type of kitchen towel you prefer, there are high-quality, inexpensive options for you.
Solid Diamond Weave Kitchen Towel ($1.99; target.com)
Target reviewers give the Solid Diamond Weave Kitchen Towel high marks for softness, absorbency and durability. It comes in five colors: black, gray, red, blue and aqua.
Ursmart Microfiber Cleaning Kitchen Towel ($6.49 for a set of 6; amazon.com)
An inexpensive set of microfiber towels, like these Ursmart cleaning towels, are a great choice for people on a budget because, in addition to drying dishes, they can be used for loads of other cleaning jobs, from wiping out a sink to scrubbing the refrigerator.
KAF Home Mixed Flat & Terry Kitchen Towels (starting at $14.99 for a set of 6; amazon.com)
Different types of towels excel at different jobs, and so if a variety of dishcloth styles is what you need, this pack offers a nice variety bundle at a low price.