14 Quick-Dry Towels That Help Keep Germs to a Minimum
Say goodbye to nasty odors and bacterial growth with these expert-approved quick-dry towels for your hair, body, and more. Plus, options that work for camping, the beach, the gym, or your home's kitchen or bathroom.
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What are quick-dry towels?
Think about the highly trafficked rooms in your home, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, then picture the bags you or your kids bring to the gym, camp, or practice.
What do these all have in common? There’s a good chance towels are present.
You want to feel confident that those towels are clean, dry, and odor free—and that they will leave your hands, body, or hair fresh and clean after use.
With this in mind, more cleaning and home experts are turning to quick-dry towels, or towels made from synthetic microfibers or cotton that dries quickly.
This can help limit the growth of germs and bacteria that can occur on wet or damp towels, and leave them with a mildew smell that just about everyone would like to avoid.
Here’s what you need to know about quick-dry towels. Plus, the best ones to buy.
How quick-dry towels limit germs
“Quick-dry towels are designed to prevent the spread of mildew, bacterial growth, and foul odors from forming,” explains Dean Davies, a cleaning expert at Fantastic Cleaners, a home, office, and clothes cleaning company in London.
“Unlike regular old towels that develop an off-putting smell over time that is very hard to get rid of, quick-dry towels just need to be washed in the washing machine once in a while, and they’re good to go—no bad odors, no germs. Plus they air dry quickly.”
How towels dry between uses is equally as important as how often you actually wash your towels, germ expert Philip Tierno, PhD, a microbiologist at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, previously told The Healthy.
A dry towel helps kill organisms or suppress their growth better than a wet towel. And that’s why you shouldn’t store wet towels in the bathroom.
These quick-dry towels come with other benefits as well.
“They dry fast, but they also absorb moisture quickly,” says Davies. “Placing a microfiber towel on top of a small puddle will quickly soak it up. Using a microfiber towel is quicker and easier for cleaning up spilt water than regular towels, paper towels, and napkins.”
They are also typically thinner than traditional towels, so they fold up smaller and are easier to transport in purses, duffels, and backpacks than regular towels.
The best quick-dry towels for every use
Here are 14 expert-recommended quick-dry towels that will fit all your needs, while keeping germs to a minimum.
JML Microfiber Bath Towel 2 Pack
The main benefit of using quick-dry towels is that they prevent dampness, which leads to bacterial growth.
“According to a recent study, damp towels in bathrooms are 90 percent likely to have E. coli bacteria,” says Jennifer Rodriguez, chief hygiene officer at ProHousekeepers.com. “I recommend getting microfiber quick-dry towels as they dry the quickest and are the easiest to wash.”
Her favorite for after a bath or shower: The JML Microfiber Bath Towel.
E-Cloth Home Cleaning Set
“For general cleaning purposes, I would recommend the E-Cloth Home Cleaning Set which has a 300-wash guarantee,” Rodriguez says.
This eight-piece set includes towels with different weaves and textures for mopping, scrubbing, dusting, wiping, washing, and polishing, as well as various sizes to fit every task.
Gilden Tree Premium Waffle Weave Towel
In addition to microfiber, quick-dry towels can also be made with 100 percent natural cotton. If that’s what you’re looking for, Alex Varela, general manager of Dallas Maids, a house cleaning service in Dallas, Texas, suggests choosing one with a waffle weaving pattern like these Gilden Tree hand towels.
“This type of weave allows much more airflow, therefore drying faster,” explains Varela. “They can work for daily use, or for your guest’s bathroom.”
(These are the bathroom mistakes you’re probably making.)
Turbie Twist Microfiber Hair Towel Wrap
For women and men looking to dry their hair quickly and eliminate frizz, the Turbie Twist Microfiber hair wrap can’t be beat.
Unlike a regular towel, it has elastic loops that help secure the wrap on your head, while the fast-drying microfiber means you won’t need to wash it after every single use.
(Here’s how a microfiber hair towel can make your hair healthier.)
Hair RePear Ultimate Hair Towel
Prefer a natural quick-dry hair towel? Nearly 1,000 happy Amazon reviewers agree that this Hair RePear towel is best.
Made with 100 percent natural cotton and available in three sizes to fit every length of hair, reviewers rave that it stays on snugly, prevents frizz, and doesn’t damage hair.
OlimpiaFit Microfiber Towels
For the perfect introduction to quick-dry towels, try this three-pack from OlimpiaFit.
“You can use the two bigger ones most of the time, and you still get a third, smaller towel for your hands or face,” Varela says. “Plus, they come with a bag to store the three of them.”
The storage bag makes this towel set perfect for travel or camping.
4Monster Microfiber Towel
If you’re traveling, backpacking, or heading to the gym solo, Varela recommends the 4Monster Microfiber Towel.
The lightweight towel is large enough for you to dry off after a shower but folds into a pocket-sized carrying case about the size of an iPhone.
Genovega Microfiber Towel Blanket
Are you a fan of prints and bright colors?
“A lot of them come with gorgeous designs, and it’s a nice way of “introducing” people to quick dry towels,” says Varela, who loves these Genovega towels. With 25 different patterns to choose from, these large and extra-large towels can also make a great gift.
PackTowl Personal Towel
“PackTowl’s quick-dry towels are great for travelers, campers, and people on the go,” cheers Davies.
These all-synthetic microfiber towels come in four different sizes, from beach-sized (36 by 59 inches) down to face-sized (10 by 14 inches), plus seven unique and stylish color options.
Coyuchi Temescal Organic Towels
Just because they dry faster does not mean that quick-dry towels can’t feel just as soft as traditional towels.
“Although a bit on the expensive side, these household bath and hand towels are some of the best you’ll ever find,” promises Davies on Coyuchi Temescal towels.
“They are all made out of 100 percent cotton, which has been grown and woven in Turkey. Not only are these towels organic and soft to the touch, but they also dry quicker than your regular old towel.”
You can purchase a bath towel, bath sheet, bath mat, hand towel or washcloth, or a six-piece set with two each of bath, hand, and washcloths.
Hydrocotton Organic Quick-Dry Towels
If you’re willing to splurge on natural quick-dry towels for your home, Eva Petruzziello, a sustainable living expert at SimplenDelight.com, suggests these Hydrocotton towels from Pottery Barn.
“Quick drying natural towels, made of natural fibers like organic cotton, are luxurious in feel and have a long life-span,” explains Petruzziello. “Plus, they do not stick to your fingers as synthetic towels may.”
Club Kokomo Turkish Beach and Bath Towel
If you’re looking for a towel to bring on the go and prefer 100 percent cotton over synthetic, Petruzziello recommends this Club Kokomo towel.
“It’s a thinner version, so it can easily be brought to the beach, to swimming lessons, or used as a compact towel for travel or impromptu occasions,” she says.
“Quick-dry towels are better than regular towels for their portability, environmental friendliness, longevity, and antibacterial properties.”
Full Circle Tidy 100 percent Organic Cotton Dish Cloths
This set of three organic cotton patterned dishcloths from Full Circle is suitable for cleaning, polishing, drying, and more.
“Just purchased another set of these,” says one five-star reviewer. “This is the only dishcloth I have found that doesn’t take on that ‘foul mildew odor’ that all my other dishcloths do.”
510 Design Big Bundle 12-pc. Quick Dry Solid Bath Towel Set
If you’re looking to outfit all the bathrooms in your home with quick-dry towels at once, look no further than this 12-piece set from JCPenney.
With four bath towels, four hand towels, and four washcloths, you can replace all your towels with these soft, 100 percent cotton, anti-microbial picks.
- Dean Davies, a cleaning expert at Fantastic Cleaners
- Jennifer Rodriguez, Chief Hygiene Officer at ProHousekeepers.com
- Alex Varela, General Manager of Dallas Maids, a house cleaning service in Dallas, Texas
- Eva Petruzziello, a sustainable living expert at SimplenDelight.com