...because home doesn't happen overnight.

One of you spied a minor new addition to our bathroom in this as-is house tour post. Do you see it?

after 20

Hint: it’s not the lone toilet paper roll. Or the baby bath seat.


Yep. The towels. You may remember that we were having trouble with our regular ol’ bath towels drying out completely since we’re all sharing the same bathroom and, um Ihatetoadmitit, the same towels. Not ideal, I know. But it’s what we’re doing until we can find a good chunk of time to attack the other {currently gutted} bathroom.

Adding a few more towel hooks to another wall or the door would have been another solution but, since the kids will eventually have their own bathroom, we decided to try something that would work now and in the future when extra towels aren’t necessary.


Luckily, the rise of the peshtemal coincided with our bath towel conundrum. If you haven’t heard of the peshtemal {where have you been?} it’s actually one of those ‘what’s old is new again’ comebacks. Peshtemals have been used for centuries in Anatolian steam baths. They’re made of 100% cotton and known to be highly absorbent, lightweight and fast-drying. These properties make them ideal for bathrooms, traveling, the gym and the beach.

I decided to give them a try. I bought two from this etsy shop to start. We liked them so much and they worked so well {i.e., they dry out completely in a short amount of time so no more mildewy-smelling towels!} that I ordered another five during a sale the shop was running a few weeks ago. I bought all different colors and patterns. I like mixing the towels. They add a little fun to our otherwise neutral bathroom. I get way too excited about them.




HH wasn’t sure about them the first time he tried one. I think his exact words were “I feel like I’m drying off with a bed sheet.” But much to his disbelief, the thin little towels do a better job of drying him off than our regular bath towels. They’re like the ShamWow of the bath towel world. They’re that good. Not to mention they look pretty darn amazing too.

As far as washing them goes, I just throw them in a cold wash cycle and dry them in the dryer on low-medium heat. Easy. Once warmer weather rolls around, I’ll probably hang them outside to dry. They just get better and softer with each wash.


The other advantage of the peshmetal is its petite size. They are thinner and smaller than your typical bath towel. The image above shows our seven peshtemals folded and stacked next to a pile of seven of our regular store bought bath towels. This space-saving characteristic is great for our downsized linen closet! All I have to do is donate our old towels. Oh yes, the Great Purge of 2013 is almost here.

Do you own a peshtemal? What’s been your experience with it? I was surprised to learn that peshtemals can also be worn as clothing. {Haven’t tried it yet.} Now isn’t that one multifunctional piece of cotton?!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



I have two. I swoon over them every time I open my linen closet. I picked them up from One Kings Lane, though I am keen to check out the Etsy shop.


Perfect timing! I’ve just decided to use some leftover paint to paint our bathroom but couldn’t figure out what to do about towels. I love this idea. I’ve never used them before but I do have many sarongs like you can buy in import stores and tropical places. I always pack at least one when I’m traveling or going to the pool. They’re absorbent, dry quickly, pack small and have about 1,000 uses.


Interesting…I have never heard of these. How are they with makeup spots/stains? What I mean is that sometimes all of my eye makeup doesn’t come off in the shower, so I will notice a few small black mascara spots once I pat my face dry…with my regular towels, there aren’t ever any stains once I wash them., so I wanted to know if these, since they look more like a thin throw than a towel, would be more sensitive to any dirt getting on them?


This is so great!! I want to try them – and I love all the color and pattern choices! Thanks!


Oh, I’m so glad you addressed this! I’d wondered whether the peshtemals were drying faster and avoiding the damp-musty towel issue you mentioned. I’m a long-time white towel gal, but I may have to try a couple of these, since they come in handsome neutrals as well as festive colors.


If you are really going to donate your old towels. Please consider bringing them to the humane society. They are always needing towels for after surgery’s etc.

I’ve never really heard of these before. Now I’m going to check them out, because we are also a one bathroom house and the towel situation is not awesome. I’m tired of smelly towels!


That’s a wonderful idea, Jane! Good to know.


I have the same makeup vs. towel issues…no problem for the peshtemal!


I just sent this to my husband. I am trying to make the transition to peshtemal (for the size, colours/patterns and quick drying) and my husband is not convinced. His reaction was the same as HH’s word for word! Good to know he may be convinced.


I’m late to this trend! I’m definitely interested in hearing how these towels stack up in the long run.


My husband was actually the one who bought some peshtemals, but after a month of use, he decided he really didn’t like them. I don’t like them either, except in the summer (when our house is too hot). Instead, I use ours for just about everything else. It’s a nice travel towel because it takes up so little space.


I’m so glad you posted on these. I’ve had my eye on them for a while, but was uncertain if they were worth the plunge. Sounds like they just might be!


I gotta try em! Thanks for posting these!


I’ve never heard of this, but I’m SO intrigued!


LOVE this! Would you consider the Pestemal towels the same as Hammam or Turkish towels? I LOVE the colors and that they dry so much quicker, and they’re so colorful and playful looking too, SO much personality :-) Thanks for sharing!!


I don’t think I’ve ever heard of peshtemal, unless perhaps there is a less fancy name for them like surgical lint free towels? They seem similar in a way.


Yes, yes please do. We just donated a two and 1/2 yr. old electric dryer to an Animal Rescue Shelter because our new home had a natural gas hook up only.
It was just random that I thought about giving a Rescue Group a call to see if they had a need for a newer dryer and they were beyond estatic plus they even came to pick it up. Win, Win for all mankind :))!!!
Some shelters are really in need for child/kids etc.. blankets for all those poor lil ones they rescue.


I’ve never come across these but I’m going to by some, they sound great! I need a towel that packs small for yoga, and these seem to fit the bill perfectly.


Great idea – any pet shelter would be grateful – and probably a lot of vet offices as well. I also keep a few old towels around for when I take my babies to the vet to lay on the examining table – at least it’s a bit of the scent of home.


I have peshtemal envy! We may be on a verge of a bathroom reno and I’m adding these to the budget.


What a timely post! I actually just purchased two of the grey/cream striped Peshtemals from the same Etsy shop as a Christmas gift for my mom & step-dad. They recently moved into a condo and asked for new towels so I thought these would be perfect for all of the reasons you mentioned, specifically the space saving perk.

Glad to hear you love them!!


Others might want to know that several eBay sellers have much lower prices ($8-15/towel), comparable shipping charges, and high seller ratings.


I’ve seen/heard them called Hammam and Turkish towels as well. Not sure if they are different in any way but they look all the same to me.


Thanks for the tip! I’m a frugal shopper.


I can’t imagine you have much to purge. I’m excited for a post on the topic though. I was just thinking today that after the holidays I’m addressing the hoard once and for all. I’m so over the clutter.


I ordered a few peshtemals (also called Turkish towels or Hammam towels, all same actually) from the same shop (The Anatolian) and have been really impressed by the quality and the softness of them (a few handmade cotton and organic bamboo peshtemals). Glad to say ‘bye bye heavy and smelly terry towels’ :-)


Here’s a hint … I found they worked much better if you fold the towel in half before you dry off.


HH, thanks for the little update :)
A couple ?’s–if you fold them in half to dry doesn’t that make the towel pretty small vertically compared to a regular bath towel?
How are they also working in the drying off department? I’ve heard such mixed reviews that I’m afraid the testoterone of the household would despise them if I financially took the plunge and purchased some, hence the questions for you two awesome folks:)


Tam, the one’s we have are pretty bit … about the size of your typical full towel. So when I fold it in half it’s still plenty of towel to dry off with. I do prefer a standard cotton towel, but I couldn’t handle our bathroom smelling like wet dog so I said I would give these a try. As Dana stated, they get better the more you use and wash them. So now I really like them.


Received my towels this past week and we are in love!!!! They are 70″ long so way bigger then our bath towels. We ordered six of them and all six stacked up to the same height as three of our bath towels. They really are super absorbent and dry so nice and fast!! Thanks housetweaking!!!! Btw I ordered mine off of eBay, they came directly from Istanbul turkey and I got them in two days!!!! Six large ones cost me $58


We have a few and I LOVE them. My husband had a similar reaction as HH and he hasn’t really come around, but I’m a big fan.

They are THE BEST beach towels in the world too.


Which seller did you use?


Barbo53 is the seller name


These look wonderful. Can you tell me how the fringe has held up after washing? Sometimes I find that fringe can make a towel look shabby and worn after several washes.


What didn’t you like about them? I’ve been on the fence about buying a few, for about a year now. lol


Ours never seemed as absorbent as our old towels- it felt like I was using a blanket to dry off. We don’t even use dryer sheets, so I know our peshtemals were as absorbent as they possibly could be too!


Dear Heather,

This seller is stealing images from Etsy shops and using them to sell peshtemals on Ebay. Thanks to your message I just figured it out and filed a complaint to EBay about this misuse.

Kind regards,

The Anatolian


I just get one and i love it my bathroom will look great with that.



[…] *https://www.housetweaking.com/2012/12/19/the-peshtemal-plunge/ […]


The hardestpart was to convince my husband about their absorbency! Now he loves them and i don’t think we are ever going back to the terry towels . I got mine from http://www.smyrnacollection.com
The quality is super nice!


One Kings Lane has some nice models, I picked one up from there before. Now I get mine from http://www.FindikliDesign.com & typically buy a set of the Denizli towels for housewarming gifts


I received one of these towels as a gift from a Turkish friend. Love at first use! I decided to replace all my towels with these and on my search, I’ve come across to this seller (www.aquathentic.com ) here in United States. I ordered two different types of towels and loved them both.

I love Turkish Towels! I’m glad you gave them a try. Your post inspired me to write one of my own :)



Awesome! I recently switched out our old beach towels for Turkish towels, too. Our pool bag is much lighter!


This is one of the bests posts about Turkish towels.
We are selling them in New Zealand,www.koza.co.nz, and in Australia, http://www.kozatowels.com.au
Most important point at the end of the day is they are really more hygienic comparing to regular,fluffy towels because they are themselves in 2-3 hours.
I think for many people it’s really easy to use and adapt them for beach, but not for bathroom.
People are used to use big,thick,fluffy towels after shower(because they feel cold).
If they can just try one time to use turkish towels for bathroom, usually they are not going back to fluffy towels.

Let me know if you have any questions.


Awesome! Thanks for the heads up. (Still love our towels, btw.)


I used them every where, bath, beach, gym and also gave them as bridesmaid gifts. Try these guys out they have the best selection and prices. http://fabricdome.com/


Good tip! Thank you House Tweaking and Kiera. I just purchased 20 of them as gifts.


Score! I changed to these and no more mildewy smelling heavy towels. They are great.


Thanks for the tip Kiera and Housetweaking. I purchased mine from fabricdome and they are beautiful.


The biggest peshtemal towel store is http://www.peshtemalix.com

They send products worldwide and has best prices.


Do they do custom logos on the towels?


I’m getting ready to take the plunge and order Turkish towels and hand towels. I don’t see any washcloth sizes though. Can you tell me what you do for that?


We use loofahs! I do keep a few terry washcloths on hand for guests.


Great post. We like when people are talking and writing about pestemal. We are a producer of pestemal in Turkey and with the exception of our good neighbour (jennifer’s hamam – she does handmade), all of the other pestemal outside are small factory produced.
Some companies – even though the label says cotton – use blended threads with polyester, acrylic and viscose, which is why some of you may feel like your towel is not absorbing. We are the producers and buy our threads from reputable cotton thread people here in central Turkey. We only buy 100% Turkish cotton. If you visit our website at atatextiles.com I think you’ll find that our prices are much, much better than what you can find outside and our methods of making our pestemal (towels, blankets and robes) make us the best quality in our category of small factory produced. please feel free to write me with more questions. Ahmet (secretary to the Owner of ATA Textiles)


I love the vibrant colors of the peshtemals and they dry quite fast, in addition to being lighter than regular towels. I have been getting them from http://www.quiquattro.com/peshtemal/
They have very good customer service!

I fell in love with Turkish towels in the South of France five years ago. I was initially drawn to their beauty but quickly fell in love with their functionality after purchasing and using one.

After returning home and realizing how difficult it was to find good quality, well-priced, hand-loomed, organic cotton Turkish towels, I travelled to Turkey met with many Turkish towel producers and purchased and tested dozens of towels to find the very best ones before launching my store. What I realized during this process was that not all Turkish towels, also known as pestemal or fouta (when woven in Tunisia), are created equal. It is important to ensure your towels are made of high quality, organic cotton and preferably are hand-loomed. Our towels are are loomed from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and are loomed on traditional shuttle style looms by artisan families who have been looming for decades. Quality pestemal will get softer and more absorbent with use and washing, you will enjoy them for years.


We bought our towels from the original shop that was mentioned in this post;
The towels are really beautiful and soft! Best buy of the year :-)

Thanks House*tweaking!


Which style of towel did you get from the etsy shop? Thanks!