Towels - technical specs

Towelling Specification

All hems are overlocked, Triple-Folded, and then Double Stitched to prevent fraying and provide real strength to the edge. A towel is made with a flat smooth edge all the way around so the hem can be made. This is why one cannot make towels from a roll of towelling - it cannot then produce a commercial grade hem that will last. Hence they are always a fully imported item.

What white do you use?

No it is not a silly question. We use minimum bleaching to 'Brilliant White' to avoid pile damage.

White changes in differing lights, situations, even your eyes. We try and standardise the white but we only warrant that we get each lot close.

Laundries use optical brighteners that have a huge effect on the white you see and that is why they all end up looking very much the exact same white. White is actually more about optical brighteners and tricking the eye rather than bleach or whitener.

Only cotton - no 'eco' polyester blends here

We only use 100% cotton in towels. There are some 'eco' towels on the market that use a polyester base layer sheet with the cotton weaved in.

These will dry quicker but of course cannot absorb as much water.

The main problem with them is that polyester is oleophilic (attracts and absorbs oil) so if you get any oils in the wash (inevitable from dishcloths etc.) it will not wash out of the polyester. Indeed all the oils in the wash will be attracted to whatever polyester they can find.

We tested this by mixing a rag in with the wash of these, plus 100% cotton towels. When rewashed the cotton came clean and white, but the 'eco' towel remained grey as the base layer had absorbed oil and cannot be whitened.

3 grades of cotton:

Our base commercial range uses high quality ringspun yarn to reduce linting and provide a strong long lasting towel.

Hospitality towels use combed cotton to separate the longer strands which provide a softer feeling.

Egyptian towelling used 'egyptian' cotton as it simply makes a stronger, always softer product. Note that very little cotton is actually grown in Egypt and the term is used for the breed of long strand cotton.


We have trialed Bamboo and other alternative towels but at present they simply do not stand up to commercial usage so they remain a retail product. Improvements are being made and the next step is to plant large scale textile specific crops but until that happens cotton is still the only yarn for commercial towels.

What is a header?

A header is the patterned band often found at either end of a towel product. These are purely decorative and serve no functional purpose, except perhaps to identify between two similar products.

Some users prefer a header because it may enhance the visual appearance of a towelling product, whereas others don't like headers because of the slight 'bunched' effect that can occur when the header shrinks.

Towels from Britannia Textiles have woven header bands to minimise shrinkage.