How Bath Towel Is Made – Material, Manufacturing Process, Making, History, Used, Composition, Product, Business

Bath towels are woven items of fabric either cotton or cotton-polyester that are used to absorb moisture on the body after bathing. Bath towels are often sold in a set with face towels and wash cloths and are always the biggest of the three towels. Bath towels are typically woven with a loop or pile that’s mushy and absorbent and is thus used to wick the water away from the physique. Special looms referred to as dobby looms are used to make this cotton pile.

Bath towels are typically of a single shade however could also be decorated with machine-sewn embroidery, woven in fancy jacquard patterns (pre-determined computer program pushed designs) and even printed in stripes. Since towels are uncovered to a lot water and are washed on sizzling-water wash settings extra steadily than other textiles, printed towels might not retain their pattern very long. Most towels have a two selvage edges or finished woven edges along the sides and are hemmed (minimize and sewn down) at the top and bottom. Some toweling manufacturers produce the yarn used for the toweling, weave the towels, dye them, cut and sew hems, and prepared them for distribution. Others buy the yarn already spun from other wholesalers and solely weave the toweling.


Till the early nineteenth century, when the textile business mechanized, bath toweling might be comparatively expensive to buy or time-consuming to create. There is a few query how important these sanitary linens have been for the common particular person-in spite of everything, bathing was not nearly as universally standard 200 years ago as it’s as we speak! Most nine-teenth century toweling that survives is, indeed, toweling probably used behind or on prime of the washstand, the piece of furniture that held the wash basin and pitcher with water in the times before indoor plumbing. A lot of this toweling was hand-woven, plain-woven pure linen. Fancy ladies’ magazines and mail order catalogs feature fancier jacquard-woven coloured linen patterns (significantly pink and white) however these have been extra prone to be hand and face cloths. It wasn’t until the 1890s that the extra gentle and absorbent terry cloth replaced the plain linen toweling.

As the cotton industry mechanized in this nation, toweling materials might be purchased by the yard in addition to in finished items. By the 1890s, an American home-wife could go to the general retailer or order by way of the mail both woven, sewn, and hemmed Turkish toweling (terry cloth) or may purchase terry cloth by the ‘y’ard, minimize it to the appropriate bath towel size her family appreciated, and hem it herself. A variety of toweling was out there-diaper weaves, huck-abacks, “crash” toweling-primarily in cotton as linen was not commercially woven on this country in nice amount by the 1890s. Weaving factories started mass manufacturing of terry cloth towels by the end of the 9-teenth century and have been producing them in comparable vogue ever since.

Uncooked Materials

Uncooked materials embody cotton or cotton and polyester, relying on the composition of the towel in production. Some towel factories purchase the primary raw materials, cotton, in 500 lb (227 kg) bales and spin them with synthetics so as to get the type of yarn they need for manufacturing. Nonetheless, some factories purchase the yarn from a supplier. These yarn spools of cotton-polyester mix yarn is bought in enormous portions in 7.5 lb (3.Four kg) spools of yarn. A single spool of yarn unravels to 66,000 yd (60,324 m) of thread.

Yarn should be coated or sized to ensure that it to be woven more simply. One such industry coating contains PVA starch, urea, and wax. Bleaches are usually used to whiten a towel earlier than dyeing it (whether it is to be dyed). Again, these bleaches differ depending on the producer, however may embrace as many as 10 ingredients (some of them proprietary) together with hydrogen peroxide, a caustic defoamer, or if the towel is to stay white, an optical brightener to make the white look brighter. Artificial or chemical dyes, of complex composition, which make towels each colorfast and vibrant, might even be used.


Most towels usually are not specifically designed in advanced patterns. The vast majority is simple terry towels woven on dobby looms with loop piles, sewn edges at top and backside. Sizes fluctuate as do colours relying on the order. Increasingly, white or stock towels are sent to wholesalers or others to decorate with laptop-pushed embroidery or decorate with applique fabric or decoration. This occurs in a different location and is often executed by another firm.

The Manufacturing

Course of


– 1 As talked about above, some factories spin their very own yarn for bath towels. If this is completed on the factory, the manufacturer receives large 500 lb (227 kg) bales of either excessive or “middling grade” (of medium quality) cotton for conversion into yarn (high quality relies on the manufacturer and quality of the towel in production). These bales are broken open by an automatic Uniflock machine that nips a bit off the top of every bale, opens it up after which lays it down. The Uniflock opening machine blends the cotton fibers collectively by repeatedly beating it so impurities fall out or are filtered out (these bales contain many impurities within the uncooked cotton). The more pure fibers are blown by tubes to a mixing unit the place the cotton is blended collectively earlier than they’re spun. Larger quality towels use cotton with fibers which might be blended together three times earlier than spinning. In some factories, the cotton is blended with polyester throughout this mixing course of.

– 2 The combined fibers are then blown through tubes to carding machines the place revolving cylinders with wire teeth are used to straighten the fibers and continue to remove impurities before spinning. The cotton fibers, while not yet yarn, are shaping up into parallel fibers in preparation for spinning.

– Three These parallel fibers are then condensed into a sliver-a twisted rope of cotton fibers. These slivers are sent into one other machine through which they’re blended again and sent between other rollers for straightening. The final word purpose is long, straight, parallel fibers as a result of they produce stronger yarns. (Stronger yarns require much less twisting which additionally produces robust yarns but makes them less gentle and absorbent.) The fibers are wound on a large roll and sent on a cart and fed into the combing machine.

– Four Fibers are combed right here, additional straightening the fibers with a finer set of wire teeth than used on the carding machine. Combing removes the shorter fibers, which are coarser and woollier, leaving the finer, longer, silkier cotton fibers for spinning into yarn. Once combed, the fibers are formed right into a twisted rope sliver once more.

– 5 The slivers travel to roving machines the place the fibers are additional twisted and straightened and formed into rovings. The roving frame also slightly twists the fibers. The result is a protracted roving of cotton, which is then wound onto bobbins in the final step earlier than spinning.

– 6 Now the roving is prepared for spinning. The bobbin is spun on a ring-spinning machine, which mechanically draws out or pulls the cotton roving out right into a single strand. The fibers essentially catch one another to kind one steady thread and twists the thread barely as it’s pulled or As soon as the toweling is made, it’s wound on an off-loom take-up reel. It’s then transported to bleaching as enormous rolls of fabric and put into a water bath with bleaching chemicals similar to hydrogen peroxide, caustic defoamers, and other proprietary substances. All toweling must be dyed pure white earlier than it is dyed any color.

spun. As soon as the yarn is spun, it is mechanically wound on massive wheels that resemble rounds of cheese when filled with thread.


– 7 Warp is longitudinal threads in a bit of woven material which might be tightly stretched or warped on a beam. Latitudinal threads called weft or filler are handed below and over the warp to kind the fabric. The big spools of just-spun cotton are ready to be warped or wound on a beam that can be inserted into the loom for weaving. If the yarn is purchased, the 7.5 lb (3.Four kg) spools are readied for warping. A warping beam is then warped through which threads are anchored and wrapped to a large beam in lots of of parallel rows. Completely different towel widths require different numbers of warp threads.

– 8 These large beams, stuffed with wrapped warp threads, are positioned into a rack that holds as much as 12 beams and sized in preparation for weaving. The threads have to be sized or stiffened to make the piece easier to weave. PVA starch, urea, and wax are rolled onto and pressed into the yarn. If you loved this article and you would certainly like to get additional details pertaining to microfiber bath towel gym towel ( kindly go to our own web-page. The threads are then run over drying cans-Teflon-coated cans with steam heat emanating from with-in. This helps to dry the warp threads rapidly. (1,000 warp ends are pulled over 9 cans to dry.) These beams, with coated threads, are now sent to the looms.


– 9 The beams are picked up by a pallet jack or hydraulic elevate truck and transported to looms. These looms differ in width however could also be as slim as eighty five in (216 cm) or as vast as 153 in (389 cm). (Not surprisingly, the wider the loom, the slower the weaving because it takes longer for weft threads to cross the warp.) The beams are lifted onto the looms mechanically with a warp jack, which may bear the load and dimension of the beam.

– 10 Towels are woven on dobby looms, which means each loom has two sets or warp and thus two warp beams-one warp is named the bottom warp and varieties the body of the towel and the other is called the pile warp and it produces the terry pile or loop. Each set of warp threads is carefully fed via a set of steel eyes and is attached to a harness. (Harnesses are separate, parallel frames that may change in their vertical relationships to each other.) These harnesses mechanically raise and decrease these warp threads in order that the weft or filler may be passed between them. The intersection of the warp and weft is woven fabric. The filler yarn is programmed so that it is loosely laid into the woven fabric. When this loose filler is beaten or pressed into the fabric, the slack is pushed up becoming a bit loop. After being dyed, the towel is hemmed and cut into standardized sizes.

Shuttles, which carry the filler threads, are truly shot throughout these massive looms at top-speeds-these towel-making looms could have 18 shuttles fired throughout the warp from a firing cylinder. One shuttle follows proper behind the next. As quickly as the one shuttle shoots throughout the warp threads, the shuttle drops down and is transported back to firing cylinder and is shot across again. A typical towel-weaving machine has 350 shuttle insertions in a single minute-nearly six shuttles fired throughout every second. Thus, towels are woven very quickly on these giant mechanized dobby looms. In a single small towel-making manufacturing unit, 250 dozen bath towels might be made in a single loom in a single week-and there are 50 looms within the manufacturing facility.


– eleven Once the toweling is made (it is one lengthy terry cloth roll and has no starting or finish), it is wound on an off-loom take-up reel. It’s then transported to bleaching as enormous rolls of fabric and put into a water bath with bleaching chemicals akin to hydrogen peroxide, caustic defoamers, and different proprietary ingredients. All toweling must be dyed pure white before it’s dyed any colour. The wet toweling laden with chemicals is then subjected to tremendously excessive temperatures. The heat makes the chemicals react, bleaching the towel. The roll is then washed not less than once and as many as 3 times in a large washer to get all chemicals out of the toweling. The toweling is dried, and whether it is to remain white toweling, it is able to be cut at the highest and bottom, lock-stitched sewn, and have a label connected (all of this is done with one machine).


– 12 If it is to be dyed, the big, dried uncut rolls are taken to large vats of chemical dyes, which have confirmed over time to supply colorfast toweling after in depth residential laundering. After being immersed within the vat, the toweling is removed and pressed between two heavy rollers which forces the dye down into the toweling. A radical steaming sets the coloration. The toweling is again steam-dried, fluffed within the drying course of, after which the dyed towels are ready for chopping, hemming, and labeling.

Chopping, folding, and packaging

– thirteen Closing visual inspection of the reduce and hemmed towels happens and they are handfolded and conveyed to packaging, the place automatic packaging gear forms a bag across the towels and UPC labels are attached to the bags. These packaged towels are despatched to the inventory room, awaiting transport out of the plant.

High quality Management

Towels are rigorously checked for quality management throughout the manufacturing course of. If yarn is purchased, it’s randomly checked for weight and have to be the standard established by the company (lighter yarn spools indicate the yarn is thinner than desired and should not make as sturdy toweling). Bleach and dye vats are periodically checked for acceptable chemical constitution.

Throughout the weaving process, some corporations pass the cloth over a lighted inspection desk. Right here the weavers and quality inspectors monitor the towel for weaving imperfections. Slightly unevenly woven towels could also be straightened out and touched up. But those that can’t could also be labeled “seconds” or imperfect or fully rejected by the corporate. As in all elements of the method, visual checks are a key to high quality management-all involved in the method understand minimum requirements and monitor the product at all times.


Doubtlessly dangerous byproducts are sometimes blended in the water that’s used to bleach, wash, and dye the towel fabric. Particularly, the bleaching course of includes elements (peroxides and different caustics) that cannot be discharged untreated into any water provide. Many toweling factories run their own water therapy plants to insure that the water the plant discharges meets minimum standards for pH, temperature, and many others.

Where to Learn Extra


Montgomery Ward & Co. Spring and Summer 1895 Catalogue and Purchaser’s Guide. NY: Dover Publications, Inc. 1969.

Tate, Blair. The Warp: A Weaving Reference. Ashville, NC: Lark Books, 1991.


Fieldcrest Cannon. “The Making of Royal Velvet Towels.” Unpublished script for a video on towel production. Kannapolis, NC, 1998.

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