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Kitchen towels and pot holders?

After checking the local sources, I came up empty so now the online search begins. The pot holders available at the local sources were all thin and synthetic and seemed pricey for what they were. The kitchen towels were all synthetic as well which has caused me some grief in the past with the microwave (a little oil on a potato in the microwave).

Where do you find thick natural fiber pot holders and good quality natural fiber kitchen towels?

I'm willing to pay good money for good quality but, I'm not looking for some super premium product endorsed by some famous (or infamous) chef either.

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  1. I am able to find many cotton kitchen towels in HomeGoods and TJMaxx. As for online, I have bought rayon/bamboo kitchen towel:


    1. Where do you live? Like CK, I've had no problem with thick, 100% cotton. Almost anywhere. Be careful with those synthetics - you can burn yourself.

      2 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        I'm in Arizona with limited access to name brand stores. The economy out here is pretty bad so, shopping in general caters to the cheapest imports available.

        Walmart around here only has synthetic materials or very thin cotton. I want something thick enough not to burn my hands or laminate countertop when I have a hot pan or skillet. I really DO NOT want synthetic fabric.

        1. re: Sid Post

          Target has a pretty good selection, most of what they carry local to me is cotton.
          I've also found some bamboo/cotton blend kitchen towels at Kohl's--they are "Food Network" brand but they perform beautifully. I just picked up 2 more about a month ago to replace some that I've had for about 2 years and were getting a little frayed.

      2. I like the pot holders and towels from Williams Sonoma.

        4 Replies
        1. re: cheesecake17

          For me, anything from WS is just too expensive. Crate & Barrel is great.

          1. re: c oliver

            I buy them when they put the "old" colors on sale.

            1. re: cheesecake17

              After an unplanned trip, I stopped by some shops on my way home. Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, etc. were a waste of time, having only very thin and cheap imports.

              I did stumble into a Williams-Sonoma and found a few pot holders on the clearance table for $5. While they seemed a little spendy at $5 each, they were the only ones that weren't very thin and they are 100% cotton.

              I'm still a little surprised that it is so hard to find high quality pot holders in today's economy and marketplaces. The desire for cheap disposable stuff seems to really rule the consumer options today.

              1. re: Sid Post

                $5 isn't so spends, considering the junk at target were $4.
                I picked up cotton lined silicone pot holders at wegmans. They were $15 each, reduced to $3

        2. I discovered some great finds at the Tuesday Morning store, but it's quite hit and miss. And for pot holders, I love my "mitten" ones made of silicone.

          1. I buy fairly inexpensive ones at Ikea because I go through them at a steady clip:


            4 Replies
            1. re: tcamp

              I'm glad for this reminder. I recently realized that almost all of mine (and I have a goodly number) are stained beyond repair. We're going to be in Seattle soon and it's never complete without a trip to Ikea.

              1. re: tcamp

                That's what I do. And I use the towels as potholders.

                1. re: Savour

                  I use towels as potholders also. I've never found a potholder including mitts to work as well. They always feel awkward.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I have a great pair that need replacing. I think they were WS but they no longer carry that style :(

              2. I love Williams-Sonoma's pot holders. They're really thick and sturdy. I also stock up on their towels when they're on sale. The towels are very absorbent and have a nice, classic look. I'm near a W-S outlet, so that makes it easier. You might find some on eBay.

                1. Swedish Army towels. Best towels we've ever used and so far have at least 10 years on them. All cotton, high thread count, large, thick, absorbent and indestructible. Google for them.

                  If you want something special, bidet towels. Same as above, finer weave, higher quality. My wife won't let me steal them anymore.

                  We have not used natural pot holders in years. We started with some square black silicon with bumps on them but they were a bust as the heat went right through. Switched to thicker round red ones from Chefs Catalog and they are superb. Always clean, many uses.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Ray2

                    If I could find something to handle CI pans out of a very hot oven, I would be thrilled!

                    1. re: bevwinchester

                      Silicone pot holder wrapped in a cheap kitchen towel works for me. That's how I move around extremely hot cast iron or thick steel pizza 'stones.' The metal doesn't scorch the silicone, and the towel keeps your hand from getting burnt. Might depend on your hand strength though to avoid losing your grip.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        Thank you- I will try that tip. CI is very heavy & I worry about dropping it!

                  2. I get kitchen towels at a restaurant supply store - generally about a 12-pack for around $15-$20. They actually absorb water, which the synthetics tend not to do, they wash well, you can bleach them, and they make great cleaning rags when they start getting old.

                    1. I have these silver pot holders that work really well, withstanding all but the highest of heat (even though they're not that thick). The online description says they are silicone, but the tag on mine say 100% cotton. So my guess is that they are cotton with a silicone coating. I purchased mine at a restaurant supply store and they look to be the same, down to the design and the loop.. http://www.acemart.com/restaurant-tex....

                      1. Sid,

                        Like you, I hate those synthetic towels. I bought 2 sets of these cotton towels from Amazon, with free Prime shipping. I've had them for 2 years and they're holding up well. They weren't very absorbent until I washed them, now they're fine. Good weight, too, not thin at all. They do shrink a bit. The final size, after washing/drying, is 16.5" x 21".

                        They cost more than thin cotton bar towels, but I think they're worth it. A big plus for me is that stains don't show at all, which was a turn-off with every light-colored kitchen towel I've ever owned.


                        EDIT - Oops, I forgot to add that I use a pair of OveGloves for pot holders. They get grungy-looking, but they work fine.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DuffyH

                          Do you think that initial shrink is what the low reviews are about?

                          I wash in cold and air dry. Granted, I don't have to worry about meat fluids, only dairy.

                          1. re: truepeacenik


                            The poor reviews are about shrinkage, yes, and softness, too. To be sure I'm not imagining things, I checked a newly washed towel last night. It's not stiff at all. I think the people who complained of stiffness hadn't washed the towels before reviewing, or hadn't washed them enough times.

                            I wash/rinse in warm/cold, using vinegar to soften, then dry in the dryer. Colors are still bright after a full year. With cold water you should only have minimal shrinkage.

                        2. Don't laugh, but 100 % cotton (unused) prefold diapers work great! Something like this:


                          or this:


                          If you google around, you can find them in multiple sizes (preemie up to toddler) and anywhere between $12 and $30 per dozen.

                          I have a bunch of newborn size that I bought for just this purpose.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: jljohn

                            Thanks! I hadn't really considered that option. Those appear to be EXACTLY what I'm looking for.

                            1. re: jljohn

                              That's what I use as well - I used to always buy diapers for any baby showers I had to attend (regardless of what was on their registry) and pick up a pack for my kitchen.

                              1. re: jljohn

                                Those are THE BEST cleaning rags. Ever.

                              2. I like good quality cotton. On two separate occasions I have bought dish towels from Walmart and they were really good and stylish, went back for me alas they are gone, never to be replenished.

                                1. I always use a white 100% cotton towel, always bleachable, soft, not heavy yet very absorbant. Buy them by the dozen at either a restaurant supply store, or a good grocery store.
                                  Never use synthetic fabric ones, as they seem to just move the water from one place to another, rather than actually dry the dishes.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: carter

                                    Second that. Kitchen towels are like the rags used in auto repair shops, best bought cheap and in bulk, washed as long as they remain useful, and discarded when they get funky. Cotton, always.

                                    I don't buy potholders. I buy only large, thickly padded quasi-industrial oven mitts sold in restaurant-supply stores and better kitchen retailers, long enough to protect my wrists when moving dishes into/out of the oven. A lot of these mitts are now made with scorch-resistant fabric on the outside. They're relatively expensive, USD 15 to 20 a pair, but they last a long time and are machine washable.

                                    The mitts are used mostly for oven work. The kitchen towels suffice when I need to grab a hot handle or two on the stove top.

                                  2. I buy my kitchen towels at Costco and have for years. Great prices, nice and thick terry cloth, nice solids mixed with cute prints. For pot holders, I've been using silicone since they double as trivets quite well.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: rasputina

                                      I like the quality but hate the "cute prints." I'm a solid color person in towels and sheets :)

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Have been looking for kitchen curtains, or even just a valance. After finding mostly prints with fruit, coffee cups or happy little flowers, just bought some plain fabric to make my own!

                                      2. re: rasputina

                                        Can't imagine using terry cloth dish towels.
                                        A thinish cotton towel is perfect, better by the dozen.
                                        And no cute prints, EVER!
                                        Just plain white baby!
                                        Always bleachworthy if required.

                                      3. In restaurant kitchens, there's no such thing as pot holders. You use cotton towels folded. Buy thick cotton towels, they work well. Usually, one will work for all but the largest stockpots.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: hankstramm

                                          Pot holders are convenient for me though, a towel does work well. I'm not in a commercial kitchen either so, I'll take a little convenience.

                                          1. re: Sid Post

                                            I just don't find potholders convenient. I find them awkward.

                                            1. re: Sid Post

                                              Actually, towels are much easier. If they weren't, they'd use pot holders in a commercial kitchen. Trust me, the right ones (plain thick white cotton ones) work much better than potholders

                                              1. re: hankstramm

                                                I really do agree with you. I don't have very strong hands so with hotpads and mitts I feel like I don't really have as much control as I do with towels. The former just feel to thick to me. Whereas with towels I can use as many or as few layers as I need for a particular job. And with most cookware, one towel kinda wrapped around the pot from left to right (or right to left!) I can get it out of the oven feeling very balanced.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Friendly reminder... make sure that towel is dry :)

                                                  1. re: iluvcookies

                                                    Definitely! Wet cloths of any kind will conduct that heat fast than you can say "Ouch."

                                          2. I got these at Macy's years ago and they're still going strong.
                                            Well worth the money.

                                            1. I just thought I would update this thread since I started using OsoCozy cloth diapers. So far, they are working out well for me.

                                              I wonder what Mom will think next time she comes over to visit! :-D

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: Sid Post

                                                If she gets a speculative, yet hopeful, gleam in her eye, you'll know why. :)

                                              2. Found YARDAGE for linen towels at a yard sale for pennies. Maybe 5-6 yards of ecru colored stuff with red bands along sides. Cut up and edged and ended up with 8-10 mice sized towels for kitchen... and non-white color forgiving with food stains.

                                                My Dad worked YEARS at an oil refinery in SE PA. He came home one time with what we called the "bloody hands"... bright red, terry-ish gloves that were used in labs around HOT STUFF. They were GREAT oven/stove mitts... but NOT great if accidently ended up in a load of wash... everything came out pink!!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: kseiverd

                                                  How big a towel do the mice require? [VBG]

                                                2. I too have become frustrated with the quality of many new kitchen towels. I have had good luck finding vintage 100% cotton and all linen towels at thrift stores. I was recently in Florida and found several linen towels in perfect condition for 75 cent each at a thrift store!

                                                  1. My favorite kitchen towels are by Ritz (low end prices) and Eklund ($$+) imported from Sweden. The Eklund are either a cotton and linen blend or 100% cotton. They also make dishcloths that have bamboo in the blend and that keeps them from getting sour. They also have gorgeous table linens too. You can find them on line.