How Bath Towel Is Made – Materials, Production Process, Making, Historical Past, Used, Composition, Product, Business

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

Bath towels are typically of a single coloration however may be decorated with machine-sewn embroidery, woven in fancy jacquard patterns (pre-determined pc program pushed designs) and even printed in stripes. Since towels are exposed to a lot water and are washed on scorching-water wash settings more ceaselessly than different textiles, printed towels could not retain their sample very long. Most towels have a two selvage edges or finished woven edges alongside the sides and are hemmed (reduce and sewn down) at the top and backside. Some toweling manufacturers produce the yarn used for the toweling, weave the towels, dye them, reduce and sew hems, and prepared them for distribution. Others buy the yarn already spun from different wholesalers and only weave the toweling.

Historical past

Till the early nineteenth century, when the textile trade mechanized, bath toweling could be comparatively expensive to buy or time-consuming to create. There is a few query how vital these sanitary linens were for the average person-in any case, bathing was not nearly as universally common 200 years in the past as it’s in the present day! Most 9-teenth century toweling that survives is, indeed, toweling most likely used behind or on high of the washstand, the piece of furniture that held the wash basin and pitcher with water in the days earlier than indoor plumbing. A lot of this toweling was hand-woven, plain-woven pure linen. Fancy ladies’ magazines and mail order catalogs function fancier jacquard-woven coloured linen patterns (particularly crimson and white) but these were extra prone to be hand and face cloths. It wasn’t till the 1890s that the more tender and absorbent terry cloth replaced the plain linen toweling.

Because the cotton trade mechanized on this nation, toweling material could be bought by the yard in addition to in finished goods. By the 1890s, an American home-wife could go to the final store or order by means of the mail either woven, sewn, and hemmed Turkish toweling (terry cloth) or may buy terry cloth by the ‘y’ard, cut it to the appropriate bath towel ( size her household favored, and hem it herself. A variety of toweling was obtainable-diaper weaves, huck-abacks, “crash” toweling-primarily in cotton as linen was not commercially woven in this country in nice amount by the 1890s. Weaving factories began mass production of terry cloth towels by the end of the 9-teenth century and have been producing them in comparable trend ever since.

Uncooked Materials

Raw materials embrace cotton or cotton and polyester, depending on the composition of the towel in production. Some towel factories buy the primary raw materials, cotton, in 500 lb (227 kg) bales and spin them with synthetics to be able to get the kind of yarn they need for manufacturing. Nevertheless, some factories buy the yarn from a provider. These yarn spools of cotton-polyester blend yarn is bought in big 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 in order for it to be woven extra easily. One such trade coating incorporates PVA starch, urea, and wax. Bleaches are usually used to whiten a towel before dyeing it (if it is to be dyed). Once more, these bleaches differ relying on the manufacturer, but may embody as many as 10 elements (some of them proprietary) together with hydrogen peroxide, a caustic defoamer, or if the towel is to remain white, an optical brightener to make the white look brighter. Artificial or chemical dyes, of complex composition, which make towels each colorfast and vivid, could even be used.


Most towels should not specifically designed in complicated patterns. The overwhelming majority is simple terry towels woven on dobby looms with loop piles, sewn edges at top and backside. Sizes fluctuate as do colors depending on the order. Increasingly, white or inventory towels are sent to wholesalers or others to decorate with pc-pushed embroidery or decorate with applique fabric or decoration. This happens in a different location and is commonly accomplished 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 done at the manufacturing facility, the manufacturer receives big 500 lb (227 kg) bales of either excessive or “middling grade” (of medium high quality) cotton for conversion into yarn (high quality relies on the producer and high quality of the towel in production). These bales are broken open by an automatic Uniflock machine that nips a bit off the top of each 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 include many impurities throughout the uncooked cotton). The extra pure fibers are blown through tubes to a mixing unit the place the cotton is blended collectively before they’re spun. Larger quality towels use cotton with fibers that are blended together thrice before spinning. In some factories, the cotton is blended with polyester during this blending process.

– 2 The blended 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 take away impurities earlier than spinning. The cotton fibers, whereas not but yarn, are shaping up into parallel fibers in preparation for spinning.

– 3 These parallel fibers are then condensed into a sliver-a twisted rope of cotton fibers. These slivers are sent into one other machine during which they are blended once more and despatched between other rollers for straightening. The final word objective is lengthy, straight, parallel fibers as a result of they produce stronger yarns. (Stronger yarns require less twisting which also produces sturdy yarns but makes them much less soft 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 here, further 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 again.

– 5 The slivers travel to roving machines the place the fibers are additional twisted and straightened and formed into rovings. The roving frame additionally barely twists the fibers. The result’s a protracted roving of cotton, which is then wound onto bobbins in the final step before 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 form one continuous thread and twists the thread slightly as it’s pulled or As soon as the toweling is made, it is wound on an off-loom take-up reel. It’s then transported to bleaching as enormous rolls of fabric and put right into a water bath with bleaching chemicals reminiscent of hydrogen peroxide, caustic defoamers, and different proprietary components. All toweling have to be dyed pure white before it is dyed any shade.

spun. Once the yarn is spun, it’s routinely wound on massive wheels that resemble rounds of cheese when full of thread.


– 7 Warp is longitudinal threads in a bit of woven material that are tightly stretched or warped on a beam. Latitudinal threads known as weft or filler are handed beneath and over the warp to type the fabric. The large spools of just-spun cotton are able to be warped or wound on a beam that shall be inserted into the loom for weaving. If the yarn is bought, the 7.5 lb (3.4 kg) spools are readied for warping. A warping beam is then warped in which threads are anchored and wrapped to a large beam in tons of of parallel rows. Totally different towel widths require different numbers of warp threads.

– Eight These large beams, full of wrapped warp threads, are positioned into a rack that holds as much as 12 beams and sized in preparation for weaving. The threads should be sized or stiffened to make the piece simpler to weave. PVA starch, urea, and wax are rolled onto and pressed into the yarn. 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, at the moment are despatched to the looms.


– 9 The beams are picked up by a pallet jack or hydraulic elevate truck and transported to looms. These looms range in width however may be as slender as 85 in (216 cm) or as extensive as 153 in (389 cm). (Not surprisingly, the wider the loom, the slower the weaving as it takes longer for weft threads to cross the warp.) The beams are lifted onto the looms mechanically with a warp jack, which might bear the load and dimension of the beam.

– 10 Towels are woven on dobby looms, that means each loom has two units 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 named the pile warp and it produces the terry pile or loop. Every set of warp threads is rigorously fed via a set of metal eyes and is hooked up to a harness. (Harnesses are separate, parallel frames that may change in their vertical relationships to each other.) These harnesses mechanically increase and lower these warp threads so that the weft or filler could be passed between them. The intersection of the warp and weft is woven fabric. The filler yarn is programmed in order that it’s loosely laid into the woven fabric. When this loose filler is overwhelmed or pressed into the fabric, the slack is pushed up changing into a little bit loop. After being dyed, the towel is hemmed and reduce into standardized sizes.

Shuttles, which carry the filler threads, are truly shot across these large looms at high-speeds-these towel-making looms could have 18 shuttles fired throughout the warp from a firing cylinder. One shuttle follows right behind the following. As quickly because the one shuttle shoots across the warp threads, the shuttle drops down and is transported again to firing cylinder and is shot throughout once more. A typical towel-weaving machine has 350 shuttle insertions in a single minute-practically six shuttles fired across each second. Thus, towels are woven very quickly on these large mechanized dobby looms. In one small towel-making factory, 250 dozen bath towels will be made in one loom in a single week-and there are 50 looms in the factory.


– eleven Once the toweling is made (it’s one long 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 large rolls of fabric and put into a water bath with bleaching chemicals comparable to hydrogen peroxide, caustic defoamers, and other proprietary ingredients. All toweling should be dyed pure white earlier than it is 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 as soon as and as many as three times in a large washer to get all chemicals out of the toweling. The toweling is dried, and whether it is to stay white toweling, it is able to be cut at the highest and backside, lock-stitched sewn, and have a label hooked up (all of this is completed with one machine).


– 12 Whether it is to be dyed, the large, dried uncut rolls are taken to large vats of chemical dyes, which have confirmed over time to offer 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 units the coloration. The toweling is once more steam-dried, fluffed within the drying process, and then the dyed towels are ready for slicing, hemming, and labeling.

Chopping, folding, and packaging

– thirteen Remaining visual inspection of the lower and hemmed towels happens and they’re handfolded and conveyed to packaging, where automated packaging gear forms a bag around the towels and UPC labels are attached to the baggage. These packaged towels are sent to the stock room, awaiting transport out of the plant.

Quality Control

Towels are rigorously checked for high quality management all through the production course of. If yarn is purchased, it’s randomly checked for weight and must be the standard established by the corporate (lighter yarn spools indicate the yarn is thinner than desired and will not make as sturdy toweling). Bleach and dye vats are periodically checked for appropriate chemical structure.

During the weaving course of, some corporations move the cloth over a lighted inspection table. Here the weavers and bath towel high quality inspectors monitor the towel for weaving imperfections. Slightly unevenly woven towels may be straightened out and touched up. However people who can not could also be labeled “seconds” or imperfect or fully rejected by the corporate. As in all features of the process, visible checks are a key to high quality control-all involved in the process perceive minimum requirements and monitor the product at all times.


Potentially dangerous byproducts are often mixed in the water that’s used to bleach, wash, and dye the towel fabric. Particularly, the bleaching course of consists of substances (peroxides and different caustics) that can not be discharged untreated into any water supply. Many toweling factories run their own water therapy plants to insure that the water the plant discharges meets minimum requirements for pH, temperature, and so on.

The place to Be taught Extra


Montgomery Ward & Co. Spring and Summer time 1895 Catalogue and Buyer’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 manufacturing. Kannapolis, NC, 1998.

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