How to Choose the Perfect Gym Towel
Ah, spring… the time when fitness buffs come out of their winter cocoon and can be seen jogging, cycling and hiking around town. And, the gyms fill with people wanting to shed a little winter weight and get in shape for summer. (In fact, one out of every five Americans are heading to the gym, or at least paying for a membership.)
Stats say that the average gym member heads off to the gym two times a week. It’s great to work out and improve fitness levels, but you may also be getting a little more than you bargained for. Gyms are also hotspots for bacteria. FitRated tested gym equipment and found that the average treadmill, exercise bike, and free weight are all teeming with germs – more than 1 million per square inch apiece. (Free weights had 362 times more bacteria per square inch than a toilet seat.)
It’s little wonder that gym towels (also called fitness towels and workout towels) are a huge part of gym etiquette. It’s pretty icky to hop on a stationary bike only to find it covered in sweat from the person who used it before you.
Gym towels are so important because they:
- > Help keep you cool as you work out.
- > Reduce the spreading of germs as you use the towel to wipe away sweat, rather than your hands, which may have come into contact with bacteria on gym equipment.
- > Offer a layer of added protection between you and the equipment you are using.
- > Help keep your face and arms feeling clean and dry.
Key Factors in Choosing a Gym Towel
Material: Today, you’ll find gym towels in a variety of materials. The two most common materials are cotton and microfibers. Cotton has the edge due to its absorbency and incredible durability. They also dry quickly and provide gentle natural touch when toweling down.
Size & Shape: You want a towel that easily drapes around the back of your neck across your shoulders. That’s why bath towels or hand towels won’t work. They are too thick and cumbersome in a gym environment. A gym towel needs to be relatively small and packable, to easily roll up and fit in a gym bag.
Absorbency: The very purpose of a gym towel is to absorb sweat. Something that is threadbare won’t work. Long-stapled cotton is known for its ability to help quickly wick away moisture. This is why Turkish towels are very popular options.
Softness: Everyone wants to soft towels. After all, you’ll likely be using your gym towel on the most sensitive skin on your body — your face. Premium cotton towels deliver the perfect mix of softness that won’t irritate your face and material longevity.
Drying: Whatever workout or gym towel you choose, look for a towel that will dry quickly. Choose something isn’t too thin and flimsy, but is still light enough to dry quickly. (For example, our fitness towels are 360 GSM, which is ideal.)
Durability: Look for a gym towel that has seams that are double stitched to avoid fraying and a cotton “banana weave” construction means added strength and durability.
Gym Towel Care Tips
Gym towels should be washed after each use. (Which is why you need very durable fitness towels!). Avoid fabric softeners as they coat the fibers of the fabric and can both reduce absorbency while helping to harbor bacteria. Avoid hot water. Warmer water (around room temperature is best) absorbs detergent better enabling a better cleaning job and leaving less buildup on your towels. Finally, don’t over-dry your towels. It will limit their lifespan. Instead use a cooler dryer setting and tumble dry.