Until recently, if you’d asked me how I fold my towels, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.
The truth is it was something I did without really thinking about it, just yanking the bath towels from the dryer and flip-flopping them into shape before putting them away.
But I’ve since learned that having a proper technique can make a world of difference. Instead of just throwing my bath towels onto the towel bar in my bathroom, I find the practice of folding to be rather meditative and stress-relieving.
This extra attention and time not only brings organization and a satisfying symmetry to my laundry cupboard; it also sets in motion a general improvement in how I treat my towels.
There are several methods for folding, and all of them are pleasingly simple and not very time-consuming.
How to Fold Towels: Stacking
A popular method, often referred to as ‘hotel style,’ this will give you even, tidy folded hand towels or bath towels that you can cleanly stack.
Step 1: Spread your towel out horizontally, with the long edge closest to you.
Step 2: Fold it into thirds, from top to bottom.
Step 3: From the side, fold it in half — smooth the folds and edges out as you go — and then in half once more.
Step 4: Stack with the folded edge facing out.
How to Fold Towels: For Storing in Drawers
Renowned organizer Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” uses her famous ‘Konmari’ folding techniques, designed to stand towels vertically, maximizing space if you’re storing your folded towels in drawers.
Step 1: Spread your towel out lengthways, the longer length of the towel should be closest to you.
Step 2: Fold the towel in half, horizontally.
Step 3: Fold it in half from left to right, then fold again into thirds.
Step 4: Stand the towel folded-edge-up in the drawer, and repeat with other towels.
How to Fold Towels: When They’re Extra Large
Beach towels and bath sheets are bigger than a standard towel, so in fact, require some extra wrangling. There’s a knack to this, too:
Step 1: Spread your towel out lengthways, as before, smoothing it out flat.
Step 2: From the side, fold it in half so the tips are aligned.
Step 3: Then, fold up the bottom third, and bring the top third down to cover it.
Step 4: Fold into thirds from the side, first once, and then folding over itself again.
How to Fold Towels: Rolling Them Up
Rolling towels — spa-style — adds a bit of finesse to the folding process. This is a great option for bathrooms shelves or exposed cupboards. These rolled towels look equally great placed pyramid-like on guest beds.
Step 1: Spread your towel out lengthways, with the long side nearest you.
Step 2: Take the bottom left corner and bring it up to meet the top edge of the towel.
Step 3: Fold the remaining bottom edge of the towel to meet the top edge again.
Step 4: Smooth it out thoroughly, then flip it upside down so the longest edge is nearest you, keeping the pointed end on the right.
Step 5: From the left side, start rolling tightly, all the way to the pointed end.
Step 6: Tuck the tip into the rolled end of the towel to secure it.
How to Fold Towels: Create an Origami-Like Swan
If you really want to have some fun with your folding, the towel swan (as seen on cruise ships and romantic hotel rooms the world over) is an easy one to recreate. This folding method takes a little more time and effort, but the origami-like towel will definitely put a smile on your face.
Step 1: Spread your towel out lengthways, the long side nearest you.
Step 2: Fold the top two corners down until they meet in the center of the towel.
Step 3: From the bottom two corners, start rolling the towel from each side into the center, leaving you with an arrow pointing away from you.
Step 4: Lift up the point of the arrow, bending and shaping it into a curve so your whole towel makes an S shape. The point is now the head of your swan.
The Final Crease: How to Keep Your Towels Fresh and Thriving
Martha Stewart recommends washing new towels before you first use them, to remove any fabric-softening coating and open up the fibers. This step will make them more absorbent.
After that, you should ideally wash your towels after every three or four uses. Give them a good shake out before drying.
The tumble dryer is the best option, ensuring fluffy, thoroughly dried (and clean) towels. They won’t keep as soft if you hang them up to air dry. But either way, always make sure they’re completely dry before you fold and store them.
Download Our Free Guide to Sustainable Living.
From reducing waste to recycling and upcycling, our e-book shows simple ways to make choices you can feel good about.