Let’s talk tea towels for a second, shall we? In your head, you might picture a cloth napkin or a regular old terrycloth kitchen towel, but that’s not the case here. Tea towels are workhorses in the world of all things woven and they pack a punch when it comes to versatility.

Once upon a time, tea towels were made with linen embroidered by the lady of the house. Their purpose in the 18th century was to dry delicate tea sets—most likely the ones that were too important for servants to handle. In the 19th and 20th centuries, embroidered scenes were ditched in favor of printed stripes and checkers. Today, tea towels are usually made of linen and cotton blends and are a useful way to show off individual style with lint-free functionality.

What Are Tea Towels Used For, Anyway?

The list of tea towel uses is far more extensive than you might realize. Sure, they can dry wet dishes, but what else do people use them for?


Uplifting Serving Accessories

A tea towel, like a hometown custom towel from Coast & Cotton, adds fun, cheerful energy to morning meals and evening snacks. It works to catch dribbles of milk that fall from cereal bowls and keep hot cups of coffee from burning your fingers. 

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A Pretty Present

Tea towels make for a great present for a housewarming, bridal shower, or wedding gift. These collectible and frameable towels from Vestiges can be a lovely add-on to an appliance or place setting gift, too.

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Layers for Baked Goods

A tea towels offers an awesome way to keep fresh-from-the-oven bread, rolls, and muffins warm for as long as possible. Whether you’re giving food as a gift or simply serving your family a dose of deliciousness, consider wrapping your next kitchen creation in floral cotton tea towels from India & Purry

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Guest Bathroom

A guest bathroom can be a great place to express your creativity. These Hawaiian flour sack tea towels should do the trick nicely. You can incorporate them into a theme of tropical fun that transports your guests into a paradise the moment they switch the light on.

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Hot Pad with Purpose

Perhaps you’ve got a piping-hot pot of soup that needs to be placed on the table? A tea towel can easily serve as a protective pad for a surface. Just put a flour sack kitchen towel under still-warm serving dishes. 

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Serving Tray Liner

Tea towels make great serving tray liners because they’re both decorative and able to absorb spills. A little drip here and there will easily be captured by the cotton tea towels created by Sunday Drive Designs. These eco-friendly towels are printed in Seattle and feature a full range of rustic images.

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Veggie Freshener

After you’ve washed leafy greens, hug them with a tea towel. It will soak up excess water and help veggies stay crisp longer.

Table Decoration

Forget fancy place mats or napkins you might use only once a year. Tea towels can tackle both jobs in a pinch. The towels can dry dishes or hands and when company arrives, just set them in front of each place setting. Voila.

The Grommet: Your Place for Decorative Tea Towels

Here at The Grommet, we love interesting finds that add beauty and functionality to your space.

Come explore all the tea towels and kitchen linens we’ve discovered.