How to Fold a Dish Towel

Dish towels are essential items in every kitchen. We use them multiple times a day for drying dishes, wiping up spills, cleaning countertops, and more. But when it comes to storing dish towels, many of us simply stuff them in a drawer, leading to a messy, unorganized pile of fabrics.

How to Fold a Dish Towel

Properly folding your dish towels before putting them away makes them easier to grab when you need them next. Folded towels also take up less space in your kitchen drawers and stay neater between uses.

Gather Your Materials

  • Dish towels. You’ll need the actual dish towels you want to practice folding. Make sure they are clean and dry before starting.
  • A large, flat surface like a table or countertop. This gives you ample room to smoothly fold the entire towel.
  • A designated kitchen drawer or other storage area to organize the folded towels.

Key Takeaway: Start by collecting clean, dry dish towels and preparing a flat folding surface and storage area before learning dish towel folding techniques.

The Basic Fold

The basic fold is a great technique for neatly storing standard sized dish towels in kitchen drawers. Here are step-by-step instructions:

  1. Lay the dish towel flat on your folding surface with the hemmed edges lined up neatly. Smooth out any wrinkles or creases.
  2. Fold the towel in half lengthwise so the short edges meet up.
  3. Fold in half lengthwise again to create a thinner rectangle.
  4. Finish by folding the towel into even thirds lengthwise.

The end result is a uniformly folded rectangle that stands neatly when stored in a drawer. Be sure to always fold with the cleaned sides facing inward and the used outward for tidiness.

Very easy to learnLacks visual appeal
Creates uniform sizes for drawer organizationTowels may unfold when removing from the drawer
Keeps used sides hidden inside the foldsTakes up more space than other folds

This traditional technique ticks all the boxes if you want a straightforward way to tidy up dish towels between uses. While it may not have the visual appeal of other folds, the basic folds keep towels neatly stacked and hidden inside your drawers.

Key Takeaway: The basic folding method involves folding dish towels in half lengthwise twice, then into even thirds. This creates uniform rectangles that store neatly in kitchen drawers.

The File Fold

Similar to folding important documents for organized filing, the file fold technique stands towels upright like folders in a cabinet. It maximizes vertical space when storing in shallow but wide drawers.

Follow these instructions to file fold dish towels:

  1. Lay the towel flat and smooth out any wrinkles.
  2. Fold in half lengthwise so short sides meet.
  3. Fold in half lengthwise again, creating a tall rectangle.
  4. Fold both short ends into the center.
  5. Finish by folding the towel in half widthwise.

The key difference from basic folding is in step 4. By folding both short ends into the center before folding in half, you create a tall, narrow rectangle. Standing these towel “files” side by side utilizes the full depth of your drawer.

Maximizes vertical storage spaceTime consuming with extra folds
Creates a tidy, uniform lookTowels may still unfold when removing
Easy to grab towels from the drawerTakes practice to perfect folds

If you have wide drawers and limited vertical space, file folding is an efficient way to neatly store the maximum number of dish towels. Put in some practice time to master the extra folds involved for maximum payoff.

Key Takeaway: File folding is ideal for wide, shallow drawers. Fold towels lengthwise twice, fold ends to center, then fold in half widthwise to create a tall, narrow rectangle.

The Triangle Fold

Fancy hotels and high-end spas often impress guests with luxurious triangle folded towels. While it takes some skill to perfect, you can recreate this visual appeal at home with standard sized dish towels.

Follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Lay the dish towel flat and smooth out all wrinkles and creases.
  2. Fold the top corner down diagonally to form a triangle shape.
  3. Fold the rectangle section in half lengthwise.
  4. Flip the towel over completely so the triangle side is face down.
  5. Tightly roll the towel from the rectangle end upwards.
  6. Continue rolling to contain the small corner of the triangle inside the roll.
  7. Tuck the pointed triangle corner into the rolled edge to hold it in place.

It takes some practice, but eventually you’ll be able to roll perfect triangle folds each time. Place them tidily together in a drawer or display in a countertop basket for a touch of luxury.

Visually appealing for displayTime consuming
Easier to grab single towelsWon’t stand upright in drawers
Fun to practice foldingTakes skill to master

If you have the time and patience, upgrading your dish towels to fancy triangle folds adds intrigue to any kitchen. Place them in a decorative basket to enhance your countertops or simply enjoy perfecting this advanced technique.

Key Takeaway: Make an initial diagonal fold to form a triangle, then roll tightly from the opposite end to create spa-worthy triangle folded towels.

The KonMari Fold

Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo revolutionized home organization with her KonMari method. She recommends folding dish towels into compact rectangles that stand upright for easy visibility and access in drawers.

Here is her technique adapted for kitchen towels:

  1. Lay the towel flat and smooth it out completely.
  2. Fold it in half lengthwise.
  3. Fold in half again perpendicular to the first fold.
  4. Fold the towel into even thirds lengthwise.

The key difference in the KonMari fold is in step 3. Folding twice lengthwise instead of widthwise creates a short, upright rectangle. Storing these upright makes seeing and grabbing towels easier without unfolding other items.

Creates visibility in drawersTime consuming
Towels stand uprightRequires more folds
Easy to grab single towelsWon’t work well in shallow drawers

KonMari folding takes some extra time but pays off with tidy towels standing at attention in your drawers. Upgrade your organization with this recognizable technique.

Key Takeaway: Marie Kondo’s fold involves two lengthwise folds instead of widthwise before folding into thirds. This creates compact upright rectangles for visibility.

Storing Your Folded Towels

Once you’ve mastered folding dish towels using one of these techniques, the final step is proper storage. Here are some top tips:

  • Designate a kitchen drawer near the sink to keep towels handy for drying.
  • Consider adding shelf dividers or upright organizer bins to keep folded towels separated within drawers.
  • Display extra towels in a decorative countertop basket using triangle or KonMari style folds.
  • Store little-used fancy holiday towels in a bedroom closet to keep kitchen drawers clutter-free.
  • Invest in drawer organizers with multiple compartments to separate kitchen linens by type or color.

Proper storage containers help keep all your neat folds intact between uses for easy access. Dedicate areas closest to your sink and dish station for everyday towels, then utilize other household storage for specialty seasonal ones used less often.

Key Takeaway: Use shelf dividers, standing bins, countertop baskets, and other organizational tools to neatly store your folded dish towels within kitchen drawers or around your home.


What kind of dish towels are best for folding?

Standard cotton dish towels around 15 by 25 inches are ideal. Smaller hand towels or larger drying towels may be trickier for beginners.

How often should I refold my used dish towels?

Plan to refold towels between each use to practice techniques and keep them organized after wiping messes.

Where should I store my everyday use dish towels?

Designate a drawer near your kitchen sink for go-to dish towels you use multiple times daily.

What supplies do I need to start folding towels?

Just some clean and dry dish towels and a large flat folding surface like a counter or table.

How can I display folded dish towels in my kitchen?

Invest in a decorative countertop basket or install a wall-mounted rail with built-in towel hanging rods. Display fancy triangle folds or KonMari towels to add visual interest.

Should I use different folds for hand towels vs. dish towels?

Yes, smaller hand towels may work better with simpler folds like the basics or file fold methods. Larger dish towels are better for more advanced triangle and KonMari techniques.

What kind of organizational tools help store folded towels?

Try drawer dividers, vertical bins, multi-section cutlery trays, or hanging shelves that keep different folded towels separated in drawers.

How do I teach kids to properly fold dish towels?

Start by mastering basic folds first yourself, then teach kids by demonstrating with them. Make a game out of perfecting simpler techniques before trying advanced ones.

Should I fold and organize my dish towels by color or pattern?

Folding towels in coordinating colors creates a fun rainbow effect when stored. Or organize holiday and seasonal printed towels separately from everyday solid ones.


Whether you choose quick basic folds or more advanced spa-worthy techniques, taking the time to properly fold dish towels makes a big impact on your kitchen’s organization.

Neatly folded towels not only maximize drawer space, but they also look uniform and tidy when stored between uses. Just be sure to match your folding method to the size of your dish towels and the storage space available in your kitchen.

It may take some practice at first, but once you perfect your chosen folding style, tidying up towels will become a habit after each use. And guests will be impressed with your organizational skills and eye for detail anytime they reach for a neatly folded towel in your kitchen.

Emma Kellam
Emma Kellam

I'm Emma, and I run Towels Edition, a website for fellow home goods enthusiasts who, like me, are passionate about textiles. After working in high-end retail, I was amazed by how little most people (myself included!) know about all the towel options out there.

I research and write all the content myself. Whether it's specialized towels like bar mops, Turkish cotton production methods, or comparing hair towel absorbency, I cover it. My goal is to share my knowledge and enthusiasm to help others.

Running Towels Edition allows me to constantly expand my own expertise too. I love learning about innovations in bamboo fabric or ideal bath towels. It's so rewarding to receive emails thanking me for recommendations that improved my readers' routines.

I want Towels Edition to be the ultimate online towel resource, making this overlooked necessity far more fascinating. My aim is to open people's eyes to how specialty towels can thoroughly enhance hygiene, cleaning, recreation and self-care.