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.
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
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:
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 learn
|Lacks visual appeal
|Creates uniform sizes for drawer organization
|Towels may unfold when removing from the drawer
|Keeps used sides hidden inside the folds
|Takes 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:
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 space
|Time consuming with extra folds
|Creates a tidy, uniform look
|Towels may still unfold when removing
|Easy to grab towels from the drawer
|Takes 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:
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 display
|Easier to grab single towels
|Won’t stand upright in drawers
|Fun to practice folding
|Takes 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:
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 drawers
|Towels stand upright
|Requires more folds
|Easy to grab single towels
|Won’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:
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?
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.