What is Turkish Cotton

Turkish cotton is renowned worldwide for its exceptional softness, absorbency, and durability.

This premium long-staple cotton is grown exclusively in the Aegean region of Turkey, where the ideal climate and soil conditions produce extra-long cotton fibers.

Turkish Cotton

When you wrap yourself in Turkish cotton towels or sheets, you’ll instantly notice the luxuriously soft hand feel.

Turkish Cotton Fibers Are Longer and Smoother

The length of the cotton fiber, known as the staple, determines the quality and performance. Turkish cotton has extra-long staples, ranging from 1-1/4 inches to over 2 inches. Longer fibers can be spun into smoother, stronger yarns with fewer weak points.

Short staple cotton, like those used in regular off-the-shelf towels, has staples less than 1-1/4 inches. These short fuzzy fibers pill easily. In contrast, the longer Turkish cotton fibers make fabrics that resist pilling and last for years.

Exceptionally Soft and Absorbent

The longer Turkish cotton fibers yield smooth threads that create fabrics with unbeatable softness. In fact, Turkish cotton gets even softer and fluffier with repeated launderings. It has a natural absorbency that increases as the cotton is washed and used over time.

While Egyptian cotton is prized for bedsheets, its ultra-high absorbency makes it less suitable for bath towels. Turkish cotton offers the ideal balance of softness and absorbency for plush, quick-drying towels.

Strong and Durable Weave

Strong and Durable Weave

The length and purity of Turkish cotton fibers result in good tensile strength. This natural strength, combined with the long staple yarns, produces fabrics with excellent durability.

Turkish cotton towels and other textiles withstand many machine washings while maintaining their luxurious softness. Exposure to high heat can damage the fibers, so line-drying is recommended. With proper care, your high-quality Turkish cotton towels can last for years.

Rich History Dates to the Ottoman Empire

Turkey has a centuries-old tradition of cultivating and crafting high-quality cotton textiles. During the Ottoman Empire, cotton was spun, woven, and sewn into fine fabrics and garments for the royal families.

The Aegean region still produces the most prized Turkish cotton. The fiber from this area has a longer staple and superior properties compared to other Turkish cotton-growing regions. When you buy Turkish cotton products labeled “Aegean cotton” you can expect the very best quality.

Turkish Towels are Lightweight yet Absorbent

Turkish Towels are Lightweight yet Absorbent

Traditional Turkish towels, called pestemals or hamams, are woven from Turkish cotton using special looms. The combination of the long-staple cotton and the flat woven technique creates a thin, lightweight towel that is deceptively absorbent.

These vintage-style striped towels are tremendously versatile. In addition to drying you after bathing, their quick-drying cotton makes them ideal for the pool or beach. You can even use the towels as decorative throws or travel blankets.

High-End Bedding and Bath Textiles

From bath towels to bed sheets, Turkish cotton is used in many luxury home textiles. Brands market items like towels, robes, and bedding as “Turkish cotton” to emphasize premium quality.

Look for “100% Turkish Cotton” on the label to ensure you are getting all-cotton textiles. Blends dilute the natural softness and absorbency of real Turkish cotton. Also, check that the cotton originates from the Aegean region.

Support Fair Trade Artisans

Many Turkish cotton goods like towels and blankets are still handwoven on antique looms by local artisans. When you buy products made with traditional techniques, your purchase helps support fair trade cottage industries and preserves heritage skills.

Seeking out brands that source their materials and labor in an ethical, sustainable manner ensures your textiles are not only good quality but also do good in the world.


How is Turkish cotton planted and harvested?

Turkish cotton is carefully cultivated and picked by hand in the fields of the Aegean region. The long fibers are harvested whole and then processed by ginning to separate seeds and shorter lint. This preserves the staple length that is key to the exceptional quality. The fields are nurtured without artificial irrigation and the plants are naturally rain-fed.

What are the different uses of Turkish cotton?

In addition to the famous bath towels and bed linens, Turkish cotton is made into clothing like t-shirts, underwear, and loungewear that benefit from its softness. It is also used to create decorative items like throws and table linens. No matter what the end product, the luxurious hand feel of Turkish cotton adds comfort and luxury.

How does Turkish cotton compare to Pima or Egyptian cotton?

Pima cotton staples are about 1 3/8″ long, while Egyptian cotton averages 1 1/2″ to 1 3/4″. Turkish cotton has the longest fibers at 1 1/4″ to over 2″. The extra long length allows Turkish cotton to be spun into suppler, stronger, and more lustrous yarns. The result is an exceptionally soft and durable hand feel.

Why are Turkish cotton towels so lightweight?

Traditional Turkish towels called pestemals use cotton woven on special looms to produce a thin, flat, and compact towel. The long Turkish cotton fibers absorb moisture quickly while the tight weave prevents the towel from becoming heavy when wet. So you get a highly absorbent towel that dries fast.

What is the best way to care for Turkish cotton?

To preserve the softness and integrity of the long fibers, Turkish cotton textiles should be washed in cool or lukewarm water using a gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low or no heat, or hang to air dry. Avoid fabric softeners and bleach that can coat the fibers. With proper care, Turkish cotton will become even softer over time.


With its rich history and tradition of quality, Turkish cotton is the pinnacle of luxury for bedding and bath textiles.

The exceptionally long, smooth cotton fibers yield unparalleled softness and absorbency that improve with use over time.

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.