Dish towels, dish rags, kitchen towels, or tea towels but either way, they all have the same function and everyone seems to have at least one. If you have one of these little cloths, you might have a different idea of how to use them. Tea towels are usually made of terrycloth, the same material that is used for regular towels. Sometimes they come in plain colors or have designs on them. They are often times bought as souvenirs or used for expression, like showing one’s patriotism for their country.
Tea towels were originally used in the 18th Century during the Victorian era to dry or clean their expensive pieces of china and silverware. The ladies who used these tea towels would use these themselves as they did not want to run the risk of their house staff breaking them. People to this day still use tea towels for cleaning china, mugs, dishes, or counter tops, but there are now more uses for them.
Here are few uses for tea towels:
- Cover up freshly baked scones or other baked goodies to keep them warm!
- Dampen up the towel with water and cover up bread dough so it can rise in a warm place. It helps keep the bread dough moist so it will help it rise.
- Makeshift tea cosy (but be very careful!)
- Frame them! Sometimes you may find a tea towel you love so much but you don’t want anything to happen to it! It’s also a great way to display them in your home/office/work.
- Cleaning rag-if it’s an old tea towel, sometimes they can be used to wipe down stoves, counter tops, or other household items. Recently my niece used an old one to clean her bike!
How do you use tea towels? Let us know, we’d love to hear it!
3 thoughts on “Tea Towels”
I use my tea towels as table runners, they make lovely conversation pieces, I am especially fond of the one I bought at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia. That one is always on display in my little tea room.
I cover a wall with my tea towels, using magnets.
I think tea towels were originally made of linen or cotton and not terry cloth since I have some antique ones that aren’t terry. I do use the terry cloth ones for wrapping china that I’m transporting for a tea or talk. In Victorian times (the 19th century) ladies of means would not have been doing their own dishes. Perhaps their butlers used these towels in their butler’s pantries to take care of the precious glassware. I’m of the opinion that we call them tea towels because they were used on the tray under the teapots to catch drips from pouring–but that’s just my theory.