Towels buying guide

We have several different types of plain towel, from basic to beautifully luxurious. This buying guide will explain the different fibres and properties found in each one to help you decide what's best for your bathroom or en suite.  Watch the video about our Egyptian cotton towels.

Towel terminology

Combed cotton

Combing removes small fibres to reduce shedding.

Egyptian cotton

Our Egyptian cotton originates from regulated sources on the Nile Delta.

Supima cotton

This is a silk-like yarn with extra-long fibres that are smooth and long lasting.

Suvin cotton

An extremely rare cotton –  straight off the tailoring catwalk, with a beautiful feel, the most luxurious cotton in our range.


A spinning technique that creates a hollow fibre, which traps air during tumble drying and ensures a thick and fluffy pile.


This stands for grams per square metre and indicates the weight of the towel. The higher the GSM, the heavier the weight and the more absorbent the towel will be.


A ply is a layer or strand, for example 2-ply is 2 strands of yarn woven together


Quality control

We test all our towels for absorbency, shrinkage, colour fastness and shedding to ensure they wash and wear well.

Caring for your towels

All John Lewis towels are machine washable at 60°C and we recommend tumble drying to keep them soft and fluffy.

Fabric conditioners should be used sparingly, and not in every wash, as they decrease the towel's ability to absorb water. You should also avoid using fabric conditoner the first few times you wash towels. This will allow the excess fibres present in new towels to shed.

Make sure your towels do not come into contact with cleaning products containing bleach. Facial cleansers and skin treatments often contain benzoyl peroxide which can also damage towels.

If you catch the towel and pull the pile, snip off the pulled loop with a pair of scissors - don't worry, it won't unravel!

Our range of towels

Value Towels
Pure Cotton Towels
Egyptian Towels
Supima towels
Platinum Suvin Towels
Designer towels
Bath, shower and pedestal mats