Last Updated on December 28, 2022 by Shariful Alam

This absorbent, soft, and uniquely-textured fabric is an essential fabric in people’s daily lives. We’re talking about terry cotton fabric. 

With its many exciting characteristics and the ability to dry, it’s a must-have in every home. In this article, we’re going to write about the different types of terry you can find, how to properly care for your terry towels and much more exciting information.

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

What is terry cotton fabric?

Terry cotton fabric, or terry cloth, is exceptionally soft and absorbent. Many people use it daily without even knowing that it’s terry. It’s pretty unique because of how it’s made, but we’ll talk in detail about that in a short time. 

Terry is made with uncut loops known as a “pile.” The name of the fabric is terry cloth which is synonymous with the word “towel,” and the term terry refers to the style of weaving.

You’ll most often find this fabric made from cotton, although it can be made from linen, polyester, silk, or other fiber blends. 

Terry cloth is very popular because it is stronger when wet, making it the perfect fabric for towels and bathrobes. 

This fabric has unique characteristics and qualities, which are why terry cotton is so helpful in the household. 

To understand the importance of the fabric better, first, let’s talk about its history.

History : terry cotton

As I mentioned earlier, the weaving method is unique to this fabric. This weaving technique dates back to the 1840s. It first appeared in France in 1841. It’s believed that the name “terry cloth” comes from the French verb “tirer,” which means “to pull.” This weaving method was not always the same, as it was first intended for silk. 

Samuel Holt was the person who first started weaving terry in cotton. This happened in 1848. By 1850, this technique improved as Henry Christy introduced commercial (industrial) terry weaving. Since then, the weaving method’s quality and speed have been improved, but the process we use today remains very similar to Christy’s. 

The popularity of terry cloth was growing rapidly, and by the 1930s, it was used for towels in luxurious hotels, and it was a symbol for the rich and famous. 

Over the years, besides being used for towels, terry cloth found its way into the fashion industry, being used for different kinds of clothing. In the 1970s, fashion designers like the big Ralph Lauren started producing blazers, dresses, skirts, and many more garments for other occasions and styles. 

Again, in the 90s, it was popularized in many fashion houses before losing its popularity and becoming trendy in recent years.

Characteristics : How does it feel?

You might wonder what characteristics of this “typical fabric for towels” are, which made fashion designers recognize its value and transform it into the fashion world. Let’s find out!

  • Absorbent
  • Durable
  • Soft
  • Quick dry
  • Crease resistance
  • Non-allergic and antimicrobial

It’s hard to find a flaw in terry cloth. It has all of these qualities that limited numbers of fabrics possess. It’s not a wonder why it’s widely spread and used in every household. We’ll find more about the uses of the material down below in the article.

Organic terry cotton fabric

Organic terry cotton fabric

Organic terry cotton fabric

When it comes to organic terry cotton, you have an enormous amount and verities to choose from – colors, prices, and unique, even handmade designs. 

We use towels and bathrobes daily. I’m sure you want the best for yourself regarding daily items that have contact with your face and skin. 

That’s why purchasing natural, 100% organic cotton terry is the best option. The softness will buy you from the first time you touch this fabric, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it for quite a long time because of how durable it is. 

How is it made : Terry Cotton fabric?

As the name suggests, terry cotton is made from 100% cotton. The cotton absorbent fibers get more robust in water, making the fabric absorb 20-30 times its weight in water. 

The technique used to make terry cloth is simple. There are two warp beams used. A ground warp is needed to form the base of the fabric, and the pile warp is used to make the loops of thread. These loops increase surface area, and absorbency and give the material a soft feel.

Different types of terry cotton

There are several types of terry cloth on the market. To make a difference between them, we’ll chat about the different types of terry cloth and their characteristics. 

There are a few types of terry cloth. The main three are :

  • French terry – is a soft, comfortable fabric with two distinct sides. It’s a knit fabric, usually compared to jersey fabric. One side of the material has loops, while the other has the classic soft terry feel. It can be found infused with spandex to make a more athletic feel.
  • Terry cloth (terry towel) – terry cloth is the most popular and well-known type of this fabric. It has the same feeling on both sides of the material. It’s used for towels, bathrobes, and loungewear.
  • Terry velour – terry velour has the same characteristic as French terry; in a term that one side of the fabric is smooth and flat. When the other side has the traditional terry look and feel. What’s unique about this type of terry is that it has a more luxurious and velvety look than the previous two types.
Uses of Terry Cotton

Uses of Terry Cotton

Uses : Terry cotton fabric

As you know by now, the primary purpose of the terry cloth is to dry. So, where is it mostly found? In the bathroom! Let’s have a look at where the terry cloth finds its usage.

  • Towels
  • Bathrobes
  • Baby’s reusable diapers
  • Sweatbands for wrists and head
  • Covers for mops
  • Loungewear
  • Beach towels
  • Clothing

Very versatile, right? Because of the absorbency and strength, the most common use for terry cotton is towels: Beach towels, kitchen towels, towels used after showers, bathrobes, and everything in between. 

You can see sweatshirts, knit sportswear, and other casual clothing made from terry.

It’s a blessing that we discovered this versatile fabric many years ago.

How to care : terry cotton

How to care : terry cloth

How to take care : Terry cotton?

Yes, we use terry cloth for drying and absorbing. But how do you properly wash, dry it, and do you have to iron it? Let’s have a look!


To achieve the deepest clean, as the fabric is pretty thick, it’s best if you wash it in hot water on a regular cycle. You should wash it with care like colors and materials because it produces lint. 


The best and fastest way to dry terry cloth is by using the dryer. Set it on the low heat tumble dry setting. Don’t worry, as the terry cloth doesn’t tend to shrink in hot water.


Ironing is not the best idea when it comes to this fabric. If you want to remove wrinkles, it’s best to use a steamer, as the iron may crush or flatten the pile.


In this section, we tried to answer briefly other questions people ask regularly.

1. Is terry fabric suitable for summer?

– The quick-drying terry cloth’s texture is a good choice for keeping you cool during the hot summer days. It’s also a good choice for beach days, using you as a drying towel after the swim or as a surface to lay on the hot sand. 

2. What are the differences between cotton and terry cotton?

– Terry cotton is a fabric made from cotton. The cotton fibers provide this fantastic fabric with absorbency and durability.

3. Does terry’s cloth shrink?

– The terry cloth is made from cotton, which naturally tends to shrink, and it’s normal to shrink during the first washing cycles. 

4. Is terry cloth suitable for winter?

– Because of how the terry cloth is built, it’s thick and soft but also cool and absorbent. So it’s suitable for all climates and seasons.

5. Is terry cotton waterproof?

– Terry cotton is not waterproof, as it’s meant to absorb water.

6. What is cotton terry used for?

– As mentioned in the paragraph above, there are many areas where terry cloth is used. Starting from towels, clothes, sportswear, and more. 

Terry cloth by the yard

Terry cloth by the yard

Terry cotton by the yard

Are you looking for the best quality towels, robes, or soft toys?

You can now find terry cotton fabric in different sizes, colors, characteristics, and price ranges. Just check sites like Amazon or Etsy, and you’ll be surprised by their versatile choice. 

You can also purchase this fabric in a bolt if you need a larger amount. The delivery is easy, and the quality won’t be left out!

Wrap up : terry cotton fabric

If you’ve read so far, thank you for sticking to the end of the article. I always find pleasure and satisfaction in conveying my passion to other people. So I hope this article gave you new information and maybe made you feel the same as me! 

Stay tuned because more articles like this one are coming your way very soon!

Shariful Alam

Shariful Alam

Shariful Alam Pavel, A fashion lover, passionate marketer. Love to share wisdom based on real life experience to enrich knowledge.
Founder of Muslin Dhaka, a brand, speaks the truth about royal muslin and fashion. Explore the digital fashion universe with organic cotton muslin and much more!