Image credit: April Notes
This post contains some affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, EcoCult receives a small percentage of the sale price.
You may not be able to go for a usual beach getaway this year (what with prices being what they are) but that doesn’t mean you can’t relieve some stress by finding a body of water somewhere—even if that’s just your neighborhood pool or your own bathtub for a stay-at-home spa day. Good thing there is no shortage of eco-friendly and fair trade towels—we’ve got a variety to choose from!
Whether you’re looking for something super lightweight, colorful, and compact, or something super fluffy for your bathroom, the brands below have been personally tested by our team for factors like comfort, durability, and — of course — sustainability.
The brands included here use materials like organic cotton and linen. Each type of fabric has its own pros and cons when it comes to environmental impact, but all of these fabrics are a much better choice than your standard blend of virgin synthetics and conventional cotton. Linen, which is made from flax, is another great option. It’s absorbent and wears in over time, meaning that the more you use it, the softer it becomes.
Be aware of the dyes used to color your favorite towels, as well. The last thing you want to do as soon as you get out of the shower is rub your skin with potentially toxic dyes and other chemicals. Look for labels like Oeko-Tex, bluesign, and GOTS, which indicate that the material has not only been grown without pesticides but also processed and dyed without harmful substances.
As with everything you buy, check for fair labor practices. Look for brands that prioritize transparency (do they tell you where their products are made?) and certifications like Fair Trade and SA8000.
After considering the complexities in producing sustainable, non-toxic towels, we rounded up a few of our favorites.
What we love: Using certified organic cotton from West Texas, American Blossom Linens produces its towels completely in the United States, from spinning to weaving and sewing, with the towels shipping from Thomaston, Georgia. The brand leaves out harsh chemical dyes and is Oeko-Tex certified, which means that every component of the product has been rigorously tested against a list of up to 350 toxic chemicals. Products ship in recycled, recyclable packaging to further reduce the brand’s carbon footprint.
Our review: Our tester was happy to try these towels, which were quickly promoted to the best towels in the house. The towels are soft and luxurious feeling in their natural cotton hues that go with any decor style.
Price range: $49 to $245
What we love: One of our favorite organic brands, PACT was one of the first companies to make affordable organic basics available at a more affordable price. It started with basics like underwear and tees, but has since expanded its collection to include bedding and bath towels as well. PACT’s waffle towels (for a more modern look) and melange towels (more spa-like) are both made from 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton in Fair Trade Certified factories.
Our review: We tested several of the brand’s bath towel offerings, including its waffle, ribbed, and plush towels. Each of our testers was absolutely pleased with the high quality and texture of these towels, which were soft, fluffy, and cozy in that fancy-hotel kind of way. They’ve quickly become our favorite towels, and they come out of the wash feeling just as soft and luxurious as they did on day one.
Price range: $20 to $140
What we love: Coyuchi is a trusted home goods brand that also has a variety of options, whether you’re looking for a more lightweight bath towel, a beautiful and classic linen towel, or an organic towel for the poolside. Everything is made from materials like non-toxic linen and 100% GOTS organic cotton, in factories that ensure safe conditions and living wages for its workers.
Price range: $8 to $268
What we love: If you’re looking for the plushest bath towels, Delilah Home is your answer. Their collection of non-toxic, GOTS-certified organic cotton towels is 50% thicker than your average bath towel. The brand partners with manufacturers who are certified to the highest textile standard so you know what you’re getting is durable, super-soft, and kind to the environment. Everything is made in Fair Trade factories, where the workers are paid above a living wage and work in safe environments. Delilah Home also gives back 10% of its profits to various environmental and community non-profit organizations.
Our review: We tried out the beach towel and pool towel, both of which were surprisingly large. The mineral green color is very muted and chic, and the white fringe detail on the beach towel gives a boho-chic look. The beach towel features two different textures (one on each side) that are useful for repelling sand, while the pool towel is fluffy and absorbent enough to sop up water from wet swimsuits.
Price range: $30 to $100
What we love: Incorporating materials such as European linen and cotton, April Notes makes luxe bath towels that are free from toxic chemicals and synthetic dyes with a rustic, wabi-sabi aesthetic. The brand sticks to sustainable options for products and shipping materials, including buttons made of seashells rather than plastic and compostable packaging.
Our review: We tested the brand’s linen bath towel set, whose waffle knit texture proved to be both absorbent and soft, as the product listing promises. This set left less lint after a shower than fluffy cotton towels and dried out fairly quickly. Each towel features a small loop for hanging to dry, which helps prevent that stretched spot in the middle of towels often left by wall hooks. The sunset rose color is gorgeous and pairs well with neutral colors.
Price range: $85
What we love: Specializing in fabric blends from hemp to GOTS-certified organic cotton, Under the Canopy is dedicated to making sustainable, non-toxic fabrics more widely available to anyone on a budget. Its linens are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Oeko-Tex certified, including the brand’s towels, which are ethically made in Pakistan.
Our review: Our tester tried both the Textured and Classic towels. The fluffy Classic towels are good for winter, and the Textured towels, which are more compact and can be more easily stored in a small closet or shelf, are perfect for drying off in warmer weather.
Price range: $18 to $87