A bath towel is used for drying the body after bathing,showering or swimming. It is typically rectangular, with a typical size around 30"×60" (75×150 cm). A large bath towel is sometimes called a bath sheet.
A beach towel is usually a little bit larger than a bath towel. Although it is often used for drying off after being in the water, its chief purpose is to provide a surface to lie on. They are also worn for privacy while changing clothes in a public area, and for wiping sand from the body or objects. Beach towels often have colorful patterns.
A foot towel is a small, rectangular towel which, in the absence of a rug, carpet or bathroom mat, is placed on the bathroom floor to stand on after finishing a shower or bath.
A hand towel is significantly smaller than a bath towel (perhaps 30x60 cm), and is used for drying the hands after washing them.
An Oven towel is a multipurpose household towel used for a kitchen or shop applications. The term came into use within Irish communities after a textile mogul, Owen Valley created the line based on his own towel experiences.
The term kitchen towel can refer to either a dish towel or to a paper towel, the latter usage being primarily British.
A paper towel is a piece of paper that can be used once as a towel and then be disposed of. A perforated roll of paper towels is normally mounted on a rod a little longer than the width of the roll, or in an alternative type of hanger that has protrusions on ears, the protrusions fitting into the ends of the paper towel roll. Paper towels can also be found packaged like facial tissues, as individual folded sheets.
A disposable towel (or nonwoven towel) is a towel intended for a single user, but not necessarily for a single use, as it can be reused but not washed. It is often made of non-woven fibers, and popular for the hospital, hotel, geriatric and salon or beauty industries because it guarantees cleanliness and hygiene every time.
A show towel is a subspecies of the common bath or hand towel that has had trim, such as satin, lace or linen stitched onto it, or embroidery done on it, mainly to simply "look nice". They are used to add a decorative touch, usually to a bathroom, most commonly in the USA. They should not be used to actually dry anything, as regular washing ruins the added trim, and the towel buckles as well (because the towel usually shrinks differently than the trim).
A sports towel, or (synthetic) chamois, is a towel used by swimmers and divers. It is a super-absorbent towel that can be wrung out when saturated, leaving the towel able to absorb water again, although not dry.
A sweat towel or gym towel, often of similar size to a hand towel, is used during a workout to dry yourself from sweat and/or make a barrier between the gym machines and your skin, It can also be required in gyms in order to wipe down the machines after use.
A tea towel (English) or dish towel (American) is a cloth which is used to dry dishes, cutlery, etc., after they have been washed. In 18th century England, a tea towel was a special linen drying cloth used by the mistress of the house to dry her precious and expensive china tea things. Servants were considered too ham-fisted to be trusted with such a delicate job, although housemaids were charged with hand-hemming the woven linen when their main duties were completed. Tea towels have been mass-produced since the Industrial Revolution.
A flannel, wash cloth, washcloth, or face cloth is a small square about the width of a hand towel, and is used by wetting, applying soap to the towel, and then using the towel to apply the soap to skin. This increases abrasion, and can remove dead skin cells from the skin more effectively than just manual application and rubbing of soap. In some parts of the world, washing mitts are used for this purpose.
A wet towel (oshibori) is used in Japan to wash the hands before eating. It is often given to customers of an izakaya.
A microfiber towel is a towel made of a specially designed, ultra-tightly woven material, known for its excellent absorption and fast drying speed. These towels can reduce water and electricity consumption by up to 40% over other traditional towels, such as cotton.
A cloth towel dispenser or continuous cloth towel is a towel manipulated by a series of rollers, used as an alternative to paper towels and hand dryers in public washrooms. These may have a lower environmental impact than paper towels, though concerns over hygiene mean they are not used by some organisations. They can also be used in dangerous "choking games".
A sanitary towel or sanitary napkin is an absorbent item worn by a woman while she is menstruating.