The Pestemal Revolution

Posted on May 25, 2016 by Karla Bean | 0 Comments

Turkish towels

We know you likely don't think about towels every day, but we think you should. Our signature product at Indigo Traders is the traditional Turkish bath towel known as the pestemal.  Once you try this charming, light weight towel, you may never go back to an ordinary terrycloth towel.  For years we have traveled throughout Turkey in search of family-run textile makers who value tradition and insist on quality.  We have discovered amazing families still producing towels and home textiles as they were generations before.  We have fallen head-over-heels in love with pestemals and the kind people who make them.  We think you will love them, too!

What is a pestemal? 
A pestemal (pesh-te-mahl) is the authentic Turkish bath towel. It is flat-woven with hand-tied fringe, typically made of Turkish cotton, linen or even silk. It is also known as a hamam towel as it is an essential element of the legendary Turkish bath experience.  Pestemals come in countless designs, textures, weights and colors.  The hand towel version of the pestemal is called a peskir (pesh-kir).
How is it different from a typical terrycloth towel?
Pestemals are light weight, thin and extremely absorbent. They are big in size (typically 70 by 40 inches), but are very compact.  Unlike a thick terrycloth towel, pestemals are flat-woven with a smooth, soft texture.  Our pestemals are hand-woven from 100% Turkish cotton or linen by small, family-run textile makers in Turkey.
Are they earth-friendly?
Yes! Pestemals are so light weight, they are more energy-efficient than a typical terry cloth towel. They dry more quickly after use, so they don't take on a musty smell. The environmentally friendly result - they don't need laundering as often. And when it comes time to wash them, they take much less space in the washer and much less time in the dryer. 
How can I use a pestemal towel?
Pestemals are perfectly-suited for everyday use out of the shower or bath. They also make a lovely travel companion as they are compact and dry very quickly. Use them as a sarong on the beach, a picnic blanket or a table cloth. The possibilities are endless!
Which pestemal should I try first?
Get your feet wet with the classic pestemal at Indigo Traders. Wash and dry it first to break it in. Pestemals get better with use, but please launder them gently (see below). Then branch out to the linen, herringbone or honeycomb pestemals.
How do I care for my pestemal?
Gentle laundering is best. Machine wash in warm or cold with like colors. Tumble dry on low or line dry. Please do not use bleach, harsh detergents, dryer sheets or high heat. Pestemals get better with use and some need to be "broken in" by washing and drying them in a dryer on medium heat a few times. This make them softer and more absorbent.  



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