Image: Delilah Home
This post contains some affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, EcoCult receives a small percentage of the sale price. Some brands may have paid a small fee to be featured. We only recommend brands that we truly believe in. Support our editorial work by supporting them!
You may not be able to go for a usual beach getaway this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t relieve some of the stress of 2020 by finding a body of water somewhere—even if that’s just your neighborhood pool or your own bathtub for stay-at-home spa day. Good thing there is no shortage of eco-friendly and fair trade towels—we’ve got a wide variety to chose from!
Whether you’re looking for something super lightweight, colorful, and compact, or something more muted but super fluffy for your bathroom, the brands below will not disappoint.
Here’s What to Look for in Ethical and Sustainable Towels
Earth-Friendly Fabrics and Processes: The brands included here use materials like organic cotton and ECONYL, which is made from recycled plastic bottles. 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.
Non-Toxic: The last thing you want to do as soon as you get out is rub your skin with potentially-toxic dyes and other chemicals. Look for certifications 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.
Fair labor and transparency: 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.
Now here are our favorite brands:
Inspired by their endless summers on the beaches of Greece during childhood, the founders of Anaskela wanted to create a towel that was more conducive to travel. Their eco-friendly beach towel weighs just 200 – 300 grams, which means it’s so thin, lightweight, and compact that you’ll have plenty of space in your luggage or pool bag. Using fibers made from recycled PET bottles, Anaskela’s microfiber towels are super absorbent, quick-drying, and sand-repellant.
If you’re looking for the plushest bath towels, Delilah Home is your answer. Their collection of non-toxic, GOTS organic cotton towels are 50% thicker than your average bath towel. They partner 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. You can read more about why we love Delilah Home here!
Born in New York and made in India, Micro Cotton is a luxury brand that creates premium bed and bath linen. All of the brand’s towels are OEKO-TEX® MADE IN GREEN certified, ensuring they have been manufactured in environmentally-friendly facilities. More than 90% of the energy used to produce its towels is clean, green and renewable. Micro Cotton also created its own waste management system to recover and reuse 90% of water in its towel production process.
Started by a high school science teacher who wanted to set an example for his students, we’ve been a fan of Evolve since their launch several years ago. Their towels are made from innovative Ecolite fabric, which is super soft, quick-drying, sand-repelling, and made from 20 recycled plastic bottles. Your purchase is also carbon offset through The Gold Standard Foundation and 10% of their profits are donated to environmental non-profit organizations like Panthera, OCEANA, and The Rainforest Alliance.
I had actually never used a t-shirt hair towel before Lakeshore Dry Goods sent me one to try… and I honestly was not expecting to love it so much! It’s just as absorbent as a regular fluffy bath towel, but so much easier to maneuver while I get dressed or do chores around the house after my shower. T-shirt towels are said to help with frizz, tangles, and breakage as well. Lakeshore’s towels are made locally in the US out of GOTS certified organic cotton. They’re also really compact, light, and quick-drying, so they’d be great to take to the gym or on a weekend trip.
Beach & bath towels
QUIQUATTRO’s towels are technically for the beach, but I think some of the more muted designs would make really great bath towels too, especially if you’re looking for something a bit different than your standard bath towel. QUIQUATTRO’s hand-loomed pestemal, hammam, and fouta towels are made by female artisans in Turkey out of lightweight and absorbent Turkish cotton and bamboo, which dries super fast so you don’t even need a drier. Plus, 10% of the profits go to educating women in Turkey QUIQUATTRO also carries beachwear like flowy dresses and sarongs, along with cute beach ponchos for kids!
SOL’s super fluffy bath and hand towels are GOTS certified organic, non-toxic, and made in Fair Trade certified facilities in India. Their long-staple fibers are spun into single-ply yarn which makes for light, long-lasting towels that are soft to begin with but actually get softer as you wash them. As a company, SOL is committed to full transparency—about their fabrics, their workers, and their pricing.
Use code ‘ECO20’ for 20% off.
Inspired by adventure, the team at The Summer Chaser set out to create a collection of towels that would decrease travelers’ impact on the environment. Made ethically in China out of OEKO-TEX 100 and GRS certified fabric from recycled plastic bottles, they also donate a portion of profits to support a global ocean cleanup initiative. The convenient thing that really sets The Summer Chaser’s towels apart is their nifty corner pocket design—so you can stash your keys and sunscreen, or pack it down tight into a handy drawstring pouch.
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.
Parachute has a variety of different styles for your bath towels, from classic to waffle and two-tone to spa. These are made in Turkey out of 100% long-staple Turkish cotton and are completely free from toxic chemicals and dyes. They have some comfy looking robes too!
Beach & bath towels
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 to its workers.
Sand Cloud’s towels are loomed and made in Turkey out of 100% Turkish cotton, which is is sand-resistant, lightweight, and ultra-absorbent. They also give 10% of their profits to environmental non-profit organizations.
Being one of the first DTC home goods brands to pave the way, Boll & Branch has gained a reputation for trustworthy and high-quality products. Their bath towels are Fair Trade, GOTS organic, and OEKO-TEX certified.
Beach & bath towels
Made Trade is a curated online shop with a wide selection of products that are eco-conscious, fair trade, vegan, and/or made in the USA. On each product page, you can find out a lot about the brand’s values and ethical practices, materials used, etc., so you can be an informed consumer (without spending a bunch of time researching). Read more about why we love Made Trade here!
If you’re using one of the towels above that is made from recycled plastic, be sure to grab a Guppyfriend to wash your towel with in order to decrease the amount of microplastics that get washed into our waterways.