Does Bath Towel Color Affect Absorbancy?

Recently a friend of mine made a comment that I found hard to swallow. She stated that white towels are much more absorbant than towels of other colors. Now, just as I was coming to a conclusion in my little brain as to whether to laugh hysterically or calmly refute her comment, another person chimed in with a ringing endorsement of truth. The second person uttered the inarguable proof that her “mother told her this years ago, so it must be true.” Then the first friend stated that “of course it’s true. A white towel has more room to absorb moisture because it hasn’t absorbed all that color dye.”

Now, leaving aside the question about whether I should get more intelligent friends or not, is there any truth to this? My hunch is that a towel with the fabric dyed one color or another (including white) will be no more or less absorbant than any other color. Please tell me I’m not insane (in regards to this matter).

If there is a difference, it’s not enough to notice under normal (non-laboratory) conditions. Time to get smarter friends. :slight_smile:

I heard something about the use of dryer sheets affecting absorbtion. Something about the coating of oil or fragrance or something.

Hmmm…I have towels of several different colors. I find my white ones are more absorbent, but I always thought that had something to do with the fact that I bleach them. Interesting question.

I’ve got white towels, and towels of color. The towels of color ( T.O.C. ) tend to be more absorbent, gathering in moisture in a gentle and accepting way. The white towels, they stay to themselves in the linen closet, and rarely absorb anything but bleach.

I think I need to do some selective removal. Whooops, look at the time, back to my planet I go !! :stuck_out_tongue:


[slowly recovering from head injury incurred by smacking self in forehead after finally figuring out Cartooniverse’s post]

Err, still a little groggy here. This is a car detailing website–hey, when you want the Straight Dope, ask an expert. :smiley:

So if the colored towel in question is a polyester blend, it will be less absorbent. However, on to the question of the OP.

This car detailing guy also says:

He’s backed up by another expert, no less than the august body of the International Society of Hospitality Purchasers, Inc. (read: Hotel Purchasing Agents)

So, huh. I didn’t know that.

And yes, fabric softener does hinder the absorbency of towels. Mr. Car Detail again:

And from All About Bath Towels:

I believe without a doubt that white towels are more absorbant than darker colors. In fact, I’ve even noticed that the light color such as beige are also more absorbant. It must have something to do with the dyes being used.

This is also the case with clothes. I recently purchased 2 pairs of Banana Republic khakis (chinos). They are the exact same model. The beige-colored pants are lighter and softer than the black ones. And this isn’t an isolated example. Light-colored clothes always seem to be softer and lighter than dark-colored clothes.