WHAT IS PESTEMAL?A pestemal or peshtamal (pesh-te-mahl) is an authentic flat woven Turkish towel with a hand-tied fringe, generally made with Turkish cotton. Pestemal are colorful, fast drying, absorbent and an essential element of the Turkish bath experience. Pestemal are used as towels, decorative throws and packable travel towels. The reasons a Turkish pestemal is special, and different from the towels you are used are: 1) It's made with high quality Turkish cotton, which is known for being great for textiles such as towels. This is because Turkish cotton is not too soft and plushy, and won't absorb too much water. Turkish cotton gives certain characteristics to the Pestemal, such as:
- The Turkish Cotton Sheen - Cheap lower quality imitators often try to copy the Turkish Pestemal, but end up with a product that feels different, just because they don't use real Turkish cotton. After you see a real pestemal, you'll know what we're taking about.
- Fast Drying - Because Turkish cotton isn't TOO absorbent, Turkish Pestemal ends up being fast drying and pushes water off of your skin, instead of just soaking it in and becoming a big ball of mildew.
A pestemal has many uses in and around the home. Depending on the width and the number of layers, a pestemal towel can be used as blanket, throw, table covering or beach towel.
Traditional, high quality pestemal are made through a handlooming process. Yarn is loaded up onto looms, and is then sown to create these pestemal towels. There are a lot of "pestemal" available that are made in China, and are low quality imitators. Generally -- if it seems too good to be true, it is!
If you google around for PESTEMAL, you'll unvariably end up seeing a lot of confusing terms. Pestemal is the anglicized spelling of the Turkish word peştemal - which is the word to for this traditional towel. Some people spell pestemal like the tTurkishword minus the "s" and others spell it the way pestemal is pronounced. So Peshtamal is also a common spelling.