How to fold towels like a pro

Four white towels stacked and rolled on a wooden surface
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When it comes to preparing for guests, cleaning your home from top to toe takes top priority, from scrubbing out the oven, to ensuring the toilets are squeaky clean. However, if you want to make their stay extra special, there are small changes you can make to give your home an added touch of luxury and a hotel feel. 

One such change is quick, simple and can leave a lasting impression — namely, folding towels. If you take the time to fold and present your towels properly, guests will be sure to remark on it and remember their stay for it. And while you might assume that such shapes require intricate and frustrating folding techniques, these methods are more simple than you’d think — with some practice, you too can achieve spa-quality towel displays.

If you’re interested to learn how to fold towels, here we will break down the best techniques step-by-step. So you can give your home the finishing touches in time for guests over the holidays.

To get your towels ready for folding, be sure to also check out how to wash towels and how to make your towels feel soft and fluffy again.

How to fold towels

Roll it up 

Three towels rolled up in the bathroom next to a succulent

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

For spa-like towels, rolling them up is quick, simple and it saves space too. 

1. First, lay your towel out flat, brushing out any creases with your hands. Bear in mind that the side which is facing the surface will be the one on display once your roll is finished.

2. Take one of the corners and fold it all the way to the longest edge on the other side, creating a triangle of overlapped material. 

3. Then, take the obtuse corner of the triangle from the same side as where you just folded, and fold the entire towel in half lengthwise. Keep brushing out creases and keep the towel as flat as possible. 

4. Carefully rotate the towel onto its other side. Then begin rolling it toward the point, keeping the roll as tight as possible.

5. Once you've reached the point, it should just fold over the top of your roll and tuck into the pocket you created on the underside. There you have it — rolled towels.

Mini swan

A white swan made from towels sitting on a bed

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Those large decorative swans often found in hotels usually consist of several towels, but there is a way you can form a swan using just a single towel. 

1. Lay your towel out on a flat surface and brush away any creases.

2. Place one finger in the center of the top, long edge, then with your other hand, roll the fabric inward from the two closest corners, pulling down from the corners so that the material rolls all the way to your finger. The result should be a cone shaped roll which grows in size, until your rolls each meet in the center. Your towel should now look something like a plump paper airplane.

3. The thinnest end of the towel is going to form the neck of your swan, so pull it back into a "z" shape to create the desired effect. If your towel is thin it may struggle to support itself, in which case you can always fit a safety pin between the back of the swan’s neck and the body to help keep it upright. Alternatively, you can make yourself a second swan so they can balance against one another. 

4. To make your swan look all the more impressive, fold a hand towel over and under itself in panels across the shortest length, as you would when making a paper fan. Then spread out the fan and tuck it into the back of your swan's neck.  

Square for stacking   

Three towels stacked on top of each other next to a soap dispenser

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Sometimes square, stacked towels are the way to go, but even these can be neatened up with a few small changes. 

1. Lay your towel out flat and crease free. 

2. Take the two corners of one of the longest edges and fold them to the half-way point towards the center of the towel to create a long folded panel. Then repeat on the opposite side of the towel, folding it in on itself, to create a long, plump towel. 

3. If you’re dealing with a large bath towel, fold it in half, but from the shortest edges this time, so there’s less length. If your towel is smaller than this, continue to the next step. 

4. Fold the shortest ends in toward the center on both sides, but leave a small gap between them. 

5. Finally, fold one half of the towel over the other, using the gap to give it adequate space to overlap. 

6. Your towel is now ready for display and stacking. Keep the side with the single layer on show for the best effect. 

Towel mistakes 

Someone hanging towels to dry on a clothes line

(Image credit: Shutterstock)
  • While new towels may feel extra soft and fluffy, do not give these to guests without first running them through the washing machine. Towels on the shop shelves are treated with a silicone coating to make them feel softer than they actually are. Before it's washed away, this coating deters the absorbency — so your guests won’t be grateful when it comes to using the towel.  
  • Do not fold your towels while they are still damp. They will not be able to dry out properly, resulting in a musty smell and the potential for mold to grow. Always allow your towels to dry out completely before folding.  
  • Know when to replace your towels. If your towels are worn and feel more like sandpaper, guests won’t be happy no matter how elegant your swan looks. You can always repurpose your old towels as rags for cleaning purposes.   

If you want more laundry tips, check out how to clean a washing machine for best performance. Or else you’ll end up wondering how to fix a shaky washing machine from wear and tear. Also, did you know that this is the cheapest time to do your laundry

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.