A tea towel is a cloth which is intended for the specific use of drying dishes and cutlery after they have been washed. In addition, clean tea towels may be spread over a tea tray before tea things are put onto it, or used to cover warm scones or a tea pot to prevent heat loss. Many kitchen supply stores sell tea towels. They are also readily obtainable in England and Ireland, two nations well known for their tea. For people outside of these nations, numerous mail order company are happy to supply genuine Irish and English tea towels.
Linen is the traditional fiber for tea towels, since it can be used to dry delicate plates and silverware without the risk of scratching. In general, tea towels are made with a simple weave, rather than a looped terry, and they are made in a hand towel size. Tea towels made from cotton are not uncommon, and a cotton tea towel tends to be much less costly, making it suitable for daily use. In some cases, a tea towel is woven in a pattern, while in other instances, it may be decorated with paint or embroidery.