Kitchen is an essential part of any home or residency. Keeping it clean and hygienic is vital for the health of all family members residing in a house as well as the person working in the kitchen. Especially girls and women have to spend most of their time in kitchen to carry routine activities and chores like cutting vegetables, washing and grinding meat, frying and baking, dish-washing etc. Females like to enter the place that is tidy and beautiful rather than a messy one. To keep various areas of a kitchen clean and avoid wet surfaces, kitchen towels are widely used to serve the purpose.
In Pakistan, the domestic kitchen management culture is mostly developed and dominated by women members who are in charge of the home chores. They are very considerate in handling petty things with utmost care and hygiene so that all family members will get to eat and drink healthy items.
Kitchen Towel Manufacturing Industry in Pakistan
Before discussing the Pakistan’s Towel Manufacturing Industry, we will briefly and generally explain the different types and the categorization of kitchen towels according to the cloth they are made of. This piece of information is the most generalized one for both the domestic users and the manufacturers. Domestic users will get to know which kind and cloth-type will be effective when and how, while the manufacturers will get a holistic idea about marketing prospects of their products.
Types of Kitchen Towel
Kitchen towels can be either regular towels that can be washed for reuse or the paper towels – the disposable ones. Separate towels in the kitchen are used to keep it clean as well as to avoid germs spread. They range from drying hands to drying tea, dishes and counters.
- Hand towels
- Tea towels
- Dish towels
- Counter towels
The basic purpose of hand towels is to dry hands while working in the kitchen. Even after finishing kitchen work, you should wash your hands either with some antibacterial soap or hand-wash to avoid the potential spread of microbes. It is essential to wash the hand towels regularly to ensure good health and hygiene.
Tea towels are usually placed on trays while serving tea, to absorb spills and also preventing cups and their saucers from sliding in the tray. Sometimes, tea towels are also called as glass towels. Some people use them to dry precious and delicate sets of tea after using and washing. However, their function is not limited and they are also used for:
- Covering specific devices and machines present in kitchen like food processors, blenders and mixers to prevent them from getting dusty.
- Covering food plates containing cake and sandwiches to protect them from flies and insects.
- Placing over dining tables to be used as napkins during and at the end of meals.
- Keeping green leafy vegetables after washing over the tea towel to keep them fresh until they get dry.
- Placing under the mixing bowls as a cushion to prevent it from moving.
- Protecting hands from getting burned through using folded cotton towels for handling hot pans and other kitchen utensils.
As obvious from its name, dish towels aim to dry wet dishes after washing them. They are a good replacement for plastic racks which many people use to keep wet kitchen utensils to dry on their own without exerting extra effort. In order to prevent the water stains over precious glass and other dishes, manually drying them with dish towel one by one may take time but will keep them thoroughly dry and give them a clean look. Another way to use dish towels is to place them over some table and then place all the washed wet dishes over them to absorb the extra water from them.
The major function of counter towels is to wipe the kitchen counters after finishing work to give kitchen a clean look. It can also be used to shine the sink after washing vegetables, meat or greasy kitchen utensils. Even drying the wet sinks and attached faucets at the end of day does not only keep them tidy but also give you the freedom of not cleaning them again before beginning any task.
Categorization of Kitchen Towels According to Cloth-Type
The women and kitchen attendants like to use kitchen towels that have more power to absorb liquids and other residues for doing some tasks while for others they need a cloth that is just lint-free. It indicates that the weave and fiber of towels matter a lot while selecting an appropriate kitchen towel to accomplish a particular task.
The major categories of kitchen towels according to their cloth-type are as follows:
Waffle weave generally refers to cotton fiber and this weave makes a kitchen towel that has the complete ability to absorb liquids. It is also known as honeycomb and basically used for drying large kitchen utensils like dishes and pots after washing them. It can also be used in the form of hand towels. It is relatively expensive and durable. It comes in varying sizes from small to large. Choose a kitchen towel of a size that you feel easy to handle.
Terry cloth is made from a cotton material having loops in it. This kitchen cloth is highly absorbent in nature and comes in good sizes too. It is generally used to dry hands, dishes, kitchen counters or bar mopping etc.
This weave is a 50/50 blend of cotton and linen. These semi-linen kitchen towels are by nature lint-free and thus are the ideal choice for drying delicate and precious glassware. They come in interesting and elegant colors as well as complex patterns to select from.
It is a multi-purpose kitchen cloth that is made up of cotton material. These towels are also lint free which are not just used for drying glassware but also employed for covering rising dough, lining bread baskets, drying dishes, polishing silverware and dusting. It is noteworthy to keep separate towels to be used in dusting and polishing from those to be used during food preparation and kitchen services etc.
It is a 100 percent complete cotton towel which is very absorbent in nature. It is generally used as a dish towel besides its use as a folded pad to handle hot cooking/baking pans and removing lids considering proper safety.
These are the disposable towels that come in variety of weaves and absorbencies. Paper towels are used for performing many useful tasks that were previously done by an ordinary kitchen cloth. They are a simple choice for kitchen attendants to use for wiping counter tops, lining bread baskets, cleaning up spills, drying and shining some surface etc. These can also be used to place fried items like French fries, nuggets, potato cutlets etc. over delicate plates to absorb extra oil from them.
But when it comes to cover rising dough or serving as some potholder, paper towels are not a good choice to accomplish the task. However, due to their disposable nature, you can simply put them in the dustbin after using and don’t have to worry about washing them over and over to use them again.
This synthetic towel is a blended production of two materials; polyamide and polyester, interlocked together. The polyamide fiber absorbs well and used for drying items quickly while polyester fiber is mainly used for cleaning and polishing items and surfaces. The distinct qualities of two fibers are united to develop a unique and effective microfiber material. It is a smooth, lint free and hypoallergenic cloth that would enable you to wipe without using different chemicals.
It can be used to clean most of the materials like glass, silver, stainless steel, mirrors, ceramic and marble tiles, rubber, wood etc. It can also be used to wipe carpets, leather and different appliances. These lightweight microfiber towels have relatively longer life time than the traditional towels and mops which makes them an economic choice for use.
Pakistan’s Kitchen Towel Manufacturing Industry and Exports
All the above explained types and categories of kitchen towels are manufactured in Pakistan and also exported over world-wide on a large scale due to the vastly export-oriented nature of this industry. As the kitchen towel manufacturing comes under the towel manufacturing industry, so wherever we will discuss the towels in generals, it will include the kitchen towel manufacturing and exports too.
Introduction: Kitchen Towels in Pakistan
According to Textile World Asia (TWA) 2007 report, there were around 7,500 looms installed within the terry towel manufacturing industry of Pakistan, distributed among the organized and unorganized sectors. Since its small scale establishment in 1965, this sub-sector of textile industry has grown over a large scale through adapting to the dynamic global demands.
This industry in Pakistan is administered by a body known as Towels Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (TMAP) which had been classified as an association of “A” class under the Ordinance of Trade Organizations 1961 after getting recognition from the Government of Pakistan since June 1981.
Pakistan is a big world-wide exporter of kitchen towels. It provides a good range of kitchen towels with respect to color palette, embroidered and printed products, which comes in various shades, patterns and sizes in the international market. The biggest foreign market for Pakistan’s kitchen towels are the United States. Besides U.S., the other major markets include Canada, Europe, Australia and Middle East etc. International demand for the Pakistani kitchen towels has increased over the recent years due to the best quality products Pakistan manufactures and supplies world-wide.
Almost more than 75 percent of the total produced towel items have been exported to the main consumer markets of different countries to constitute around 8 percent of the world market share.
Despite the higher level of demands, the annual exports of towel products witnessed a decline of 3.2 percent during the year 2013-14 which means the negative growth of towels exports from $645.0 million to $624.5 million within a year (Pakistan Economic Survey 2013-14). This decline with respect to both quantity and value can be a result of:
- Fluctuated prices of raw materials within the local market.
- The shortfall in the supply of energy that resulted in the production of less finished products.
- Tough market competition due to large number of manufacturers of the similar product.
Top Manufacturers and Exporters of Kitchen Towels in Pakistan
In Pakistan, the towels industry mainly exists in Karachi, Faisalabad, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot and Multan as majority of the manufactures have their production set-up based in these cities. Here, we will list a few of the major manufacturers and exporters of Kitchen towels in the above mentioned cities of Pakistan:
- Fine Towel Industries: Based in Gujranwala, they are one of the top towel manufacturers and exporters since 1973. Their kitchen towel items include waffle, waft dyed yarn, cocina nido and much more.
- Zephyrs Textile: Manufacturing and exporting home textile and apparel products since 2002 from Multan, Zephyrs textiles have maintained their quality while providing their items at the economical rates. Their product line in kitchen towels includes dish clothes, yarn dyed towels for kitchen, tea towels and many more towel sets for use in kitchen.
- Continental Textiles: Established since 1985, they are one of the leading and reliable manufacturers and exporters of home textile products specially terry towels in Karachi. They have a good range of variety in kitchen towels whether it is in terms of color or size. They are very popular suppliers for maintaining good quality and following latest trends.
- Hitex Group: Based in Faisalabad, they are one of the major manufacturers and exporters of terry towel products also including good range of product line in kitchen towels like hand towels, dish towels etc.
- Maryam Textile Pvt. (Ltd.): Established since 1989, Maryam textiles have several manufacturing units in three of the major cities of Pakistan: Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad. It is one of the recognized manufacturer and exporter of terry towels including hand towels, tea towels, pot holders and other related items.
Tips for Proper Handling of Kitchen Towels for Domestic Users
Kitchen attendants in Pakistan have the general habit of using the same kitchen towel for drying hands and dishes instead of separate wipes for both. This may result in spreading harmful bacteria in the house. University of Arizona have conducted a study to find out that apart from toilet bowls and kitchen sinks, the kitchen towels and dishcloths harbour a great deal of bacteria in the home than any other thing. Here are a few useful tips for preventing the kitchen towels from contamination with potentially harmful bacteria:
- It is advisable to keep two separate kitchen towels for drying dishes and hands to prevent the potential germs spread from hands. Choose two towels of different colours and keep them at separate places to make it easy for the kitchen attendants to identify them easily.
- Do not wipe meat, fish or poultry juice with kitchen towels to prevent the risk of potential cross-contamination. It implies that there is a high probability that the harmful microbes present in meat residue can spread over to your hands and even to the other food items. It is recommended to use disposable wipes to clean any meat spills to control disseminating bacteria.
- According to the research by University of Arizona, the second most germ prone places in kitchen are the sinks. It is better to use some paper towel or a sponge to clean the spots over sinks. Afterwards, zap the sponge into the microwave for destroying the harmful germs.
- It is unwise to use counter towels for cleaning the spots over sinks or countertops after employing severe cleaning products at those areas as it may also lead to the problem of cross-contamination.
- Damp places help in bacteria growth and wet towels and clothes do not dry up easily especially when they are crumpled form. It is advisable to hang the used kitchen towels over a hook or oven-handle top avoid transfer of microbes from towels to hands, dishes and other food items around.
- Kitchen towels should be washed frequently like twice or thrice a week to control germs spread within the kitchen and house.