Are You Team Towel Bar or Team Towel Hook?

a bathroom with a black tile floor
Are You Team Towel Bar or Team Towel Hook?FreshSplash / bong hyunjung / Getty Images

So, it's time to remodel your bathroom. You've got the tile picked out, the walk-in shower confirmed, the vanity you want, and all that's left are the little details you never really thought about, like specifically where and how to hang your bath towels. Is this something you even need to think too long about? It's such a small feature in your bathroom, right? Wrong! In a Threads post, the Brownstone Boys posed the question: "Team towel bar or team towel hook?", and as it turns out from the replies, this is actually a steaming hot topic for debate.

Where you hang your towels to dry between washes is technically your business (though you should be washing them at least once a week), but people have strong thoughts about the right way to do so. One commenter under the design duo's post wrote, "Bar all the way, you can neatly fold the towels and display your work of art. Hooks look sloppy and not aesthetically pleasing. I have a warmer tower bar, it’s one of those inexpensive luxuries." However, a Team Towel Hook loyalist countered this idea, writing: "Heated hook towel warmer. I love my towels, but I don’t need to spread them out for display." And while Team Towel Bar had longer explanations as to why their choice was the best, the overwhelming winner of this specific debate was Team Towel Hook.

However, the Thread got us wondering which truly is better, and what makes one superior over the other? As much as people in the replies would beg to differ, there's not one right answer when it comes to choosing a bar or hook to display your towels. Considering aesthetic, cleanliness, and drying ability, we've broken it down.

Pros & Cons of Towel Bars

towels in a motel room
Thomas Winz - Getty Images

Sometimes, we splurge on the little things, and that includes towels! If you're trying to make your own or your guest bathroom look as elegant as a bathroom possibly can, no detail is too small. You did not buy the perfect towels you spent days, weeks, months looking for to be lazily thrown on a hook or folded in a closet. Show off those babies with a towel bar while keeping your space neat and tidy.

However, neat and tidy doesn't always mean cleaner. Towel bars do allow your towels to dry faster since they don't sit there bunched up like they would on a ring or hook, but they also harbor a lot of bacteria. More surface area to spread out your damp towels is great for drying, but it also means there's more space for germs to grow. According to a study conducted by Rointe, "Towel rails are amongst some of the dirtiest parts of your bathroom." Even participants who said they cleaned their towel bars once a week came back with "really dirty" results. Since damp towels are thrown over them, the bars and heated rails become hotspots for bacteria. However, this can easily be kept up with by properly cleaning your space, focusing on the grimiest parts.

If your bathroom doesn't have a lot of wall space available, then a towel bar may not be the right option for you. They're generally fairly wide, and you have to remember your long towel will be hanging down from it, taking up more space. In a small or shared bathroom, you'll want to consider a towel hook.

Pros & Cons of Towel Hooks

white vintage bathtub,with colorful towels
Laurie Rubin - Getty Images

When it comes to space-saving measures, the towel hook will probably be your way to go. If you're living in a shared space and use a communal bathroom, whether that's with roommates or family, a towel bar just simply can't store all the towels you may need it to. Towel hooks appear more minimalist and can help make an area feel less cluttered. They are slightly more convenient than bars, as you don't have to think about folding your towel before hanging it up. Does it really add that much time to fold your towel to fit on the bar? No, but some of us are impatient! Towel hooks can also be a cheaper, less permanent option since there are so many options out there for towel hooks that just slip over the top of your bathroom door. However, when it comes to their drying-abilities, they don't dry towels as adequately as towel bars.

Because your damp towel is bunched up, the moisture can become trapped, taking longer to dry. Plus, that prolonged moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria. According to a study by the National Library of Medicine about proper toothbrush and towel handling practices, E. coli was found in all of their sampled towels—a bacteria that needs water to survive and grow. If this won't get you to wash your towels every few washes, we don't know what will!

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