My recipe for bottling (Am.canning) sour cherries tells me to put old kitchen towels in the base of a water bath. I'll be standing glass jars on them, and boiling the whole shebang. Sooo - am I supposed to use something like a J-cloth or something like a tea towel? I'm pretty sure I'm not to use British kitchen towel aka kitchen paper. Could someone who cooks answer, perhaps?

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    Perhaps it would be better to ask this on Seasoned Advice (the SE subsite devoted to cookery). But maybe Americans usually understand "kitchen towels" as equivalent to "kitchen cloths / tea towels", I dunno. Jul 9, 2019 at 13:40
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is asking for cooking/bottling advice.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 9, 2019 at 13:57
  • So are you using British terminology? Is 'kitchen towel' for you made out of paper or cloth? Whatever things are called, I think using paper in boiling water is probably not a good thing.
    – Mitch
    Jul 9, 2019 at 14:50
  • Thanks everyone. Mari-Lou A - you are mistaken. The bottling thing was merely an example. Also, my terminology though British now is skewed by being originally Australian, which is more profoundly influenced by American forms. Jul 10, 2019 at 14:40

1 Answer 1


An American kitchen towel is indeed something like a tea towel.

It is simply a (cloth) towel used in the kitchen. These days, kitchen towels are often made of terry cloth, whereas tea towels - at least, what Americans call tea towels - are typically flat woven fabric.

In the US, kitchen towels are sometimes called dish towels, or dish cloths. This page on the Williams Sonoma website (an American kitchenware store) uses the terms interchangeably:

Refresh Your Kitchen Towels

Indulge in the satisfaction of all new kitchen towels...The well-stocked kitchen has lots of dish towels at hand throughout the room...Dish cloths make serving meals infinitely easier. Mitts or potholders keep your hands safe and cool while you reach into the oven or grab a pot off a burner, but dish towels enter the picture as vital kitchen support when things are really cooking. Use kitchen towels as extra trivets or big mats to place hot items while cooking...

https://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/homekeeping/dish-cloths-towels/ (emphasis added throughout)

On the other hand, another American kitchenware company, Sur La Table, seems to think that dish cloths are smaller than kitchen towels and they're mostly square, whereas kitchen towels are rectangular.


In any case, a kitchen towel is definitely made of cloth, not paper. If it were made of paper we would call it a paper towel.

  • So that's what the markup on W-S merchandise goes to—their SEO consultants.
    – choster
    Jul 9, 2019 at 20:23

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