Hanging Up Towels

I saw a great idea for hanging towels up aboard Beagle Knot and it works for bath/beach towels, galley towels and even rags.

Sew a loop of lightweight webbing on the towel and then you can hang the towels on hooks.  Okay, you’re saying, I could also just put the towel on the hook without that loop.  Yes, but it’s far more likely to slip off with the motion of the boat and end up on the floor.  So I love the loop idea!  While they may not dry quite as quickly as if you spread them out on a bar, you can get far more in a small space.

We hung the towels out on the lifelines to actually dry, then it didn’t matter that they were a little smushed together on the hooks.  If they are damp or wet when you hang them closely like this, they won’t dry well and can get funky smelling pretty quickly.

It’s best to use cotton or cotton/polyester webbing to make the loops, in either 3/4″ or 1″ width.  The heavy webbing, particularly the nylon webbing, is uncomfortable as it rubs against you when using the towel and is stiff to put over the hooks.  This type of webbing is available in most fabric stores and also in many craft stores.  Webbing wider than 1″ tends not to fit well on most hooks.

Using pieces that are 7″ to 8″ long works well for most hooks — you don’t want them too short or they’ll be finicky to hang.  Turn the ends under before sewing so they don’t ravel.

I really like the hooks that LaDonna and Denis used on Beagle Knot.  The round flat knobs are less likely to produce an injury if someone falls against one — always a possibility on a boat.  LaDonna got the bar at Ikea and that exact model doesn’t seem to be sold any longer.

Need more space to hang towels in the bathroom? Or dish towels in the galley? Here's a simple solution!

However, the individual knobs are available, which might be even better as you can choose how many work for the space you have available.  One nice feature about these is that they are stainless, instead of the chrome or powder-coated steel that many hooks are made of — and which just don’t last well in salt air.  A couple of these in the galley area would be great for dish towels and bar rags.

Since it’s not immediately obvious how these attach, I’ve taken the pictures from the installation instructions and put them at right.  If you are not using them on a solid wall, be sure to use appropriate fasteners and figure out what you can use before buying them — this can be the biggest problem in installing knobs like this on a boat! See below for another alternative that’s better for fiberglass walls or wood that you don’t want to make a hole in.

You can purchase these at Amazon and from Ikea:

If you don’t want to make holes in the wall — or the wall is thin with only air behind it, as can happen on boats — another great option is to use Command hooks and knobs (read my previous post about Command products).  They stick to any smooth surface and remove without a trace (no hole, no lasting adhesive).  Most of the “large” size hooks hold up to five pounds — plenty for most towels.

I recently discovered that Command makes not just hooks (which aren’t as spiky as some of the metal ones) but also knobs, which would be good if you want to mount them at a height where someone could bump into them with the motion of the boat. You might get a bruise, but no puncture wound!

Most Command products come in white and clear, and some come in colors or metallic finishes.  I’ve only used the white plastic ones and they are very easy to keep clean.  The metallic finish ones are plastic with a coating; I have no idea how they do in salty, humid air (if you have experience with them, please leave a note in the comments).

Finally, Command has a series of products with what they call “water resistant strips” — designed for the high humidity of a bathroom.  These are worth looking into if you’re in a high humidity climate.

Need more space to hang towels in the bathroom? Or dish towels in the galley? Here's a simple solution!

Command Products are sold in tons of places, such as hardwares, big box stores, home improvement stores, craft shops and more.  But sometimes it’s hard to find some of the less popular products, such as the hanging knobs or water resistant hooks.  There are a wide variety available on Amazon:

Need more space to hang towels in the bathroom?  Or dish towels in the galley?  Here's a simple solution!

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  • Sky
    Posted at 21 February 2014 Reply

    You can also buy towels from IKEA that have loops already on them! They are very durable and good sized and thick enough to be comfy.

  • Diane
    Posted at 22 February 2014 Reply

    Already sewed loops on to all of my linens. I use carabineers to hang them on the rigging to dry. My only problem is that on our small boat, 25 ft., the manufacturer carpeted all of the walls in all of the compartments. I can’t use the 3m hooks. Any suggestions on how to hang items on carpeted walls?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 22 February 2014 Reply

      How about putting a bit of the “hook” part of Velcro on the towel — test first with your carpet, but it will probably stick well to the carpet. It sure does when I drop it on my carpeted floor!

      • Diane
        Posted at 22 February 2014 Reply

        Thanks for your quick response.
        Unfortunately, the carpet on the vertical surfaces is not a loop carpet. The Velcro doesn’t stick there but it sticks to the Berber style carpet on the floor. Isn’t that the way it goes. Sticks where you don’t want it to and doesn’t stick where you do;-)

  • Andy
    Posted at 04 August 2016 Reply

    While on the topic of towels, we have no cotton towels on board as they take forever to dry. All our towels (dish towels, shower towels, etc.) are microfiber. It’s like drying yourself with a chamois and they take no time to dry.

  • LaMarr Harding
    Posted at 23 June 2017 Reply

    I used ribbon on my towels and after some time the ribbon has deteriorated.

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