Ah, the humble heated towel rack. It’s one of America’s most desirable home enhancements but also the most misunderstood. You see, possibly due to its name, many people expect it to heat up their towels. However, it’s an actual job, something it does brilliantly, is to dry your towels. This way, when you get out of the shower or bath, you get to reach for a lovely dry towel with a touch of warmth. With a heated towel rack in your life, having to endure the ultimate ick – reaching for something damp and dank-smelling – becomes a memory to forget.

Dry towels vs warm towels

So, how does a heated towel rack work? Well, it all comes down to the art of the fold, but don’t worry, you’re not going to have to master anything complicated.


Only a small section of your towels, the part that hangs on the rail, will actually touch your heated towel rack. This transferred heat alone isn’t enough to dry your towel but, the way you drape it traps air underneath it. This air gets increasingly hot and can dry your towel in a matter of hours. Also, the more layers, the more heat your towel can trap, so folding it twice will ensure an even faster dry time.

It’s important to remember that, while all Bathroom Butler heated towel racks come with an adjustable heat setting, even the highest won’t compete with a tumble dryer. This is a good thing, however, as owning a hellishly hot towel rack would be a hazard, especially if you’ve got little hands in the house.

Safety first

Nobody can deny that a dry towel offering a subtle hint of warmth will always be a sensory delight. But there’s another reason why saying no to soggy is a must and that’s good old fashioned hygiene.

As it turns out, damp towels, especially those kept in a dark bathroom, are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, says many people don’t wash their hands thoroughly enough. Then, when they reach for a towel they’re seeding it with bacteria in a place that’s primed to grow like wildfire. “After about two days, if you dry your face on a hand towel, you’re probably getting more E. coli on your face than if you stuck your head in a toilet and flushed it,” he says.

Alrighty then!

But it gets even scarier! “I worry about towels that remain damp or moist. That’s a breeding ground for MRSA,” says New York City microbiologist Susan Whittier. An infection caused by antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA accounted for more than 300 000 hospitalizations and 10 000 deaths in the United States.

The bottom line

Clearly, being able to dry your towels soon after use, regardless of what the weather’s doing is a must. It can help protect you and your family from potentially deadly bacteria. While you could do this with a tumble drier, it’s not great for the environment and you’ll end up with a huge utility bill. But this is where a heated towel rack can come to the rescue. Better yet, if you buy one from Bathroom Butler, you get to rest assured you’ve invested in the kind of quality that’ll last for decades. Also, the fact that they’re gorgeous to look at is a big plus too. So, here’s to creating a lifetime of fresh, dry towels with just a touch of warmth.