Feb 032011
 

Organic Mats

Along with bathrobes, hand towels and bath towels, bath mats have been around for a long time. There is, however, far more to the simple tubmat than meets the eye, and those interested in reading up on the history of the mat will, no doubt, be fascinated by what they uncover.

Today the luxury bath mat comes in several styles, including the reversible bamboo mat of combed Egyptian cotton and bamboo rayon and the incredibly soft Supima bath mat, available in such interesting colors as merlot, chestnut and marine. Far less luxurious and eco friendly, however, were the Marsden or Marston mats that were popular during World War II, which were made of perforated steel and which were used to build temporary landing strips and runways.

Mats have been around for thousands of years – the hand-woven funeral mats on display at the Pecos Rio Grande Museum in Arizona were created between 2,000 an 5,000 years ago – and, as today’s quality mats can testify, cotton bath mats are now made with an extremely high degree of sophistication. The Organic bath mats, for instance, are manufactured in Portugal of 100% certified organic cotton, while the Elegance bath mats are made of long staple Turkish cotton and are equally at home in the bathroom or the upscale spa.

Although some mats are made from the tough brown and white coir fibers found in coconut husks, luxury bath mats, just like quality bath robes, towels and kids robes, are made from materials such as organic cotton, rayon and supima cotton. For those who like matching sets, Terry Velour Turkish bathrobes and towels can be paired with made-in-Turkey Supima mats while a Kimono Waffle bathrobe – complete with fancy monogram and made from 65% natural cotton – can be combined with a machine washable Pure Cotton bath mat to make the perfect bathroom linen set.

No matter what the history of the mat actually is, today’s best dressed bathrooms should all sport quality bathmats, and, as high quality mats are eminently affordable, why not buy a different color mat for every day of the week?

Dec 162010
 

bathroom

Although luxury towels, bath mats and bathrobes may seem like Western concepts, a little research will show that almost every continent has chipped in to make robes, hand towels and bath towels what they are today.

The more popular styles of bathrobe include the waffle kimono and the terry velour kimono robes, and, of course, everyone knows that the kimono came out of Japan, where, for centuries, it was the outfit of choice for not only men and women, but children as well. The modern bathrobe is, in fact, extremely similar to the classic kimono as, not only can it too be worn by both sexes – and there are also special kids robes – the luxurious waffle and terry bathrobes can, just like today’s kimono, also be made from cotton and polyester.

The oriental influence can also be seen in the stunning line of quality bamboo towels and bathrobes that are made of an innovative bamboo cotton / rayon mix and that are also available in a myriad of colors. Bamboo is an extremely versatile plant that’s used to make anything from fabric to musical instruments, and it grows naturally in both East and South East Asia. Bamboo rayon is also a very important component of the soft, organic and eco friendly Turkish bathrobes/towels that are so popular today, and, as Turkey is one of the world’s major exporters of textiles, the latter also serves to highlight the Eurasian influence on quality bathroom wear.

Moving from Asia to Africa, the dark continent’s influence is nowhere more noticeable than in the world of bath towels where Egyptian cotton towels, although fairly rare, are among the best on the market. With or without a monogram, Egyptian cotton washcloths, hand towels and bath towels are highly sought after and are found not only in the luxury spa but also in the middle-class home right next to the more pedestrian tubmat and floor mat.

The USA is also part of the equation, and the cotton used to make the delectable Supima towels and bathrobes is cultivated in California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

Nov 182010
 

Robe

The bathroom in my new one-bedroom apartment was covered in small tiles of speckled robin’s egg blue-on-white, but the carpets in the living room and bedroom were champagne brown, which dictated that all bath towels, bath mats and bathrobes had to be in shades of brown.

I had moved into my new apartment on the Monday and, by Thursday, was ready to launch myself into the mundane yet delicate business of populating it with quality towels and luxurious bath robes. I had never, however, suspected that my choice would be limited by the apartment’s color scheme, but I was now convinced that nothing but beige, chocolate brown and perhaps a greyish-hued taupe would compliment the carpets and painted accent wall. Hand towels, a tubmat or two and almost certainly more than one soft waffle bathrobe were on the must-buy list, and the challenge would be to find them in colors complimenting those resident in the apartment.

I chose to shop online and was immediately confronted with choices that ranged from eco friendly and Egyptian cotton to organic and bamboo rayon/cotton mix. I was also barraged with browns and found myself contemplating the advantages of the ecru – whitish brown – bamboo bath towel over those of the chestnut-shaded luxury supima towel. The waffle bathrobe was brilliant in beige and looked equally as good with or without a monogram, and I was debating whether or not to buy it along with either the taupe and chocolate renaissance towels or the coffee and linen organic towels. As far as bath towels went, however, the adventure was not over, and my attention was soon diverted by the cayenne-colored elegance towels and – this was possibly the most exciting of all – the espresso, lite gold, chocolate-charcoal, cream and rosebud Egyptian cotton towels.

All too soon my buying spree was over, and I was anxiously awaiting delivery of my delicious cream, chocolate and espresso Turkish bathrobes/towels and tub mat set. When they arrived, they complimented the apartment’s color scheme perfectly and even made the somewhat unappealing robin’s egg blue tiles seem more acceptable.

Oct 132010
 

Lisa Simpson, of the animated, long-running series, The Simpsons, once observes about her mother: “Her heart won’t just wipe clean like this bathroom countertop: it absorbs everything that touches it, like this bathroom rug.” The bathroom rug in question is revealed to be more a science experiment than a rug, with various items growing out of it.

Hopefully your bathroom rugs and bath mats don’t look like the ones in The Simpsons. If they do, here’s a suggestion: wash it.

Why Bath Mats and Rugs Get So Dirty

Our bath mats get dirty for two main reasons. The first problem is the environment in which our mats and rugs live. The bathroom, especially inside or close to the shower, tends to stay moist and warm, making it a breading ground for mildew and other nasties.

The second problem is the nature of a bath mat. Bath mats are textured so that we don’t slip and fall inside the shower, but the texture means that there are plenty of nooks and crannies for dirt to hide in.

Three Easy Ways to Wash Your Mat

1. Bath mats are easily cleaned with a pressure washer. The next time you use your pressure washer, take the mat outside and wash it, too.

2. Most bath mats, and almost all rugs, can be easily thrown into the laundry. Wash your bath mat with a bath towel, as the friction between the two will help wash the mat clean.

3. If you’ve been meaning to wash your bath mat but never seem to find the time, just do it at the end of your shower. After you step out of the shower, spray it with your favorite bathroom cleaner, give it a quick scrub, and hang it to dry. It will take you all of two minutes, giving you no real excuse not to clean it.

Just Do It

Don’t become the butt of a Simpsons joke. Clean your bath mat and bathroom rug on a regular basis to improve your family’s bathroom hygiene.