Onsen Towel Review: is this finally the towel that doesn’t stink? 1

Onsen Towel Review: is this finally the towel that doesn’t stink?

If you are like us, you hate towels that stink. But on the same hand, you can’t imagine spending $50 on a towel. Well, we bought the $50 Onsen Towel to try it out and give you our honest Onsen Towel Review. Is it worth it? Read on for our review.

Onsen Towel Review: is this finally the towel that doesn’t stink? 2
Onsen Towel Review: Is the $50 bath towel worth it.

Quick Note: We bought the Onsen Bath Towel in October 2018, before we even started writing reviews. We noticed that we hadn’t written an Onsen Bath Towel review and decided we needed to fix that ASAP. We were not provided this towel for free to review, we actually bought this towel in hopes that it would get rid of the musty smell.

Onsen Towel Review: What is it?

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Well, besides a $50 towel, here’s what Onsen says about their towel (from their founder, Shane):

“I used to hate getting out of the shower and using a towel I didn’t like. I founded Onsen to make a towel that was stronger, softer, and dried faster than any other towel I’ve ever used. And now I can’t wait to reach for it every day after a shower (or bath). My terry towels weren’t doing their job anymore. When I reached for them after a shower they were either still wet, smelled musty, or a terrible combination of the two. Inspired by the lighter, thinner, quick-drying towels popular in Japan, I asked myself what the sole job of a towel was, and how I could improve it.”

Shane (Onsen Towel Founder)

In short, they are towels that are supposed to do a better job of drying themselves than other towels. They are supposed to not get as musty as easily.

What we were looking for in our Onsen Towel Review

Even though we live in Colorado, where it is very dry, we would occasionally get the musty towel smell. Mr. We Tried It is super sensitive to smells (he can smell what chapstick someone is putting on 10 feet away) and he HATES the musty smell.

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Even worse, if you just get out of the shower and you clean yourself with a musty towel, you smell musty and dirty. If you don’t have time to take another shower, then you go around all day smelling like that. That’s terrible!

In short: we were looking for a towel that would finally eliminate the musty smell if it wasn’t hung just right or didn’t fully dry from one use to another.

Stop reading this Onsen Towel Review before you understand this:

If you are looking for the world’s softest towel, this isn’t it. However, if you are looking for a towel that doesn’t smell musty, this might be the towel for you. Keep reading to learn more in our Onsen Towel Review.

Onsen Towel Review: What makes the Onsen Towel Different

Before we embarked on this journey to give you the Onsen Towel Review, we had no idea there was anything different. We had no idea there were different ways to make a towel. We just thought you bought the softest ones you could touch at Target. But that’s not the case.

Onsen Towel says that their unique waffle weave on the bath towel makes it super-lightweight but still absorbs water.

Onsen Towel Review: Lightweight but works?

Yes, the Onsen Towel is very lightweight. Even on their website, Onsen says that you can see through the “airy weave if you hold it up to the light.” It’s one of the things that reviewers on Amazon dig on the Onsen Towel for.

onsen towel review

We will say this: the Onsen towel does get you dry, but the towel doesn’t feel the same as other towels. It’s lightweight but it also seems to hold on to the water rapidly when you are drying yourself. So, when you are done drying yourself, the towel feels wetter than a normal towel that is typically plusher.

Onsen says “thanks to its open weave, it dries out quickly after you use it, so you’ll never reach for a wet, musty towel after a shower ever again.”

The Onsen Towel is also about 30% lighter and 50% less bulky versus average terry towel.

The $50 Question: Does the towel smell musty?


We’ve been using the Onsen towel for over 2 years now — the same two towels (one for Mr. We Tried It, the other for Mrs. We Tried It) in our bathroom, and they do not smell musty. We use them at least once a day, sometimes twice a day during the summer.

The Onsen Towel has never had that musty smell that we’d frequently get with plusher, less expensive towels. We wash the towels about 1x/week, and we pretty much only use these towels. It’s usually the first item in — and out — of our laundry.

What else should I know about the Onsen Towel?

Onsen Towel Review: is this finally the towel that doesn’t stink? 5

As we mentioned earlier, it is super lightweight. It almost looks too lightweight to even work. But it does. It also doesn’t feel as soft as a “typical” towel due to its unique construction.

To be honest, it just takes a little getting used to. If your number one priority is to make sure your towels are NOT musty — then check out the Onsen Towel.

Onsen even has a 60-day trial if you are on the fence about trying the towels.

We chose the white towels because they are slightly easier to clean and you don’t have to worry about getting anything that would dis-color the towels.

Other ways to keep your towels from smelling musty

The best way to keep your towel, regardless if it is a Onsen Towel or a cheap target towel is to make sure they dry in-between uses. Not just “kinda dry” — but 100% dry.

The best way to do this is by hanging them up with a towel rod — like this:

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The best way to hang a towel so it doesn’t get musty.

Not like this:

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If you hang a towel like this, it’s more likely to not get 100% dry.

By letting the towel dry flat, it allows it to dry more uniformly. Our bathroom doesn’t have room for a full towel rack, so its part of the reason that we always had musty smells.

How to care for the Onsen Towels

Onsen says that you should wash the Onsen Towels on a gentle cycle every 3-4 days. Then they say to shake the towel gently and tumble dry. Don’t use fabric softeners. We never use fabric softeners, however, we typically use The Laundress detergent (see our The Laundress Review).

While we don’t purposely use bleach on the towels, we have used bleach a couple of times on the Onsen towels. That’s because they were simply mixed in with other whites that needed to be cleaned.

We’ve had no problems with the Onsen Towels holding up — even after using them every day for the past two years! That’s pretty impressive!

Onsen Towel Review: The Final Verdict

It’s it funny how we complain about spending $50 on something like a towel that we use every single day. But just 1 day, it can smell musty and we go berserk? Here’s the simple truth about Onsen Towels: if you hate the musty smell your towel sometimes has, splurge and get the Onsen Towel. You won’t regret it.

If you don’t mind the musty smell every now and again, then don’t buy the Onsen Towel. It’s that easy.

Onsen Towel Review: is this finally the towel that doesn’t stink? 8

Recommended Product:
Onsen Bath Towel

If you hate the musty towel smell, go ahead and treat yourself to the Onsen Bath towel. You wouldn’t mind spending $100+ on a pair of shoes that you only wear once a month, right? So, $50 on a product you (hopefully) use every day is nothing.

Have any questions or comments about our Onsen Towel Review? Let us know in the comments below!


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