What Are Blue Shop Towels Made of?

When you search “Blue Shop Towels”, the results may not be the products you expect. Try adding one word to your search to tell your search engine, “I want Blue Shop Towels Made of ____________. That one word clarifies what you are really looking for. 

When you enter “Blue Shop Towels” today in your browser, your results mostly show a heavy-duty paper towel product made by Scott and Kimberly Clark.  This product, although heavier and more absorbent than a paper towel, is probably not what you are looking for if you are a mechanic that has used blue woven shop towels for years. 

There are three main types of “Blue Shop Towels”: Woven cloth, Spunlace Nonwoven Fabric and DRC (Bulky Paper Towel).   The search words for each are:

  • Woven Blue Shop Towels
  • Spunlace Blue Shop Towels
  • DRC Blue Shop Towels

What’s the difference?  A lot! On one extreme you have a paper towel like product and the other extreme is a tough woven cotton cloth.  The third option, spunlace, is somewhere in between in strength and price, but adds the attributes of lint and contamination free. See the Comparison Chart below for a quick comparison of cost and attributes.

Woven Blue Shop Towels originated from rental towel companies making blue towels for use in machine and mechanic shops. More recently these towels are getting “skimpier” and are made in Asia and shipped to the USA.  Some shops still use rental blue shop towels, however, more and more shops are trending away from rental towels.  The pros of a woven towel are strength, heat resistance and washability.  They are not without drawbacks.  If you need a lower lint, contaminant free cloth that is reasonably priced, these are not for you.  Having to wash these towels can be a pro or a con.  They can be rather expensive as well.

Spunlace Blue Shop Towels are made of a strong durable spunlaced nonwoven fabric originally developed by Dupont for disposable operating room gowns and drapes.  These blue spunlace towels are the lowest lint option you will find.  They are strong wet and dry and reasonably priced for a disposable product.  They are strong enough to be rinsed and reused. Their advantage is price, strength, disposability and extreme low lint. However, they are not washable.

DRC Blue Shop Towels were developed by Scott Paper.  They used the name Blue Shop Towels to market this heavy-duty paper towel into the garage shop industry.  This product is very absorbent which is its biggest pro.  It is slightly stronger than a paper towel but will fall apart when wet or when facing a tough scrubbing job.  The price is low compared to spunlace and woven towels.  If you need a light or medium duty, low strength, absorbent wiper, this may be something you would use.

Here are visual examples of each type of Blue Shop Towel.  Links are provided for DRC, Spunlace and Woven Shop Towels for more information and where to buy them on line. 

We hope this information has been helpful in discerning your shop towel needs. This article is sponsored by Telesto Products, LLC. We carry DRC, cloth rags and various types of spunlace nonwoven shop towels.  Visit us today for a wide variety of high-performance wiping cloths.


Woven Blue Shop Towels (Rental or Purchase)


Spunlace Blue Shop Towels

 Blue Shop Towels

DRC Blue Shop Towels



Woven, Spunlace & DRC Blue Shop Towel Comaprison Chart

  • Absorbency Rate (✪✪✪✪- More absorbant, ✪-Less absorbant)
  • Dry Strength (✪✪✪✪-More strength, ✪-Less strength)
  • Wet Strength (✪✪✪✪-More strength, ✪-Less strength)
  • Pliability (✪✪✪✪-More cloth like, ✪-Less cloth like more stiff)
  • Lint Levels (✪✪✪✪-Best lowest lint, ✪-Worst highest lint)
  • Cost Per Piece (12”x12” equivalent size; Cost Per Single Use)

Blue Shop Towel Types



Dry Strength


Wet Strength



Lint Level


Relative Cost Per Piece (Single Use)



Woven Blue

Shop Towels*








Spunlace** Blue Shop Towels









DRC Blue Shop Towels







*Woven Blue Shop Towel costs range from $.50 - $1.50 per piece (pp), but the actual cost per use can be reduced based on rewashing practices. Industry experience suggests that most customers do not wash their used rags because of excessive contamination and increased linting.

** Spunlace Blue Shop Towels made in the USA do not contain binders or glues.


Blue shop towelsGlass & window cleaningJanitorial cleaningMachine shopManufacturing & oemMechanic shopSpunlace wipes