top of page
  • utsuwany

Dress an Ice-Cold Bottle with Tenugui and Make It Sweat-Free

Whether in the kitchen or the bathroom, towels are mainly used to absorb water and clean. Tenugui, cotton towels that have been used in Japan for centuries, are much more versatile. First of all, unlike standard American towels, tenugui have a plain, flat weave without loops, so they are thinner, softer, and more flexible, making them easy to handle. Tenugui can be used as scarves or wrapping cloths, but in old Japan, people used them for bandages, underwear, sandal straps, and even to screen sunlight. In the midst of this summer heat, we thought you'd like to hear about a modern, practical, and fashionable way to use tenugui. We asked Ms. Ruri Kippenbrock, founder of tenugui specialty shop Wuhao New York Tenugui Art, to teach us how to wrap up ice-cold bottles to absorb moisture. Here are step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Spread the tenugui horizontally in front of you.

Step 2: Place a bottle on one corner as shown. It's best to have the bottle cap facing the shorter edge of the tenugui.

Step 3: Wrap the bottle in the tenugui by rolling the bottle from the side closest to you toward the far side.

Step 4: When you stand the bottle up, you will have a long flap of tenugui. 

Step 5: Twist the flap to make a long "rope."

Step 6: Lift up the rope and bring it straight up to the neck of the bottle.

Step 7: While using one finger to hold the rope at the point where it hits the neck, wrap the rope around the neck of the bottle.

Step 8: Tuck the end of the rope in and knot it tightly. If the rope is too long, you can knot it one more time. (Or you can leave the long end of the rope hanging over––it's a matter of aesthetic preference.)

“Tenugui art’s basic techniques are wrapping, twisting, and tying. You can be creative using tenugui," says Ms. Kippenbrock. Choosing the patterns of tenugui is also fun. The particular tenugui towels used in this section feature an octopus pattern for the big bottle, a navy and white geometric pattern for the medium-sized bottle, and bingata (a traditional Okinawan resist-dye technique using vibrant colors and natural motifs) for the small one. You can buy them at Wuhao’s online shop ( 


Tenugui from Wuhao are available at Japan Fes ( on August 25 in the East Village and September 21 in Chelsea.


bottom of page