I gave up on 'precious' kitchen towels years ago. You know the kind: terminally 'cute'. Or, at least 'nice'. The kind of thing our mothers and grandmother's would put out when company was expected. Sort of like the bath and 'hand' towels that my mother kept tucked away for guests. We didn't have that many 'guests' (relatives don't count as guests), so they stayed nicely tucked in at the back of the linen closet for years.
When I moved out on my own, it just seemed like the right thing to have 'matching' kitchen towels in my abode. I'm not sure what they were 'matching' in that rented mobile home in central Missouri, but somehow I felt like I'd 'arrived'.
Fast forward to more recent times. The 'nice' kitchen towels seemed to be the only thing handy when tomato sauce went all over the floor. It didn't take long for reality - and stains - to set in. More and more of those cute tomato or soy-sauce stained kitchen towels ended up looking so sad. I felt like I'd let them down.
Restaurants know better. And, finally, I knew better. I'm no longer interested in impressing the folks who are in my kitchen. I'm assuming they're there for my company and the food. Not the damn towels. So, I buy very inexpensive restaurant-type towels now, and I wipe, polish, wipe up, clean and buff with glee. When they become too disreputable for the kitchen, I get double duty as a rag.
I buy two different types. One with a tighter weave for glassware, the induction cooktop, or tossing over the salad until serving time. The other is a looped weave that cleans and mops and dries like there's no tomorrow. Get 'em where you can for the best price. I like to go to my local restaurant supply - Resco - on Plumb Lane. If you haven't shopped there, you're missing out. I've gone there for years to buy glassware, plates, mixing bowls, any number of essential gadgets, cookware, serve ware, floor mats and more - at prices that should make places in your local mall blush. The folks there are so helpful and great to deal with. Check out the restaurant supply stores where you live.
If there isn't one where you live, then of course, there's online. Search, looking for Commercial restaurant towels, bar mops and similar. And, one final note: Opt for the reusable. Reach for the paper towel as a last resort. You'll save money buying a stack of simple towels like I've described above, and simply washing them. Over. And, over. And, over.
P.S. Buy a bunch. If you have to go through one a day, then so be it. I bought a couple dozen of each.