Is it unhygienic to use your towel over and over again? How often should you wash your towels, and how should you wash them? Does your choice of towel rack and storage influence the towels' hygiene, durability, and softness? As much as all of these factors may seem irrelevant, washing, drying, and storing will ultimately determine the condition and propriety of your towels. Furthermore, it is essential to recognize when your towels have reached the end of their life cycle. This short article will address all you need to know about washing and taking care of your towels.
It must be noted that going too long without washing your towels carries some risk factors with it. Dirty and damp towels are a festering ground for dead skin cells, germs, bacteria, fungi, oil, dirt, and bodily secretions. Towels collect not only moisture but also secretions from your nose, mouth, armpits, and genitals. Hence, wiping yourself with an unwashed towel will smear all the colonies of bacteria that have grown due to inadequate drying or infrequent washing onto your body.
Therefore, although many people tend to wait a couple of weeks to throw their towel in the washing machine, this practice carries health risks that are, luckily, easily preventable. Read on and answer the age-old question – how often should you wash your towels?
How often should you wash your towels?
So, when considering your towel washing habits, there are a couple of things to consider. For instance, if you have quality linen towels, you will probably want them to last longer than cotton ones. What you use the towel for will also factor into the frequency of washing. However, a rule of thumb hygiene experts go by suggests you should use your bath towel only 3-4 times. So, be sure to wash your towels twice a week.
Of course, it is best if everyone in the household uses a different set of towels. Not only will this prolong the use of a single towel before washing, but it will also prevent the spread of bacteria and other microorganisms that reside in the towel's fibers. In addition, it is best if you use different towels for different purposes. Next to a bath towel, there should be a separate towel for hands, face, and genitals.
However, the frequency of washing is not the only relevant factor that should be taken into account. No matter how frequently you wash your towels, it won't make a difference if you dry, wash, store, or use them inadequately.
How to choose your towels?
The market is saturated with different types of towels that range in shape, color, size, and material. But most often, the decision comes down to deciding between cotton and linen towels. While you are completely free and allowed to make your own decisions, we would like to point out that there are plenty of advantages to linen towels. Some of those benefits are:
- Linen is a more environmentally-friendly option.
- It is 30% stronger than cotton, so it will outlast it.
- Linen dries much more quickly when compared to cotton.
- It is hypoallergenic.
- Linen is compact, and it takes up less room in your bathroom or suitcase.
Perhaps you want to have the best of both worlds by opting for both linen and cotton towels. This makes sense as our lives need diversity - and our bathrooms aren't any different.
How should I wash towels?
You no longer need to ask yourself how often you should wash your towels. Now’s the time to ask yourself a different question. You may be tempted to use the short program since you must wash the towels frequently. However, this is not such a good idea. There is a reason why high-temperature, high-spin programs exist - they disinfect the fabric from the piled-up bacteria.
A general health recommendation states that white towels need to be washed using a cotton washing setting (90 degrees Celsius/194 Fahrenheit) and colored towels using 60 degrees Celsius/140 degrees Fahrenheit). You can also use bleach for white towels, whereas there are non-bleach soaps for colored towels.
An essential but often overlooked tip relates to cleaning your machine. To keep the inside of the machine sterile and clean, you can put in bleach and turn on an empty, hot cycle to disinfect the machine from time to time.
Can I wash towels with other clothes?
You can wash your bath towels with regularly soiled clothes such as cotton T-shirts and bedding. Yet, it is recommended you use bleach and disinfectant to kill germs. However, it is better if you wash towels and underwear separately as underwear may contain genital and fecal matter. As for the choice of disinfectant, the traditional alcohol vinegar won't be as effective as industrial disinfecting cleaning products.
How should I store bath towels?
Correct and efficient ways you should store and hang your towels will determine how often you wash them. Ensure you keep the bath towels in a dry and cold storage compartment. It is also best to store them in a room other than the bathroom. The bathrooms are very humid environments, so unless you let fresh air in regularly, the towels may not be able to stay dry. And as we mentioned, wet towels are a breeding ground for bacteria and other harmful pathogens.
Suppose you happen to be moving out of your home. In that case, an excellent solution for preserving your towels is to store them in a climate-controlled, safe storage unit where they won't be exposed to moisture, excessive heat, and inclement weather. Luckily, with so many secure storage units in NYC, your towels can stay safe until summer, as well as throughout the rest of the year. Of course, you can also utilize your storage unit for other purposes. This will be the perfect place for keeping all the items you don't want to keep in your home at the moment.
We know that many people tend to place their belongings in a basement, attic, or shed while remodeling or packing. However, your towels and other items might get damaged, so renting a safe storage unit during the process makes sense. Plus, there are quite a few cost-effective solutions out there, so this doesn't have to be a great strain on your budget.
How should I dry the towels?
The drying period between each washing matters just as much as how often you wash them. Dry towels suppress the growth of harmful bacteria much better than wet towels. Microorganisms spread like wildfire on towels as bathrooms are the most humid rooms in your home.
Wet towels can also get moldy and smelly, which is not good for their durability. Hence, you must spread out your towel after use so that it is not crumpled up, as it will take longer to dry. Folding or hanging it won't do - unless you have a heated towel rack in the bathroom.
So, how often should you wash your towels? You should definitely not let it go weeks in between two washes - that's for sure.
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