Last time we talked about washing towels, we focused on the topic of keeping them soft and fluffy. Back then, we said you needed to wash your towels often and with extra care, as they are breeding grounds for mold, mildew, microbes, and bacteria. Some towels are dirtier than others are, but they all need your undivided attention. Today we will talk about how many times can you use a towel before it needs to be washed depending on the type of towels/cloths you keep around the house.
1. Cotton Bath Towels
You use a bath towel every day when you step out of the shower. The towel gets into contact with your moist skin, removing dead cells, bacteria, dirt, grime, soap traces, water, and microbes from your body. Sitting in a damp location – as is your bathroom – does not help with their hygiene and safety, as a warm and moist environment allows and triggers bacteria to thrive. If you share the towel with somebody else, the problems can become worse.
When two people dry their bodies with the same bath towels, they share the bacteria and grime. In some cases, they can spread such bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus (which can cause skin infections), cold sores, Athlete’s Foot, and more. Moreover, entertaining mold and mildew that grow in the towel after one use can lead to skin irritations and overall health problems.
How many times can you use bath towel before it needs to be washed?
In the case of bath towels, the answer to the question is this: wash them after three uses.
However, this is not enough to stay safe. You can (and should) make sure that your towels are completely clean and hygienic next time you use them:
- Do not let dirty towels sit around in the laundry basket too much time; wash them right after you decided to change them and make sure you offer them a proper wash cycle;
- Use some vinegar in the washing machine; vinegar removes mold, mildew, and bacteria, rinsing the towel of detergent buildup, and refreshing the towels’ fibers and colors;
- Make sure you always dry the towels properly, preferably in fresh air and sun, on a clothesline;
- Make sure you store the towels in a dry and mold-safe cabinet until you use them next time.
2. Cotton Hand and Face Towels
We use hand towels a few times a day, so these towels really take a beating from us. Many of us do not keep a towel separately for face use only. In other words, we use the same hand towels for our hands, face, and even hair. The circulation of bacteria, mold, dirt, oils, grime, and microbes is intense in this case.
As precaution, you should really keep some towels for separate jobs: hand towel, face towel, and hair towel, to lower the risks of bacterial spreading. Moreover, keep in mind that hand towels dry hands that might not be extremely clean. In addition, face towels accumulate plenty of oils, dirt, dust, grime, and makeup/grooming products’ residue.
Before anything else, you should not share hands and face towels with other members in the family, as you want to keep spreading bacteria to a minimum.
How many times can you use hand towel before it needs to be washed?
In the case of hand towels and face towels, the answer to the question is this: wash them every two days.
You can take even more precaution measures to make sure your hand towels and face towels stay as free from bacteria and germs as possible:
- After you use the hand or face towel, hang it to dry on a rack in your bathroom if you have proper ventilation, or take it outside for some fresh air on a clothesline;
- Use smaller towels for your hands and face – they tend to dry faster;
- Dehumidify your bathroom at all times – keep the window open as much as you can or turn on the ventilation every time you use the bathroom to keep the air clean and all items dry and safe from mold;
- Wash hand towels, face towels often (every two days), and do not forget about a cup of vinegar to remove the grime, the residue, and the bacteria.
3. Dishcloths and Kitchen Towels
These towels are some the most dangerous sources of bacteria in your house. Most of them carry E. coli, while all of them allow for the buildup of oils, dirt, dust, grime, soap residue, food leftovers, and more. Dishcloths seem to harbor more than four billion living germs and they seem to be even more dangerous than toilet handles.
Kitchen towels are just as dangerous. We use them to dry dishes, wipe off countertops, dry our hands, absorb and remove food stains, clean off residue, and so on.
One of the first things you need to know is that you should keep these two away from each other and never use one instead of the other.
Moreover, do not use either dishcloths or kitchen towels to dry your hands or face, you risk spreading bacteria and contracting skin infections.
How many times can you use kitchen towel before it needs to be washed?
In the case of dishcloths and kitchen towels, the answer to the question is this: wash them every day.
At the end of the day, take your dishcloths and give them a good hot water wash with an antibacterial detergent or a solution based on vinegar. Dry thoroughly in fresh air or tumble drier.
You can do the same with kitchen towels. Every evening, give them a good hot water wash with antibacterial detergent, or at least a through vinegar rinse. Air or tumble dry.
No matter how you treat your dishcloths and kitchen towels, you need to change them monthly. If you keep some for a larger wash load in the machine, do not ever wash them together with your bathroom towels or other items (bed sheets, clothes etc.).
If you want to keep your towels as safe, clean, and hygienic as possible, we have a few extra tips you might want to try:
- Rotate your towels: once you used a bath/hand/kitchen towel, put it aside to clean or at least dry, then use another towel; when you finished with the second one, put it to dry and go for the third one. By the time the third one is ready to go, the number 1 towel dried enough so you can reuse it. The three-towel rotation should not last more than a week.
- Take the edge off your bath and hand towels by putting them in the dryer and giving them an “air fluff” or low heat cycle.
- Keep your bathrooms dehumidified at all times.
Do you have other tips on how many times you can use a towel before it needs to be washed?