Kitchen towels are not what one might call “ordinary laundry”. They swarm with everyday bacteria, carry stains, and sometimes we need to throw them away because of too much grime. One thing is for sure: you cannot clean such pieces of cloth as you would your luxurious bathroom towels. This is why today we will learn together how to clean kitchen towels efficiently, so you can enjoy them more while being certain they are hygienic and still look cute.
Tips on How to Clean Kitchen Towels – Prewashing
One of the first things you need to know is that you need to change your kitchen towels often to keep everything and everybody safe from germs and bacteria. The next thing you need to know is that you should always wash your kitchen towels in their own separate load. We did not reach that point yet, because we will first share some tips on how to care for your towels before they end up in the washing machine.
1. Preparation and Storage
Never put your kitchen towels in the laundry basket if they are wet – you will only encourage food-illnesses, mildew, mold, and bacteria to thrive. Let them air dry completely one night and place them in the laundry basket the next morning.
2. Odor Removal
Before you put your kitchen towels in the washing machine, soak them for about half an hour in a bucket of warm water with vinegar and a tablespoon of baking soda. Both vinegar and baking soda are excellent odor removers. The vinegar is also able to break down some of the substances embedded in the cloth that produce stains and unpleasant smells.
3. Stain Removal
Difficult stains on kitchen towels are probably the most common and most annoying problem you need to solve before giving the linens a thorough wash cycle. Food and drinks stains on kitchen towels need your undivided attention, as most are hard to get rid of, if not permanent. Let us see a few tricks:
- Meat juices, tomato and fruit juices: you can treat such stains if you rinse the towel in cold water.
- Tea and coffee stains: you can get rid of them if you pour boiling water through the stains.
- Grease stains, cooking stains, and other difficult stains: use liquid dish detergent, as it is helpful in breaking up the oils. Pour a few drops of dish detergent on the stain on the dry kitchen towel (skip the vinegar and baking soda step). Massage the stain with the liquid detergent and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes; rinse the stain with warm water. Alternatively, treat the stains with a stain remover containing enzymes and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Combination stains: use fabric stain removers, but make sure you do not use bleach, as it might turn the fabric yellow or remove the fabric’s colors.
Tips on How to Clean Kitchen Towels - Washing
If you soaked your kitchen towels in vinegar with baking soda and warm water as previously mentioned (and you got rid of most of the stains), it’s time to put the kitchen towels in the washing machine and give them a thorough wash. There are a few methods to accomplish the goal of having impeccable kitchen towels, so we will discuss them one by one.
1. Normal Washing
The first thing you need to learn is that you need to clean kitchen towels with hot water, so it can break down stains, oily patches, germs, bacteria, and chemicals embedded in the fabric. If you want to use the regular path, here is what you need to do:
- Load the washing machine with the kitchen towels, but do not overload it, as the towels need space to move around and get a thorough cleaning.
- Set the machine to a hot cycle/a heavy duty one – such cycle needs some time and some energy, but it is for your own safety.
- Use a detergent that has a stain-removal component and is safe/recommended for colored fabrics; alternatively, use an oxygen-bleaching detergent for whites.
- NEVER use fabric softener for kitchen towels – it can cover the threads in the fabric with a coating film that keeps them from getting cleaned.
- Use a rinse cycle to make sure all the soap and detergent is far away from your kitchen towels; if you want to make sure they are clean and fresh, repeat the rinsing cycle once the main cycle is over.
2. Organic Washing
The term may not be the most correct one, but many people skip the detergent part and use home products to wash their kitchen cloths, napkins, and other kitchen linens.
Instead of using detergent, use vinegar and baking soda in the washing machine with very hot water and two rinsing cycles.
3. Industrial Washing
Have you ever wondered how restaurants keep their tablecloths, napkins, and their kitchen towels clean, hygienic and nice? Most restaurants use third-party industrial washing services – just like most hotels do. Some restaurants, usually the smaller ones, however, still wash all their linens in house, using highly performing washing machines. This does not mean we cannot take inspiration from them.
This is a restaurant and hotel technique that washes kitchen cloths and tablecloth in four different cycles at four different temperatures: a cold water wash to remove debris; a main wash in hot water to remove easier stains; an end-wash in very hot water to remove stubborn stains; a rinsing wash in cold water to prevent fabrics from creasing.
Sodium hydroxide and sodium percarbonate
You may know the first as lye and the second as being part of cleaning products whose names start with “Oxi”, but they are both extremely powerful cleaning agents used at an industrial level to clean fabrics of all sorts.
Final Tips on How to Clean your Kitchen Towels
In order to keep your kitchen towels and all other bulk wash cloths clean and hygienic, replace them often, but allow them to dry in fresh air before you toss them in the laundry basket or the washing machine. Make sure you always allow kitchen towels to air dry after you cleaned them. Store them properly, so they do not catch smells or mildew in the cabinets.
If you follow these simple rules, your kitchen towels will look as good as new all the time!