How to Wash Towels
Most of us are in the habit of throwing towels in the washer along with clothes and bed linen. But did you know there is a right way to wash towels?
Yes, believe it or not, that absorbent piece of fabric hanging in the dark, damp bathroom actually has a right way of being taken care of. If you want your towels to last and give you the most value for money, you have to stop tossing them into the washer along with other fabrics. Towels work hard all day, every day. We use them in the kitchen, in the bathroom, at the dinner table, and even keep them by the bedside. We often forget to wash them for a long time, and when we do wash them, we do it all wrong.
Here are a few tips to wash towels the right way and make them last longer.
- Wash towels- from the small hand towels to the big fluffy bath towels- before using them for the first time. Most towels have fabric softeners, silicone, and other finishes when they are in stores. Washing and drying towels before the first use is needed to get rid of these finishes.
- For sanitary reasons, wash towels separately from other clothes or linen. Towels carry a lot of germs that can get transferred to other clothes and bed linen if washed together.
- An easy way to set the color of towels is to wash them with similar colored fabrics in warm water the first few times. Along with the detergent, add half a cup of vinegar to the water. Vinegar is excellent for setting colors and softening the fabric.
- It is recommended that towels be washed every three to four days. White towels should be washed in hot water with non-chlorine bleach together with other white items, while colored towels should be washed in warm water. Avoid washing dark colored towels with other items to avoid discoloration.
- Use fabric softeners sparingly and always follow the directions for use. Fabric softeners shouldn’t be used more than once a week because the residue left behind by the chemical damages the fiber and reduces absorbency over time.
- To keep your towels naturally fluffy and soft, shake them out before and after every wash. You could also fluff them after every drying cycle to increase absorbency. Never iron a cotton towel. The heat damages the fibers and affects absorbency and longevity of towels.
- Towels must be completely dry before every use. Instead of leaving wet or damp towels in the bathroom, hang them out to dry in the sun. The natural light and air kills germs and prevents the growth of mildew. On rainy or cloudy days, you could leave damp towels under a fan until they are completely dry. That said, when drying towels in the sun, care must be taken to not over-dry them, as it could affect the strength of the fibers.
- Some kinds of towels have decorative features like trims and accents. Such towels are best used for living up the bathroom and other decorative purposes because, with regular use and washing, the trims can get ruined. These trims and accents are usually weak and get damaged if the towel is put to regular use and washing.
- Never remove makeup with a towel. The chemicals in eyeliners and lipsticks can cause permanent stains that are hard to remove. If you get a makeup stain on a towel, make sure to spray a pretreatment solution like a dishwashing liquid on it, before putting it in the washer. Without a pretreatment, the stain will set further when you wash it.
- Remember that cotton towels are more prone to damage than synthetic or blended towels, and should be washed with care. Cotton towels should be washed with mild soap or detergent to keep the integrity of the fibers intact. Since cotton is more absorbent and takes a longer time to dry, it should be left in the sun or under a fan to rid it of water completely.
Towels are a necessary item in every household. Taking proper care of them is the key to making them last longer and getting the most out of them.
How Dirty Are Your Towels
One of the most essential items in every household is the towel. You find them in the kitchen, in the bathroom, on the dinner table, and even next to the bed. It is also the most versatile piece of fabric, ideal for wrapping around the body after a shower, using as a blanket, and throwing it around yourself to keep warm on a chilly night. Depending upon the towel, you can use it for wiping your hands, covering your food, or pulling out pans from the oven. Any home is incomplete without a set of towels.
But something few of us think about is the cleanliness of our towels. Even when they look clean, they could be trapping hundreds of disease-causing germs and bacteria. Dirty towels can transmit infectious diseases, and even though it isn’t quite possible to keep towels completely clean and free from germs, preventing the problem is easy. You simply need to wash your towels every day.
Towels make for such perfect breeding ground for bacteria because they remain wet most of the time and come in direct contact with the surface of your skin. Moreover, they hang in dark, damp bathrooms where bacteria grow more quickly because of the lack of natural light or heat.
These bacteria may not necessarily cause diseases because they come from our bodies and we are used to living with them. It becomes a matter of concern when more than one towel are kept together, facilitating the transmission of bacteria from one towel to another. Cuts and open wounds on the skin can also transmit germs from the towel and spread diseases.
It isn’t just bath towels. Kitchen towels, dish towels, and hand towels are all equally vulnerable to bacteria and diseases because they come in contact with the skin. When you pull out pans with dirty kitchen towels or wipe your hands on a towel that hasn’t been washed in a few days, you are facilitating the spread of germs from your hand to your food. Over time, this can cause stomach problems and other similar illnesses.
Sharing towels is also a great way to spread infectious diseases. This frequently happens among students and athletes who share towels among themselves. When bacteria are transmitted from one towel to another, it is serious cause for concern. The bacteria present even in one towel can infect everyone in the room.
The most common types of bacteria that are found on bath towels are E.Coli and Salmonella, the ones present in fecal matter. When you don’t wash your hands thoroughly, and then wipe them on the towel, you transfer bacteria, which slowly grow on the fabric. Several studies have found that bathroom towels are the most contaminated, and the rate is higher among towels not washed frequently. These bacteria can also reside in kitchen towels, especially those that are seldom washed.
How to keep towels clean?
As stated earlier, it isn’t possible to ensure 100 percent clean towels that are free from bacteria. But what can be ensured is the prevention of the most harmful types of germs and bacteria from growing on damp, warm towels.
To begin with, towels should not be hung in the bathroom once you get out of the shower. Leaving damp towels in a dark bathroom provides the perfect environment for germs to grow. The best way to dry towels is to hang them outside in the sun and leave them until all the dampness is gone. Sunlight kills bacteria while sucking out odor from the fabric. On a cloudy or rainy day, hang towels in a well-ventilated space, preferably under a fan.
Washing your towels every two days is also a good way to prevent the growth of bacteria. This includes all kinds of towels in the house, from bath towels to kitchen towels. You can do a simple machine wash in medium to hot water, but for added effectiveness, use a stronger detergent that has chlorine bleach in it. Germs become immune to regular detergent and need something more potent to kill them.
It is important to let towels dry completely between every use to minimize the risk of passing bacteria. Every person should have his own towel and refrain from using one that belongs to somebody else to prevent transmission of bacteria.
Towels are necessary and useful items in every home, but also a breeding ground for bacteria. Even though these bacteria may not cause major illnesses, over time, they may result in something serious. Proper cleaning and drying of towels, therefore, is of utmost importance to prevent the breeding of bacteria and germs.