What No One Tells You About Washing Towels
When it comes to your towels, they are fluffy and clean and do the absorption thing like little soak-up pros. Until they don’t. At which point you pile every towel in the house mile high and chuck it all in the washing machine and hope for the best.
Unpopular Opinion: YOU NEED TO BE WASHING YOUR TOWELS MORE OFTEN.
Why? Well, what's your towel for anyway? Cleaning! If your towel is dirty, you are cleaning with a dirty towel. At which point you are no longer cleaning, you are... dirty-ing.
The thing about food handling, there seems to be a very easy going attitude because it’s food touching food, and cleaning food, there is no wiping your face and blowing your nose then wiping the plates clean. It’s food on food action, pasta sauce on bench gets wiped, pasta sauce on plate gets wiped, rotate tea towel 90° left and wipe off excess water on clean plates, and water also cleans off pasta sauce on tea towel. Hang up to dry and good as new.
Well. You’re actually pulling your clean dishes out of the sink only to scrub them with a towel playing host to millions of itty bitty bacteria.
A University of Arizona study found that 90% of all tea towels lying around in kitchens today carry the kind of bacteria that is found in animal digestive systems. Which makes sense, cos bacon. But also ew.
And 25% of all tea towels (that's 1 in four) contain E. Coli. Heavens. #gasp
Though we do tend to be a bit blasé with our tea towel washing, you cannot be leaving your tea towel(s) unwashed for more than 5 days. Wash them and swap them out every Thursday and Monday. A handy tip for tea towels due to their nature as food-handling cloths (as well as any other towels and by extension clothes) - when you wash them, add natural antibacterial disinfectants to the wash.
Lavender Oil - just adding 1- 2 drops along with your detergent will both disinfect the wash and leave it smelling like a fairy princess. Lavender has anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Don’t like the smell of lavender?
Tea Tree Oil – has been used for its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties since the Stone Age (you don’t know, they might have). Putting 2-3 drops of tea tree oil in with the wash, plus your normal detergent, will sanitise the lot. It’ll also produce a less fragrant overall smell, though it’ll still produce that freshly laundered smell.
You’ve probably heard this all before, but:
Vinegar & Baking Soda - vinegar can be used as a fabric softener, and using vinegar and baking soda together will work to remove stains and help keep whites white. Vinegar also acts as natural disinfectant, killing germs, bacteria or mould present in the laundry, and removing soap residue as well.
What about your favourite cotton bath towels? You don't use them to scrub your dinner germs, and your body is crystal clean when you jump out of the shower or bath - so surely they're safe, right?
Wrong. You should be washing those towels after every third use, because every successful drying episode leaves tens of millions dead skin cells all over them - which is what gives them that stale, musty smell. Beautiful imagery.
Our bath towels are extra absorbent. Their main purpose is to make you dry and the towel wet; they absorb moisture. AND germs AND odours and…see above for the hectic skin cell science experiment that is your body.
Put simply, Sweet Mother of Temperance - WASH YOUR TOWELS MORE.