We use towels every day – towels for bathing, towels for washing our faces, and towels for drying our hands. But, you may never think about how lack of proper bath towel hygiene could be making your family sick.
Some people like to reuse their bath towels while some will only use a bath towel once before tossing it into the dirty clothes hamper. Some will use the towels several times, either because they feel it isn’t dirty, they hate doing laundry, or they are trying to conserve water and lead a green lifestyle. You should be able to get a feel for how “dirty” your towel is after bathing. If you have been exercising and sweating a lot or work a job which requires you to get dirty, such as a construction worker, you may need to wash your bath towels more than other people. Regardless, you shouldn’t use your bath towel for more than a week due to the dust and skin cells that can collect on it.
If you think that your bath towel is fine for another use before washing, hand it over the shower rod or the towel rack to allow it to air dry. Be sure to check the towel because air drying might cause a mildew smell to develop. If this occurs, throw the towel in the wash with one or two cups of vinegar or one cup of ammonia. This should help remove the mildew smell, giving your towels a fresh smell again.
Hand towels should be washed more frequently than bath towels. In addition to doing more hand washing, people also tend to use the hand towels to wipe up spills of toothpaste, lotions, and soap, which means the hand towel needs to be washed more frequently. Your guest room hand towels will probably not see as much use as those in your personal bathroom, so you can probably go a bit longer without washing those.
Washcloths should be washed more frequently than hand towels because they may contain makeup, lotion, or oil from your face. Only use your washcloths a couple of times before throwing them into the wash. If someone in the household has a cold or the flu, you should take special care with your towels. That person should have his or her own set of towels to prevent spreading germs until he or she is better.
When washing towels, you should use the hottest water setting to make sure germs and bacteria are killed. However, hot water can cause fading, so if you have colored towels, you should separate them into like colors before washing separately. If your towels get stained, be sure to use color safe bleach unless you have white towels, in which case you can use regular bleach. Some of the newer washing machines have particular settings for towels so that they get the attention necessary to make sure they are clean. When drying towels, be sure to dry towels only to prevent from inconsistent drying and use the medium heat setting.
By making sure you practice proper hygiene with your bath towels, you may be able to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria among family members and visitors.