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How many towels should I own? How often should I wash them? Is it OK to wash bath towels with kitchen towels? How often should you replace them?

We all have towels in the house, those useful items that do everything from drying hair to wrapping yourself up in, to lifting pans out of the oven when you can’t find your oven gloves, but are you taking care of your towels the way they take care of you?

Here we will take a look at the number of towels you should be circulating, when and how to wash them, and how to know it’s time to get yourself a new set.

How many towels should I own?

Bad news for those of you who just have one or two towels that you wash after a couple of uses – the recommended number of towels per person is two full sets. This includes a bath towel, hand towel and flannel that is being used currently while the other set is being washed.

Each guest that comes to stay should have a full set of their own, but it is a bit much to expect them to have two sets each, especially for a short stay. In the case of an establishment that has guests coming in frequently like a hotel, you will obviously need a larger amount of towels so that they can be swapped out for fresh ones when needed.

The sheer volume and the quality of towels required by any decent hotel means that most will use a reputable and experienced company like Thai Hotel Towel to keep up with their demands and make sure that every towel is spotlessly clean, soft and fluffy every time.

Other people may wish to have more towels for themselves, for example, women who want a properly sized towel for both their hair and body and some experts recommend four large bath towels topped up with two hand towels and two flannels instead.

Every bathroom should have two sets of towels as well as its own bathmat, with a spare for the house again to put down when doing the washing. Really, the exact number of towels you need can depend on the number and kind of people that you have staying or living in the house, but a two-per-person minimum is a good place to start.

How often should I wash my towels?

The general rule of thumb here is to wash your towels after every three uses, so if you shower every single day, this can mean that you are washing your towels twice a week. This can seem a little excessive for those who are focused on being as green as possible, so another option is to wash them once a week.

It is important to balance the environment and other concerns with ensuring that your towels are clean and fresh. That dirt and other materials aren’t allowed to build up too much in your towels which can mean that you are wiping bacteria back onto your clean body as you dry.

Further, if you don’t wash your towels often enough you might notice that they are less effective at drying you. When you keep using towels and they go from wet to damp, again and again, they will have less absorbency by the time you come to your latest shower.

While some of us like to have a fluffy fresh towel after every shower, it can be pretty wasteful and harmful to wash them that often. Stick to the three uses, or minimum of once a week rule, to keep your towels clean and at their best without going overboard.

Is it OK to wash bath towels with kitchen towels?

If you have not used your kitchen towel for anything more than drying clean dishes, it shouldn’t be particularly an issue to wash it with your bath towels if you are looking to fill up the load. However, there are many reasons why washing the two together can be a mistake.

Your bath towel has or should have, only been used to dry off your clean body. A kitchen towel, on the other hand, has been in a completely different environment. The chemicals and smells it may have come into contact with are entirely foreign to your bath towel, and shouldn’t be introduced to it.

One of the key reasons why you shouldn’t wash kitchen towels with bath towels is if the former has come into contact with any grease. A common feature in the kitchen, it is easy to transfer the substance onto your kitchen towel in a number of ways, and once it is there, the last thing you want is grease stains on your nice bath towel too.

Kitchen towels also pick up the various scents and smell of the kitchen, food, smoke and, yes, grease again. Instead of your bath towel smelling fresh and floral, you could well find that it smells of chips and carrots if you mix your loads together.

If you want to avoid what can be permanent grease stains, funny smells and a host of other issues, it is safer and better to wash your bath towel separately from those that you use in the kitchen.

 

How often should you replace towels?

Exactly how long a towel will last depends on several different criteria, including the quality of the towel, how well you have washed it over time, and the uses to which it has been put. The general rule is that towels should last for a good two years, and may last much longer if you have many sets that you rotate, and if you wash and dry them properly.

There are certain signs and smells, that you can look out for if you aren’t sure if it’s time for a change.

  • Visible fraying or tearing – if the towel looks worn out, it is!
  • A damp musty smell – after a while, even with washes, your towel will start to smell as the bacteria has built up and is not going away.

Final thoughts

Ideally, you should own two sets of towels for every person in your household, with more being required for guest bathrooms and the guests themselves. You should wash and replace your towels regularly, avoiding contamination with kitchen grease and other outside influences that can cause them harm.

If you are unsure if your towel needs replacing, you can always give it the sniff test, chuck it out, and go find some nice new clean towels today.

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