How Often Should You Really Wash Your Towels?
When it comes to washing your towels, there are multiple factors that could determine how often they need a little TLC. It is not uncommon to reuse towels again and again, but you do have to clean them regularly to make sure they’re not smelly (or bacteria-filled).
But when is the right time to throw those towels in the wash? We’ve got everything you need to know below.
Why Wash Towels Regularly?
There are a number of health benefits that come with keeping a routine towel-washing schedule. Neglecting to wash them enough can lead to some hygienic problems that could cause infections and other unwanted issues.
Here are some of the problems you can avoid by washing your bath towels and washcloths often:
Combats Bacteria Growth
Making sure that you are washing often will prevent any harmful bacteria from living on your bathroom towels. Even though you are using a towel to dry off your clean body after a shower, some bacteria are very resilient and can continue to grow.
For instance, if you are using a towel after the shower and bacteria get on the towel, it will only continue to grow on that surface and create more of an issue for you. Make sure to keep a regular washing schedule for your towels to combat this type of bacteria growth.
Prevents Infection and Issues With Acne
If you are aggressively using your towel to dry your face and skin, it could cause issues with infection due to the small breaks it creates. They are generally too small to notice, but these small breaks on your skin allow bacteria, dirt, and grime to get into your skin and cause acne. The issue is not necessarily how you are drying your skin but how clean or dirty the towel you’re rubbing all over your face is.
If you are keeping your towels fresh, this shouldn’t be a problem since there won’t be any hidden bacteria that would be getting into your system from the towel. This is one of the few benefits of keeping your bath towels clean.
Launder Your Towels To Get Rid of Odors
If you leave a wet towel lying in the washer or on the floor for too long, soon enough, it will take on an unpleasant smell. This is from the bacteria buildup that comes with unwashed damp towels, there can start to be a smell of mildew or other types of bacteria. This is a more urgent sign of a much-needed wash.
Again, prevent your towels from ever taking on this smell by making sure that you keep to a regular washing schedule.
Maintains the Quality of the Towel
Washing your towels often will actually increase the towel’s absorption rate and lifespan. The fibers in the towel can get pushed down and have no airflow between them when they sit wet or unwashed for too long.
Make sure to keep this in mind when thinking about keeping your towels fresh. There is nothing wrong with washing your towels more often than not!
Factors That Determine How Often You Should Wash Your Towels
In general, you should be washing your towels after two to three uses with an individual towel. The American Cleaning Institute recommends that you wash your towels after the third time of use after the shower. Other experts recommend that you wash your towels at least once a week.
How often you should be washing your towels, though, can vary depending on a number of factors. Read on to learn more about some of these intricacies that can impact your washing schedule:
Whether the Towel Dries
A wet towel is what is causing the bacteria growth and things of that nature. If the towel is dry, bacteria won’t be able to grow as easily, and you won’t have to wash your towels as much.
There are some factors that can impact whether or not your towel is drying properly after the shower. Keep your towel out of wet and humid rooms like your bathroom. Allow it to hang in a room with low moisture, and you should be able to wash your towels a little less frequently.
If you find your towel is still wet the next time you go to use it, throwing it in the wash before your shower wouldn’t be a bad idea. You always want to make sure that your towel is free of bacteria, and keeping it dry is one of the best ways to ensure this.
Complications With Skin Conditions
If you are dealing with any sort of issues with your skin, such as eczema, athlete's foot, or jock itch, you should be using a clean towel every time you go to take shower. Re-using a towel when you have one of these skin conditions could cause it to spread to other areas of the body.
Also, it is a general rule of thumb to not share towels. However, if you are living with a partner or spouse and are having issues with your skin, definitely do not share your towels with them.
Just to be on the safe side, use a clean towel every time you are showering to make sure you are not spreading any infection to other body parts.
The Towel’s Thickness
The thicker your towel is, the more likely it is to absorb moisture. Since it is more likely to absorb moisture, the drying process can end up being much longer than expected.
A thick and wet towel is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, so if you have thick towels, always make sure you can get them dry as quickly as possible. To combat this, try and look for lightweight towels or towels that are labeled as quick-drying towels.
Cotton and cotton blends are also good materials to look for when thinking about how quickly your towel should dry.
How To Clean Your Towels
Knowing how to clean your towels is just as important as knowing how often you should clean the towels themselves. Follow these tips to make sure your towels are getting cleaned the right way with every wash!
- Wash your towels by themselves and try to avoid mixing them with any items that could cause further contamination, such as underwear or any other delicates.
- Do not share towels with anyone, and if you do, wash them immediately after. All shared towels, such as hand towels, should be washed and replaced daily.
- Use warm water or hot water when washing your towels and bed sheets to get rid of any unwanted germs. You can also use bleach when washing dirty towels that are white.
- Either air-dry towels or use a dryer, but always ensure that they are fully dry before putting them back in your closet.
- If you are sick, wash your towels more often than you normally would to prevent any further spread of germs.
Why Keeping Your Towels Clean Is Important
This may seem like a lot of information to take into consideration when thinking about cleaning your towels, but keeping them as clean as possible is essential to your health. We have gone over some of the more minor health benefits, but there are more harmful bacteria and microorganisms that could grow on your towels.
Fungi can grow on unclean towels, mainly if they are shared with others. Keep in mind, too, that if you are using something like a gym towel, these tend to be ridden with bacteria. The main aim is to avoid coming into contact with these types of infections, and keeping your towels clean is the best way to do that!
Some Potential Towel Options
Here are some towel sets that you could look into after all your newfound knowledge about towel cleanliness:
No matter what towels you purchase, just always remember that it is all about the cleaning routine you implement, there is no magic towel that gets different treatment in terms of cleanliness.
Here is a quick overview of some of the key points we have covered and why they’re important:
- Always remember that you should be washing your towels at least once a week and that this number can vary due to anything from skin conditions to how thick or thin the towel is.
- Keeping your towels clean and avoiding too much reuse is the best way to combat unwanted bacteria from growing and causing any sort of e.coli or staph infection.
- Always wash your towels in hot water to kill this bacteria, and try to keep them in the washing machine with only other types of towels.
Be sure to follow these tips, and you should be able to implement a simple washing schedule for your towels with ease!