Many people look forward to their shower ritual, because it’s one of the ways to feel rejuvenated and fresh. But how long will you stay clean if you reach for a towel filled with microorganisms to dry off?
It’s easy to assume that because you’re clean when you dry off with a bath towel. However, bath towels host a variety of microorganisms that you might not welcome into your hygiene routine.
Towels absorb a lot of water and remain damp for hours, which is the perfect breeding ground for unwanted germs. That’s why towels should be washed after used thrice.
You have 19 million skin cells and 650 sweat glands in every inch of your body. And one powerful tool keeps it all clean day after day: your bath towel.
Dead cells make up the top 20 layers of your skin. Some of these cells scrub off in the shower, but many of them will end up on your bath towel every day.
Keeping your Towel Away from Germs
The best way to prevent germs from growing on your bath towel is to let it dry completely between each use, and wash it frequently.
The Cleaning Institute recommends washing bath towels at least after using it thrice. If you shower every day, that means laundry almost twice a week.
Regular laundry is sufficient to clean towels and removal of germs that towel might be breeding.
Washcloths that you used after lather and scrub in the shower should be air-dried and washed after every use.
Factors that warrant more frequent washing
There are some circumstances that call for washing your bath towels more frequently than twice a week:
– Any towel that has body fluid on it should be washed after every use.
– Gym towels that sop up sweat or towels that stay damp in your gym bag for a few hours should be washed after e use.
– Towels kept in a bathroom that’s always damp should be washed after one use.
– If you have eczema or sensitive skin, wash all of your towels after one use to prevent further irritation.
– Frequently, washing your towels and air-drying before throwing them in the hamper will deter growth of unwelcome bacteria and fungi.
What if you don’t wash towels?
Unfortunately, dirty towels can spread viruses, fungi, and bacteria. The consequences of using a dirty towel include skin irritation and possibly infection.
The bacteria that causes staph infections (MRSA) is known to be spread through towels and linens.
You should never share a towel with someone you don’t know or someone who’s sick. It’s not the end of the world if you get a few more uses out of your towel between washes, but you and your skin will be healthier when you wash your towel.
Best way to wash towels
To keep towels clean:
– Always hang them to dry before putting in the laundry pile. Don’t put wet towels directly in the hamper.
– Bleaching does not necessary mean you are killing the germs on your towels.
– Follow product instructions on the laundry detergent in order to get the most efficiency. This implies knowing the required water levels and temperature.
– Consider using a laundry booster or add vinegar to your rinse cycle.
– Read the washing machine manual or call the manufacturer to determine how often your washing machine needs to be sanitized. Running a rinse cycle with just vinegar can kill unwanted bacteria in the machine.
– Don’t overload your washing machine with towels. When in doubt, take one out. A too-full machine means towels won’t get as much detergent, water, or movement to get clean.
How often should you replace your towels?
The life cycle of a bath towel depends on quality and how you care for it. Very cheap towels may unravel quicker, and using water that’s too hot can also break down the fibers quick.
Always read the bath towel’s product tag and follow washing instructions to get the most out of it.
If towels develop a damp or musty smell, try using the sanitizing setting on your washing machine. You can also soak towels in vinegar to kill smells, or hang them on a clothesline to sun-bleach stains and remove odor.
With good care, a bath towel should last a long time and will probably outlive your next bathroom renovation.
Culled from healthline
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