How Often Should You Wash Towels? (It's More Often Than You Think) by Piglet In Bed

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How Often Should You Wash Towels? (It's More Often Than You Think)

We’ve all been guilty of using a towel for longer than we should have, under the assumption that we are clean when using it, so why would it be dirty? Well, Rhiannon Johns, interior designer and Head of Brand at Piglet in Bed, has revealed that you should be washing your towels far more often than you might think, every two to three uses!

Speaking with Polya Petrova, a cleaning professional at Fantastic Services, Piglet in Bed has unveiled the shocking truth behind our overused towels.

“There are various types of bacteria that can be found on towels and bathmats because these items are used frequently and exposed to moisture and contact with human skin," says Petroya. The most common examples of bacteria that you can find on towels include:

  • Staph: This bacteria is commonly found on human skin and can thrive in humid environments. It can potentially cause skin infections, including small cysts, folliculitis, reddish sores, cellulitis, and more severe, invasive soft-tissue infections.
  • E. coli: While many types of E. coli are harmless, some can cause digestive issues. The contamination can happen through contact with fecal matter, especially if the towels are used around the space of the toilets. The most dangerous types of this bacteria can cause gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, neonatal meningitis, hemorrhagic colitis and Crohn's disease.
  • Salmonella: Similar to E. coli, Salmonella can be found on towels if they come into contact with contaminated surfaces, resulting in illness.
  • Enterococcus: These bacteria are often found in the intestines and can be found on towels if they come into contact with fecal material.
  • Klebsiella Pneumoniae: This bacteria can cause respiratory and urinary tract infections and can be found in humid environments, such as the bathroom.

“The spreading of these bacteria depends on several factors, such as the humidity levels in your bathroom, the temperature and the other type of bacteria present," says Petroya. "These bacteria can also multiply rapidly if they are provided with the ideal conditions, potentially doubling in number every 20 minutes, but regular washing of your towels and proper drying can help you control their growth.”

“Now we know what bacteria is hiding in our towels it is clear that we should be washing them much more regularly," says Rhiannon. "As we are about to move into the warmer months, this becomes even more important as temperatures begin to increase, creating ideal breeding grounds for bacteria. To prevent the growth of these bacteria and potentially lead to illnesses, we should be washing our towels every two to three uses.”

Here are Rhiannon’s top tips on proper towel washing:

  1. Avoid bleach and fabric softeners. Avoid using harsh chemicals such as chlorine bleach, as it could affect the quality and color of your towels. Adding fabric softener coats the fibers with residue, which can hinder water absorption. Instead, use wool dryer balls to help fluff fibers and speed up drying time.
  2. Keep your clothes and towels separate when washing. Washing towels with clothes can transfer a lot of bacteria between each item in the washing cycle. Putting towels in their own load allows them to dry easier, as damp towels typically dry slower than clothes. Make sure you shake any excess water from your towels before placing them in the dryer, as this will help fluff the material and keep them absorbent. Avoid leaving wet towels to sit in the washer for a long time, as this can result in an unpleasant musty smell.
  3. Dry your towels on low heat or air-dry. Your towels will last longer if you dry them on low heat, as high heat will damage the cotton fibers. Dry on a 40-degree heat, which will help achieve your desired softness, eliminating bacteria in the process. In the summer months, take advantage of the sun to let your towels air dry. This is the ultimate all-natural dryer that helps maintain the integrity of the fabric and keeps your towels soft and fresh.
  4. Store clean towels in a cupboard outside of the bathroom. Bathrooms can get quite steamed up when someone is bathing or showering, which means any towels stored in the bathroom are likely to absorb this moisture. Keeping them in a regularly moist environment is going to keep them damp and in turn harbor and nurture the growth of unwanted bacteria, before you even use it. By storing clean towels outside of the bathroom in a dry area such as a linen cupboard or airing cupboard, your towels will remain clean, dry and free of harmful bacteria.

Note: The content on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on 30Seconds.com do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Donna John
Who knew? I definitely don't wash my towels enough. That will change.
bepositive
That’s pretty gross, thanks for letting us know!

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