Momma Told Me: Some Thoughts On: Fabric Towel Healthy Practices

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Some Thoughts On: Fabric Towel Healthy Practices

Momma Told Me:  Wash your hands!

We all know to wash our hands. We wash them before handling food, after using the restroom, before touching baby's stuff, when they just plain look dirty, and so much more. I was my hands on average about 20 times a day, that's double the surveyed average (for women) of 9. Those who suffer from disorders such as OCD, or work particularly messy jobs obviously ebb and flow to extremes double and triple my daily rate. And, while I could start a debate as to how harmful over, or under, washing can be to one's immune system; today I'd prefer to ponder the companion to these habits, the towel. In our house we have both paper hand towels and fabric towels designated for the drying of hands (And bodies) post cleansing.

The natural argument against paper based towels is their disposable nature, which not only costs more for consumers, but can stack up some pretty big waste through the course of a week. Fabric based towels are clearly the eco-friendly choice, but are they the safest? Growing up with Momma, who had a rather compromised immune system, I recall countless songs and rituals geared towards getting clean, but none towards drying off. Let's face it, the very moment we finish washing we begin getting dirty once again; through dust dander and dirt we may encounter, to normal bodily functions such as sweating. And, since we cannot see pesky irritants such as bacteria, at their microscopic levels, we can never truly be sure that we've properly cleansed it all. Thus the debate rages on fabric towels. How often should you wash them? How many uses before they compromise the integrity of the item they're drying? Are their alternate risks when using towels that may have been sitting damp for a period of time?
I'll admit, while I think about these things nearly every time I touch the hand towel in our bathroom, I seldom am moved enough to do something about it. Sure, I toss the hand towel into the wash when a load comes up, but I certainly don't have a hand towel for every day of the week. And while the hand towel sees the most traffic, and shared traffic at that, the largest towel, my bath towel, can go for up to 5 days without being washed. Some of you are probably cringing, I know, but a lot of you are also probably in the same boat. Let's face it, most of us do our best to pay attention to health tips and updates, and make positive changes in our habits, but life can be hectic, and it's just not always practical to follow the 'rules'.

 While the 'experts' vary on this topic, the general consensus is that safe towel practices involve the washing of solo bath towels a minimum of twice a week, shared hand towels should be replaced every other day (in a household of 2 or more), gym towels should be washed after each use, and kitchen towels should be washed after every project that involves raw meat of any kind. There are also guidelines as to how to wash those towels. Kitchen towels in particular should not be washed with softener, that can leave light films and residue one might transfer onto kitchen surfaces in drying/cleaning with. All of the above towels should be washed on a hot/heavy duty cycle, and solo (that is, towel loads only). And any hand or kitchen towel should be pre-washed/rinsed, by hand prior to washing to avoid additional soap residue or bacteria transfer in cleaning. And, equally important, do not place damp towels in the hamper to sit until wash day. Allow all towels, when possible, to air dry prior to stuffing them in the hamper, unless they are heading straight to the washer. Mildew and mold spores can build with even the slightest moisture, and cause health problems beyond a musty odor.

How often do you change out those towels?

What Daughter Says:  While life may get busy, the one thing we certainly don't have time for is to get sick- how can you implement these tips into your everyday life?


8 comments:

  1. I change hand towels in the bathrooms daily. As for bath towels, I use them once or twice then wash them.

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  2. I wash towels every other day and we use separate hand and bath towels.

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  3. This was useful information. I always wondered about this and I am sure others do as well. I would google this topic.
    I think you should put the information together in a table as that is much more SEO or bullets. Also, consider working on your titles for SEO purposes. What you have is pretty good? But consider something like "Fabric Towel Washing Practices" or "Fabric Towel Washing Schedule"

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  4. We use hand towels as well. Though I am not 100% certain how often we change them, I would venture that it is every day to every other day.

    Dawn

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  5. I am telling you how often I change my towels. I am ashamed. The answer sounds something like "EEEK"

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  6. we wash them often, but don't change them out often~~

    xo,
    Sandy
    Sandy a la Mode

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  7. I wash towels constantly. I am a freak of nature like that,lol.

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  8. Very interesting topic. I've never given it such deep thought. We also use hand towels. I try to wash at least 2 times a week. Bath towels are usually once a week. I use eco-friendly detergent.

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