You're Likely Not Cleaning Your Bath Towels As Often As You Should Be

Although we are diligent in bathing daily, we often neglect the cleanliness of the towels we use to dry ourselves. Surprisingly, studies have shown that many of us do not wash our bath towels and bath sheets as frequently as we should. Maintaining clean and fresh towels is not just important for aesthetic reasons, but also for personal hygiene. The residual moisture on damp towels creates an ideal environment for bacteria and germs to grow rapidly. Continuously using such towels can lead to the transfer of harmful viruses and bacteria onto our bodies, which can cause skin infections or illness.

Maintaining good towel hygiene is crucial for your health and well-being. The American Cleaning Institute recommends replacing your bath towel after using it three to five times. It's crucial to wash and dry them properly and to recognize when it's time to replace your towels. By following these simple steps, you can ensure a clean, fresh, and safe experience every time you use your towel.

Best towel washing practices

Determining the ideal frequency for washing your bath towels depends on several factors, including personal hygiene habits, climate, and towel usage patterns. For example, if you bathe or shower daily and use your towel solely for drying off clean skin, you can extend the usage between washes. On the other hand, if you have open cuts or a rash, sweat heavily, or use your towel for other purposes like wiping your hands or makeup removal, more frequent washing is advisable. In humid climates, towels tend to stay damp for more extended periods, creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth, and therefore may require more frequent washing.

Wash your towels in warm water and avoid using excessive detergent or fabric softener, as it can leave residue on the towels, making them less absorbent over time. To keep your towels soft and comfortable without residue, try using wool dryer balls instead. Tumble dry your towels completely on a medium to high heat setting. Damp towels left to air-dry can develop a musty odor and become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Towel maintenance tips

To prevent mold and mildew growth, it's best to hang your towels in a well-ventilated area for faster drying. Instead of trying to keep count of how many times you've used a towel, establish a fixed schedule for washing them. For example, you can opt to wash your towels every three or four days, regardless of how many times you've used them. This way, you ensure they are consistently clean and fresh.

No matter how well you care for your towels, they will eventually wear out. Replace them when they start to lose their softness, become threadbare, or show signs of permanent stains. Janet Wischnia, founder of American Blossom Linens in Thomaston, Georgia, told Southern Living, "A good thing to remember is to replace bathroom towels every two to five years."

To ensure your towels are always at their best, try switching them up regularly. By doing so, you'll keep them looking and feeling plush while also ensuring they last longer.