How long should you leave your towels between washes?

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Towels are used to dry off after someone has a bath or shower. Towels absorb a lot of water and can remain damp for hours, providing an ideal setting for bacteria to breed. Most people tend to wash their towels once a week, but leaving towels without washing for too long can spread viruses, fungi and bacterias.

How often should you wash your towels?

Bath towel

The frequency you wash your towels is dependent on the washing schedule of a person.

The Cleaning Institute recommends someone wash their bath towels after every three uses.

If you take a shower or bath once a day, you will do laundry almost twice a week.

Regular laundry will help to clean towels and remove any germs which are beginning to accumulate.

It is advised to always hang your towel to dry before putting it in your laundry hamper.

The NHS advises all towels to be washed at 60C, but if you use a bleach-based laundry product at 40C.

You will not kill bacteria if you wash below 60C, without a specialist product.

To keep towels clean, you should avoid using fabric conditioners and tumble dry on a low setting.

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Washcloths are most often used on your face to keep clean.

Touching your eyes, nose or mouth with a dirty washcloth is an easy way to introduce bacteria and spread infection.

If you use a washcloth to clean yourself during a shower or bath, you should wash these after every use.

Hand towels

How often you clean a hand towel is dependent on how many people are in your household.

If you have a busy household or many visitors, it is recommended you change your hand towel daily.

If you live alone or in a smaller household, you can probably get away with washing it less regularly.

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Tea towels

Tea towels should be washed after every second or third use.

A 2014 study looking at bacteria in tea towels found a reported 89 percent had coliform bacteria on them.

The study also found 25 percent had E. coli on them.

Gym towels

Gym towels which are used to mop up sweat or to wipe down equipment should be cleaned after every single use.

A lot of bacteria and dirt can accumulate on gym equipment, particularly considering how many people use these machines.

The best thing for your gym towels and your clothes are separate wash cycles.

Washing your gym towels together can decrease the likelihood of cross-contamination of bacteria.

Top tips to keep your towels clean, fresh and fluffy for longer

  • Never share your bath towel with another person
  • You do not need to use bleach.
  • The best practice is to follow product instructions for laundry detergent to get the most efficiency and longevity out of your items.
  • Consider using a laundry booster or adding vinegar to your rinse cycle.
  • Read your washing machine cycle to determine how often your washing machine needs to be sanitised.
  • Do not overload your washing machine
  • If you have eczema or sensitive skin, wash all of your towels after one use to prevent further irritation.

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