How often to wash towels?

The bathroom is the most used room in your home, which is why its contents can quickly become overused. Did you know, for example, that the average toothbrush contains 10 million bacteria or more? Likewise, bathroom floors have been shown to be one of the most contaminated parts of the bathroom, making your always-a-little-soggy bathmat a veritable petri dish for E. coli, Staph and other nastiness you want nothing to do with.

Despite this, many of us tend to use our toothbrushes long after they’ve turned into splayed out trees, and forget to launder our towels for weeks (okay, months) at a time. We turned to two experts in bathroom hygiene to find out exactly how often we should be scrubbing, replacing or straight up incinerating all the stuff in our bathrooms: Carolyn E. Forte, Director of Home Appliances and Cleaning Products at Good Housekeeping, and Heather Lende, best-selling author and former columnist for Woman’s Day magazine. Here’s what they had to say (any feelings of shame and/or remorse while reading this article are perfectly natural).

How often should I wash my bath towels?
Forte: “Bath towels can be used 3-4 times before washing, especially if they’re hung individually on a towel bar or hook where they can dry. Towels that are piled or bunched up won’t dry between uses and can get musty, so they should be washed more often. Hand towels that get used multiple times a day should be washed every two days or so, depending on how dirty they are.”
Lende: “One mistake people make is adding too much soap to damp towels that have started to smell a tad moldy in warm, damp weather. Soap actually helps grow that wet towel funk, so less is better, and a double rinse is a good idea.”

How often should I replace my bath towels?
Forte: “Bath towels can last for years, especially if you have multiple sets and you rotate them out. They should be replaced when they are torn, frayed, have holes, or are no longer absorbent.”

How often should I wash my bath mat?
Forte: “Like towels, bath mats need to be hung up after use to be allowed to dry thoroughly. Weekly washing should be fine for them.”
Lende: “Always wash them before and after guests use the bath.”

How often should I replace my bath mat?
Lende: “I replace bath mats when they become faded or I want to change the colors in the bathroom. I prefer the lighter, easy to toss in the wash variety over the heavy padded types that take forever to wash and dry.”

How often should I replace my toothbrush?
Lende: “You should change your toothbrush every time you get your teeth cleaned by the dentist — so, about every six months.”
Forte: “Or whenever the bristles are splayed. Also, after getting over a cold.”

How often should I replace my sponges for cleaning the bathroom?
Forte: “Cleaning sponges should be replaced when they start to smell or break down and fall apart. To help them stay fresher longer and kill germs, we have found a five-minute soak in three tablespoons of chlorine bleach mixed in one quart of water works best.”

How often should I replace my loofah?
Forte: “Loofahs should be replaced when, like sponges, they start to smell or there is a visible buildup of body oils, product or mold on them. It may be every month or so, depending on use. Rinse them in clear water after each use to remove any soaps and other residues, as those residues can promote mold growth. As with cleaning sponges, loofahs can be soaked in a diluted bleach solution for five minutes to kill germs if they start to smell, and for a deeper cleaning. The bleach solution shouldn’t cause any skin problems, but it can always be rinsed again thoroughly before use to be sure. The other option is to simply throw it away.”

How often should I mop my bathroom floor?
Forte: “The bathroom floor usually needs vacuuming every few days and washing once per week.”
Lende: “Or more as needed, say if grand children or pets use the tub. Or teenagers…”

How often should I replace my random toiletries?
Lende: “Make a sweep of the old jars and bottles every few months and check expiration dates. I hate old bars of soap, and that old bottle of green shampoo should be chucked as well. One nice idea for travelers is to save the hotel toiletries and leave them in a basket for overnight guests.”

So there you have it. Just remember, you don’t need to be an expert from Good Housekeeping to keep your WC in tip top shape: The smell test is usually pretty reliable.

There’s nothing like a good bath or shower. You lather up, rinse off and step out feeling clean, refreshed and energized. Then you grab a towel — and all of that healthy hygiene may go right out the window. Let’s see now, when’s the last time you washed that towel anyway?

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Yes, your towels need pampering too. When you think about it, they have a rough life.

“The longer towels stay damp, the longer the yeasts, bacteria, molds and viruses remain alive and stay active,” explains dermatologist Alok Vij, MD.

“They can cause an outbreak of toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, jock itch and warts, or cause these skin conditions to spread,” he says. “And dirty towels can certainly cause a flare-up of eczema or atopic dermatitis.”

Well then! Put down that germ haven. Here, Dr. Vij offers some helpful tips for adopting healthier towel tactics:

  1. As a general rule, launder your bath towel (or swap in a clean one) at least once a week and your washcloth a couple times a week.
  2. Wash towels more frequently if you’re sick to avoid reinfection. Also launder more than weekly if the humidity in your house is high — particularly during summer months, if you don’t have air conditioning.
  3. Yes, you can share towels with a spouse or partner (you share bed sheets, after all) as long as neither of you has a skin condition such as warts or eczema, or is sick. However, children typically (let’s be honest!) have poor hand hygiene and are more likely to have eczema. So it’s best to give them their own towels. As for washcloths, it’s every man, woman and child for him or herself — meaning don’t share, Dr. Vij advises.
  4. As we’ve established, damp towels are a breeding ground for germs. So hang your wet towel spread out on a towel bar (rather than from a hook) so it can dry thoroughly between uses.
  5. If you shower at the gym and your damp towel sits in your gym bag for hours afterward, use a clean towel daily. “Workout towels get pretty disgusting — they’re stinky and smelly and full of bacteria,” Dr. Vij says.

One final towel tip before you shop

Now that you realize you need to pay more attention to your towels, maybe you need to go shopping? That way you’ll always have a clean one within reach.

As far as fabric choice goes, plush towels with a high thread count are fine (and they feel so good on your skin) but keep in mind these towels take longer to dry.

“Microfiber towels dry faster than cotton, so they’re better for the gym,” Dr. Vij advises.

And, yes, always make sure your towel passes the smell test. A stinky whiff? Time for a fresh towel.

How Often Do I Really Need to Wash My Towels and Sheets?

Outside of our clothes, the two fabrics that touch our skin the most are sheets and towels. (Inside of our clothes, we’re naked). Hand towels, bath towels, and pool towels, from bath time to beach time, chances are you’re using lots of towels this time of year. And if you’re getting a full eight hours of sleep every night, on average your body is in contact with your sheets about 56 hours a week! But—be honest—how clean are those sheets and towels, and if you like to let time pass between launderings, is that really a bad thing? It’s not an uncommon question, as it turns out.

The people want to know: how often should sheets and towels be properly laundered?

Let’s start with towels. The role of any given towel should be the first consideration when deciding on a washing schedule. Think about it—your shower towels are drying off a body that’s been soaped up and scrubbed down, but hand towels in the bathroom and kitchen are used far more often and might be used on surfaces that aren’t as clean as your freshly bathed bod.

Towels in the bathroom can be home to a wild bacteria block party, with special guests like staph and fecal strains, thanks to the particularly humid state of our bathrooms that allows those colonies to thrive. When harmful bacteria are present in the environment, they can float around and land on that only-used-once shower towel and that not often-used embroidered hand towel that’s been hanging by the sink for weeks. But don’t freak out just yet—the experts at the American Cleaning Institute recommends you wash your bath towels after a very lenient 3-5 normal uses (with the caveat that if there are any special fluids on the towel, like blood or sweat, you should wash it after each use).

Kitchen towels go through a similar dirtying process. All the bacteria from your food prep (think handling raw meat) can spread to your towels and come off when you wash your hands or go for a quick wipe-off while making dinner. Again, towels that don’t dry completely between uses can breed bacteria faster, especially if you’re using just one towel in the kitchen. To let things dry, it’s a good idea is to keep one towel for drying hands after washing (which you should wash daily to avoid spreading the risk of foodborne illness) and a separate towel for wiping off dishes or utensils, which can probably go for a few more days if you hang it up to dry. And you if don’t want to dirty a brand-new towel for a sticky spill, grab a Cleaning Vinegar Wipe and get the job done fast!

When it comes to sheets, considering that you’re spending a significant amount of time sleeping, it’s probably a good idea to get some guidelines on just how often you should be changing those linens. Worry not! We’ve got you *ahem* covered.

If you close your eyes and think about resting during the night, you probably aren’t picturing a lot of sweat. But you could be losing nearly an ounce of water via perspiration and exhalation per hour while sleeping. And that doesn’t take into account other…vigorous activities that could increase your sweat output. Good Housekeeping says you should wash your sheets every two weeks. The general consensus is that this is a reasonable timeline, though there are some considerations and exceptions—if you’ve been sick, sheets should be changed as soon as you’re feeling better. And not just the sheets: go whole-bed and throw the duvet, pillowcases, and pillows in the wash. Of course, if you simply love the feeling of slipping into freshly washed sheets, go ahead and do it more often, especially if you’re using a toxin-free laundry detergent like Molly Suds!

Considering the demands you put on those arbiters of our cleanliness and comfort, the towels and sheets of your home, keeping a regular washing schedule will keep your family healthy and happy without the need for harsh antibacterial soaps. And that’s a win/win in our books!

‘When you dry your face, you leave tiny amounts of oil, dirt and make-up detritus on it.

‘The towel becomes laced with bacteria. And then, later that day, you smear it all back on your face the next time you dry it, transferring bacteria to your pores encouraging pimples and causing irritation.

‘And if you’ve got really dry skin, or eczema, you’re particularly prone to a flare-up.’

How to wash your towels:

  • Wash your towels every three or four uses
  • Wash at a high temperature to kill off bacteria
  • Cut back on the amount of detergent you use to make sure your towels don’t feel stiff
  • Avoid fabric conditioner – you don’t need it for towels
  • Put your towels in the dryer rather than letting them air dry
  • Put a tennis ball in with your towels in the dryer to keep them fluffy

That’s why some people recommend avoiding towels entirely when it comes to your face, simply letting your skin air-dry after cleansing.

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Not everyone has time to hang about waiting for their skin to dry, mind you, so it might be worth investing in multiple towels for your face so you can wash them after every other use.

‘I would advise using facial sponges,’ says Candice

‘These soften when soaked in water for a gentle and effective cleanse or deep exfoliation.

‘Boxed tissues are also recommended to pad the skin dry, as these can be disposed after use.’

When towels aren’t regularly cleaned, they’re not only ripe for bacteria, but may not be as effective as drying you off after a shower.

‘You want your towel to be as clean and as fluffy as possible, so that it remains effective at removing water from your body,’ Ralitsa explains.

‘And to do that, wash them at as high a temperature as possible, but read the label to make sure you’re not going to shrink them.

‘Try to use a bio powder, particularly for white towels, as it contains special enzymes which help to break down dirt and stubborn stains. Most bio powders also have a bleaching agent, too, which keeps white towels nice and bright.

‘Avoid using a fabric conditioner too often, as this reduces the towel’s ability to actually collect moisture.

‘Meanwhile a cycle in the tumble dryer ensures your towels are nice and fluffy.’

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That’s important to note – while towels are good at drying your body, they’re not great at drying themselves. Don’t faff around hanging your towel out to dry in your bathroom after a wash, as it’ll sit in damp and start to smell. A go in the tumble dryer is your best bet.

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How often should you wash your towels? More than you think

Domestic questions that are burning and unanswerable in more or less equal measure are a staple of social media. This week, it was towels. Specifically, how many does an adult human need to own? The podcast host Abdul Dremali asked, and, more than 2,000 Twitter replies later, he still couldn’t go shopping for towels. There are some household jobs that no one knows if they are doing right. So can the experts settle a few domestic debates?

1. How many bath towels does a household need?

Each family member should have their own. “You can’t share a towel,” insists Lynsey Crombie, AKA Queen of Clean, from Channel 4’s Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners. She thinks this means that five bath towels are necessary per person. But this is because she has a high towel turnover: she washes them every other day, “if not after every use”.

The cleaning expert Aggie MacKenzie is more relaxed, saying she relies on “a sniff test” to know when a towel needs washing, but even she will not let a towel exceed “three or four days” of usage. They may be out of step, though. A poll of 3,000 people by Hubbub, an environmental charity, found that people washed their towels every 11 days.

Sally Bloomfield, a professor of hygiene at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says that towels and bed linen need to be “hygienically cleaned” at 40C, despite the environmental benefits of a 30C wash. If you are dropping the temperature, using a powder product or tablet, she says, will “boost the hygiene efficacy” because it contains active oxygen bleach. Bloomfield thinks a weekly towel wash would suffice, but reiterates: “Don’t share towels.”

To extend the time between washes, avoid putting towels on top of each other and let them dry out after use. Anna Watson, the head of advocacy at CHEMtrust, thinks a towel could go two weeks between washes.

Cleaners’ verdict: Every few days.

Environmental experts’ verdict: Once a fortnight.

2. How often should you change your sheets?

I wash my bedlinen once a week. At least, I think I do. But given that my washing day has fallen on almost every day of the week, I think I may miscount. This isn’t too bad. Crombie thinks once a week is sufficient. She does her whole household’s linen on a Sunday – unless someone has a bug, in which case she does it daily. In her TV work, she has visited homes where sheets have been left unchanged for two months, and says the smell is disgusting.

MacKenzie, who was arguably the forerunner of the Insta-clean phenomenon, agrees. Apparently, the aroma is unmistakably greasy and sour. As she points out: “The less you change sheets, the more bits of skin will be in the bed.” She recommends a weekly bed change (pyjamas every few days), but for children’s beds – or if there’s not much “traffic” in your bed – a fortnightly switchover is acceptable. Using a top sheet between your body and the duvet means that the duvet cover can be washed once a month, she says, and the mattress protector “when it looks dingy”. I look mine in the eye once a year, but Crombie washes hers, and the pillow protectors, weekly.

The key is to make sure that you have a full load and use eco settings, says Stephanie Hurry from Waterwise, which works for greater water efficiency. Chad Staddon, a resource economist at UWE Bristol who is “interested in people’s behaviours around water”, says he could last two weeks, but his wife prefers a weekly wash. The Hubbub poll found that, on average, its respondents changed their sheets every 16 days. Bloomfield says that pets’ bedding needs to be washed as often as human bedding – but not at the same time.

Cleaners’ verdict: Once a week.

Environmental experts’ verdict: Once a week is reasonable.

3. Can shoes be worn indoors?

“In my house, I don’t like people to wear shoes,” Crombie says. She also dislikes bare feet indoors; one of her pet hates is seeing the imprint of a sweaty foot on a wooden floor. However, if guests come to a dinner party and “the shoes are part of the outfit”, they can stay on the feet. I fear I could spend a long time trying to evaluate how integral shoes are to a look, so this acid test may not suit all personalities. In any case, if a guest wears shoes indoors, Crombie recommends washing the floor as soon as they have left – but, she laughs: “I’m not normal!” MacKenzie, who has co-authored a new cleaning book called The Miracle of Vinegar, also likes shoes to be removed at the front door. Bloomfield says that floors are a low risk as a transmitter of germs, and is unmoved either way. Watson at CHEMtrust says that she likes shoes to be removed. Heather Poore, the creative director at Hubbub, says she removes hers. But Stephen Munton, the director of the Domestic Cleaning Alliance, disagrees. “A floor is there to be walked on,” he says.

Cleaners’ verdict: No.

Environmental experts’ verdict: No. But this is a matter of personal preference.

4. How often should you wash your jeans?

“If jeans are only worn in the house and not outside, I will wear them again without washing. But if I’ve worn them out and about, they need to be washed,” says Crombie, whose book How to Clean Your House is published next month. “They hold on to a lot of germs,” she adds. This contradicts the advice of many denim manufacturers. Levi’s CEO once revealed that he didn’t wash his jeans for a year. MacKenzie says she can get eight to 10 wears out of jeans without washing them. The Love Your Clothes campaign recommends freeze-washing: putting the jeans in the freezer for 24 hours. This doesn’t remove stains but does kill the germs that can cause jeans to smell.

“Personally, I would put mine in the wash every couple of weeks,” says Hurry from Waterwise. “You want to be thinking about the amount you are washing clothes,” says Watson. Last year, Friends of the Earth found that clothes washing generates about 4,000 tonnes of plastic microfibre pollution in the UK every year. Making sure the drum is full helps, as this reduces friction between clothes, making them shed fewer plastic fibres.

Cleaners’ verdict: Every one to 10 wears.

Environmental experts’ verdict: When they are dirty.

5. Is it OK to use a toilet brush?

It had never occurred to me – nor the environmentalists interviewed – that there might be another way to clean a toilet. But MacKenzie says this is an issue that needs to be addressed. She would never let a toilet brush enter her house. “Toilet brushes give me the heebie-jeebies. I think it’s because I have seen so many in my time,” she says. “I can’t bear them. I just think they are vile.”

Bloomfield agrees they are unhygienic. Crombie owns a silicone one without bristles. “There is a fetid liquid bacteria soup at the bottom of every toilet-brush holder,” MacKenzie points out. Until now, I have always accepted toilet brushes as one of life’s necessary inconveniences, but MacKenzie says she “would much rather get a pair of thick rubber gloves on and use my fingernail under the thick rubber gloves to get any bits”. Even though she has said the words “thick rubber gloves” twice, they are still not putting a thick enough layer between me and the image of the fingernail on the toilet bowl. Crombie also advocates donning the rubber gloves for “a sweep round any sticky bits with some toilet paper”.

Cleaners’ verdict: Toilet brushes are not to be trusted.

Environmental experts’ verdict: This is not an environmental issue.

6. What is the best way to wash a cleaning cloth?

Cloths that are used to clean somehow always seem inherently clean themselves. This is wrong, of course. Especially the ones that curl in a slimy heap by the tap. “Cloths are a wonderful spreader of germs. Oh, they are fantastic!” Bloomfield says. Crombie goes through a staggering 16 cloths a day, all colour-coded. Other than the toilet cloth, which goes in a tub on its own, she washes them all in the machine at 60C, adding a bit of Dettol Laundry Cleanser to the mix. She washes tea towels after each use. Some people, she says (and my face grows hotter as she says this), have a habit of folding used tea towels as neatly as possible and hanging them on the oven like a good deed. Those towels are dirty, she says.

MacKenzie loves microfibre cloths. To clean them, “get a bowl of boiling water, add a capful of bleach and dump the cloth in,” she says. How often? “I’d say at the end of each day. Once you’ve wiped down your surfaces.” Hurry says that she “would usually give it a rinse or a wash after each use. Then when it was starting to look a bit too grubby, I’d throw it away.” Watson at CHEMtrust never buys a cloth. She makes hers out of cut-up holey children’s clothes, and sticks them in with the clothes wash every other day.

Cleaners’ verdict: Wash after each use. Minimum of daily.

Environmental experts’ verdict: Rinse after use. Wash every other day.

7. How often should you dust?

“There are chemicals in all our products, carpets and furniture,” Watson says. “Those chemicals get abraded off and build up in household dust. You want to stay on top of that.” She suggests once a week to dust surfaces. “To try to reduce your exposure to chemicals that are present in indoor air, try to keep your house as dust-free as possible.”

This seems tricky because in my house the dust seems to regroup barely an hour after it has been dusted. I use a dry e-cloth duster. “Can I just say, that’s where you’re going wrong,” MacKenzie says. “Damp. No polish,” says Munton, who is actually dusting as we speak. He uses a cheap cotton flannel, then a terry tea towel to buff.

Cleaners’ verdict: Once a week.

Environmental experts’ verdict: Once a week.

8. How often should you vacuum under the bed?

“More often than you think,” MacKenzie advises. “I’d say every few weeks. Or, if you have asthma, probably every few days.” Crombie, who has “a lot of vacuums”, likes to do her bedroom daily, and says: “If you have the ability to pull out the bed easily, then do it every time you hoover. Otherwise once a month.”

Access is clearly a factor here, and this may be why the Good Housekeeping Institute replies to say: “Ideally once every three months.”

“Hmm. I’m afraid to say that it’s really important to be thinking about those places in a house where dust accumulates,” says Watson. “I’m not saying once a week. It depends if you’ve got a bed that’s off the floor. If it’s fairly accessible, do it. Chemicals build up in thick dust.”

Cleaners’ verdict: Daily to every few weeks, depending on access.

Environmental experts’ verdict: Weekly if you can access the space. Otherwise, as often as you can manage.

9. How often should you deep-clean the bathroom?

Deep cleaning means different things to different people. “We find that people tend to be driven by visual clues,” says Staddon diplomatically. “Once a week?” The Good Housekeeping Institute agrees: “At least once a week, but if there are people with bugs or small children around, then daily.”

Bloomfield thinks a toilet should be cleaned two or three times a week, to stop the spread of germs, while Crombie performs “a five-minute challenge” on her toilets every day: “Wipe the sink over, wipe the toilet seat and pan, a bit of bleach, quick wipe of the bath, open the window. I can do it in four minutes 30,” she says with some satisfaction.

On top of that, she does a weekly deep clean lasting half an hour. “Swish something around at least once a day,” says Munton, who is out of breath from lugging a vacuum down a staircase. He likes to clean toilet seats with washing-up liquid. “It’s the best. It’s pH-neutral. It’s cheap. Everybody’s got some.” Hurry from Waterwise is circumspect. “This is one we wouldn’t dictate,” she says. “But with the right sort of products and a bit of elbow grease, you wouldn’t need to use a lot of water.”

Cleaners’ verdict: Daily toilet clean plus a weekly deep clean of bathroom.

Environmental expert’s verdict: As you see fit.

10. Is it best to shower in the morning or evening?

In the morning, MacKenzie says. In the evening, Crombie says. She likes “to go to bed clean”. Her husband “is the other way round . . . He’ll do a full day’s work, travel on the tube, then undress and get into my bed. Whereas I think if you go to bed clean, you get up clean.”

Munton showers morning and evening. Hurry prefers morning showers, especially ones that are four minutes or shorter: the average shower uses eight to 12 litres of water a minute. Some power showers go up to 15 litres a minute. Reducing the products you use will limit the amount of time you spend under the water.

“A shower is water plus energy and that’s invariant,” says Staddon, whose gran used to flake off the lye soap with a penknife, and give Staddon the same bar to wash with as she used to wash dishes and clothes. He points out: “There are dozens of products people use in the shower, each of which has a time debit.”

Cleaners’ verdict: Open verdict.

Environmental experts’ verdict: Whenever you like.

–Guardian

With so much laundry to do, you might not be keeping track of how often you’re washing your towels, but it turns out you could be drying yourself with bacteria-covered towels more often than not.

Until now we wouldn’t have thought too much about how often we’re washing our towels (using them post-shower means they must be clean right?), but Verity Mann, Head of Testing at the GHI has revealed how often you should really wash your towels, and it’s a lot more than you might think!

“It may surprise you, but bath towels should be washed after every 3 to 4 uses to keep them hygienic,” Verity Mann, Head of Testing at the GHI told us.

Kyrylo Glivin / EyeEmGetty Images

She explained: “Despite being used to dry a clean body, when you dry yourself, you’re transferring dead skin cells and this can become a breeding ground for bacteria.”

For the towels you’re using at the gym or after a workout, Verity recommends washing them after every use.

“Not only are your gym towels covered in sweat, but they can also come into contact with airborne bacteria and can be used to wipe down pieces of equipment,” Verity suggested.

gradyreeseGetty Images

To ensure they are clean, fluffy and fresher for longer, Verity shared with us her top tips for washing our towels.

  1. Wash your towels as a high a temperature as possible, preferably 60°C but always check the towel’s care label to avoid shrinkage. “This will ensure you kill any germs that may be lurking on the towel,” Verity said.
  2. For white/pale towels, use a biological powder as they contain enzymes to break down protein, starch and fat-based stains, bleaching agents. Also use optical brighteners to whiten. For coloured towels, use a biological detergent specially designed for colours to help stop them from fading.
  3. Use fabric conditioner sparingly, but only occasionally, as it reduces the towel absorbency.
  4. Tumble-drying is the best way to keep your towels fluffy and soft. Avoid putting your towels on the radiator as that is what will make them hard. “Before your towels go in the tumble dryer, give them a good shake as it helps keep them fluffy for longer,” Verity told us.

PeopleImagesGetty Images

Our experts at the GHI put bath towels to the test, to bring us the best on the high street. It was a £10 supermarket buy from Tesco that came out on top scoring 89/100, loved for it’s quality and ability to absorb water fast.

Shop some of our top-rated towels

Supreme Hygro Raspberry Christy christy.co.uk £34.00

Read the full review.

Charcoal Egyptian Cotton Towel Dunelm dunelm.com £12.00

Read the full review.

Luxury Egyptian Cotton Towels The White Company thewhitecompany.com US$20.00

Read the full review.

Egyptian Cotton Towels Matalan matalan.co.uk £3.00

Read the full review.

There you have it, easy steps you to take to ensure you always have fresh towels. You can thank us later…

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Related Story

Those towels, sheets and other household items may look clean, but are you sure? Here’s a guide to how often you should clean the basics.

Top cleaning tips: Wash bath towels every few days

Jan. 13, 201503:50

How often should I wash towels?

Bath towels that are being used once a day to dry off after a shower can be used up to three times before needing to be washed. Hand towels, however, should be changed every one to two days since they are getting used more frequently and might even be drying hands that aren’t completely clean.

The best way to wash towels is to wash and toss towels in warm water in the washer, then tumble dry on low heat. Murphy suggests washing them separately, and be careful to not overload the washer.

How often should I clean the bathroom?

Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

It’s a dirty job, but one that should be done frequently. Murphy recommends cleaning the toilet seat, handle and rim at least every few days. The shower and toilet bowl interior can be cleaned weekly, if not visibly soiled.Murphy recommends keeping a stash of cleaning products in every bathroom to make it easier to get the job done. Stock a basket with disinfecting wipes and mirror cleaner, and hang a squeegee from the shower head to help wipe down tiles after the last shower of the day to get rid of moisture and mildew.

How often should I change my sheets?

Swap out your sheets and pillowcases weekly, suggests Murphy, and wash the mattress cover and pillow liners every few months, or monthly for family members with allergies. And don’t forget to wash the pillows one to two times a year. Murphy suggests washing two pillows at a time and using a machine without an agitator to help retain their shape. Consider running the pillows for an extra rinse cycle to get rid of all detergent, and give those pillows a good fluff once they are dry.

How to fold a fitted sheet

Aug. 22, 201600:58

How often should I clean the fridge?

Murphy suggests cleaning and organizing the fridge on a weekly basis, but don’t be overwhelmed at the prospect. Here’s the breakdown of what you need to cover:

  • Keep the fridge organized so leftovers don’t linger
  • Wrap food and containers tightly to keep odors from transferring
  • Wipe spills on shelves and in bins with a warm soap solution and rinse
  • Have those points covered and you will likely never have to rip the fridge apart to get it clean.

How often should I clean my phone?

Phones can be swimming in bacteria, so give yours a wipe down every few days, and wipe the screen down with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol or an electronic wipe to kill bacteria.

How often should I wash my jeans?

It might be trendy to never wash your jeans, but play it safe and gives those a good wash after every few wearings. The fabric absorbs body oils and stains, so it’s best to toss them in the washer. Just turn the jeans inside out before doing so to help maintain the color and use a detergent designed for darks. Murphy recommends tumble drying them on a low heat and taking them from the dryer when they are still damp to air dry.

Levi Strauss CEO: Never wash your jeans

May 21, 201402:03

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It can be tricky to figure out (and remember) how often we should replace household products — especially bathroom towels. You use them to dry off after getting clean and you wash them frequently, so chances are, if you’re like me, you’ve had your bathroom towels for years. But exactly how long are we supposed to hold onto them before we should toss them for new ones? Turns out, the expert-recommended amount of time is every two years.

“Because towels are used daily and washed frequently, they tend to fray and tear after a couple of years,” says Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer at The Cleaning Authority. “They typically lose their absorbency around the two-year mark, which is a good indicator that it’s time to replace them.”

Of course, there’s some flexibility with this rule and some types of towels may last longer than others. “Laundering, use, and heat will, over time, put a strain on the fibers of your towel which will eventually lead to it becoming stiff and less comfortable to use,” says Rachel Ward, founder of Lüks Linen. “If you’re using a flat weave towel, you can extend its shelf life into double figures. A good quality loomed peshtemal will get softer, not stiffer over time, and doesn’t benefit from fabric conditioner or the inside of a dryer.” Rachel also suggests opting for natural fibers, such as cotton or bamboo, when purchasing towels.

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Image Source: Unsplash / Jose Soriano

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  • There are plenty of things that need to be kept clean in your home, but one that may slip people’s minds are our bath and hand towels.

    Given that we use them to dry parts of our body that we’ve just given a good wash, you could be forgiven for thinking that you can get away with a once weekly wash – or perhaps even less, for some.

    MORE: THIS Is How Often You Should Change Your Bedsheets

    So how often should I wash my towels?

    It seems that we should actually be washing our towels much more regularly than that, according to the experts.

    Philip Tierno, a microbiologist at New York University School of Medicine, revealed that a towel – even if it’s properly dried – shouldn’t be used more than three times.

    He explained to Tech Radar, “If you can dry it completely, no more than three times max. A damp towel is growing.

    “Wherever there is odour, there are microbes growing so it should be washed.”

    Towels should be cleaned regularly to avoid drying yourself off with a towel that’s full of growing bacteria – yuck.

    Dr. Gerba, a microbiologist, also told Time US, “After about two days, if you dry your face on a hand towel, you’re probably getting more E. coli on your face than if you stuck your head in a toilet and flushed it.” Pretty gross, right?

    And it seems they’re alone in her estimations.

    Cleaning expert with Fantastic Service Ralitsa Prodanova, agrees that we should be washing our towels after every three or four uses – which, for people who shower daily, is every three or four days.

    She told metro.co.uk, “If you get a musty smell when you bring the towel up to your nose, that’s bacteria growing on the towel itself. And because towels are often warm and damp, they’re the perfect breeding ground for bugs and germs.”

    So is this what most people are doing?

    According to a 2018 GE Appliances poll, taking in results of over 1,500 people, 50% said they’d actually use a towel five times before washing it.

    But, a further 14% of respondents said they’d use a towel eight times or more before they washed it.

    So what are your thoughts?

    How often do you wash your towel – and is it more or less than the recommended amount?