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How often and when should I wash my towel in the pandemic?

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Megan Murray
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Not sure when or how you should be washing your towels? Here’s our advice on how often to bung them in the washing machine.

Although this sounds like a straight forward question, a poll of the Stylist team shows that many of us have different ideas of how often we should be washing our towels.

For some, the understanding is that we’re only using them to dry ourselves when clean, so really what harm can be done? While others feel icky about any towel which isn’t newly fluffy.

As with lots of household tasks that involve a washing machine – from washing bras to bed sheets – how often we wash our towels depends on how much we’re using them, as well as our personal preferences.

For example, if you’re showering twice a day and washing your hair, your towels will probably be pretty sodden and heavily used. But if you don’t shower daily, you can keep them going for a lot longer – which is also good for environment.

So if you’ve got a mixture of towels on the go at the moment and you can’t remember the last time you washed one of them, take a look at our advice on how often you should be doing so and on what temperature. 

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Why do I need to wash my bath towel?

Even though your bathroom towel most likely never appears visibly dirty, there’s a number of reasons why it’s so important to wash them. Obviously, once a towel has been used a lot it’s been stuck in a cycle of going from wet to damp, and if it’s not being aired really well it can start to smell and won’t dry you properly.

Laundry service Rinse also explains that damp towels are a breeding ground for microbes like bacteria and fungi thanks to the mixture of water, warm air and oxygen which is like rolling out a welcome mat for them. Rinse points out that letting these micro organisms grow means that when you use your towel again, you’re wiping them back onto your clean body, which is obviously not ideal. 

How often should I wash my towel?

Again, there’s no hard and fast rule on this one and reasoning is circumstantial, but at the very least weekly.

If the environment is your concern you might want to follow washing detergent Persil’s advice and wash towels once a week. Persil explains: “Many of us don’t realise how much water we’re wasting by washing clothes too often.”

To be as eco-friendly as possible it recommends washing towels regularly, with once a week being generally enough. This provides a “happy medium between living a greener lifestyle and ensuring there’s not too much of a build-up of dead skin cells.”

If you’re interested in saving water in the laundry room, you could always delay doing a wash until you have enough for a full load and refrain from doing an extra rinse.

However Rinse recommends washing your towel more often than this if you’re concered about skin cells and bacteria building up. It advises washing them after three uses, and no less.

What temperature should I was my towel?

You can either check the care label on your towel and follow the instructions or stick to 60 degrees to make sure you’ve killed all the germs. 

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Do I need to wash my towel more often in the coronavirus pandemic?

If neither you nor anyone in your household are showing symptoms of coronavirus, there is no reason why you should need to wash your towels more often than the normally recommended amount, suggested above.

If you live with someone who is presenting symptoms, however mild, Which recommends that you be extra careful.

If you’re handling someone’s laundry who is or has recently been ill, make sure you immediately wash your hands when you’re finished and don’t touch your face until you have. You should also be careful not to throw their laundry around too much as there’s a chance bacteria particles could be spread through the air. Their laundry can also be washed with other people’s in the household and on a 60 degree heat is fine. 

If you’re concerned about staying safe in the coronavirus pandemic, look at the NHS website for advice on how to protect yourself and those around you. 

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Images: Getty 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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