How many towels do you go through...

anrsazFebruary 1, 2005

I just finished reading on another organizing site (shame on me) about how many towels do you have or need to buy? I was dumbfounded when this family of 5 person said this:

"I went for 3 days worth of towels for each member of our family. There is 5 of us so that was a set of 15 towels and wash cloths for the hole house. Just starting out for just you and your husband I would suggest a set of 6. This is if you are like me and have to at least do one load if not two loads of laundry a day. Which doesn't always include the towels in the wash, but if I get to a load of towels every other day then we still have towels and rags clean. "

Maybe I'm a slob, but why in the world do you need a brand new towel when you get out of the shower DAILY? And the laundry it accumulates? Holy Moses! And SIX towels for two people????

My SIL does the same thing and when I'm at her house I go crazy with the towels everywhere. Unless they have no way to dry out, I don't understand this whatsoever. I must be a slob. So be it.

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I think we've talked about this before. My philosophy is that you're clean when you get out of the shower LOL

I change more often when (as was the case recently) someone has a cold or something. Otherwise, they get reused.

My SIL, who is always overworked and frazzled from my perspective, told me on a recent trip, that her husband wants fresh sheets on the bed every night. WHAT!!!!

Geez, I told her, honey, you need to tell him forget it! Unless he wants to wash, dry, fold, and remake the bedsheets every day. I'd divorce a man who demanded that. Or make him hire a full time housekeeper.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 10:46AM
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Each of my children and DH and I have a large bath sheet that is colored for their use only (in theory, anyway). So the green towel belongs to J, the pink towel belongs to C. You get the idea. So seven towels for the children, more or less. We actually haven't bought one for the baby. Now, I have four full sets of towels for guests, because if the guests are a family, we need at towel for everyone. More or less. Then about two weeks ago at JC Penney's I found these "Spa Head Wraps" (under the Chris Madden brand label) for half off, $8.49 per box of two, and that's now what the girls and I use for our wet hair. Except for the guest towels which do tumble into everyday use when circumstances require it, every child has one towel, plus each girl has a hair towel. I don't believe in back-up towels, because I really don't want to store them. Every towel we have except for the guest towels is always hanging on a bar or an over-the-door hook. We don't even have a lot of hand towels, just what's out on the towel bars. Washclothes do go into the bathroom cabinet. When I do laundry, the towels get done and hung. Most of my bath sheets (which are large oversized towels) are from Land's End and have been around for many years and still look great.

By the way, what's the other home organization site you were looking at? Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 10:47AM
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Uh...I have four large bath towels for the upstairs bathroom, and four for the downstairs bathroom. Our shower leaks downstairs, so those are just "for show" at the moment, but we reuse towels for a week. Once a week when I'm doing laundry, I wash the dirty ones and hang up the clean ones, rotating through our stock. I have a three sets of hand towels for each bathroom - those get changed every few days.

I can't imagine needing a new towel every single day...I don't even want to *think* about the piles of laundry that would create, since I rarely do laundry more than once per week! LOL

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 11:12AM
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The forum was:
and I think I got the link from this site.

But I have to say that as well, you're clean when you get out of the shower and I do it once per week as well. I can't imagine the laundry! I've noticed this w/other households...the every day towel change and I just think it's completely absurd, not to mention you're water bill! I'm w/you Jamie_MT.

And fresh sheets nightly on the bed. I'd tell him to go to a motel! LOL

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 12:01PM
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If you have an extended stay at a motel, they don't even change your sheets daily.

I also consider towels to be clean when used after a shower.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 12:40PM
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ooh, ann, I'm not sure we're supposed to mention competing forums.

You are clean when you get out of the shower, BUT...

You rub skin cells and skin oil into the towels. So while I agree that it's wasteful to change them every day, I try to change every three or four days--that's 2 a week. And since I don't want to do laundry (esp. not towels) every three or four days, I like to have enough towels to get me through a week, maybe two.

However, in actual practice, I usually end up changing the towels once a week.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 12:42PM
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Talley: How hilarious!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 3:19PM
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Oopsy....I know I got that site from this site, but it probably didn't say "forum" sorry.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 5:59PM
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I am probably the only one here that uses a towel only once. I know I am clean after getting out of the shower, but I just can't get past the image of skin cells and "other" things on my towel. I know they are mine, but, *shiver* ick.

My husband and I have our own bathroom (the kids are banned) and I know that sometimes he uses the same towel I used in the morning (he works 2nd shift and showers in early afternoon, I hang my towel in the bathroom to dry and put it in the laundry the next morning.) and that just creeps me out. There is no way I could use a towel after someone else used it, it has been in some *very personal places* on that persons body and I don't want the same towel on *my very personal places* YUCK.

I know I am completely irrational about this, but it's just a mental quirk I have. Yes, I realize that my husband's *personal places* has made contact with my *personal places* but that's different in my book. :)

Currently, we have four people living in this house and I do about four loads of towels per week. When my oldest daughter lived here too, I did about five loads of towels per week. Yes, I know that's alot, but that's okay, I'd rather do a lot of laundry than use the same towel more than once.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 7:31PM
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Well Bonnie -- we have the same quirk -- once for every towel - hand, face, washcloth or bath towel :)

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 8:42PM
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Thank goodness I'm not the only one! I also only use dishrags only once.

When my oldest daughter was a toddler, we were visiting my parents. My cousin came to their house with his daughter too. He brought a chocolate bar for each girl. When they finished the candy, they had chocolate faces. Imagine my horror when he went into the kitchen and grabbed a nasty dishrag to wash their faces (my mom uses the same dishrag several days in a row before washing). I told him, "Scott, before you wash their faces with that, I want to see you wash your own with it first." He took one look at it, grinned at me sheepishly and went to the bathroom for a clean facecloth. :)


    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 8:59PM
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Interesting topic! At our house we've evolved into using the bathrooms thusly: 3 people share one(!) and 1 person-me-uses the other. Silly but there it is.

So, in the hall AKA public bathroom, what happens is that every day the towel hanging up is used by both kids-whoever bathes/showers first gets a nice 'fresh' dry towel. The second bather takes it as it comes.

And my husband gets a clean dry towel. Yep, a new fresh towel every night. The thing is, he would *not* expect or take one for himself; I insist on it. I feel he deserves the little luxury/'s Not Fun to use a towel that is still soggy from teenage bathers! In fact on what passes for our chilly winter days I've been known to toss the new towel in the dryer while he is showering so he has a toasty towel when he emerges. (Hey, Jamie--even us old wives have our moments :).

In the other bathroom I'm the one and only towel consumer. I keep 2 towels-one for hair (wash daily), one for body. I change those every few days.

Hmmm, probably a TMI answer from this end. As for laundry it does yield a goodly number of towels. But, my new washer/dryer makes short work of those! More on that for another day, but let's just say I'm loving the new equipment...


    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 10:13PM
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Four people in the house...use to be five till DD went to college.We discovered that there is less sickness in the house when every towel and washcloth is fresh.Makes for a lot of laundry,but since towels don't always dry daily anyway in the humidity here I don;t like wet towels in the laundry.i do two loads of family wash per day plus two extra three times a week for the cleaning business.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 10:21PM
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Everyone in our household can have a fresh towel whenever they want. My thoughts run along the same lines as Bonnie63's.

Husband gets a fresh, warmed towel, wife gets her own bathroom and teens have to share a towel. Why? Aren't they entitled to not have to use a soggy towel used by someone else? Do they get to eat the family meal or is it just leftovers for them? Just wondering.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 7:45AM
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I agree with towels being assigned to one and only one person.
We have one set of towels per person and they are never shared. So that is part of the reason that we are able to get more than one use out of them. And the sets contain towels that are for different purposes, (hair, hand, bath/body).

And we have not died yet! LOL Seriously, my DH is immunosuppressed, and is more susceptible than most to catching things. But he's almost never sick. Literally once every two or three years he gets a little sick. DD is rarely sick, too. She and I might catch a bug once or twice a year, from being around kids at doctor's visits, birthday parties, etc. Fast Food Restaurant play areas are my Germ-phobia. I avoid them at all costs, and if unavoidable, I make her keep her socks on, use hand-sanitizer, and bathe that very day.

We wash our hands often, which is really the most important thing we can do to stay well. Those hand-towels probably are the ones I change most often but still not daily. And that's not too much of a burden on laundry, as they are smaller.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 8:32AM
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I would never share a towel either. That's kinda yucky.

Dish rags? I buy disposables. 1 day, out they go,unless I'm working w/meat, then it's one use, out they go. eeeeyuck.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 9:37AM
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DH and I don't *share* towels...we each have our own that we use for a week. That includes hand towels - we each have our own of those too, even though we share a bathroom. :-)

Dishcloths...I use for a week or until they get grimy - I figure they get "hand washed" every night when I use dish soap with them anyways. *shrug* Kitchen hand towels are used on clean hands until I need them for wiping up a mess on the counter, or until I need them for dirty hands, etc - then they go in the basket (the one under my sink, which I totally love). ;-)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 10:42AM
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Hmmm, a towel controversy! To clarify, especially to WildChild--my two teenagers are not *restricted* to sharing the same towel. Sheesh, if they want a fresh towel I don't care in the least. What happens is they don't seem to care much, so they share a towel...which is changed daily, just not right before they use it. As for the bathroom usage, that's also not a draconian rule, it's what has evolved in our house. The fresh, warm towel is something nice I do for my spouse-my kids don't seem to care, and for the things that do matter to them, they get treated well too.

On a personal note, I have to say I found your comments insulting. You don't know my family, so it's really not your place to make nasty comments!

As for dish towels, I just organized this function a bit better :). We have always used a 2-towel system in the kitchen: one for hands, one for dishes. I used to buy pairs of hand towels (bigger/more absorbent than dish towels) in colors, but then they both needed to be cycled equally for my aesthetic sense :), which was silly sometimes-I'd be washing 2 towels for only one dirty one. Anyway, I used a gift card from Xmas to go to Bed Bath and Beyond and buy 10 of the same cheap white hand towels--now I can rotate stock easily since they are all the same, and I do like to change those daily. As a bonus I can toss them in the wash with the white towel (bleach) load, and have one less set of towels to wash separately.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 11:53AM
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Thank you Runninginplace. Sometimes things get lost in the translation on the net. I just realized my post came off as a bit harsh in print. Wasn't meant to. If we were face to face I would be smiling, looking aghast and the teasing would've been obvious.

Having raised teens I know how unconcerned they can be about towels and such...then suddenly they into a brand new stage of personal space and won't share a bar of soap, much less a towel.

It is a nice thing you do for your DH and I can understand how the use of the bathrooms evolved. The dynamics of who uses which bath have changed over the years here also.

Didn't mean to be insulting. Peace.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 12:06PM
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Wildchild, thanks--and I just showed one of the teens, my daughter, my initial post, and your response. She said and I"m quoting as she dictates 'well, my daughter agrees with you. Mom is like Hitler. She scares me." Sorry, now I'm laughing too hard to continue.

Seriously, I asked them on the way home if they feel badly about using 'recycled' towels. They both didn't know what I was talking about.

And on another serious note, each person having his/her own bath towel to avoid spreading germs is a very good idea. I am going to try to be more aware of that-and I did tell the kids they are welcome to have a clean towel if they want one! It would be hard to assign unique towels though, as I've just migrated to all-white. As for the unequal bathroom split, that sort of evolved when the kids were little because my husband and I get up/go to sleep at slightly different times and he didn't want to bother me, nor I him. I'm hoping though to lure him into using the master bath again so the split is more equal. If/when we redo that bathroom this summer I"m putting in a temptingly large shower with tall people's fixtures to make it tempting for him to come back. See, I'm not so bad. At least as long as you don't ask my daughter...


    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 3:43PM
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Ann, we have "unique towel-hanging places" instead of unique towels.

I didn't want to use DH's, because he gets shaving cream on them!

So finally I trained him: in WHATEVER bathroom we're using (motel, parents' house, our other bathroom bcs the big one's out of commission...), the towel bar closest to the sink is his. I use the one closest to the door (or farthest from the sink, in our little bathroom).

It took a really long time to train him. At first he kept trying to use the one farthest from the sink, but failing. I finally said, "you use the one that's easiest to reach. *I* will use my superior skills to remember to use the OTHER one."

So it's not by appearance, but by where they're hanging.

The kids tend to get a new towel (bcs they don't take daily baths/showers) each time, and hang it between ours.

Ann, maybe you could have two hooks, or two towel bars, or different ends, and they could divvy them up?

Hooks are nice, because they don't take up as much wall space.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 3:58PM
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We do the same thing as bathroom towels are all hunter green (I have a thing about darker colors...can't stand white), and my towel hangs on one side of the rack, his on the other. My DH was pretty easy to teach though - he figured it out pretty quickly. LOL

I *totally* understand the asthetics getting in the way of laundry with matched sets...some of my kitchen towels are like that, and while I can't bring myself to use just white (that thing with the white towels again), I do sometimes wash part of a set just because the other part is dirty. ;-)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 4:54PM
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I'm not sure I could assign towel spots easily. Husband has one of his theories that towels need to be spread flat out on a rack to dry, so he would never cooperate. And, I only have room for one rack so I can't put more up; there just isn't space. I do have a hook on the back of the bathroom door, but even though I don't feel as strongly as the hub about spreading towels out to dry, down here in the subtropics even with air conditioning bunching towels on hooks doesn't work too well.

I'll have to think about this. To be truthful, I really wouldn't mind a few more towels per load, as noted the washer will take all I put in and it's still using less water/energy than my old set.


PS Wildchild, I apologize if I was too quick to misunderstand your note. I've been fighting with faculty for 2 days...and losing. I think maybe I"m a touch oversensitive right now myself!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 6:16PM
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I only have one child so having designated towels is easier. My neighbor has three children, and one foreign exchange student is living with her this school year.

She gave each person in the house a designated color.

That has worked for her, so that even if there's not enough separate hangers, at least everyone knows what's theirs.

The bathroom is SpongeBob SquarePants, so they used yellow, white, orange and aqua.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2005 at 7:01PM
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Ann, I glad we've work that one out. LOL Imagine, a war over something benign as bath towels. Oh my...:-)

Now put me on side of all white towels. I like to be able to use a bit of bleach when laundering towels.

I also buy stacks of cheap white hand towels. DH and DS seem to have half the dirt go down the drain and the rest on the towel. I have enough on hand so they get their own wash cycle.

As my towels become worn out they become dog wipes. Later they become shop rags or disposable floor "shmops".

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 2:26AM
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Each of us has a towel hung in the designated place and they get changed usually twice a week. Must admit that I do change mine more often sometimes.

Facecloths change daily.

Hand towels daily or every two days - depends. When there was eight of us here it was definately daily, along with the bath mats.

Dishcloths - same as hand towels.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 4:04AM
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Wow, what an interesting little glimpse into everyones bathroom window!

When DH and I got married we had three teens who had to share a bathroom. We got them each a different color set of towels to use and they had to wash them with their laundry. This worked well except for my son who was obsessive compulsive and thought reusing a hand towel was gross, so he used paper towels. (We thought about taking him to a shrink, but it was cheaper to just install paper towels) When he went off to college he wanted all white towels because he can SEE the dirt, lol.

Now all the kids are gone and I just unloaded 25 towels; I still had towels from when I was just married twenty some years ago! I think they're like wire hangers, they breed in the back of the closet...

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 5:12PM
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1 pair each (just me and DH), every week. Currently I rotate 6 pairs. I hang a hand towel only if we have visitors. Bath sheets we find very cumbersome, so I recycled the 2 bright colored I had for the beach.

In the kitchen, 1 pair (hand/dish) every week: dirty hands and spills are wiped with paper. To hand wash (very little) I use an antibacterial sponge with antibacterial dish soap. To clean counters etc I use a thin wettex cloth and I dry the sink with a dedicated microfiber cloth.

It seems towels is the 3rd hottest subject...


    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 7:27AM
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If you ever doubt computer usage can affect your life....

After my big fluff-up about towels :), and after I talked about it with the kids, now EVERYBODY wants their own towel! I'm doomed!!!

I blame Wildchild. It's all her fault. And that darn new washer/dryer. It's my punishment for being happy to do laundry. Now I'll have plenty to keep me happy (bwahahahaha).

At least it's TGI-Friday. And, laundry day is coming, that will cheer me right up. Happy weekend everybody!


    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 7:55AM
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I also use paper towels in the kitchen. I have dishtowels that get used while cooking occasionally, and dishrags, that I use to wash dishes. But if I am washing my hands, or cleaning up the counter, or cleaning up after handling meat, etc, I use paper towels.

Some judge it as environmentally unfriendly. But these are my personal thoughts:
1) Laundry also consumes resources (water, energy), and outputs wastewater into the system that must be handled.
2) I use choose-a-size paper towels, and I find that often, a half-sheet does the job.
3) It's healthier when cleaning up after handling meat.

A lot of people use paper guest towels in their company bathrooms. That's something I have not really gotten into yet. But it is an idea to mull over. :-)

This has been a VERY interesting topic!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 8:12AM
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ME??? Oh the power I have. The glory is all mine. I have managed to lead a successful uprising against this tyrant feared by her very flesh and blood.

Soon they will be demanding their own washcloths followed by soap and shampoo. Forget the washcloths, it will be scrubbie puffs in a new color for each day of the week. Brand new ones. Aha!

When the new shower is built, they will demand to use it until built a spa of their own or perhaps they will hold out for a Grecian pool with scantily clad poolboys.

Yes Yes Yes I am all powerful across the internet. Just like the wizard of Oz TEE-HEE

A happy weekend back at you (and others).

    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 2:58AM
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"Soon they will be demanding their own washcloths followed by soap and shampoo."

It might be worse than that-I'm dreading them actually wanting dinner instead of leftovers. The horror, the horror...where will it all end?!


    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 9:40AM
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I change ever other day. Opposite sides are good enough for me. I also use washrags for handtowels and they get tossed in the hamper daily.

My SIL has a doctorate in bicrobiology and would have nightmares with dishrags. They use a sponge a day. I use my sponges for about a week as I use Clorox-Cleanup and decided it kills the germs.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2005 at 3:14PM
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I use the sponges longer than that. I put them thru the dishwasher cycle, then microwave for 1 minute. I have read several places that this sterilizes sponges.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 9:03AM
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Actually, I think it's the cross contamination prior to microwaving.

Guess I'm too lazy to have several in use and microwave each time they get wet.


Here is a link that might be useful: Science News On Line

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 3:19PM
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For bath towels we use 1 towel per person per wk. In the Summer maybe more since the humidity causes them not to dry out so well & they get stinky. Hand towels in the bathroom get changed 2x/wk. Kitchen towels ar ebeign changed constantly - sevearl times a day.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 9:25AM
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