Washcloths used on the face are especially important to keep clean. Touching your eyes, nose or mouth with a dirty washcloth is an easy way to introduce bacteria and spread infection. To prevent the spread of bacteria, you should machine wash your washcloths every three to four days -- or more often, if you prefer. As for what cleaning agent you should use -- chlorine bleach may be most effective at killing germs, but it can also cause your towels to deteriorate. Regular detergent or non-chlorine bleach should suffice [sources: [url='http://www.marthastewart.com/269266/washing-bath-towels[/url'], National Institutes of Health].
To keep your washcloths and towels in useable condition for a longer period of time, avoid washing them in very hot water or drying them at the highest temperature, as this can cause excessive amounts of wear and shrinkage. You should remove towels from the dryer when they are nearly dry; they should not be wet to the touch, but they shouldn't be crisp, either, as this means that they've been dried for too long [source: Cotton Incorporated].
Practicing proper hygiene with your towels can be more difficult than it appears, but is essential for maintaining clean and healthy skin. For more information, follow the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Bathing and Moisturizing Guidelines." 2009. (Accessed 8/23/09) http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/bathing.html
- Bode, Marilyn. "Help Yourself to a Healthy Home." Federal Citizen Information Center. 2002. (Accessed 8/23/09) http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/family/healthyhome/mold.htm
- Consumer Reports. "The Basic Facts About Bathrooms and Household Mold." November 2007. (Accessed 8/26/09) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/bed-bath/bathroom-remodeling/bathroom-fans/bathroom-fans-household-mold-306/index.htm
- Cotton Incorporated. "Caring for Cotton Towels." (Accessed 8/23/09)http://www.thefabricofourlives.com/fabric-smart/Caring-for-Cotton-Towels/
- MarthaStewart.com. "Washing and Folding Towels." (Accessed 8/23/09)http://www.marthastewart.com/article/washing-and-folding-towels
- MarthaStewart.com. "Washing Bath Towels." (Accessed 8/23/09)http://www.marthastewart.com/269266/washing-bath-towels
- National Institutes of Health. "Mold and Mildew Awareness." 2001. (Accessed 9/2/09) http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/docs/mold.pdf
- National Women's Health Resource Center. "Bathroom Mold Busters." 2009. (Accessed 8/23/09) http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/NWHRCBathroom.asp?order_num=11539431
- Mann, Denise. "Germs in the Bathroom." WebMD. October 18, 2007. (Accessed 8/23/09) http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/germs-in-bathroom
- Mayo Clinic. "MRSA: Understand Your Risk and How to Prevent Infection." October 29, 2008. (Accessed 9/2/09) http://mayoclinic.com/health/mrsa/ID00049/NSECTIONGROUP=2
- Mayo Clinic. "Staph Infections: Prevention." June 9, 2009. (Accessed 9/2/09)http://mayoclinic.com/health/staph-infections/DS00973/DSECTION=prevention
- WebMD. "Understanding Pink Eye -- Prevention." November 25, 2008. (Accessed 8/23/09) http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/understanding-conjunctivitis-prevention
- Wisconsin Department of Health Services. "Mold in Your Home: Cleaning Options." October 24, 2008. (Accessed 8/23/09) http://dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/hlthhaz/fs/moldclean.htm