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When is it Time for You to Replace Your Towels?

Properly caring for your towels is important if you want to get the most out of them. If you wash them when you should, follow the manufacturer's recommendations for laundering them and care for them appropriately, you can enjoy your high-quality towels for years. Inevitably, you'll have to replace your towels someday, but how do you know when it's time? Let's take a closer look at the proper care of towels and how to know it's time to replace them.

Whether you're buying wholesale towels for your home or your business, you should first consider proper towel care. If you care for your towels as you should, you'll save money and enjoy them for a longer period of time. Proper towel care is crucial for a few important reasons:

  • Towels are among the most germ-infected objects in your home or business. They retain moisture, which is the perfect breeding ground for dangerous bacteria.
  • Towels are typically used in the most germ-ridden areas. Kitchens and bathrooms are typically the dirtiest parts of a home or business — and those rooms are where towels are used most frequently.
  • Dirty kitchen towels can contain thousands of bacteria. Towels used in kitchens are especially prone to dangerous coliform bacteria, which are found in feces and lead to outbreaks of diarrhea and food poisoning. In one study, coliform bacteria was found in 89 percent of kitchen tea towels!

Coliform Bacteria was found in 89% of tea towels

  • Bath towels are also extremely susceptible to bacteria growth. Moisture, warmth and organic matter provide the perfect environment for bacteria and microfungi to thrive. Bathrooms are typically steamy after a hot shower. Your cotton towels provide an optimal organic surface for growth, and if the towel has been used, or not properly cleaned, it's likely a prime source for bacteria and microfungi growth.
  • Towels can pass illnesses from one person to the next. If you don't replace your towels when necessary, or properly clean them between uses, they can become a place for illness and disease to spread. E. coli, athlete's foot, coliforms and salmonella are a few examples of the spreadable dangers that can transfer from one person to another via a dirty towel.

It's fairly obvious why it's important to properly care for your towels and replace them when necessary, but it's also worth taking a closer look at how to care for them in the best way possible.

Learn How to Properly Care for Your Towels

Caring for your towels begins with buying the right towels for your needs. If you buy the wrong towel, or a low-quality towel, it won't deliver the results you desire. Choose a towel made of 100% cotton in a style that's right for your needs. Towel Super Center offers a plethora of options in various sizes, colors and qualities. After you choose the right wholesale towels, you must properly care for them if you want them to last as long as possible.

Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Wash your towels before using them. Many manufacturers coat towels with a heavy fabric softener or silicone finish, so you should wash them before using them. The fabric softener or other finish makes the towels appear extra soft and fluffy, but they won't absorb water well. Wash and dry them according to the manufacturer's guidelines before first use.
  • Consider adding a cup of white vinegar to the first wash cycle. The vinegar will help set the color, especially for darker towels. It will also prevent fading, which will give your towels a longer lifespan. For the first initial wash, you can use only half of the recommended amount of detergent to prevent unnecessary wear.
  • Recognize that people should not share towels. Whether at home or at a business, no two people should share a towel. Each person should have his or her own bath towel, and you should avoid placing towels in the restroom to dry hands after washing them.

Instead, opt for paper towels or electric hand dryers, or designate a separate hand towel for each person. If you have a powder room or bathroom that people will share, or that guests will use, and you prefer a hand towel for hand drying, wash it every day or as often as possible. Hand towels get the dirtiest, because they're used more than once throughout the day — and there's a chance they aren't drying clean hands.

Tens of millions of dead skin cells and bacteria are found on your bath towels.

  • Wash bath towels often, about every three to four days. There are tens of millions of dead skin cells and bacteria on your bath towels. They use an extra-thick cotton, so they tend to harbor odors and moisture. A musty scent is a sign that the towel needs to be replaced, or that it's not being cleaned well enough. Consider washing your bath towels twice — once in a cycle with vinegar and no soap, and then once again with regular laundry detergent.
  • Launder kitchen towels after each use. To avoid spreading bacteria and cross-contaminating surfaces, replace kitchen towels after every use. Consider dipping your towels in diluted bleach between uses to ensure the bacteria, viruses and fungi are eliminated. Use two teaspoons of bleach per gallon of water for best results. You can use a color-safe bleach for colored towels and a non-chlorinated bleach for white towels.
  • Clean your face towels after each use. To avoid introducing bacteria into your delicate facial pores, replace towels you use on your face after every use. Washing your face with a dirty washcloth, or drying it with a dirty towel, will reintroduce dirt and bacteria to your face. Washing your face towels daily could be a seemingly impossible task, so consider using a new face towel or washcloth every day of the week, then washing them all one time per week.

Add 2 tsp. of bleach per gallon of water on your kitchen towels to avoid spreading bacteria.

  • Properly air your bath towels between uses. Most people use their bath towel for a few days before washing it. After you use it to dry off, be sure to hang it to dry. Don't allow the towel to bunch up or become folded on the towel bar. Spread it out evenly so it has a chance to properly dry after you use it. Consider cracking a window in the bathroom and always turn on the fan to reduce moisture in the air.
  • Wash towels in hot water. Set the washer to the highest water temperature available. You might even consider turning up the temperature on your water heater if your towels are in need of extra cleaning.

Towels are known to harbor dangerous bacteria, and hot water will eliminate any germs. Anything above 90˚F is optimal, but a temperature over 130˚F will ensure germs are killed. However, it's not necessary to rinse your towels at a temperature that high. Hot water fades colors faster and wears the fabric more quickly, but it's important to rid towels of bacteria, fungi and viruses during the washing phase. If your washer has a sanitizing cycle, use it for added protection.

  • Choose the longest setting on your washer. Towels require a heavy-duty wash, so choose the right setting on your washer unit. Choose the setting that allows the towels to be cleaned for the longest period of time possible, which usually translates to a "heavily soiled" or "heavy duty" setting on the washing machine.
  • Wash towels alone. Keep towels separate from other fabrics like clothing or sheets. Regular clothes typically don't need to be washed at a high temperature, nor do they usually need a heavy-duty wash. It's efficient to wash towels together, and it's more sanitary to keep other garments and fabrics separate.
  • Be wary of fabric softeners. Remember that fabric softeners shouldn't be used every time you wash your towels if you want them to last as long as possible. Every three to four washes is the general guideline. Fabric softeners leave a waxy buildup on your towels, which will ruin the fibers over time and reduce their absorbency. Fabric softeners also lock in odors, so consider leaving them out completely or using them infrequently. Consider using vinegar instead of fabric softener — it will strip odors and protect the towel's natural, absorbent fibers.
  • Shake your towels slightly between the washer and the dryer. When you remove your towels from the washer, gently shake them out before placing them in the dryer or hanging them to dry. It will help them to dry faster, and it will keep the fibers softer and more absorbent.
  • Be sure to thoroughly dry your towels. Moist towels harbor bacteria and fungi growth, so it's vital to make sure towels are thoroughly dried after washing them and before storing them. If you can, hang towels to dry in an area with adequate airflow and sunlight and no moisture. Be careful not to hang towels on top of one another — every area of the towel must be exposed to the air in order to dry fully. If hanging isn't an option, put them in the dryer on high heat. Be sure not to keep your towels in the dryer longer than necessary, though, because it could weaken or damage the fibers.
  • Avoid dryer sheets, or use them sparingly. Dryer sheets may make your towels a bit softer, but they add a waxy film that can negatively affect their ability to absorb water. If you insist on using dryer sheets, use them once every three to four washes instead of using them every time.
  • Wash all of your towels more frequently if someone in your home is ill. If someone in your home is sick, you should wash your towels more frequently. Towels harbor germs and can easily transfer them from one person to the next. Take extra caution when you're sure there are extra germs in your home, and disinfect towels with bleach or other disinfectant. Keep the water temperature above 130˚F to kill the flu and other dangerous viruses.

Know When It's Time to Replace Your Towels

Even with proper care, your high-quality wholesale towels will eventually wear down and need to be replaced. There are different standards for every industry, but, generally speaking, the lifespan of a towel is tied to three major factors:

1. Quality. Cheaply made towels won't last as long as high-quality towels.
2. Frequency of use. The more your towels are used, the shorter their lifespan will be.
3. Level of care. If you take good care of your towels — and wash, dry and care for them as you should — they will last longer than if you neglect them.

No towel will last forever, and determining when it's time to replace your towels can be a matter of preference. If you clean them well and don't mind a stiff, worn-out towel, you can use them for years — possibly ten years! If you offer towels to your customers, a hard, worn-out towel won't make a good impression even if it's clean.

Generally, there are two telltale signs that it's time to replace your towels:

1. Your towels are threadbare, or they lose their absorbency and softness. After a year or two, the fabric threads of your towels will start to break down. When the fibers are gone, it's time to purchase new wholesale towels. Once the fibers are stripped, you may continue to use your towels without harm, but they won't be as soft or absorbent. It's best to cut your towels into rags when they become threadbare and replace them with new, thick and fluffy wholesale towels.

2. Your towels are stinky. Old towels, or towels that haven't been properly cleaned, can develop a musty smell that won't go away with a regular wash. When this happens, it's time to replace them. A dingy smell that returns to a seemingly clean towel as soon as it becomes wet is a sign it's harboring mildew or bacteria.

When towels develop a musty smell that won't go away with a regular wash it's time to replace them.

Consider Towel Super Center

If you're looking for a wholesale towel supplier that offers high-quality towels at affordable price points, consider Towel Super Center. We offer towels for cleaning, drying and absorbing. If you realize it's time to replace your towels, buying wholesale is an economical option. You can purchase towels by the dozen, and the price per dozen decreases as you increase the quantity ordered.

Towel Super Center offers towels in many sizes and for many different purposes. Our inventory includes economy, premium and premium-plus options, as well as variety of colors besides white. We carry charcoal grey, navy blue, blue stripe, black, silver grey, beige, brown burgundy, hunter green, premium purple and many more.

Browse our vast inventory of salon towels, gym towels, hand towels, bleach resistant towels, bath towels, fingertip towels, golf towels, barber towels, hotel towels and more! You're sure to find what you need at a reasonable price at Towel Super Center.

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