Guess what? Amongst all the other chores we do, it now seems that how we wash our towels has been deemed newsworthy. Gosh, who knows what’ll be next? After more than 60-some-odd years of doing mountains of laundry, I find it astonishing that perhaps I’ve been doing it all wrong – at least when it comes to my towels. I’m curious as to what you’ll make of all the kerfuffle!

Resolving the rights and wrongs of towel washing might seem to be overcomplicating a seemingly straightforward subject, dontcha think?

But then, as you may recall, Seinfeld was a master at creating hilarious interpretations of everyday situations, and doing laundry was no exception. So we see no reason to restrain ourselves from treating the challenges of towel washing with anything less than the seriousness that process deserves.

There’s Method to Our Madness

Advances in both laundry detergent formulas and washing machine technology have transformed how we should wash most of our clothes and towels. According to Brian Sansoni, the senior vice president of communications for the American Cleaning Institute, “Most laundry can now be done in cold water. That should be the default.” And he advises us to include towels in that assessment.

His views on cold water washing – even for towels – were supported by Jessica Zinna, a senior scientist at Procter & Gamble, who estimates that “up to 90% of the energy used during the laundry process goes towards heating the wash water for warm or hot cycles.”

Ms. Zinna puts the savings from switching to cold water washing at about $150 a year and it’s not just your energy bill that will benefit.

Cold water reduces wear, tear and fading – so towels treated this way will last considerably longer than those subjected to the harsher, hotter alternative.

Another factor to consider when washing towels is the amount of detergent that’s used. More detergent doesn’t equal cleaner, according to the experts. An excess of detergent can leave towels impregnated with a sudsy residue which can cause skin irritation and leave towels dingy, mouldy and stiff. So read the guidelines on the cold-water detergent jug before over-doing the amount you pour into your washing machine.

Another major enemy of successful towel washing – or laundry washing in general – is the use of fabric softener. Avoid it like the plague!

Liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets both leave a coating on towels that leaves them superficially fresh but filled with product build-up deep down, which makes them less absorbent. If you absolutely must insist on fresh washed towels that smell fragrant, use in-wash scent beads.

Towel Washing Frequency Guidelines

  • Bath towels should be washed after every three to five uses.
  • Hand towels should be changed every couple of days.
  • Kitchen towels that are used for drying clean dishes or hands should be changed every couple of days, and those that are used to wipe up spills or clean messes should be washed after every use.
  • Microfiber towels that are used for cleaning should be washed after every use.

Towel Drying Guidelines

  • When machine-drying towels, opt for the regular or automatic cycle, and use the machine’s moisture sensor, if that feature is available.
  • Over-drying towels will cause the material to deteriorate and fade.

Top-Rated Laundry Detergent

The online consumer product research platform yourbestdigs recently subjected a total of eight laundry detergents to 45 hours of research to “determine which of the top-rated laundry detergents on the market outperformed the rest.”

Their conclusion: “Our findings lead us to recommend Tide Coldwater Clean as the best laundry detergent available. It made our clothes come out brighter and smelling terrific, and best of all, this was achieved by washing in cold water. We found that Tide Coldwater Clean gives the most bang for your buck.” Try it for yourself, or let us know your favourite detergent and best laundry tips in the comments on Facebook!