Housekeepers Question Time!

By alison April 15, 2013 35 Comments 3 Min Read

Is there anything, anything at all, more scrumptiously homely than Laundry Monday on a sunny Spring day?
After spending most of the morning sitting in the hospital waiting for blood tests, I have rushed home full of domestic vigour, ready to take on these four walls and go into glorious, sudsy, lavender scented battle with a mile high pile of laundry. Darlings, this is your housekeeper reporting from her very own state of bliss. The sun is shining, I have strung out a brand new pink washing line, filled my peg bag with new clothespins, lined up my current favoured washing duo : Acdo Non-Bio Miracle Powder and Trispuma -Pura Cocco from Alighiero Campostrini (via T.K.Maxx and bought by the dozen!) and I’m ready to go…

Now it has been said that I have more washing than most people. Not because I have an army of children, or because Finley is a particularly grubby kid (he is), but because of the way I launder hand and bath towels. In fact do me a favor right now and settle an argument for me won’t you please? Because I seem to be in battle with almost everybody over this matter: namely  a best friend who wishes to remain anonymous but is renowned for her exacting standards in housekeeping. And almost everybody else, except my Mum, who I am pretty sure is with me when it comes to washing towels.

You see in my bathroom I have been doing the same thing for years: when someone takes a shower or bath, I request that the towel is then put in the laundry basket for washing. Then at the end of the day I take the hand-towel by the sink, replace it with another and pop the one people have been using all day into the laundry basket too. Then I wash them. This then is the modus operandi causing disconcertion among those who love me, for it is I am told, both unnecessary and a bit bonkers.

For apparently, in houses across the land, people are drying themselves from head to foot with a bath towel, then hanging it up dry and using it again (And again. And again, again and in some cases, again and again!), on the premise that as they are drying clean skin it is perfectly fine to then allow it to air and then use it again. And they go on to tell me, hand-towels can go on doing grubby duty for more days than they care to share, in case I allow my opinion of this domestic misdemeanor to sully our relationship for ever more.

So yes. I wash a lot of towels. And here’s the thing: I thought everybody else did too! Certainly my own Mum is often to be seen walking around with arms full of towels either wringing wet of fluffy from the dryer. It is what we do. We wash towels when they are used and certainly had no clue at all that other people where lightening their load by only washing towels as and when the mood strikes them.

Am I mad? A glutton for laundry punishment? Am I single-handedly contributing to a national water shortage and the cause of our annual hose-pipe bans with my crazy penchant for fluffy, fresh towels? Or are they the crazy ones, for choosing to wrap themselves n dry in towels coated in dead skin cells and the fragrance of Eau-de-damp?

Do put me right won’t you Housekeepers? I am eager to settle this argument once and for all…

[ss-widget id=brocante-downloads–jiroq]

Other Things To Do At BrocanteHome

35 Comments

  1. Brunette says:

    Have mercy, Alison! With a hubby and five kids, I’d NEVER get through all the laundry if I washed the bath towels after one use. On the *second* use, they’re put in the hamper. After the first use, they’re immediately dried and folded and put on the “one more use” shelf.Don’t judge me.

    😉

    1. brocantehome says:

      Oh darling I would never judge anyone.. Especially not the kind of heroic Mommy with five kids! But tell me this: how on earth do you dry them? Are they all over the house air-drying or do you put them in the dryer?

  2. Mary D in Texas says:

    In our house it’s one use and then they get washed! I’m with you on the “dead skin cells” and the “Eau-de-damp”. EWW!

  3. Amanda says:

    Alison, I agree with you. I wash my towels after each use and did even when all 6 of my children were home. However, I encourage the use of wash cloths as hand towels. I learned this when I ran a day care in my home. I asked each child to use a different ,assigned color of wash cloth as their towel and then washed them each night. I still do this even though I no longer have a day care. Wash cloths are big enough for the job, cost less to buy than hand towels and take up less room in the laundry[ at least in my mind]. I usually use them only once if it is cold and flu season and we seem to be pretty healthy people. I seem to be able to “see” germs and feel much more sanitary this way. I do, however, wish I could be as ecstatic over laundry as you are though I will admit that I love to see great, fluffy stacks of clean laundry, I just wish someone else would put them away!Amanda

  4. Wendy says:

    Nope, not bonkers! I grew up that way as well. But due to living without a washer and dryer for a while changes things. I do have individual hooks for clean and used/drying. Then i rotate the two towels durring the week so they don’t get as much use as just one towel. Then once a week I take them to the laundromat and start all over again. I do use just one washcloth a day though in bathroom and change cloths in the kitchen daily. To keep spreading grms around with the same cloth in the kitchen “bugs” me!

  5. Sally Hackney says:

    I’m with you Alison. I have 5 grown kids and I didn’t reuse a bath towel but I’ve been tempted. Then again I did use disposable diapers so I did loads of laundry daily anyway. So needless to say, I’ve done ALOT of laundry and I don’t mind it. Now those dirty dishes…..hmmmm.

  6. Sally Hackney says:

    I meant I didn’t use disposable diapers. Silly auto correct!

  7. Brunette says:

    Have mercy, Alison! With a hubby and five kids, I’d NEVER get through all the laundry if I washed the bath towels after one use. On the *second* use, they’re put in the hamper. After the first use, they’re immediately dried and folded and put on the “one more use” shelf.
    Don’t judge me.
    😉

    1. brocantehome says:

      Oh darling I would never judge anyone.. Especially not the kind of heroic Mommy with five kids! But tell me this: how on earth do you dry them? Are they all over the house air-drying or do you put them in the dryer?

  8. Mary D in Texas says:

    In our house it’s one use and then they get washed! I’m with you on the “dead skin cells” and the “Eau-de-damp”. EWW!

  9. Amanda says:

    Alison, I agree with you. I wash my towels after each use and did even when all 6 of my children were home. However, I encourage the use of wash cloths as hand towels. I learned this when I ran a day care in my home. I asked each child to use a different ,assigned color of wash cloth as their towel and then washed them each night. I still do this even though I no longer have a day care. Wash cloths are big enough for the job, cost less to buy than hand towels and take up less room in the laundry[ at least in my mind]. I usually use them only once if it is cold and flu season and we seem to be pretty healthy people. I seem to be able to “see” germs and feel much more sanitary this way. I do, however, wish I could be as ecstatic over laundry as you are though I will admit that I love to see great, fluffy stacks of clean laundry, I just wish someone else would put them away!Amanda

  10. Wendy says:

    Nope, not bonkers! I grew up that way as well. But due to living without a washer and dryer for a while changes things. I do have individual hooks for clean and used/drying. Then i rotate the two towels durring the week so they don’t get as much use as just one towel. Then once a week I take them to the laundromat and start all over again. I do use just one washcloth a day though in bathroom and change cloths in the kitchen daily. To keep spreading grms around with the same cloth in the kitchen “bugs” me!

  11. Sally Hackney says:

    I’m with you Alison. I have 5 grown kids and I didn’t reuse a bath towel but I’ve been tempted. Then again I did use disposable diapers so I did loads of laundry daily anyway. So needless to say, I’ve done ALOT of laundry and I don’t mind it. Now those dirty dishes…..hmmmm.

  12. Sally Hackney says:

    I meant I didn’t use disposable diapers. Silly auto correct!

  13. Brunette says:

    I use really coarse washcloths and scrub everyone rosy, then give a quick pat down with a fluffy towel and send them running to their rooms to dress. The slightly damp towels are tossed into the dryer for a quick tumble and put on a certain shelf to distinguish them as ‘wash next time’ towels.The rule is that the towels must be dried immediately, and never touch the floor. To drop a damp towel on the floor in a crumpled heap and walk away is like breaking all the Ten at once. :-p
    I loathe, loathe, LOATHE the slightest trace of damp funkiness. Not happenin’.
    Sally, I’m one of those “hate doing laundry but don’t mind washing dishes” people. I even got rid of my dishwasher in order to have more cabinet/drawer space. I can wash dishes by hand all day, but perpetual mountains of laundry make me want to throw my pinny over my head and hide.

  14. Brunette says:

    (Hubby’s towels get washed after every use, actually. I’ve trained him to drop it in the hamper rather than draping it over the hook like he did when we were first married. *blech*)

  15. My Dear, I’m with you. My mom is with the rest… I grew up hating to fold or dry a “dirty” towel, and when I got a home of my own, I never looked back. Now that I’m with Mom, I still wash my towels after one use and I pitch her kitchen hand towels daily, much to her insistence on my craziness… It’s fine with me if people do that. I just don’t want to. But, hey.. I don’t share straws either! lol.

  16. Helena says:

    We reuse towels a few times around here before washing. The damp towels are hung up to dry–which they do pretty quickly, so they don’t smell damp or musty–as soon as we’re done using them. It’s a labor-saving thing, it’s the way I grew up, and it also uses less water than washing a load of towels every day. Hand towels we switch out more often, but even then not necessarily every day unless they’re seeing very heavy use (company in the house) or we’re ill.

  17. dangermom says:

    I…don’t think I could have fresh towels daily. O_o
    All towels are changed twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. As soon as they come off your body, they get hung up–there are towel racks in each bathroom. They are usually dry by mid-afternoon, unless it’s raining heavily outside. I’ve never had a problem with damp, but I live in a pretty dry climate. I do have a friend in Texas who changes towels daily because it’s so humid that they start smelling like mildew if left overnight. Ew.

    I would secretly love to change towels 3x per week, but that seems decadent. It would be the height of luxury, but wasteful. My conscience starts screaming at the thought–“You live in California! Don’t you know there’s a drought on?” (There is *always* a drought on.)

    I suppose you could blame my mom, who has all sorts of rules like this about what is decadent. 🙂 TV in the car is decadent, and so is using the dryer for anything but underwear (which I do, as my clothesline is currently in a weedpatch, sorry Mom). Stores with membership cards, Barbies, and cable TV are also bad. I thought everyone’s moms had rules like that…

  18. dangermom says:

    Now, dishtowels and anything else from the kitchen is an entirely different system. Kitchen towels should never be mixed with bath towels, ick! 😀

  19. Heather says:

    O.K. I guess I’m just crazy. I change the towels once a week. I cannot imagine washing towels every day. The water bill! The gas bill! Holy moly. Go ahead. Throw your tomatoes. I’m not changing.

  20. Gill says:

    I’m with Heather. I give each member of the family a their own coloured towel and they are hung up to dry on a heated towel rail after use. They are changed once a week. Kitchen dish cloths and towels are changed daily. I like to wash them really hot and line dry if possible, but as we have six months of snow this isn’t an option just yet!

  21. Laura says:

    I have 4 children (all still at home).. 3 of them are teens that take way too many showers a day and we only use our towels once and then wash them. So, you can imagine my laundry!I’m not using a towel that someone has dried their bum off with! That is just disgusting! Yuck! 😉

    ((hugs))
    Laura

  22. Vikki says:

    We each have different colour towels and I only wash them once a week. I get hives thinking about how wasteful it is to launder towels after just one use.I figure if we wash properly the dirt and skin cells have gone down the drain. Our towels hang over a heating vent so even in winter they dry quickly and the only time I ever notice a funky smell is if we have guests and they leave damp towels in the hamper. I put out a clean hand towel more often but flip it over so the unused part hanging down the back gets used on the second day. Face cloths are only used once and I put out a fresh tea towel each day.

  23. Brunette says:

    Dangermom, my kids have NO IDEA there’s a DVD player in the minivan. We’ve had that car for nearly 3 years. They very, very rarely watch any TV in the *house*, so they’re sure not going to in the car! That’s what windows are for, thankyouverymuch. :-DI’m also with your mom on Barbies and cable TV. However, I don’t know what we’d do without Costco. I need to get our food as cheaply as possible so I can afford the water and gas to wash all this laundry… LOL

  24. Rose says:

    I change kitchen hand towels and tea towels (dish towels?) every day, bathroom towels are washed twice a week.

  25. Suzanne Harris says:

    I wash our towels daily, bed sheets every other day. As a result the washer and dryer get a continuous workout, and so do I. Looking at it as getting my exercise going up and down the stairs makes it easier for me. Keeping more than a dozen bath sheets allows me to keep up when life gets in the way. It’s not the way my family does it, but I do it the way that makes me happy.

  26. Jeanna M says:

    We use our towels twice before washing them. I do change out dish towels and such daily though. I know everyone’s different but it doesn’t gross me out in the least.

  27. Jeanna M says:

    We use our towels twice before washing them. I do change out dish towels and such daily though. I know everyone’s different but it doesn’t gross me out in the least.

  28. Jeanna M says:

    We use our towels twice before washing them. I do change out dish towels and such daily though. I know everyone’s different but it doesn’t gross me out in the least. Holy cow Suzanne, sheets every other day. You truly are a housekeeping superstar. Once a week here.

  29. Jeanna M says:

    Holy cow Suzanne, sheets every other day. You truly are a housekeeping superstar. Once a week here.

  30. Helen says:

    i am with you Alison. i never reuse towels and it too wash them a lot. i have 5 kids so i end up washing towels everyday but i don’t mind…the thought of reusing icks me out lol.

  31. Jennifer says:

    We hang our towels up to dry over towel racks and shower curtain rods and then use them for a week. BUT maybe this makes a difference we live in a very dry climate and the towels do dry very quickly. We never have mold anywhere in the house.

  32. Katherine says:

    I do what’s convenient for that day on the bath towels, but don’t let them go for more than 2 uses. Hand towels and kitchen towels are changed out daily, and like another commenter said–kitchen towels are washed separately from other towels.

  33. Carlie says:

    I have four little grublets who need washing and although I do loathe “reusing” towels I admit I didn’t grow up with a single use system. I lighten the loads of laundry by washing all my boys at once in one tub and then using a single big bath towel I buff the older three dry by turns and then the baby gets wrapped in a baby towel and then they all go in the laundry straight away. The other thing I do to cope is bathe them less frequently. Its often about twice a week…sometimes there are sponge baths more frequently in the summer when they are more apt to be genuinely muddy by bedtime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *