Tea towels are amongst the dampest, warmest and most highly utilised textiles in your house. It's abundantly clear that they are the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and fester, and need some special treatment as part of your wash routine.
But exactly how to treat them (as we recently discovered through an Instagram Poll) is a matter of hot debate.
According to our poll data 67% of people will wash tea towels along with all laundry, which is horrifying and disgusting to the remaining 33%.
Another point of contention raised through the great tea towel debate, was how often tea towels should be washed.
With almost no mutual agreement amongst our customers we looked to the experts to see if they could help lay this question to rest. According to Rachel Williams the chair of Food Safety Council, tea towels should be washed after every use. But according to you guys who have never suffered from E.Coli contamination, this is excessive.
So again, it's a hung jury.
We've decided to dish our balanced advice on the matter.
Advice that comes from a place of understanding that you guys have busy lives and need a system for washing tea towels that respects both your love of sustainability, and your free time!
How many tea towels should I have on rotation?
Our suggestion is 5. To change every second day, to have a spare on wash day, and an emergency for when you really give the one in your kitchen a hard run.
How often should I throw my tea towel in the washing basket?
Every second day, unless you get it really wet mopping up something food-like. Then pop it in the wash pile straight away.
If you have the luxury of hanging it over the side of the wash basket rather than burying it amongst your clothes, do that too! Scrunched up wet fabric will fester and smell, and you want to allow yourself some time to get around to washing it.
Should I seperate my tea towel from the rest of the washing?
Our recommendation would be that you wash your tea towels with your bath towels, gym towels and other cloths, once per week.
A typical cycle at 40°C is more than adequate for getting rid of any base germs in the wash, but upping the temp to 60°C or doing a pre soak, will provide you with an extra layer of protection if you've left it a little too long between washes.
Anything else I should know?
Drying a tea towel completely between every use is a good rule of thumb.
Having a designated dish-drying tea towel, and a designated hand or bench drying tea towel is another great option to avoid germs in the kitchen.