Sunday, August 24, 2008

Throwing In The Towel

Continuing with our monthly theme of personal hygiene changes, today we'll be talking about bath towels and how often they're washed.

Some of you might remember a few weeks ago (or was it last year? - I don't remember) when I threw up a poll on my blog asking "How often do you wash your bath towel?". I think my options were something like:

A. Daily
B. Every Other Day
C. Weekly
D. Every Other Week
E. When It Starts to Smell Funky

I believe I was trying to gather some data to use on a later post, which, of course, I promptly forgot about. Until today. And now I can't find the data. Of course.

But I remember thinking "Wow, I am the Queen of Skank" when I saw how often others wash their bath towels. Because me? Option E - all the way, baby. This means I generally throw in the towel somewhere around the three-week range.

I mean really, how gross can it get in one day - or even a week or two? I grab my towel 4-6 times a week when I use it to wipe clean water off my just-scrubbed body. I then hang it up to dry, same as I would hang clean laundry from the washer. So, unless hubby is secretly using it to clean up errant pee (which, in a way, would be kind of nice - but is doubtful, based on empirical evidence) how would it get dirty?

So just for shits and giggles, see how long you can go before your towel starts to 'get its funk on'. It's kind of like that episode of Seinfeld - You know, the "Are You Still 'Master of Your Domain?'" one.

In fact, I've set up a "Master of Your Bath" contest. Total honor system, since there's no way in hell I'm going to come to your house and sniff your bath towel. Unless you're offering free cheesecake and coffee afterwards.

Here's the rules:

Grab yourself a fresh towel today and sign up on the Yahoo! Group. Then, when you reach the point where you can't stand it anymore, log back onto the Yahoo! Group and let us know you're "out". In a month, everyone who is still using the same towel will be entered in a drawing for another set of Mary's great goat soaps!

22 comments:

Tameson said...

By this I take it your family respects the "this is MY towel" concept. That doesn't fly in my house. A towel is a towel is a towel. We go to the beach, we grab whatever towels happen to be on hand - those typically are the ones drying on the shower door. We spill something on the floor we grab the "dirty" towel (one of the ones hanging to dry on the shower door) to clean it up. Our towels don't just wait there for the same person to come along and use it for the next shower, it's used by whoever for whatever. My showers are so infrequent I probably wouldn't remember what towel I used last anyway. I can't see any real way to participate in this challenge given the established towel culture in my household.

greeen sheeep said...

Man, I'm easily going to Master this Contest. We switched to bamboo towels a few months ago. They are superfunkresistant! They just made their way to the laundry for the third time since I bought them.

We're definitely an Option E family. Everyone has a hook in their room especially for their towel. And yes, the kids actually do use it.

No doubt after a month I will still be master of my domain.

jennconspiracy said...

Missed your poll but I'm with "E" -- I only shower at home about 2-4x/week -- I shower at the pool 3x/week and at the boyfriend's or at the gym a couple times a week.

I usually have 2 towels in the bathroom - one for me and one for boyfriend, and wash them when I get out of the shower, put one to my freshly scrubbed clean face and smell mildew.

Yep, that's right - they get moldy smelling.

The bathroom window is open (about 12" x 18" close to the ceiling), and I always leave the bathroom door open when I shower to encourage ventilation and drying. Heck, my showers aren't that long, and as I said, I don't shower at home every day. My place just has lots of problems with mold -- but not as bad as many other places I've lived.

Time to go scrub the walls under all the windows and the windowsills -- black spots are accumulating (even though it hasn't rained here in four months and it's not exactly humid).

Green Bean said...

Oh, I was totally a E. All the way baby.

Allison said...

Let the stench begin! Added my name to the database.

Robj98168 said...

Okay- I will tell you I can stand a lot of funky things- and my towels have been known to go a whole month without washing- I think it's stupid to wash a towel when what it is used for is to dry your clean body. Excuse me, my towels are standing up and walking down the hallway to the washer- I must stop them.

ib mommy said...

Oh, the humidity! I usually don't wash my towel until it's funky enough that the smell lingers on my skin afterward. I will have to seek out a new place to hang it instead of folded on the shower door. Maybe my neighbors won't notice a naked dash to the clothesline to grab my towel in the morning....

The Purloined Letter said...

I'm an E too--although unfortunately I sometimes go several days past the beginning of the funkiness...

Billie said...

The towels master our domain! We wash them every 7 to 10 days. If my honey forgets to wash them... I CAN TELL because they have a funky smell.

Nadine said...

Yup, another E here.

jennconspiracy said...

and... I just want to add that all my towels are about 18 years old.

Wow. that's a year older than my sister's eldest child.

I suppose I could go buy new shmancy bamboo towels or lighter weight towels, but then what do I do with the perfectly serviceable towels I have?

What's more green -- buying super cool bamboo towels that go longer between washings, or using the same old cotton towels that you got as a gift in xmas 1990 but have to wash more frequently (but line dry -- maybe that's why they are still navy blue)?

greeen sheeep said...

We use our towels until they disintegrate. Only then are they replaced.

When they become too holey or so thin that you can see through them they move to the rag pile. Here they are put through the wringer being used to clean up spills, dust, mop the floor, wash windows, scrub the toilet, and anything else that you would probably rather use a paper towel for.

Once they become so tattered that they are no longer serviceable or able to be repurposed it's off to the compost they go.

BTW, bamboo towels stay softer than cotton when line dried. Or maybe they just seem that way because I'm used to towels so thin that if you pull too hard while drying off you will stick your elbow right through!

jenny said...

We're "E's" too.

I don't wash 'em until they stink, which usually takes 3-4 weeks.

I had a friend that used 2 towels-- one for her hair, one for her body, then dumped both in the dirty clothes pile right after. I asked her about that, and her reply? "Eww!"

eco 'burban mom said...

Oh, we're most certainly a big 'ol E here. Shoot, can you write about bedsheets too? I have four boys plus hubby and I, so if I washed bedsheets and towels weekly, I would be a slave to the washing machine. Not happenin', I have better stuff to do! ;o)

Here are my towel tips - each person in my house is assigned a color, they use that color ONLY - both hand and bath towel - this keeps the funk factor away longer. (And I can tell which boys are NOT really washing their hands when I tell them to!) I also installed simple stick on hooks in the boy's rooms that are right above the heater vents, so even in winter they dry quickly. Hubby and I dry ours over the heater vent in the bathroom. On particlarly humid summer days, I will throw them outside over the patio furniture to get some fresh air and get dried up nicely. It's amazing how long a towel can last. I know for certain at least a month! Do I score more points for keeping the same SIX towels throughout the challenge?!? LOL I am so lucky I live in a house with all men, they consider a shower a chore and a drag, so they really don't care about their stupid 'ol towel!

jennconspiracy said...

I usually launder my sheets weekly or every two weeks -- but I only have one bed in the house. Depends on the weather - if I am sleeping with pajamas, then I can extend the, er, life, of my bedclothes.

leslie said...

Just for the heck of it, I have given Going Green a "Just Plain Fun To Read Award" at my blog...

Shannon said...

I'm starting my "countdown to funk" tomorrow since I'm just now reading this. I think I probably now only wash every other week. I try to stretch things out..esp. since I'm doing a lot more laundry these days as a cloth diapering momma.

VaxGirl said...

I feel so much more normal seeing how many people feel the same way I do. I've always maintained that using a towel to dry off a just washed body does not render it dirty, and gotten huge 'ewwws' for not dumping it into the laundry. As if I were scraping used gum off the streets and chewing it! Phew, I feel so much better now, lol!

Green Resolutions said...

This is a great challenge! We're potty-training, so I actually do use any towel I can get my hands on to clean up errant pee. I figure it is better to use towels that are already dirty... There's no way I could go a month without using my bath towel to clean up something my toddler has spilled or peed on.

But if you do a bedsheets challenge, I'm totally in.

LimeSarah said...

Yup; I'm an E :-) And I only shower once or twice a week unless I've been doing heavy-duty exercising, so the towels go a looooong time without being washed.

Chile said...

We don't wash them until they stink. And, it takes longer for them to get there now that we're only showering twice a week. The other days are sponge baths and the towel is barely needed. However, that does result in more washcloth washing. I think it probably evens out.

Alec said...

Oh man I beat the pants off of all of you I think. I can't remember the last time I washed my towel. Beginning of summer? And it doesn't stink! I think one reason I can go so long is I always wipe all the water off my body with my hands before I get out of the shower so the towel doesn't absorb as much water. I then always spread it out and leave the bathroom door open for ventilation. Seems to work!