How Old Are Your Dish Towels?
Towels are going to get wet in your kitchen routine. That’s to be expected. When you are done, wring them out as best as possible and then hang them neatly on a
Dry Your Towels Well
Towels are going to get wet in your kitchen routine. That’s to be expected. When you are done, wring them out as best as possible and then hang them neatly on a towel rack. Don’t leave them in a wad on the countertop. Let the air do its job.
If the towel starts to take on a whiff or is visibly stained in a creepy way then it’s time for the laundry hamper.
Hopefully you have your own washer and dryer so you can keep your towels fresh but either way you should have a lot of dish towels on hand. They really shouldn’t spend that long in your kitchen before being refreshed.
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The real secret to fresh towels, the same as sponges, is to dry them out. But I’m not just saying to neatly hang them out to dry after using them. I’m saying that when you wash them in the laundry run them through the dryer a second time. I’m serious! Really cook ‘em in there.
I personally don’t think laundry detergent is the greatest thing for your kitchen towels either.
It’s a surfactant with all kinds of weird extras to brighten, whiten and remove static. Some of the chemicals even absorb from the ultraviolet spectrum and re-emit its energy back into the visible spectrum. Can you say day-glo? These aren’t really the kinds of thing you want to wipe a glass clean with. I’m not even sure you want them next to your skin, but it’s what we do.
Bleach Your Towels
If you’re going to use a chemical, use bleach. Just regular Clorox is great.
They’ve added more things to Clorox to make it splashless, concentrated, scented and with more whitening power and no thank you. It’s not that I think the chemicals are terrible, the universe is a chemical one, it’s just that I don’t need MORE chemicals.
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The key ingredient I understand is 6% Sodium Hypochlorite. That’s what does the sterilizing and that’s what regular clorox has.
Use a ¼ amount of the regular soap and the normal amount of Regular Clorox in your towel wash and dry it twice. Probably ought to do your kitchen towels in their own wash and if you are trying to conserve energy you don’t need to dry it twice, just add another twenty minutes or so. That’s a nice clean towel ready for kitchen use.
“My towels still stink.”
Okay, then it’s time then to move your kitchen towels into your bathroom cleaning supplies right next to the old tee shirts and ratty underwear.
Go buy new ones. Oh, you’re cheap like me? In that case you might consider boiling them for a while.
Boil Your Towels
We have a huge six gallon pot I got for brewing beer in and it’s great for reviving old towels.
Just get your biggest pot and enough water boiling that the towels are really submerged and have room to move.
You’re looking for soup, not stew.
Don’t let the water overflow once the shirts are added. Be smart about things.
You may need to do one towel at a time. I didn’t say it was a fast process. Let ‘em boil.
After ten minutes or so you’ll notice that your towel soup looks pretty disgusting.
That’s what didn’t come out in the washing machine! You’ll probably notice some soap in there and unless your towels started white there will likely be some dye from the towel’s coloring too. That’s why you wash your brights in a cold water wash.
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If you want pretty colorful dish towels then you probably aren’t going to boil them down. If you want clean towels this works. You may even run them through another boil of fresh water.
When you’re done, let them cool a bit then wring them out and throw them in the dryer. Add some more time on the dryer and really get them dry before folding them up and storing them in a closet with no air flow.
Buy Good Towels
If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant you’ll recall that all the towels used in the kitchen were white and made of cotton with a pretty good nap to it. You’ll also recall that they smelled a little like bleach. No surprises there. If you want your kitchen at home to be restaurant quality maybe you should follow the restaurant’s lead, and you can start with your towels.
Buy a big load of white cotton towels with a good nap.
Don’t even consider micro-fibers and synthetics, they just don’t work for soaking up fluids like cotton can.
Note: While I’ve used synthetic chamois to unhappy results, I’ve never tried using a real chamois towels (shammy) in the kitchen. They are the most absorbent things out there, but they tend to be pricey too.
BTW, did you know that a real Chamois is made from lamb skin? Cool huh?
So that’s it. Get it dry, keep it dry, clean it regularly, use white cotton.