When it come to doing laundry, I like to think I know what I'm doing.
Occasionally I'll go rogue and chuck everything into the machine in one go, but usually I'll separate darks from colours, put delicates in a special wash and even hand wash certain things.
But there's one thing I've been doing that I never knew was wrong — washing all my towels together. I've been chucking in bath towels, bathmats and tea towels if there's enough room.
Turns out there's a reason you should treat your towels as separate things, and that reason is germs.
Bath towels, especially, should be treated as their own thing because washing them with clothes, or other items like tea towels, can transfer bacteria between them all.
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When it comes to bath towels, you run the risk of transferring faecal matter. Some studies have found traces of coliform bacteria and E. coli on bathroom towels according to Life Hacker — yuck.Poll: Do you wash bath towels with kitchen tea towels? YesNo
Then you've got hand towels. Although we're all washing our hands more since COVID-19 started, they still get a bit of bacteria transfer and usually sit in a damp, dark space.
When it comes to tea towels, they cop a lot because they're used for much more than just drying dishes. A tea towel wipes crumbs from countertops, cleans up spills and everything in between, which means they come into contact with a lot of bacteria.
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By mixing these together you could be making a little bacteria cocktail in your washing machine due to the transfer of germs between the towels — it's really as disgusting as it sounds.
Tea towels: If you're changing up your tea towels as often as you should be, there will definitely be enough for a wash load full of them. Put them on a cycle higher than 60 degrees to kill any germs that could be in there.
Bath towels: When it comes to your bath towels you should also wash on the hottest setting; for many machines this will be between 60 and 90 degrees. If your towels are bleach-safe, add bleach to the load, just don't pour it directly onto them or it could do some damage.
Hand towels: For your hand towels, again try and wash them in the same load, or if you really don't have enough for a separate cycle, chuck them in with your towels but make sure the cycle is hot.
Doing this will also make the whole process easier, because it's easier to dry towels in one lot.
A bonus tip is adding a laundry sanitiser to the wash, which can also eliminate germs and bacteria.