Dish towels are essential for keeping your kitchen clean. You use them multiple times a day to wipe up spills, dry dishes, and clean countertops. It’s important to wash dish towels regularly to remove bacteria and prevent the spread of germs. But can you toss dirty dish towels in the dishwasher to clean them?
This is a common question many homeowners have. The dishwasher seems like an easy and convenient way to clean grimy dish towels. However, there are a few things to consider before putting dish towels in the dishwasher.
Should You Put Dish Towels in the Dishwasher?
There are pros and cons to washing dish towels in the dishwasher. Here are a few things to think about:
Pros of Washing Dish Towels in the Dishwasher
Cons of Washing Dish Towels in the Dishwasher
Tips for Washing Dish Towels in the Dishwasher
If you do want to wash dish towels in the dishwasher, follow these tips for the best results:
Key Takeaway: You can wash dish towels in the dishwasher, but use the hottest setting, bleach, and fully dry towels for the best results.
When to Avoid Washing Dish Towels in the Dishwasher
Here are a few instances when it’s better to skip the dishwasher and wash dish towels using your regular washing machine:
In most cases, lightly to moderately soiled standard cotton dish towels can go in the dishwasher successfully. But avoid making it a daily habit. For heavily soiled towels or special fabrics, the washing machine is the safer choice.
How to Wash Dish Towels in the Washing Machine
Washing dish towels in the machine is simple. Here’s how to do it:
The combination of hot water, bleach containing detergent, and machine agitation helps remove soils, bacteria, and odors from dish towels. Proper drying prevents mold and mildew growth.
Key Takeaway: For best results, wash dirty dish towels in the machine using hot water, bleach detergent, and completely dry towels immediately after.
Dish Towel Care Tips
Properly caring for dish towels between washes will keep them cleaner longer:
Can you put dish towels in the washing machine?
Yes, the washing machine is perfectly safe for washing dish towels. Use hot water, bleach detergent, and machine dry immediately after washing.
How often should you wash dish towels?
Ideally, wash dish towels after every 3-5 uses. At minimum, aim to wash them 2-3 times per week if used daily. Don’t let them go more than a week without washing.
Should dish towels be washed separately?
It’s best to wash kitchen dish towels separately from other household linens. You can wash them along with kitchen rags or other heavily used towels.
How do you sanitize dish towels?
Wash towels in hot 130°F+ water with added bleach. The combination disinfects and kills germs. Or run towel-only loads with a sanitizing washer cycle.
Why do my dish towels smell bad?
Towels that smell are usually left wet or damp too long before fully drying. Mildew and bacteria grow rapidly on moist towels. Be sure to dry thoroughly after each wash.
Do you have to use hot water to wash dish towels?
Hot 130°F+ water is recommended to sanitize towels and remove grease. However, you can wash in warm or cold water with added bleach or sanitizing detergent.
Hot water washing helps kill germs and bacteria. Use the hottest setting possible. Add bleach or sanitizing detergent to disinfect towels. 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup bleach per wash load. Wash dish towels separately from other household linens like sheets and clothes. Dry towels completely after washing to prevent mildew odors. Don’t leave damp. Wash towels frequently, every 3-5 uses. Don’t let them go longer than 1 week without laundering. Inspect for wear and discard extremely dirty or worn out towels. Consider paper towels for raw meat and dangerous bacterial messes.
With proper care and frequent hot water washing, your dish towels can be kept fresh and germ-free for use in your kitchen.