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How to Keep Your Dish Towels Fresh & Clean

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Dish towels are an integral part of many kitchens. They help keep the kitchen clean and sterile. They're also an excellent alternative for paper towels, thus preventing wastage by a margin.

However, they can also be the storehouse of a cesspool of bacteria if they're not taken care of well. Our kitchen is exposed to many bacteria every day, courtesy of raw produce, vegetables, cooking residues, etc. Since kitchen dishcloths are used to wipe, rub, clean everything in the kitchen, it's essential to take care of them.

Otherwise, they'll do more harm than good. However, a lot of us don't know how to keep our dishtowels fresh and clean. This article will discuss some essential tips to keep your dish towels fresh and our kitchen healthy.

Tips on keeping dish towels clean:

  • Have an ample amount of dish towels: 

While this isn’t a specific tip for cleaning your dish towels per se, this is very important for a healthy kitchen. You should never use the same three kitchen towels every day. Every day, your kitchen towels accumulate a significant amount of dirt and bacteria. So, have an ample amount of kitchen towels so you can replace your towels every day and get the dirty ones cleaned. Otherwise, have alternatives such as paper towels, rags, etc. to make up for the numbers.

  • Dry the used dish towels overnight

Suppose you keep using the same dish towels every day because they look clean to the naked eye. In that case, you're risking yourself to a plethora of bacterial diseases. Kitchen towels are used repeatedly in parts of the kitchen, such as the floor, cabinets, sink, greasy patches, etc. So they accumulate a lot more dirt than you can see. So when you leave them overnight to dry, the bacteria will get enough time to reproduce and become worse. Ensure you haven't kept your towels in a mess for the night, let them dry overnight, and get them washed in the morning.

  • Wash them separately in the hot/heavy duty cycle:

As we've mentioned before, your dishcloths carry around enough bacteria to contaminate other clothes. So, wash them separately. If you want to use a washing machine, always wash them on the heavy-duty cycle. The dense layer of dirt and bacteria can't be cleaned that easily, so always use hot water with detergent. The hot water will help activate the detergent and clean from the deeper layers of the dishcloth.

  • Soak them in hot water:

If you don't have a washing machine and clean your clothes by hand, this is a must-do for you. Before you wash them, soak them in some hot water for a few hours. The hot water will soften the cloth as well as loosen up the dirt. This will make the cleaning easier afterward.

  • Use vinegar or borax to remove odor:

Vinegar is an excellent odor buster. When you soak your dishtowel on hot water, add two tablespoons of vinegar, baking soda, and one teaspoon of detergent. These are very good for removing odor and stains from your dishcloths, giving them a fresh look and smell after cleaning.

If you don’t want to use vinegar, borax can be a good alternative. Mix equal parts borax and baking soda (at least two teaspoons each), and then wash them afterward. 

  • Discard dishcloths if they come in contact with raw meat:

Raw meat might seem harmless, but they carry more bacteria than you can imagine. Regardless of the protein, they have a hefty load of bacteria, germs, etc. in their natural body, blood, etc. The only way to get rid of them is by cleaning and eventually cooking. When you put raw meat in a cabinet, some part of the residual germs remains there, which can stick to your dishcloth after cleaning. The bacteria can then end up in other kitchen parts when you use the same dishcloth elsewhere. Thus, always discard the dishcloth, which comes in contact with raw meat, and clean them separately.

  • Use bleach to remove spots:

Bleach is an effective way to remove spots. However, using too much bleach will also wash away the color of your cloth. Add a few drops of bleach into the water and soak your dishcloths in them. Keep them for a while, and then get it washed with detergent. However, be careful while working with bleach; contact with bleach can be dangerous for your skin, hair, and eyes.

  • Avoid fabric softeners:

A lot of us use fabric softeners to soften our woolen clothes. Using fabric softeners is a good idea for clothing such as sweaters, cardigans, etc. They add a protective layer made of chemicals on your clothes to keep them soft. However, the protective layer would smudge in your kitchen when you wipe them over cabinets. This will create another mess that needs to be cleaned. So avoiding fabric softeners is a good idea.

  • Store them properly:

Even if you take all the protective measures, your dish towel will let you down if you don't store them properly. Improper storage will expose them to germs and bacteria. Please don't leave them to spoil over your sink or stained cabinets. Also, leaving them here and there might risk tearing them.

If you have a separate drawer for your dish towels, it’s better to store them there. Otherwise, investing in a small basket or rack for dish towels is a good idea.


The kitchen is where all the magic happens. But it's also prone to the risk of numerous diseases. So, everything in the kitchen should be taken care of to spread more germs. Dish towels are an integral part of every kitchen, from cooking to cleaning and wiping, they're everywhere.

As a result, they are exposed to many germs that need to be taken care of. In this article, we've discussed a few tips on keeping your dish towels safe, clean, and hygienic.

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