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I Hate To Burst Your Bubble But Your Towel Is Nasty

If you’ve been living by Nick Miller’s philosophy, “I don’t wash the towel, the towel washes me,” I hate to burst your bubble but your towel is nasty and it’s time to change. 

You might be thinking, “Hey, I’m clean after I take a shower so it doesn’t matter how often I clean the towel.” But this isn’t true. Plus, you’re not exactly 100% clean every time you get out of the shower. “If you aren’t shampooing your hair every shower, every time you dry your head, oils are being transferred to your towel,” Raymond E. Kleinfelder III, DO, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist, tells Betches

He also explains that people, especially men (shocker) don’t really do a great job of washing below their knees. So when you go to dry that area with your towel, bacteria from your skin is transferring to your towel and basically continues to grow on the towel, Kleinfelder says. 

“Dead skin cells are also being exfoliated with your towel,” he says. “With continued use, more oil, bacteria, and skin cells make that ‘clean’ towel a contaminated towel.” Plus, think about what happens to your towel on a daily basis. It’s constantly going from wet to dry, and drying in a humid environment (aka your bathroom). “The longer that towel stays wet, the more it will start to grow mildew, which has a very characteristic smell,” Kleinfelder says. 

This is all to say you should definitely clean your towel. And If you’re wondering how often you should wash your towel, Kleinfelder breaks it down. 

washing towels
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How Often Should I Wash My Towel?

If you’re showering daily, you should at least wash your towels once a week. But this recommendation can change depending on what your bathroom is like. If your bathroom is a little more humid than normal, your towel might take longer to dry so you’ll want to wash your towel probably every three to five uses. 

“If you’re also using the same towel to dry your face at other times, this counts as a use,” Kleinfelder clarifies. “Any towels that are visibly soiled with makeup or tinted sunscreen should be washed immediately.” And if you have a smaller bathroom where your towel may be hanging in the vicinity of your toilet, you’re going to want to wash it even more often. 

Does It Matter If I Have Fancy Towels?

Most towels you buy are going to be 100% cotton, which according to Kleinfelder is the most antimicrobial materia. Plus, it tends to dry fast — within a few hours. Whereas other polyester blended fabrics may dry faster, they typically hold onto more bacteria and can be irritating to the skin. 

“If you are using a towel that is not 100% cotton, it should be washed minimally every 3 uses,” Kleinfelder says. 

That’s why it’s probably a good idea to just get around five bath towels to get through the month, especially if you hate doing laundry often. If you’re pretty good about laundry, you can get by with just two to three. But just remember to have extra towels in case you have guests over. Let’s all agree that sharing any type of used towel is gross AF. 

Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad is a sex & dating writer at Betches despite not remembering the last time she was in a relationship. Just take her word for it.