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Friday, 22 January 2010

Housekeepers Question Time!



This being the kind of worry peturbing my little brain when I try to sleep, I thought it wise to get a consensus from you my lovely Housekeepers and thereafter make the decision to proceed armed with the wisdom of the home-making masses.

My question you see is this: is it bad home-making practise to have just one type of tea-towel hanging around the kitchen? A kind of does it all affair, changed routinely after dinner on a daily basis, but put to use for whatever it is called for, whether that be drying dishes, wiping hands, mopping up spills, or rubbing babba's faces? Or should the good housekeeper have two, or even three tea-towels on the go? A traditional one for drying dishes, a lightweight terry towelling affair for the drying of hands, and a linen one for glass and silverware?

Is it filthy to run the one towel does it all system? Or does it strike of domestic paranoia to run the two/three towel system, shrieking in an un-godly manner should an unsuspecting soul dry a tea-cup with the hand-towel or vice versa and doubling or tripling your laundry load of household linen?

How often do you change your tea-towels? Are you a one or two towel household? What kind of tea-towels do you prefer? Are you operating a kind of tea-towel heirarchy with one darling specimen decorating the kitchen but unavailable for daily use  while you keep another manky old version stashed under the skin, ready to whip out at a monents notice? Are you, my little puddle duck, a tea-towel snob??

I was just wondering.

34 comments:

JoAnn S. said...

lol i am going to throw out my old tea towels night now lol. some are stained, clean and bleached but stained lol. i usually have several hanging off the handle of the fridge. i use them for everything. if i wipe the floor however lol they do go in the laundry bin. i can hardly wait for answers on this one.

Ali said...

I have two going at any one time. My preference is for terry towel-ish material. Much more absorbent and less prone to going soggy after wiping over a dish or two. I change them every few days.

If they have to wipe floors or grubby faces, I think they should go straight into the washer afterwards.

I also have Christmas tea towels. I want to get some for every season. Saddo that I am. ;)

Ali

Alice V. said...

I have a teatowel for wiping dishes (even though I have a dishwasher, still wash the occasional thingy), a terry towel for wiping hands, and a special wiper for wiping down surfaces. If I wipe the floor,the wiper goes in the bin and I get a new one .. gotta have clean for food preparation!

Heather said...

I have one towel for dish drying, one for hand drying, and one for wiping the counters and sink dry (instead of paper towels-trying to reduce my waste). If I have to wipe something off the floor, I grab a rag from a drawer, clean the mess, and then immediately toss into the linen laundry basket I have in my garage. The other towels I replace everyday.

Judy said...

I would have only ONE if I were ALWAYS in charge of what it were used for.

Many many years ago I kept a sweet little red and white checked all cotton tea towel on my refrigerator handle. One fine day, while entertaining my BEST friend, my two-year-old daughter slipped out of sight to use the bathroom. She returned, pantless, having not called for me to 'help'. Did you wipe your bum, I asked? Her eyes became as big as saucers and before I could react she grabbed the tea towel from the handle and in one fell swoop wiped herself AND put the tea towel back! IN FRONT OF MY FRIEND!

Because if this, I go through a lot of rolls of paper towel.

Mrs. Cozy Home said...

Gracious ... I am clearly doing this wrong!! Well, I have one towel, changed daily, for hands and it gets used for quite a few additional things too!

Spills and stains -- paper towels.

But surely now I will put out another towel!!

Avalon76 said...

We use one terry dishtowel for everything, changed - as you do - after dinner each night (unless used for the floor, etc.). But there's also a little knit cotton dishcloth to wipe up spills. ^_^

Sara said...

We have an "all-purpose" towel that gets changed each night. However, if it's used to wipe up the floor or anything else nasty, it gets tossed in the wash. I have a smaller terry wipe up cloth that's changed daily for sticky hands and faces (mostly for just the 2 year old, but you never know when the older kids might need it, too.) We usually use our dishwasher, but if I have to hand dry something I pull out a clean flour sack towel. I'd rather dry a clean dish with a clean towel and they are the best at not leaving any lint behind.

vmichelle said...

I'm afraid I'm in the rather simple one-tea-towel does it all category. I guess I'm not paranoid about cooties :-)

Dinah Soar said...

I use microfiber tea towels..very absorbent. Used only for drying dishes, nothing else. For hands use a paper towel, or if you're opposed to using paper, which is more sanitary, then use a hand towel for hands. Fresh every morning--dish cloth and dish towel, is my motto. Wash them separately from other laundry. I buy plenty,place the used ones in their own laundry basket on a shelf above the washer (you can hang them on the side of the basket if they are damp) and when there is enough for a load, I launder them.

Have used this system for years.

Chaya Bluma said...

Ooh! A question I can actually chime in on!

I have one terry cloth dish towel that is for hands only and another for drying dishes. Then I have either a sponge or dish rag to wipe up the water that ends up around the sink. Paper towels only for counters and floors - but only because I don't trust our laundry system enough to believe that any extra towels would get washed quickly enough to reuse.

I always change both towels on Friday nights before dinner, but also when I run out of clean places to wipe my hands because of all the sauce/gravy/oil etc that Hubby insists on wiping directly on the towel (rather than washing off his hands with water)while cooking.

Susan at Charm of the Carolines said...

I love your site. It's full of little morsels of happiness waiting to be discovered. You are gifted and blessed!

Susan

melissa said...

I buy packages of those white cotton bar towels...they look like old-fashioned baby diapers. Love them! And, btw, I have one going at a time (hung on the fridge), but we get a new one out when it's time to dry the dishes. (we don't have a dishwasher, except for our hot little hands!)

Carlie said...

Oh my gracious, Judy...I almost died laughing after reading your comment! Heavens! That's hilarious!

I have one towel out at a time...I keep washcloths for wiping faces, scrubbing dishes, wiping down the counter or cleaning up spills of the floor so the towel pretty much just gets used for drying hands or dishes. I wish I was perfectly diligent and changed it every single night after dinner but I honestly change it whenever I remember...I think that's probly every other day or even three days. *wince*

I think people who are all particular about which towel is for which purpose and have things all color coded and such are a bit over the top....although I'd never say that out loud.

Jenifir said...

Oh Alison, I am so glad that you asked. (I might be a little over the top on this one). I have a terry hand drying teatowel handy by the sink and usually at least two hanging on the oven handle which would be drying after being used to dry the dishes. We have a dishwasher and therefore have a limited amount of handwashing (but I would never put my Le Cruset pots in the dishwasher). For hygenic reasons it is really best to let your dishes air dry but you do wind up with spotty crystal if you do that. I also use a clean teatowel when washing fresh produce and use paper towel for very little. If a towel has been used for dishes, I will then use it to wipe the counters and then it and any other soiled towels go straight into a mini-laundry basket I keep under the sink before I put them in the laundry with my other towels, face clothes and the occaisionally dusters but I do not use bleach to sanitize them as insisted upon by my home econmics teacher. I love seasonal tea towels and have dedicated a precious kitchen drawer by the sink to store them. This little obsession of mine should probably lead to my own blog post.

lazy h said...

Having read everyone else's comments, I am too ashamed to describe the teatowel habits of our household here - suffice it to say that we must all have very robust immune systems.

Word verification: puredne. (!)

. said...

One terry towel to dry my hands, one teatowel for glasses and cups, other for pans . My mother does that also - as did my grandmother too.
The teatowels are changed everyday.
Alfazema

Anonymous said...

We have 2 in the kitchen. One for dishes-floursack style and one for hands-terrycloth style. I change them out every other day. If something gets on the floor we use other rags to clean up. My kitchen towels are yellow and white, where my rags are all different colors and styles, some holey socks thrown in for good measure. Just like to keep things seperate.

Wendy

Lisa said...

I am not a tea towel snob LOL! I do not use linen tea towels at all. I have one or two, but they are for decor only.

I do usually have two cotton towels going at once. One for drying dishes and one for hands or spills etc. Floor spills are wiped with paper towels. I can't abide wiping the floor w/ my towels.

mrsolivemartini said...

I usually have four, yes four out. But mostly for decorating- I switch them out weekly. I have no real preference for the type, so long as it's cute. They dry my hands if they do anything and everyone else uses paper (sigh). If I am going to dry a dish I grab a clean one and if I have a spill I'll use a dry wash cloth.

Anna said...

Good heavens, the hand towel must never be used on a dish or a countertop! And it gets changed whenever it's thoroughly damp. Two or three a day would be normal in my busy house.

Towels can graduate down through the day from dish-drying to hands, but can never go up the system of bacteria.

I do lots of laundry. I have lots of children.

kay said...

I have a small hand towel for drying hands and a tea-towel for drying dishes. I use a 'cloth' for wiping down the sides and have and 'old cloth' under the sink for mopping up spills on the floor. As for my kiddies faces, i usually have a pack of baby wipes handy! Crikey, it makes me sound a bit neurotic about germs which i'm certainly not but i dont like the idea of wiping the kitchen surfaces or my little ones faces with a cloth that has mopped the floor?! Hmmm, decisions 'ey :o)

The Happy Homemaker said...

You know, Allison...this one made me stop and think...I even talked it over with my sister today...I use the not-so-pretty towels to remove pans from the oven,to wipe up water spills,for wiping or drying MY hands(bc as the one and only food handler, I am the only one who uses the kitchen sink to wash up).I use another for my dishes and {{{shameful sigh}}} I hide the ugly ones under a stack of pretty ones in the drawer.

Deanna said...

What is this "dish drying" you all speak of? (grin) I do have a dishwasher but there are still numerous pieces that get hand-washed each day and I never dry them. I'm a firm believer in not doing something that will do itself. ;) It's actually more sanitary to allow dishes to air dry anyway. So, to answer your question, I use one towel at a time but I don't have little ones anymore (when I did, I would use a separate washcloth for their hands and faces) and I don't use it on the floor. Therefore, the one towel I have out each day is used pretty much just for drying hands or perhaps wiping around the sink when water gets splashed out.

I also have a decorative tea towel hanging on the bar of the stove but it's strictly for looks.

Anonymous said...

So every morning I change the Linen - Ironed Tea Towel over the oven handle, and the Terry Towelling Crocheted Top Hand Wiping Towel that hangs beside it. I also have another Linen Ironed Tea Towel over near the Coffee Machine, and I change the Dishcloth (pink of course) everyday as well. Yes it is a lot of extra ironing - but the washing aspect is minimal. And it looks so nice each morning!!!

Floor wiping I would use a paper towel and throw it away.

It is all so well worth the effort Alison! - Fleur

Sarah said...

Ah, housekeeping minutiae. We have (mostly) two towels - one cotton for drying up, one terry for drying hands (although those two can be a bit interchangeable). Changed daily unless the small ones do the 'wet you hands then wipe the dirt off with the towel' trick instead of actually washing them, in which case changed more often. Faces wiped with flannels and then into the wash (the flannels, not the faces). Spills and floors wiped with rags and straight in the wash. One dish cloth for washing up and surfaces, changed daily.

Counting Your Blessings said...

Oh I have the worst tea towels of all! You'd be so appalled. Though I change them daily, each one is just as atrocious as the last. And the worst thing is that the dollar store has some really cute tea towels all nice and tidy, just waiting for me to take them home - I just can't subject them to my children. So when we have company over to visit, I buy new dollar store towels just for that day. Pitiful, I know. Blessings... Polly

Gayla said...

2 part answer: First part is how I did it when I had my own home... I had one towel changed often throughout the day or at evening that was thirsty for wiping spills/hands/wet stuff... It was usually terrycloth, and I was kind of a wild woman at throwing all out and buying new to match and not be frayed. I had one linen or cotton floursack material to dry dishes, not really because of hygiene, but I loved the way it looked on the dishes... HERE at Mom's.. She has one towel at a time, changed througout the day or as often as it gets grungy..She uses old, and I mean disreputable towels until they fall to shreds, and then she saves them as rags. (I call them all rags.) She cuts and hems up old frayed bathroom towels to make kitchen towels... It is sad... Hugs!

word verification: consuate

Sasha said...

Heavens above! What a topic that has turned out to be!! ha ha Is it just me, but I still have to dry the items coming out of my dishwasher (even though it's a fancy pants new one) cos they still have drips in nooks and crannies??!!

I never use the same tea towel for everything - having seen the colour of the hand towels in the bathroom each day (and that is supposedly AFTER my family have washed their hands????) I think it wise..... so I have a cotton tea towel purely for dish drying, and a proper hand towel for hand drying. Spills, wiping down surfaces etc is done using kitchen roll - but I then put this in the scraps/recycling bin (and I use recycled paper towel anyway). Of course, what goes on when I'm not looking is another thing and I try not to dwell on that....!

Oh, and I have Xmas hand towels and tea towels! My every day tea towels also match my decor! And I get through a lot....

anna Marie said...

A terry cloth towel for drying hands (washed every other day). A clean tea towel for wiping dishes (changed every day). A sponge for wiping the countertops (changed monthly).

This was more at my hub's insistence because that is the way his mum does it. Heavens forbid that the terry cloth towel is in the wash and he wants to wash his hands in the kitchen, LOL.

Helena said...

I have to admit, even if it does smack of paranoia, that we have two towels at all times, one for dishes and one for hands. I change them out every other day or so. And while I can tolerate the hand towel wiping my daughter's face and then hanging back up for more hand-drying, if the dish towel is used for something other than dishes, into the wash it goes.

feistyrallygirl said...

Alison,

I do not believe in having anything around that I don't actually use; so, the "decorative only" tea towel is out for me. If I like it, I use it. :)

I have two towels hanging on the stove handle, which is closer to the sink than the refridgerator handle. One towel is either cotton terry cloth or cotton weave of some other sort. I do everything with this one... wipe my hands, dry up spills, etc. I toss it in the laundry when it is either too damp to be of use or too dirty. This means I change it nearly every day.

The second towel is a blue cotton towel that is for dirty garage hands only. My husband and I work on the cars fairly regularly and this towel is exclusively for yucky hands that come in from the garage. This towel gets changes as needed and is washed separately from all the other laundry, usually with the dirty garage clothes!

miss liss said...

There is no "system" per se to my little tea towel province. Hanging partway out of the towel drawer is a towel at virtually all times (there be no other place to hang one out). And periodically it is changed.

If the towel touches anything not "cleaned" (such as floury hands or the floor) it goes directly into the laundry. Otherwise it may stay a few days or if in high demand there might be three used in one day.

kirelimel said...

I have a drawer FULL of small terry dishcloths that I use instead of paper towels and I have another drawer FULL of various tea towels, many that I have myself embroidered. I am a germaphobe and seldom use a towel or dishcloth more than once or twice, unless I'm really bad at laundry that week and running low or out.
Friends have laughed at my excessive towel habit but one such friend admitted that she did end up purchasing loads of the small terry cloths after watching me and how I always had a clean cloth on hand.

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