Some of us swear to not use a towel more than once, while the rest of us are a little more relaxed about it. After all, you’re clean when you’re using it, right? Or maybe not. Can you safely use a towel more than once?
You should avoid using a towel more than once if you can help it. Microorganisms, like bacteria and viruses, can grow on towels if they are not washed every three to five days. Though towels don’t get conventionally dirty, they can pose a health risk if they aren’t washed regularly.
Unwashed towels can spread bacteria that cause skin conditions, so remember to regularly wash your towels. In this article, we’ll dive into the details of these skin conditions and explain exactly how you should wash your towels.
This post contains affiliate links. This means Household Blogger may earn a commission should you make a purchase using any of our links. Please refer to our full affiliate disclosure policy for full details.
Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
You should wash your towels at least twice a week to prevent any bacteria from spreading. Premium quality towels are known to last longer, and antimicrobial towels could give you some peace of mind next time you dry off.
Our favorite products from Amazon:
1. Antimicrobial Towel – Perfect if you are extra weary about germs on your towels.
2. Peroxide-Based Detergent – Ideal to use for white towels.
3. Cotton Towel – The best quality towels you can purchase to last many years.
Reusing Towels Mulitple Times
Towels are commonplace in every household across the states. People have used towels for years to dry off after bathing or swimming.
Sometimes towels are grabbed to absorb spilled water or other messes, but it’s not often discussed how often you should wash a towel.
Is It Okay to Reuse a Towel?
Depending on how dirty the towel is, you can reuse your towel for a couple of showers in between washes. If there is blood or obvious dirt on the towel, you might want to throw it into the washing machine sooner rather than later.
If you use your towel a few times between washing it, remember to always hang it up to dry between each wash. Leaving a damp towel in a pile on the ground invites bacteria to grow on your towel.
Can You Use a Towel Multiple Times?
It’s safe to use your towel a few times in between washing it. After using it, your towel is not necessarily dirty, but it could host bacteria or fungi. That’s why washing it every few days is essential to prevent these microorganisms from spreading.
Generally, it’s acceptable to wash your towels every three to five days, depending on how often you shower.
If you wait more than five days between washing, you allow fungi and bacteria to grow on your towel and possibly spread to your body and cause an infection.
Towels are actually quite commonly cited as the cause of the spread of staph infections in children and adults.
The bacteria that causes staph infection enters the body through a wound and causes an infection.
How Many Times Should You Use a Towel Before Washing It?
Towels should only be used three to five times before washing them again. If your towel starts to smell musty before five uses, it’s a good indication to throw it in the wash. Although, don’t wait for your towel to smell musty before washing it.
The cleaning institute advises washing your towel after every three to five uses and always hanging your towel up after every use.
It’s always a good idea to have extra towels in your linen closet for a plan-b.
You might also enjoy our post on Can You Use a Towel as a Bathmat?
What Happens if You Use the Same Towel for Too Long?
The longer you use a towel before washing it, the more bacteria, viruses, and yeast can grow on it. Even if you hang your towel up between each use, it will become a breeding ground for microorganisms.
When you use a towel too long before washing, you transfer all those microorganisms onto your skin.
Dirty towels are common causes of staph infection, athlete’s foot, jock itch, and many other skin conditions.
How Long Do Germs Live on Towels?
According to research by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), harmful bacteria can live up to 13 days on a microfiber towel. If you continue to use your towel without washing it, you are feeding the bacteria and making yourself vulnerable to infection.
This research by ASM shows us that bacteria and viruses are not to be taken lightly and highlights why washing your towel after every few uses is so important.
Bacteria and viruses thrive in a hot and humid climate, so your towel is in perfect condition after you shower.
How Many Times Can I Use My Towel?
Using your towel three to five times in between washes is generally acceptable. Depending on how dirty your towel is and if you hang it up after each use. If your towel has dirt on it after only one use, you should still wash it before using it again.
An antimicrobial towel could help deter mold and bacteria from growing on your towel however, it will not entirely prevent bacteria growth.
No matter what material towel you use, you would need to wash it after three to five uses.
Reusing Your Towel After a Shower
A railing in a bathroom is just as typical as a shower in a bathroom. You hang your damp towel over the railing and allow it to dry until you shower tomorrow.
You’re clean when you step out of the shower, so your towel is clean, too, right?
How Many Times Can You Reuse a Towel After Showering?
You can reuse a towel three to five times after showering. Remember to hang the towel up to dry in between each use. If the towel does not dry completely, it can attract bacteria and mold to grow on it.
This number depends on how dirty the towel is. If you take a towel to the beach and bring it home with sand and dirt on the towel, it would be best to wash the towel before using it.
Hand towels should be washed more regularly since we use them more often.
What Makes a Towel Dirty After a Bath?
Contrary to what you might think, you are not 100% clean when you step out of the shower. You transfer all your body’s dead skin cells, bacteria, and water onto the towel when you dry off.
The damp towel then hangs and attracts even more bacteria and mold that float in the air. All these things collectively add up and make the towel “dirty.”
You might not see actual dirt, but a musty smell indicates your towel is dirty.
Are You 100% Clean After a Shower?
You are not 100% clean after a shower or bath since soap only loosens dead skin cells, and we can never wash all the dead skin cells down. The bacteria left over on our body gets transferred onto the towel.
That’s why it is important to wash your towel after every few uses. The bacteria grows on the towel and gets transferred back to your body when you use it again and again.
However, we are still never 100% clean since there are always (mostly) harmless microorganisms living on our skin and hair.
You might also enjoy our post on If Bath Mats are Unsanitary
Can You Use the Same Towel for a Week?
A week might be a bit too long in between washes. To be completely safe, it’s recommended to wash your towels after every three uses. If you only shower three times per week, it could be acceptable.
Although only showering every few days could actually give the organisms more chance to grow on your towel. It depends on how quickly your towel dries and the humidity and temperature conditions where it is stored.
What Do You Do With Towels After You Shower?
Always hang your towels open on a railing or over a door after showering. Never leave it in a pile on the bathroom floor. It will take much longer to try, which allows more bacteria and germs to attach to your towel.
Leaving your towel in a pile on the floor also gives bacteria on the floor the chance to climb onto your towel, making it even dirtier.
The best practice is to hang it up immediately after using it to dry your body.
How Many Times Should You Use a Bath Towel Before Washing It?
Experts recommend using a bath towel three to five times before washing it. You can wash your towel more often if you’d like, but you should not go longer than five days in between washes.
The soap you use does not remove the dead cells from your body. It simply loosens them.
The water rinses most of it away, but many unseen germs and dead skin cells are still on your body and are transferred to your towel.
Other Towel Concerns
Towels are used daily. So it’s safe to assume that you have some other questions. Many people share a towel with a partner; some think this is normal, and others think it’s unsanitary.
Let’s dive into the facts.
How Long Does a Towel Last?
Generally, a towel lasts two to five years, depending on the quality and care of the towel. If you wash your towel every day, your towel probably won’t last longer than two years. The same can be said if you use a low-quality towel.
If your towel has a lingering musty scent, even after washing it, it’s probably time for a new one. Another clear sign is when the threads start pulling at the ends of your towel.
Try to buy the best possible quality towel, like a microfiber towel.
Can You Share Towels After Washing?
If you’re already sharing your bedsheets with your partner, there is no problem with sharing a towel after showering. Just make sure that neither partner has a skin condition that could be transmitted via the towel.
On the other hand, children have notoriously bad hygiene and should instead use their own towels, especially if they have eczema-prone skin or any other skin condition.
It’s always best to use and have your own towel.
How Should Towels Be Washed?
Towels should be washed every three to five days on a regular cycle. Remember to separate your color and white towels – especially the first time you wash them. You should wash your towels before using them for the first time.
If you use too much liquid detergent, your towels will feel stiff after washing.
To avoid this, use ½ the amount of detergent you would usually use and pour 1 cup of vinegar into the washing machine during the rinse cycle.
This will keep the towels from discoloring and make them soft again.
When Should I Replace My Towels?
It’s recommended to replace your towels every two to five years, depending on the quality. You’ll start to notice it’s time for replacements when your towels seem to have a lingering smell, even after washing them.
Beach towels tend to last a little longer since we don’t use them as often as bath towels. You should always wash a beach towel before and after using it.
Hand towels should be replaced yearly since we use these towels the most.
Should I Wash My Towel With My Clothes?
It’s not recommended to wash your towel with your clothes. Since towels have bacteria and germs that can contaminate your clothes, you must use a lot less detergent when washing a towel.
Although if your area does have a water shortage, you can wash your towels with your clothes, just remember to separate colors and whites.
It’s better to wash your towels with your clothes than to not wash them at all.
You might also enjoy our post on If Toilet Lid Covers Are Sanitary
How Do Hotels Keep Their Towels White and Soft?
Hotels use peroxide-based laundry detergent to prevent their sheets and towels from yellowing. They are also not heavy-handed with the detergent. When it comes to towels, less is more.
You do not need fabric softener to keep your towels soft, simply pour one cup of vinegar into the water during the rinse cycle.
Hotels also wash on a cold cycle as this prevents shrinking and saves money on electricity bills.
What Can You Do With Old Towels?
Old towels can be used as cleaning rags when they become too thin to dry your body. Cut your towel into washcloth-size pieces and watch them have a completely new purpose in your house.
If you have a dog in the house, you could also transform an old towel into a chewing toy. Simply add a knot or two on both ends of the towel and play tug-of-war with your four-legged friend.
Should You Cut Tags off Towels?
If they are irritating your skin or you don’t like how they look, you can certainly cut them off. Just be careful not to accidentally cut the thread of the towel because it could cause the whole towel to unravel.
Pull the tag away from the towel and carefully cut the dag off as close to the root as possible. Just be sure to snap a picture of the care and washing instructions before throwing the tag away!
That information is crucial to take proper care of your towel.
In conclusion, you can use a towel more than once, not more than five times. You should always hang your damp towel up to dry to reduce bacteria’s chances of growing.
You can also wash your towel daily if you prefer, although that would waste a lot of water.