It’s not pretty.
1. After a warm shower, there’s nothing like escaping that burst of cool air by cozying up to a fluffy towel, right?
2. But how do you know when it’s actually time to change your towels? Some might say every couple of weeks…
3. …while others would say once a week is a good amount.
All right, once a week isn’t too bad. As long as you hang it up in a dry space and never let it fall on the ground, you’re good. Right…? RIGHT?!
4. Truth be told, you should wash your bath towels after THREE — count â€˜em, THREE — uses.
“Towels used after bathing or showering that are just damp could be hung to dry and used up to three times,” Kelly A. Reynolds, Ph.D., an environmental health science professor at the University of Arizona tells BuzzFeed Life. “Bacteria and mold will begin to accumulate but growth will be slowed as the towel dries.”
Even if it sounds like a ton of laundry, you technically don’t have to shower every day.
5. With each use, towels pick up dead skin cells from all over your body, not to mention all that water they absorb!
You might notice a little bit of a smell after just one use. That’s your skin and billions of bacteria stankin’ up the place.
6. Washrags and face towels should be washed EVERY DAMN TIME you use them.
“Washcloths typically become soaked and heavily soiled during use,” Reynolds says. “When used to scrub skin, soils from makeup or dead skin cells can rapidly accumulate. Being wet and not just damp means there is a longer dry time. This lengthy condition of moisture creates the perfect environment for bacteria and mold to grow to unacceptable levels.”
7. When it comes to kitchen rags, you’ll just be drying your dishes with germs if you don’t bleach them after every use.
“Kitchen cloths tend to readily attract harmful bacteria, remain damp due to soaking or frequent use, pick up food particles from kitchen practices, and are generally in close proximity to our food,” says Reynolds. “This condition creates a perfect scenario for collection, growth, and transmission of germs.”
Be sure to dip them in bleach or throw them in the laundry after each use, or you’ll just be spreading all that bacteria to surfaces you eat off of.
8. The good news is you can keep a towel for up to 10 years as long as you’re sanitizing it properly.
Just know that although your towel may look cozy, it may be covered in bacteria ready to crawl all over your body. And don’t even get us started on loofahs. Let’s just say, don’t ever use them on your privates or your face.