To towel or not to towel?


I was reading a blog and skimmed an interview with the founder of a new beauty/skin care line and she mentioned one thing she’d never use is a face towel because it harbors bacteria. She instead uses disposable cotton cloths from a beauty supply store to dry her face, she is even in the process of designing her own to sell in the future. I have never really considered bacteria on my face towel. I tend to wash it regularly but it gave me pause and now I wonder if there is a hygenic and environmentally friendly towel alternative out there? Disposable cloths seem wasteful to me. I am for a towel but there might be some info out there to change my mind. Any thoughts are welcomed


i will stick to the towel . I use a clean towel and trust it to be fine


I like to wash my towels after every use too. I used to wash my face with disposable towels but I feel more clean by using a reusable one that I can wash whenever I want.


I use a fresh, small wash cloth every time I wash my face. The hand towel hanging next to my sink is only used for drying hands!


I just use a specific fluffy towel that I instruct everyone else in the household not to use. I figure that I’ve cleaned my face well enough that it really should have any bacteria on it and I change it every few days.


Sounds like yet another gimmick to sell another product to consumers by feeding off their fears of bacteria. Plus think of all the garbage that will be created with yet another disposable wipe type item.


Huh … interesting. Honestly, I’ve never thought about this as a thing but after thinking more about it it makes sense. We wash our hands all the time and dry them with a hand towel that we usually hang back up and use again and again for a few days. Using that on my face … well now I am actually kind of grossed out! :nauseated_face: To think about the bacteria that probably lives on that towel and then transfers onto my face after washing it … wow. Just … ew.:flushed:
I have a feeling that now I’m going to go home and pick out a few white towels that I can sanitize with bleach in the washer every few days for my face now.
Definitely food for thought (or :space_invader: bacteria :skull_and_crossbones: for thought in this case)


I think that it is something to consider. I keep a towel to the side to dry my face off with, I don’t trust my children, lol! I don’t think that I could justify the cost of brand new towels so frequently. I think if I was childless and single I would consider it. The funny thing is if I were childless and single…my towels would stay clean!:joy:


I agree. We have to have some sort of immune system, right?


I think that, in the scheme of issues in the world, that bacteria on a face towel is no more bothersome than your pillow you sleep on nightly. If you wouldnt replace your pillowcase every night and pillow monthly, then this seems like a waste of resources and money… UNLESS you have your face wash in a disposable towel… but then you have to dry your face somewhere.


I considered changing the place of my towel. Usually, it hangs in the bathroom. I read that if your toothbrush is within 3 feet of the toilet, it has fecal matter on it, especially if it doesn’t dry out completely. Another reason to close the toilet lid before flushing. That really freaked me out. If the towel can dry somewhere away from all the germs, it would probably be less contaminated.



I usually use a towel never really thought about but hey I am 51 and had no issues and my mom is 96 and looks about 60 so I guess we must be doing something right lol


Possibly … but tests have been shown that no matter where you place anything in your bathroom, fecal matter and urine will be on it. When I was teaching massage therapy I did a fun little activity with my students in the bathrooms where we sprayed a solution on all of the surfaces (toilets, sinks, counters, doors, floors, paper towel dispenser, etc.) and then shut off all the lights and used a black light to show where the bacteria lives. I still don’t think any of my graduates forgave me for that one. :rofl::rofl::joy::grin:


I think that was a sneak add for disposable towels. I know you’re supposed to switch out your washcloths regularly. So if you do that they shouldn’t harbor bacteria.


in that sense, wouldnt your disposables have bacteria then as well? I mean, unless you kept them in a ziploc bag…


Blowdrying it would be worse


My boyfriend’s mother got us an enormous stack of very thin washcloths that she uses around the house. I have a little dollar store laundry basket just for them and I use them like paper towels and face washcloths. I’m getting a new pack of them from costco when I move.


Nothing is bacteria free that is exposed to air. Even when your towels, sheets, handkerchiefs, etc, start off clean, all it takes is for someone to sneeze or cough within a few feet and here comes the “contamination.”
I do use a washcloth on my face. But from what I’ve read, it’s generally what happens after a washcloth is used that can cause bacteria growth. For those interested, here’s what I found.

“How often should I wash my washcloth?”
By Sarah Siddons

“Washcloths and Bacteria”

It’s late at night after a busy day, and you’re nearly ready for bed. Before you head off to sleep, you might use a washcloth on your face to wipe away the day’s accumulation of dirt and oil or your makeup. While this essential step can help prevent skin problems, if the washcloth itself isn’t clean, you might defeat the purpose by introducing new germs to your face.

Neglecting to clean your washcloth on a regular basis can cause the towel to become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold [sources: Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Health]. To make your hygiene routine worthwhile, you need to wash and dry towels regularly. If you don’t think water’s enough, bleach is also effective at killing germs and mold, but it can ruin your towels. The harsh chemical wears through threads quickly, which means you have to purchase replacements more regularly [source: Cotton Incorporated].

The whole point of using a washcloth is to cleanse your face or body. But if you take the spreading power of bacteria for granted, that seemingly harmless little towel could potentially introduce new germs into your system.

Consider this: Nothing is ever completely germ-free, even a fresh towel that has just come from the dryer. So naturally a used washcloth that is left to air each day gives bacteria and other microbes more of a chance to grow and spread. And each time you use a cloth to wash your face, dead skin cells get caught in it, providing even more food for the bacteria that gather in the towel. Laundering your washcloth regularly may not kill every germ it contains, but it will lessen the overall amount of bacteria and decrease your chances of catching an illness [source: National Institutes of Health].

Whether you use a washcloth only for your face or on your entire body, using a clean cloth will help combat the germs living in bathrooms. Bathrooms – which are typically wet, warm spaces – are the perfect environment for bacteria and mold [source: Consumer Reports]. Letting your damp washcloth lie around for days invites bacteria and mold, and you can unknowingly spread bacteria if you reuse the same cloth again and again.

“Cleansing Washcloths”

Washcloths used on the face are especially important to keep clean. Touching your eyes, nose or mouth with a dirty washcloth is an easy way to introduce bacteria and spread infection. To prevent the spread of bacteria, you should machine wash your washcloths every three to four days – or more often, if you prefer. As for what cleaning agent you should use – chlorine bleach may be most effective at killing germs, but it can also cause your towels to deteriorate. Regular detergent or non-chlorine bleach should suffice [sources: [url='[/url’], National Institutes of Health].

To keep your washcloths and towels in useable condition for a longer period of time, avoid washing them in very hot water or drying them at the highest temperature, as this can cause excessive amounts of wear and shrinkage. You should remove towels from the dryer when they are nearly dry; they should not be wet to the touch, but they shouldn’t be crisp, either, as this means that they’ve been dried for too long [source: Cotton Incorporated].


I know several people who do this, too. It’s not only sanitary, but kind of luxurious :ring: .