How to deal with tea towels

Newly washed tea towels and kitchen clothes in a bundle

Coming out of the washing machine

Tea towels accumulate a lot of bacteria so you can’t just wash them with your normal clothes, you need to give them “tough love”.

I store my (dried) dirty towels towards the back of the washing machine in a large plastic bag and wait until I have enough to do one full load. Kitchen clothes and kitchen towels are washed together. Don’t overfill the drum otherwise they won’t get washed properly.

I use the highest setting, which is 90 degrees. Once clean and out of the washing machine, separate kitchen clothes from tea towels. Tip: keep your older looking kitchen clothes separate from your newer, whiter looking ones which you might no longer want to use on your kitchen worktops but would find perfect for other dirtier jobs or even for “straight-in-the-bin jobs”.

Hold two corners of each tea towel and give it one or two good shake. It should make a whip-like noise. Tip: look away to protect  your face, just in case.

Pile of wet tea towels ready for ironing

Still wet, ready to be ironed

Now, start ironing. Tip: if ironing is delayed, roll the towels together into a big sausage to keep them damp. Although you can’t iron very damp clothes because they get creased easily, you can iron very damp tea towels because the odd creases do not matter on tea towels.

The reason you have to iron tea towels is not because it looks neat in your cupboard (although it does and it takes less space too) but because you need to kill bacteria. So, use the highest setting of your iron.

Iron inside of tea towl

Iron the inside of the tea towel

Fold in half, and iron

Fold your towels in half or third, depending on the width of your tea towels.

Fold in half again, and iron

Pile of newly ironed tea towels

Ironing finished, ready for drying

As the tea towels will still be a bit damp, you need to get them to dry. In cold weather, you could just lie them on top of radiators. In warm weather, hang them on the washing line.

Newly ironed tea towels drying on the washing line

They will probably have some peg marks but that does not matter either.