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Tell me about your Bathroom towels?

 
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I'm thinking of redoing my bathroom towels, but it got me thinking, what do I really need in the bathroom?

So I would love to hear what do you have and what do you wish you had?

How many?
What size?
What kind?
What function?
Who uses?

I'm guessing
a) big bath towel
b) hand towels
c) face cloth
d) rug/mat/floor towel

Anything missing?

What do you look for most in a bathroom towel?
 
r ranson
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How many do you keep out at a time?  Why?
How many do you keep in storage for backup?  Why?

I'm guessing one big towel per human would be normal?  These are expensive and if you are doing laundry, you probably aren't having a shower at the same time.

But more than one hand towel would be a good thing because one might need to wash their hands while the laundry is on.  Plus more because the laundry doesn't always get done daily.  So like 4 hand towels?

 
r ranson
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And that brings me to another thought - colour.

During 2020, I decided to get better at washing my hands.  If I did the job right, then in theory, then the white towel would stay white after a week of handwashing no matter how much farming I did without gloves on.  But it didn't and it took a while to improve my skills at washing my hands.  So actually having a white towel was a good thing.

But I noticed that if we have guests or other people use the towels, then white towels look nasty after about a day.  Not quite pulp fiction bad.

So what colour considerations do you take into account when choosing bathroom towels?  
 
r ranson
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For me the #1 thing is to have a proper drying rack for everything you've got hanging. If you don't have room for rack space for each user, some people put a rack on the back of their bedroom door, and train members to remember to bring it to the bathroom!!

Thus, we have different tones or different locations for each person's towel and since it's being used on a clean body, it can get used many times before laundering. That said, the system occasionally breaks down in our humid winters in which case I hang the towels in front of the fire for a couple of hours before hanging them back in the bathroom!

I like to have "designated" hand towels, as they need to be swapped out more often.

I use a dry facecloth at the end of my shower to get the big drips off, then I like a *really large* bath towel as I get cold really easily when wet. A large towel keeps me warmer and dries me faster.

I have a homemade rag rug on the floor. It's machine washable, but it's much larger than a typical bath mat and quite absorbent. Since there are limited places to hang things, I don't use a floor towel over it. The larger one is more secure for standing on as well.
 
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At the age of ten I went to boarding school. I had two towels that were already ancient. One had seashorses on it and my dad told me he bought it when he was stationed in Hawaii in the early 60’s. I loved that towel. It was stiff, felt like a luffa and was excellent at removing peeling skin - I was a child of the 70’s so sunburn was just a fact of life. That towel survived eight years of boarding school, five years of University and two girl friends. When I moved in with my future wife, it lasted less than a week. I still miss that towel.

My wife bought me two monster bathsheets which I admit were lovely to wrap up in but rubbish at exfoliation. They took too long to dry, so often smelt, that smell unique to wet towels belonging to blokes. After three or four years, they were starting to toughen up, loose there fluffy feel and develop a slight scratchiness, the feeling I missed. And then suddenly they were gone! This cycle repeated for the next 15 years until we moved to the tropics where big fluffy towels, high temps and humidity don’t mix.

When we moved to the US, I took control of towel future and bought Japanese Onsen Towels . . . They have a waffle weave. Mine are made in Japan from 100% organic cotton. They are much lighter than a regular towel but still warm and absorbent. Alas, they’re still soft and haven’t yet developed the toughness I like. I’ve switched from pure white to dark blue. Until permies, the only way I knew how to keep white towels white was bleach and those nasty crystal brighteners they put in icky stuff. I now know how to get them permie white but it’s a faff. Half the reason my wife would buy new towels was white not looking white. It’s not just dirt, most water we wash in has trace minerals which when it dries, deposit on the fabric and eventually make stuff go brown.

I have two towels in rotation. I change it when it smells . . . which is a lot less often since going pooless a few years ago.
 
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We don't have a bathroom, so our towel set up is a bit different. We've got handwashing inside, and we just use our old kitchen towels from when we had a kitchen.

I don't use facecloths. I use those exfoliating gloves and give my whole body, including face, a serious scrub every time I shower. On days when I don't shower, a scrub with wet hands is all my face gets.

Last year, I finally replaced the bath sheet I'd had since I was eight. It was getting very thin and holey. I bought two bath towels for myself because I don't schedule my laundry days around the day that my bath towel needs washing. I splurged and bought handmade linen ones. I love them. I'll never go back to fluffy towels. They dry so fast and are still plenty absorbent.

I got mine from this Etsy store and heartily recommend the shop. She does gorgeous work. The hems on the towels are perfect, and she even did french seams on the bag the towels came in.
https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/marupeLINENhouse?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=600584489

Our shower is outside, so we don't need bath mats. When I did use them, I was never happy with any. They're too thick and don't dry properly. Stepping onto a damp bath mat is one of the most disgusting sensations to me. I used to work at a hotel and built up a pretty big collection of bath towels that were going to be cut up for rags because they were stained. I use them for drying off dogs, protecting car seats, etc. I also used them for bath mats. I'd fold them in quarters to use as a mat, then unfold and hang to dry

My husband once told me incredulously about a guy he worked with in his paving days. They were working out of town and staying at a hotel. The guy was complaining about how whenever he stayed at a hotel he got charged extra for bath towels because he was always getting grease or tar on them. "What's the big deal? Of course there's going to be something on the towels. I've been working all day!" My husband realized that this guy thought that drying off after the shower was part of getting clean. It blew his mind and kinda horrified him.

Once in a while I'll complain a bit to my husband about how dirty the hand towels get when he's home. He's always ignored me. The other day I reminded him of that guy on his paving crew. "You wash your hands the way that guy washed his body." I think that actually may have gotten through.
 
Jan White
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Oh, and for colour, definitely not white. I'd stay away from any really bright colours as well. They fade and if you're not careful about rotating your towels you end up with all different shades.
 
r ranson
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How about towel size?  Anyone up for measuring their towels?

When I visit friends, I notice that handtowel size differs dramatically.  Some are only 10" wide, others over 30".  

Towel size not only varies dramatically between countries (so a bath sheet in the USA may be over a foot different in size than what I can buy here) but also within a country (east coast west coast).  

What's your size and what's your ideal size for the different kinds of bathroom towels?
 
r ranson
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And texture.

In Canada, I've only ever seen tarry cloth towels in the bathroom, but when I travel, I notice that plain weave (untextured) towels to be the norm.  
 
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In our real bathroom, we have two fancy bath sheets hanging by the shower and two hanging by the soaking tub. When our daughter is home for the summer, she also has one, but not two. When she has long hair, she has this weird synthetic hair towel I don't like to touch. We also have a hand-towel hanging by the sink/vanity. I'm usually the only one who uses washcloths, so I have one hanging in the shower and one hanging near the tub (which is also near the sink). For each of the above, we have a duplicate in the closet and several extra towels and washcloths for guests or special needs or whatever. We also have two bath-mat things on the floor, but no duplicates, so sometimes they're away for eight hours or a day while laundering. Our bathroom is black and red and steel and white so our towels are black, gray, maroon, and red.

We spent a lot of time buying and returning towels until we found ones that were acceptable and then bought the whole stock described above. She wants them soft and I want them absorbent.

In our crappy downstairs bath, we just have a random hand-towel out, but a bunch of various older towels in a basket under the sink for company or spills.
 
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It's just my husband and me in our one-bath house. We rarely, if ever, have overnight guests. We have garden variety terry towels from Costco. Two big bath sheets, four "standard" bath towels, two hand towels, and about a dozen washcloths. I like to go heavy on the washcloths because I want a fresh one for every shower, plus I grab them for quick bathroom cleanups. Two hand towels is not enough, really, because I wash my hands A LOT. I would prefer to change the hand towel out every day. I sometimes pirate a tea towel from the kitchen, and I have plenty of those. Towels get washed in hot water with vinegar in the rinse, and that keeps them from getting stinky. (Fabric softener is bad for your towels and toxic as hell, but I probably don't need to tell that to anyone here.)  

If I were dreaming up my perfect home, here's what I would do:
I would like to try flat-woven Turkish towels instead of terry because I think they would get cleaner and dry faster.
Two bath towels per person--one to wash and one to use.
One bath towel per guest (so if I could accommodate two guests at a time, I would get two guest towels)
Replace the bath towels two at a time when the older towels start getting holes. As the old towels wear out, cut them up and hem them into hand towels and washcloths.
 
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I typically have lots of regular size bath towels, not sheets. I have no idea what they actually measure. I'll do that later, but it's a standard American bath towel. Most bath towels in the US are the terry variety. I've tried the waffle weave hearing that they aren't as rough when line dried but I haven't found that to be the case. I always have at least two hand towels as they can get dirty quickly. I don't use washcloths, never found the need. I use my hands to wash myself and dry with a towel. I like the turkish towels but not the available colors.

I would never buy white towels, they never stay white. I buy whatever color matches my bathroom and when things get dingy they become rags.

The main way that towels become dirty is with flakes of skin. It isn't a matter of being clean.
 
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During the pandemic I bought hammam (Turkish) towels, organic cotton from various Amazon sellers.  I think we have 6 total, which is overkill for 2 people but gives us slack for laundry time or plumbing emergencies.  They're huge, dry me off quickly and dry themselves quickly.  They're various combinations of grey/white or black/white, and I have no issues with them staying white.  I don't bleach my laundry or use any special detergent.

At some point, at the "free shop", I came across 2 small, rough towel-like things, that I use as bath mats.  Again, they dry quickly hanging, which is nicer than squishy fluffy mats.  And my cats have decided that bath mats are for urinating on, despite the litter box not a foot away, so no permanent mats stay on my floor.

As you may have gathered from the above, my bathroom is crazy tiny, so I tend to dry my hands on the bath towel hanging on the door.  It's right there, on my way out which is where I'm headed anyway.  I did have some hand towels hanging by the sink, but I'm not sure where they disappeared to.  I should go find my stack of old towels, now in the bf's workroom, and hem some up for hand towels.  Not desperately necessary, but a gesture toward maintaining civilized behavior, maybe.
 
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I can't imagine worrying about the color of my bath towels.  That's part of why we have so many.  We've rescued more than a few from chronic redecorators.

I know showers are the preferred permie option but I am very much a bath person. So in the summer I can soak for a bit after tending to my hair and then drain the water.  By then my hair isn't dripping any longer and I don't need a towel at all.

In the winter I appreciate having all the thick terry cloth options.  That is also when we try to keep floor mats down.  We have a long skinny bathroom so we have three small washable mats that we line up. We also have cats.  It's hard to blame the cat for thinking he should use the same room we do, but maybe I need to try to train him to use the toilet... my mom has seen it done but I am usually just glad that they come when called.
 
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We are in the process of sorting stuff out, ready to move house and I was surprised at how many towels we have. Five of the bath towels, in about 4 different sizes were bought by us, some I bought before we were married over 30 years ago. The rest have come to us when people like my elderly mum were having a clearout or when people sadly died. I realised that I will never have to buy another towel as long as I live. Mr Ara may have other ideas as rather a lot of them are pink. I do not care what colour they are, unlike my sister who likes to colour co-ordinate her bathroom, just as long as they dry me. They are all terry cloth - I don't think I will be trying any other types now.
When they become thin and start to fall apart they are used as animal towels for the pets and once they cannot be saved, they go in the compost as they are cotton. Unfortunately, the thread ususlly isn't and doesn't decompose so I have learned my lesson there.
 
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Ara Murray wrote:

Mr Ara may have other ideas as rather a lot of them are pink.

Hubby was the same - I broke down and bought him a dark navy one that goes nicely with the pink. My sister and I had identical pink bath towels and she gave me hers when she moved into a place with a green bathroom in totally the wrong undertones for the pink. I have a lifetime supply, so it's good that they go fine with our current bathroom.
 
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People have matching towels???

I have no clue where we acquired ours over the years. We have a wide range of all sorts of sizes, colours etc... I think I bought one set about 10 years ago.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Not only do we have matching towels but they are required to be folded properly, in thirds lengthwise with the outside edges not showing. When in the linen cabinet, they have be folded in thirds the other way as well. My mother and grandmother were always very particular about these things. And we are a very OCD family.
 
r ranson
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Not only do we have matching towels but they are required to be folded properly, in thirds lengthwise with the outside edges not showing. When in the linen cabinet, they have be folded in thirds the other way as well. My mother and grandmother were always very particular about these things. And we are a very OCD family.



When I worked in a hostle this was a must so that we can just get the next towel and not have to waste time refolding if several fell out at the same time.  One day I would love to have towles that match enough to stack up like that.  
 
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We have a huge set of "fancy" guest towels, in thick, floofy, white terry cloth, for the guest rooms/bath. We don't have frequent overnight guests, but when we have them, it's usually 3 - 5 people at once. We got them white, figuring white could be boiled, soaked in peroxide, lemon juice, or white vinegar, and bleached in the sun, and if they get too bad, and I am really motivated, I can dye them.

I find dark towels fade in short order, and bright ones turn gray. So for our daily use, it's just the two of us, I have a sage green set of 2 @ hand towels, wash cloths, and normal size bath towels, that coordinate the main bath, when we have company. The rest of the time, we use the old ones we've somehow accumulated, over the years; a mishmash of old beach towels (our favorites for winter are a pair of very thick, warm, textured ones we bought on a cruise, because they actually go all the way around us, with length left over), various threadbare ones left from OLBU (our lives before 'us'). I honestly have no idea how many towels, hand towels and washcloths we have, because as they get worn out, they don't get dumped - they get moved into the various first aid kits, the kidding kit, tucked into road emergency kits, used for mops, wherever we need cleanups, used for padding on rough benches, thrown on the ground as padding, when I'm working outside, on the ground, or turned into bean bags, rice bags, etc.

What's in both bathrooms is minimal, on a daily basis - a hand towel at the sink, wash cloths in the cabinet next to the sink, and our big bath sheet/beach towels are hung in the bedroom, so they don't get mildewed from the bathroom humidity. If I ever get new ones again, I'll likely make flannel ones. I have 3 cotton flannel baby layette blankets that I rotate, for my hair. It's naturally curly, and flannel or even old tshirts work much better for that, than terrycloth, and several times, I've ended up using them for the rest of me, and really like them.
 
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Single guy, living in community here, so families may want to take this with a pinch of salt.

I have 2 towels, one lives with the swimming stuff for the beach. My bathroom towel is about 1ft by 2ft.

I make this work with the following procedure.
Take clean boxers and towel from rail in bedroom. Shower. Dry off IN the shower. Step out of shower. Put boxers on. Leave bathroom.

I have cold urticaria, if I let my skin get chilled, I get covered in hives. The trick is to get dry as quickly as possible, don't get out of the shower or bathtub first while still wet.

The towel goes in with my normal washing, once a week. I shower either every day or every other day. I prefer not to have a mat on the floor, as it's another thing to make sure gets dry while it  lives in a humid environment.

My 25 year old veteran towel got lost when I left the ship last. This new soft thing is not as good and takes longer to dry.

Assuming I move out to a place on my own, I plan to have 2 towels per sink in the house as well as my bath towel.
 
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I bought linen to make towels with, because I read that linen works well in humid climates. Thick fluffy cotton towels get musty very quickly here in Korea.

Does anyone have experience with linen towels? Or will I have to find out what they're like by myself once I've made mine?
 
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My Mother was a nurse and she said for sheets you need one on the bed, one in the closet and one in the laundry. The same hold for towels. Although she always had a giant stack of washcloths.

I seem to have followed her advice.
 
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I have 4 hand towels of varying colors because they were all gifted. One hangs by the sink and never gets washed because I dry my hands on my bath towel which is a gigantic fluffy (used to be) white variety, also gifted. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever BOUGHT a towel. Have a few washcloths that rarely get used and live in my kitchen towel drawer. Kitchen towels get used for everything from keeping boiling hot canning jars off the counter to cleaning up broken eggs. I guess I occasionally dry a dish with them. Well water makes white towels moot, so wouldn't recommend them. The majority of my towels came with my husband. They are mid-size, every color of the faded rainbow, threadbare, used for drying the dog after baths and birthing goats.....

Maybe I'm not the one to ask about fancy towel colors and styles....   ;-)
 
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While we still had our homestead the local grocery store had a promotion for buying groceries and getting a coupon for a reduced rate for towels.

The towels were large thick bath towels.  I got 3 for me and 3 for dear hubby and 4 for the guest bath.

Still today I am really happy with these promotion towels.  The guest towels disappeared over the years, probably during the move to where we live now.
 
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James Alun wrote:Shower. Dry off IN the shower




I think I would give my right arm to get my son to do this! He has glorious red hair down to his rear end and he climbs out of the shower and just saturates my bathrug which is one of those thirsty ones for drying soggy doggy feet quickly. He gets it so wet, it can't possibly dry out before the next shower. I wash it far more often than I care to.
 
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My mom has some mean towel game. Each bathroom has matching face, hand, & body towels on the rack regardless if there's a bath or shower. They are plush and feel great. Plus seasonal motifs and all the colours match the bathrooms. I've tried to get her to agree to change out the old toilets but all the porcelain matches so it's a hard no.  

I've mostly massed a bunch of beach towels and use bar towels. As someone who's mostly been ignorent to proper home care I've left my towels too long and now cycle the towels much more frequently.
 
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Jay Angler wrote:  I use a dry facecloth at the end of my shower to get the big drips off, then I like a *really large* bath towel as I get cold really easily when wet. A large towel keeps me warmer and dries me faster.



About 25 years ago, my mother was gifted a very expensive (about $100 even then) long unisex Turkish spa robe by a well-off friend. Turned out not to be my mom's thing, though, and sat around until about 5 years later when she asked me if I wanted it. Uhh, yeah!

This robe (it is snow white) has hung on a hook in the bathrooms of two different houses for 20 years and I use it every single time I shower. In general, I also wipe off the big drops with a small towel or shared bath towel, then don the spa robe until I'm ready to get dressed and hang it back up for the next time. It's very absorbent, much cozier and more secure to wear than even an enormous bath towel.  I don't need to wash it more than about once a month. Even then, it doesn't stink - that just feels like enough time has gone by that I'd better do it.

The robe is still holding up well after 20 years, in one piece with no holes or frays just yet, still cozy.  If this thing ever does disintegrate to the point of not being able to use it, I mean to invest the money (probably significantly more these days) to buy another one, though I have looked and this level of quality is a bit hard to find. If you can find a high-quality one, though, it could become a trusty companion for many years to come!
 
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I guess I am semi-simple.  Just me - have two large bath towels - white - peroxide is great for keeping them white.  A monster stack of large wash clothes which do just about everything!  Dry hands - clean up muddy knees after gardening etc. which go through the laundry often with kitchen towels.  I seldom use paper towels, I try to reuse most of everything.  I often soak wash clothes, kitchen towels and socks before they go through the laundry.
 
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After showering I dry with a facecloth. If you have a decent one you’d be amazed at how dry you get. It saves on laundry, soap and water. When the facecloths get thinner they have a myriad of uses.
The kid gets a medium sized towel just because it’s cosy and they rarely shower anyway.
 
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R, the white/light towel that highlights inadequate washing... has happened to me. There is this place I tend to miss if I hurry, a dirty stripe, right down the middle... of my forearm. (From my pinky finger to my elbow) I'm so conscious of it now, that I rarely miss it.
I shared this in another thread, but my mom had "white" dish towels and "dark" hand towels in the kitchen. This way, you knew the dish towels were clean by sight, since they no longer got stained by "half-washed" hands.

We also had bright red bath towels. They matched the bathroom decor, but also hid the blood stains from shaving nicks, and healing cuts scrubbed just a bit too hard. Therefore there was always a full "red load" of laundry, making red clothes less of a chore to wash separately.
I took these towels to college, and still have them, for many of the same reasons Edward mentioned.

White-white is too much hassle to maintain, off-white is easier, but dark colors we have now seem easiest since stains take longer to be obvious.
I have always been in the "enough to do a full load, without it being every last towel in the house" situation... Maximalist, not minimalist. Also OCD on the folding, based on fitting the storage space.
There's also some mismatched towels that I keep in my truck, and I always know which ones those are, to remember to replace them.
 
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I'm another fan of drying with a washcloth: rarely use washcloth for washing my body, but sometimes for my face before bed. It seems like no matter how much I scrub in the shower with an exfoliater, I still exfoliate into my drying cloth, thus it's nice to use a washcloth: use it only once for drying, then it can go in the wash. In the winter (when my home is colder) I follow up the washcloth drying with a handtowel to get more thoroughly dry. Not using bigger towels does not keep me from getting dry, but does save a greatly reduce laundry. As to type cloth: I prefer cotton, and/but not super plush: one of my favorite wash-cloths has virtually no loops left.  
 
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This thread has me thinking I need to change the household towel situation.

I tend to only use a big bath towel once and then put it in the wash. I don't know what my housemate does, they keep their own bath towel in their room, no idea how often they wash it, but when I get out of the shower, I use the big towel on the rack there, and then put it in the wash bag, and put out a fresh big towel in the bathroom. I usually use/wash three big towels in a week this way, plus a washcloth.

Every once and awhile I remember to dry out and keep the big towel in my closet and use it a second time instead of doing this.

But what would possibly help more is if I invested in a few smaller towels for the bathroom, and left them there for a week or so as hand towels - and that would made it more obvious to myself that I should keep a big towel in my room for shower purposes. I would probably have less laundry that way.

And I could invest in a really big towel or two. The "big" towels I use now are not actually big enough to wrap around my body, which would be nice to be able to do.

I haven't used a bathroom rug for years --- I tend to dry myself off in the shower, and then throw the towel on the floor to step out on to it.
This is probably not the most safety-conscious approach.

 
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r ranson wrote:I'm thinking of redoing my bathroom towels, but it got me thinking, what do I really need in the bathroom?

So I would love to hear what do you have and what do you wish you had?

How many?
What size?
What kind?
What function?
Who uses?

I'm guessing
a) big bath towel
b) hand towels
c) face cloth
d) rug/mat/floor towel

Anything missing?

What do you look for most in a bathroom towel?



How many?  1-2 per person.  Just enough that we won't be caught off guard if it is both laundry day and shower time. (I do shower more often than i do laundry, i promise.)

What size?  Well, I am a voluptuous lady who wants to be able to walk out of the bathroom before getting dressed.  So I prefer gigantic bath towels.  I would use beach towels, but they aren't as floofy.

What kind?  Bath Towels, Bathmat, washcloths.  All of our bathroom hand towels end up as kitchen towels, so no need to get anything floofy.

What do I look for in a bathroom towel?  Well, you know that nasty smell that towels get over time?  Like mildew or stale urine? (I know, you're thinking "what does this lady do with her towels?" Me? nada, my doommate? who knows.)  If I could find a towel that never got that smell, I would save a lot of money.  Also, absorbency.  Nothing worse than just spreading the water around your body.  Especially when you have a screaming child you need to attend to.  Picking up a baby when still wet from the shower is no fun or anyone!

... the only thing you might be missing is an extra shower curtain.  We water proof the cloth shower curtains, but sometimes they need love, so I have a back up.  If you were to do the traditional cloth+liner, you might want back ups of each.
 
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S Rogers wrote:   Well, you know that nasty smell that towels get over time?  Like mildew or stale urine? (I know, you're thinking "what does this lady do with her towels?" Me? nada, my doommate? who knows.)  If I could find a towel that never got that smell, I would save a lot of money.  Also, absorbency.  Nothing worse than just spreading the water around your body.  Especially when you have a screaming child you need to attend to.  Picking up a baby when still wet from the shower is no fun or anyone!



I would suggest using distilled white vinegar. I'm a 'family cloth' user (only for urine), and I add about a cup of vinegar to the wash. If that doesn't do it, a 50/50 water vinegar soak for a couple hours, then a good airing out, in the sun, and they ought to be fresh and clean smelling, again.
 
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My 2 housemates & I mostly prefer to shower outside. Sometimes I just dip in the ocean to get clean.

Towels: When I lived in Tokyo for 5 years, back in the 1990s, I noticed that people at the public baths never seemed to use the giant fluffy American-style bath-towels that I considered at the time to be so necessary. Instead, they would dry off vigorously with a little hand-towel.

I liked the idea of cutting down on bulky laundry, especially in a tiny apartment in a humid climate, so I tried a little hand-towel and it worked like a charm. I have never gone back!

I usually keep 2 or 3 hand-towels, which can also serve as washcloths. I make them by cutting up old towels and hemming the sides. (The old towels come from various sources. For example, a friend of a friend is a housecleaner for rich people who throw away their towels every year! (USA consumer society 🙄🥺).

Most of my towels are white but i really would not care what color they are.
 
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