Sadly no one (even us) has yet invented a self-cleaning tea towel, so just like cloths, hand and bath towels, they still need washing to avoid smelly bacteria and remove stains. We’ve previously written about how to wash and take care of your tea towels, and have decided to update our advice given the apparent popularity of this subject!
Brand new towels of any kind are not that absorbent, due to excess dye and oils left over from the manufacturing process. We therefore recommend washing your tea towels in warm water before use.
You’re best off washing any colourful tea towels independently of other items the first time round, in case the colours run. Using a little diluted white vinegar in this initial wash can also help make your tea towels more absorbent.
Particularly bad stains are best treated with a clothing stain remover beforehand, but your regular detergent should work for the most part. You can just chuck cotton and linen tea towels in with the rest of the washing machine load – hand washing isn’t really necessary.
A hot temperature (40 degrees plus) is fine for white tea towels, but for coloured ones, we recommended you stick to the 30-40 degree range for the best balance between killing off bacteria and maintaining the colour. Using a biological washing powder should ensure a thorough clean at these medium temperatures.
Whether you use a dishwasher or do it by hand, nothing is more likely to provoke arguments than the hundred and one ways of doing the washing up. Disagreements may centre on whether, after washing the dishes with detergent, you should simply dry them with a tea towel (suds and all); leave them to drain until the suds disappear; or rinse them by re-filling the sink with fresh water or running water over them from the tap or a jug.
There are no right answers to these questions and much of it boils down to practicality, habit, personal or cultural preference.
Washing up needn’t be something you hate! You can see it as a calming routine which forces you to detach from the usual electronic stimulants and daily distractions. And while you’re at it, why not make it a goal to cut down on water wastage too?
1. Use a large plastic bowl within the sink to save about half the volume of water necessary to fill an empty sink. This also saves you time!
2. Make the water as hot as possible, using gloves to avoid burning yourself. The hot water will make it a lot easier to remove tough stains quickly.
So you’ve just bought a set of brand new tea towels! You may be asking yourself what is the most efficient and hygienic way of cleaning keeping them fresh and clean. Through daily use, they are exposed to all kinds of bacteria and if not washed properly could cause a health hazard. There are several things to bear in mind to ensure your new tea towels are kept hygienic, odour free and up to the job of drying dishes.
1. Washing frequency
New tea towels should be washed before using for the first time to increase absorbency. This will keep improving over several washes. It’s important to keep washing your tea towels regularly. If you have a good selection you are unlikely to run out and will be able to change them daily, whilst still being cheaper and better for the environment than paper towels.
Don’t leave wet, dirty, wet dish cloths and tea towels in a laundry basket before washing. They could develop mildew and bacteria and start to smell. It is far better to allow them to dry naturally overnight before dropping them in the laundry basket or washing them in the morning. Continue reading “How to Wash and Take Care of your Tea Towels”
In the age of the dishwasher, there are a few misguided people who feel that tea towels are no longer necessary in the kitchen. Be warned to stay clear of such heresy! Tea towels don’t have to be used for drying the dishes alone: they have several other vital functions in the modern kitchen. In this post we review a few of the traditional uses for this most flexible of kitchen accessories beyond drying up (a future post will expose some of the more ‘alternative’ functions!).
1. To cover a warm loaf of bread
Or cake and other delicious and exposed home-made baked food! The tea towel’s rectangle shape and insulating cotton should provide the perfect covering for traditional English scones, jam and clotted cream.
To rinse or not to rinse, that is the question… If you own a dishwasher you will certainly have considered whether to pre-rinse your dishes before stacking them. This is a matter of great controversy and whole internet forums have been devoted to the topic!
According to dishwasher manufacturers’ guidelines, ‘pre-rinsing’ as it is known, is unnecessary. Experts (i.e. dishwasher engineers) say quite categorically that you do not need to pre-rinse before loading the dishwasher: just scrape the leftovers from your dishes into the bin and stack them. The dishwasher will do its job and wash them.