A QUICK SUMMARY ON WASHING AND CARING FOR YOUR BATH TOWELS
Upon receiving your Bath Towels it is best to wash them before their first use with minimum detergent. Unfold the towel properly before putting through the wash. Gentle cold wash with ‘earth friendly’ products and like colours. Use liquid detergent or make sure powdered detergent is fully dissolved before the water touches the fabric. Use natural oxygen whitener when needed, never use detergents containing chlorine bleach or optical brighteners, these not only can damage and contaminate the quality of your bath towels, they are toxic to our waterways. Mould can thrive in wet towels left to dry crumpled on the floor or in a hamper or laundry basket. Be sure your towel is dry before tossing in a hamper. If you leave your towel to dry in the bathroom, hang it over a bar so air flows around it easily, speeding the drying process. After washing, line dry if possible, cutting the cost of electricity and green house gas emissions, while allowing the sun to cleanse, freshen and brighten and the wind to iron out the wrinkles. (See below for further tips.)
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WASH MY TOWELS?
To some extent this is a personal preference. Some people wash after every use, yet this is not usually necessary. Two considerations of when to wash your towels: One is to keep your towels fresh and inviting, the other is to cleanse the presence of any bacteria or mould from spreading from your towel to you. Depending on your environment, whether you have children or if someone is sick or if your environment is humid and the towels aren’t drying very quickly, these are some reasons when to wash more frequently than once or twice a week. The face washer and hand towels are generally the more frequently washed towels.
It is important to note that damp towels that are folded and left in a damp bathroom can’t always dry properly and they can become host to dead skin cells and dirt which then can become a precursor to bacteria and mould. Letting a damp washcloth sit around for days is an invitation for bacteria and mould. One steadfast rule in caring for your towels is to hang your towel unfolded in an area that is well ventilated and/or hang outside in the fresh air.
When considering energy conservation note that the frequency of washing towels after each use uses more energy, water and cleaning agents.
HOW TO SORT YOUR LAUNDRY
Sort your items by colour (e.g. whites and darks) and types (Bath towels and kitchen towels/napkins are two different washes). Also be aware of items that have hooks, zippers or other angular objects that could rip or tear at your towels.
DO NOT DRY CLEAN
Please do not dry clean. Most dry cleaners use chemical cleaning agents. This is not good for you, the fabric, or the earth.
DO NOT USE CHLORINE BLEACH OR THE LIKE
Some people may be accustomed to using chlorine bleach, yet this is not the way to go. Bleach not only breaks down the fibres of the material, which will weaken them over time, it is toxic to our waterways. Also be aware that if you use skin or hair products that contain toxic chemicals, this can transfer to the fabric and not only be bad for the material, it can be bad for you. For skin care we recommend: www.synthesisorganics.com.
WHAT DETERGENT TO USE
Many mainstream detergents we commonly see on TV commercials aren’t necessarily healthy. When it comes to getting the best laundry detergent find an ‘earth friendly’ detergent by going to your nearest health food shop. There are also washing balls available from this website. The other addition you can add to cleaning your wash is Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate). It is a deodoriser and effective cleaning agent. You can also add drops of your favourite essential oil to a clean cloth and add it to the wash. Try lavender, rosemary and tea tree oils as they are mildly antiseptic and can inhibit the growth of mould in fresh, still wet laundry. Use natural oxygen whitener when needed or try hydrogen peroxide as a natural whitener and white vinegar as a natural fabric softener when added into the final rinse cycle.
DISSOLVE POWDERED DETERGENT BEFORE FABRICS ENTER
If you don’t dissolve powdered detergent before shaking it on top of your towels in the washing machine, you may find that you get white spots. Although this isn’t such a problem with the front-loading washing machines, it is with the top loaders.
USE A FRONT LOADING WASHING MACHINE
Front loading washing machines are much easier on your fabrics because they don’t have the agitator in the middle that can tug at materials. If you’re considering a new washing machine, make it a front loader.
DO NOT OVER STUFF YOUR WASHING MACHINE
Do not over-fill the washing drum. Towels need room to be washed well. This also means less stress on your washing machine.
WASHING IN COLD WATER IS BEST
It is best to wash your towels in cold, not only can you save on your hot water electricity bill, but high temperatures are harsh on fabrics and will shorten the lifespan of your fabric, as would leaving the towels in blazing Australian sun for hours. (Those in Australia know the difference in our sun potency vs. The USA as a comparison.) Spot clean prior to washing if you are accustomed to using hot water to be more effective in cleaning or pre-soak the items vs. increasing the temperature of water.
All natural fibres shrink after being washed in water. The percentage of shrinkage can vary by up to 10% depending on the water temperature used. This is why cold water is the best. Excelsis towels are generous in their sizing, and the cotton has been pre-shrunk so this should not be a problem.
USE THE GENTLE CYCLE
Gentle is the best. There is no need to excessively agitate the wash.
Line drying is the BEST option. When the wash cycle is completed, remove the laundry immediately and shake it to minimise wrinkles. Drying towels in the dryer can shorten the lifetime of your fabric. Some of the lint that you find in your dryer is your towel fabric breaking down. If you hang the towels outside and allow the sun to brighten and it is a natural disinfectant. Plus, the wind often blows most wrinkles out and if you’re in snow territory, line drying around snow is said to be wonderful for freshness!
IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN OUTSIDE CLOTHESLINE
If you don’t have a place outside to hang your towels or it’s raining, hang them over your shower curtain or install bars in your laundry room specifically used for drying laundry.
When using the dryer. Use the air tumble setting to fluff dry. You do not want to use excessive heat and always take them out before they are hot and crispy. This technique is hard on the fibres and will cause the fabric to break down faster.
IRONING & FABRIC SOFTENER
Ironing isn’t really heard of for towels and isn’t recommended and a natural fabric softener is white vinegar added into the final rinse cycle of the wash. Please do not use the commercial chemical fabric softeners.
STORING YOUR TOWELS
Be sure your towels are thoroughly clean and dry before storing in a linen cupboard or drawer. If the fabric still contains things such as spilled food, dirt, or even sweat in storage, this can attract pests and it also gives mould a place to grow. Keep away from moist conditions for extended periods. Cover wooden shelves with paper and place small lavender bags in your linen cupboard or drawers. We have special lavender bags; please enquire if you are interested. Or you can also use a cotton ball and put drops of essential oil onto it and place this in your storage area. Suggested essential oils are: Cedar wood, clove, lavender, rosemary and sage alone or in a combination.