How to wash towels to stop the spread of coronavirus at home

Knowing how to wash towels properly can stop bacteria breeding – and not sharing will help stop the spread of coronavirus at home. Here's how

how to wash towels
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Do you know how to wash towels – especially now that we're all being so careful not to spread germs? And do you do it often enough? Once a week? Once a month? (Yuck, we hope not.) 

With all of us at home during these days of lockdown, and many of us unwell, too, there are some strict rules you should follow when it comes to washing towels, according to the experts at towel company Christy England.

How often to wash towels?

First up, hand towels. Washing our hands became the first line of defence in our fight against the coronavirus. From the start we have been thoroughly swabbing them for the Goverment-recommended 20 seconds/two choruses of 'Happy Birthday' every time we went to the bathroom or touched a surface that someone else had.

While we were still at work we would have dried them on paper towels or blasted them under the hot air dryer. At home, however, it’s our towels that have felt the impact of our increased awareness of the importance of cleanliness.

But while we are using them to keep our hands clean, are we cleaning them often enough, or just leaving them hanging damply on the towel rail until the next time? And should we be sharing them, even within the family?

‘Some items need to be washed every few days,’ says Helena Mead of Christy England towels. ‘While washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water helps to prevent the spread of unwanted and harmful germs, the final step is drying them with a towel, so it’s very important to keep them clean, too.

‘Towels pick up bacteria from the human body, and combined with the addition of moisture, they can become a breeding ground. Using a towel that is unwashed and damp can spread bacteria throughout the household. Wash all towels after two days of use. Regularly washing of towels will expel bacteria on them.’

So take that soggy bundle and load it into the washing machine, and replace it with a towel that is clean, fresh and fluffy – every couple of days. 

How to wash towels

Helena Mead is unequivocal: 'Wash towels at 60°C so that all the microorganisms are removed,' she advises.

Between washes, it also helps, after every use, to allow towels to completely dry out after you've dried yourself on them. Rotate your towels to give the wet ones time to dry.

Should you share towels?

'Don’t share your towels with family members,' says Helena Mead. 'Everybody should have a separate towel to discourage the spread of bacteria between people. If someone is ill, their towels should be washed more frequently – possibly even daily.'

'Don’t share your towels with family members,' says Helena Mead. 'Everybody should have a separate towel to discourage the spread of bacteria between people. If someone is ill, their towels should be washed more frequently – possibly even daily.