Save Energy, Water, and Time by Using Towels More than Once

Photo: bagaball

Less laundry = more time for other activities, plus it saves energy and water. Instead of getting a fresh bath towel every time you shower, hang your damp towel up to dry and use it several times before you toss it in the laundry pile. Bonus: your towels will last longer meaning you won’t have to replace them as often.

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  • Jane ,

    I’d love to get my family to do this, but we live in a damp, rainy area. It seems that the towels never dry when we hang them. There’s nothing worse than getting out of a nice warm morning shower only to have to dry off with a cold, damp towel. Yuck! Any suggestions??

  • I run a green B&B. We have only green guests now, five or six years after launch. They are really good with their towels and know to put them out on the line to dry in the sun if damp. The first year, we did not have green guests. These people were always asking for more towels. “My towel is damp,” they would say. “I need another. I can’t use this one.” People need to use their heads. If each of us does so, the world would be a better place.

  • Kris Bordessa ,

    Jane, I posed your dilemma on the Attainable Sustainable Facebook page and here are the responses. Maybe one will work for you?

    Hang towels over the radiator, if you’ve got one that’s appropriate. However, I imagine Jane would have thought of that, if she had one of those nice tall radiators.

    I used to dry some of my laundry over an electric radiator heater like the 1st one pictured on this link. http://myheaters.com/electric-heaters/why-buy-an-electric-radiator

    An extractor fan would dry your bathroom out and your towels would dry faster. Heated towel rails also work but I don’t know how much energy they use…

    Here’s what I’m thinking. If Jane usually washes and dries towels for her family after every use, it would use less energy if she just gathered all of the damp towels and dried them for just 10-15 minutes and put them out to reuse. Of course, everyone would need to have a recognizable towel so they could use the same one again the next day, but this would use less energy than her current plan.

    I didn’t realize anybody washed towels after every use. Wow! That’s a lot of money and energy, not to mention time. It’s damp here too, so we have several hanging at a time and rotate. It also makes a difference if they’re folded up or …spread out to dry. If it was an impossibly damp house then I suppose you could have a basket just for towels and simply dry them quickly instead of washing and drying every time, but if the house is *that* damp then there may be other issues for the house (such as mold) and a dehumidifier might be in order.

    We put a towel rack over the heat register in the bathroom to dry towels.

  • I didn’t realize that people didn’t use towels more than once. We throw ours over the door to the bathroom or on the rack and then run the fan in the bathroom.

  • I didn’t realize that many people — like HOUSEHOLD people and not HOTEL people — washed their towels daily until I started blogging. I ran a poll on my own blog in 2008 asking about how often to wash linens. No less than once a week, but I did get about 15% of my respondents saying “Daily!”

    One friend told me she washes every pieces of clothing/linens in her house daily in one load and she and I bantered back and forth about the utility of doing that. I’m not sure if that included bed linens, but I know it included bath and kitchen linens.

    • Kris Bordessa ,

      It’s just so inefficient and wasteful to wash essentially clean towels every day! Argh.

  • April ,

    It blows my mind that someone would get a clean towel every single day. A houseguest recently did that at my house and I didn’t realize it until she came to tell me there were no clean towels and she needed one. I handed her the one she’d used the day before. I change the towels and sheets on Mondays.

  • I am surprised that people do get out a fresh towel each day but not too surprised in that my kids, despite requests,never hang their towels up properly to dry. A small thing but Im sure it adds up in electricity and water.

  • It seems like common sense when you actually think about it but our current “throw away society” has attached a stigma this kind of reuse / recycling… I think it’s a little sad that we are so wasteful to be honest!

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