Of course, absorbent paper is very practical in the kitchen. However, it is not very ecological and for everyday use, the classic cotton or multi-purpose linen tea towel remains the reference. Indeed, it is used for wiping dishes, wiping hands, wiping with a rag on all surfaces, etc. However, between humidity and food stains, tea towels quickly become very dirty and stained bacteria nests. Even after a very hot machine wash, you can not always find a towel as immaculate as the first day. It’s not great when it comes to hygiene… Here are some grandmother’s tips and good reflexes to finally know how to clean, disinfect and launder her tea towels to perfection. With a few good housekeeping rules, your linens will last a long time and germs will not cross the threshold of the kitchen.
You will find that to detach, wash, bleach and disinfect your cloths, you will not need harmful bleach!
1) The right thing to do with new tea towels
As with new clothes, it is obviously very important to wash new rags. This makes it possible to remove chemical treatments and ensure their good hygiene. You don’t know who touched them before you after all! However, you may have already noticed that new rags are still very stiff. They are indeed covered with primer, preventing them from absorbing well and wiping off. To remove this primer, the good thing to do is to prepare a basin of lukewarm water with three handfuls of coarse salt. Then let each new cloth soak in it overnight. Your rags will then be ready to use.
2) Good washing habits and frequencies
Of course, the frequency of washing will depend on how you use your tea towels. To avoid food poisoning, it is generally necessary count 2 to 3 days. However, it is better to prioritize a daily wash in case of intensive use and you can stretch up to a week in case of limited use. And of course, in case of stain, do not wait to put the cloth in the dirty. Remember especially to have a cloth for the hands and another for the dishes. This makes them last longer if the whole family sticks to them! And finally, we do not leave a damp cloth in a ball on the worktop. If possible, leave it to dry near a heat source (radiator, oven, dryer, etc.), extended or hung up before its next use.
3) Pre-treat stubborn stains before washing
Ideally, a stain should be treated immediately as soon as it appears. To do this, nothing beats a real Marseille soap ! Rub your soap cube over the still wet stain to form a crust. Then leave to act for an hour before lathering and putting the laundry in the washing machine. And if ironing can disinfect the tea towels, avoid ironing on a stain, which would have the effect of fixing it permanently.
Good to know: You can also remove stains with an ox gall soap or our stain remover before washing with baking soda and black soap.
4) Pre-wash heavily soiled tea towels
You can perform a pre-wash with hot water with the addition of hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting rags. If you no longer have to worry about them detach, in this case, choose a basin of hot water with added soda crystals (2 / 3-1 / 3) or soda lye (1/2 glass for 4l of water). Let your tea towels soak in this liquid for at least an hour before possibly treating the remaining stains, draining them and putting them in the machine. Finally, to whiten them when they turn gray and restore their shine, use percarbonate of soda or a little detergent from the dishwasher in a basin of very hot water. This provides very effective whitening.
5) Place in the washing machine!
You can use both powder and liquid detergents, preferably with bleaches. A cup of baking soda or a ½ glass of ammonia can be added to better remove stains if necessary. On the other hand, the washing temperature is very important! Indeed, at 40 ° C, microbes are not destroyed. As with the rest of the household linen, it is better to set your washing machine on at least 60 ° C for laundry disinfection. This will be more than enough, especially if you have carried out a prewash and stain removal. In the case of white cotton or linen rags that need a big “facelift”, we can however rise up to 90 ° C. Above all, do not hesitate to add sheets and towels to complete the machine without saturating it with linen. It is indeed necessary to allow a good rinsing of the dirt!
And add fabric softener, a good or bad idea?
The fabric softener may, as with towels, make the tea towels less absorbent. To preserve their absorption capacity, use white vinegar instead. It detaches and eliminates bad odors of humidity on your hand towel and your kitchen towel!