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Friday, February 4, 2011

Wash Your Wash Cloths

This is not going to be ground-breaking, earth-shattering stuff but I feel I have to write this post from experience.
I have had quite a few experiences at other people's homes and from others coming into my home and somewhere along the line we have failed to educate about hygienic home practices.
I'm not talking about bombing everything with chemicals.
We don't use any commercial cleaning products in fact.
Most of my cleaning is done with Enjo and water BUT for everyday washing up and bench wiping and finger wiping we need cloths and here is where I see a lot of confusion.
While we will never achieve a sterile environment, and really you wouldn't want to as that is the pendulum swinging too far the other way, preventing the spread of salmonella, E. coli etc is preferable in a food handling environment.

Wet dishcloths are the perfect environment for breeding bacteria so Rule 1. At the very least, rinse out the crud you have wiped up and squeeze all the moisture out and hang to dry. You will not be killing the bacteria just slowing the growth. Men you are the worst at this job. I've seen you carry loads of lumber, bags of feed, I've even seen you take the lids off impossible jars but when it comes to wringing out a dish cloth, you guys are as weak as.....well dish water.

Which leads us to Rule 2. At the very least one new cloth a day. This applies to your tea towels too. Whether you have a routine of at the end of the day when you go to bed, throw your cloths into the wash. Don't be stingy here though, if you are having as extraordinary day in the kitchen with cooking etc. by all means shout yourself another clean cloth.

Rule 3. A kitchen cloth is not for wiping babies faces. If you doubt this rule then take another look at the photo of salmonella above and think about it. Do you want to be stuffing all manner of ick onto your child's porthole to their digestive and respiratory tracts? Worse, do you want to introduce that bacteria to any open skin areas? Conversely, why would you want to rub your childs' snot back over your counter top? Remember, I am speaking from experience here and I mean this in the kindest way...some are not thought processing through what they are doing.

Rule 4. If you have to wipe a spill from the floor throw the cloth in the wash straight away and get a fresh one out. You can't go wiping floors then counters. Pretty straightforward and self explanatory but it is a pretty commonly broken rule.

Just to be really pedantic, Rule 5. your cloths all have their own functions. A wash cloth, wipes spills, debris and benches. Your tea towel wipes dishes, that's all, NOT your hands. A hand towel wipes hands. A clearly defined separate cloth, usually a hand towel of toweling material is helpful. What is also desirable to encourage regular hand washing is soap at the kitchen sink. After I go down to feed chooks and collect the eggs, the very next thing I do after putting the eggs away is to wash my hands after touching all manner of surfaces in the chook yard. I love those guys but they walk in their own poo and then walk all over every surface even the gates.

I'm not saying this next one is a rule but I find it more desirable to wash my kitchen and cleaning cloths in the one wash by themselves. Even though we are all energy and resource conscious, I still can't bring myself to mix these in with my I hang them over the hamper to dry (to reduce the pleasant breeding environment for bacteria) and do a wash every four days or so.

So we could go on and on about wiping down sinks, benches blah blah blah but I wanted to really get a handle on the whole cloths in the kitchen thing for people. If someone hasn't told you, then you don't know. I don't want to talk about sponges....some people love them, some hate them...bottom line is you can't wash them everyday like a cloth so up to you.

Note: I have been meaning to show you crochet girls how to do the stitch that I used in the wash cloth in the first photo. It's great for blankets too but that's another post.


  1. Important topic - well said :-)

  2. Important tips Tanya, and luckily I can say that I grab a fresh dishcloth every morning and several tea towels over the day. I have a separate towel for hands that gets changed every day too. Oh and I'd like to add that I have one of those "men" in this house lol!

    Great post...

    have a great day,

  3. Good points, but preaching to the converted here. Have you ever caught a visitor wiping dishes with your hand towel? Yuk.

  4. Rule #6: Toilet paper should feed from the top of the roll, not the bottom.
    Rule #7: Share that pattern pronto, please!

  5. my husband is the number 1, #4 rule breaker . . .
    unfortunately, he won't be reading this blog.
    love that cloth!

  6. All great rules and ones I follow as well. I thought that was a knitted cloth. What pattern do you use?

  7. I love your little laundry basket cart in the photo. Wish I had one of those. Actually got to hang out my first load of laundry for the new year.

  8. Yes indeed, all good rules. I'm a stickler for not letting anyone use the cloth for floors! Would be interested in the pattern, I've not done any crochet for years though so I hope it's easy!

  9. Ever since I read this I have become so much more aware of how often I change my clothes and hand towels! When ever I do I think of you!

    Good post : o )


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