How can I keep my dish cloths that I use for drying dishes looking as great as they were when I first bought them? After I use them a few times and wash them in the machine. They come out smelling and looking like rags.
Roberta from Toronto, Ontario
I use bleach on my dish towels to keep them clean smelling. This will bleach out the color, but I prefer the clean smell. You could use the non-chlorine bleach to preserve the color. some other things that you can do to take the sour smell out of towels is too add 1/2 cup of ammonia to the wash (also takes out some color) or a 1/2 cup of baking soda. (Check the box; you'll see it is recommended for this.) Since the baking soda is not as strong, it will not harm the color of your towels. I have also heard that people use vinegar, but I have not tried that myself.
I also think that if you take a fresh towel every day, so that they do not get so soiled, they will stay nicer longer. I had dish cloths that I used for napkins, and they were nice and white for years. The ones that I used in the kitchen got grey and old from the hard use in a few months. I also think that one of the reasons that these towels look so shabby so quickly is that they are usually made from very poor quality cotton. I certainly don't spend a lot on tea towels; perhaps if one did, they wouldn't wear out so fast.
You could run them through a dishwasher, yours or a friend's, the heat would kill the smell. Or you could get them sopping wet and fold them up small, and then microwave them (not for too long of course, for the fire hazard). Best though is the bleach treatment.
I just found a great towel for the kitchen...a hand towel like we use in the bathroom. also I find by getting the dark shades it looks better as stains do not show. I found some nice ones at Wal Mart for
$ 2.00 which are nice an thick, more so than the reg. kitchen towels.
Please don't mix Oxiclean & bleach or amonia... a deadly gas can form!
Anita - Montclair, NJ
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