Cleaning Terry Cloth Bar Towels

I work at a small ice cream store in the evenings. We use regular terry cloth bar towels to mop up spills and wipe down counters. I work with all teenagers so asking them to rinse out the towels does not work. I take the towels home every weekend to launder. I first put them through a rinse cycle (warm water) to remove some of the ice cream and anything else on the towels. Next, I refill the washer with HOT water 1 cup of bleach, 1 cap full of Oxyclean and 1 cap full of liquid detergent and then let it soak for at least 12 hours if not more.


Then I run it through the pre-wash cycle. I then run the load through a full heavy duty wash with the bleach, Oxyclean, and soap again. I still don't get all the stains out but the towels were starting to look a little better, then I was off for a week and I'm back to square one. The towels look like they've been cleaning the floor with them again. Any suggestions?

Donna from Eastlake, Ohio

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August 1, 20070 found this helpful

Either establish an incentive program so the teenagers start rinsing, or have a bucket of solution that the towels go into to soak, or go to paper towels. Those teenagers can do more than many people would think if they are managed right - they can be so passionate about ideals if they think their work makes a difference in the world.

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By (Guest Post)
August 1, 20070 found this helpful

Try soaking in a bucket of warm, (not hot) water with aproximaterly 1 cup of white vinegar. Leave over night, then wash in warm soapy. Follow with a pleasant smelling fabric softner (mainly to be rid of the vinegar smell).


Good luck!

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By SheilaMay from NYC (Guest Post)
August 1, 20070 found this helpful

Hot water usually sets stains, especially those from milk and ice cream. Try soaking them as Kimhis suggests, but in cold water with Oxyclean and washing them also in cold water. Unless the cloths are made of white thread and not greige goods (which are dyed white), bleaching will only turn them gray. The heat of the dryer is sufficient to kill any germs that may escape the washing. Good luck.

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By Marlene (Guest Post)
August 3, 20070 found this helpful

I own a restaurant and have the same problem. I put them in the washer with warm water and the laundry detergent from SAMS Club. They wash and rinse. Then I put in 1 cup bleach, 1 cup laundry detergent and 1 cup dry dishwasher detergent, add hot water and let them wash and rinse again.


All but the toughest stains (except some mildew) come out and they are white as new. They don't last quite as long with this treatment, but they are clean!!

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By (Guest Post)
January 21, 20090 found this helpful

I made my way through high school working at a dairy queen with stringent management. We had a big pickle bucket of water with a healthy dollop of bleach in it. When the towels got too nasty to be used, we had to rinse and ring them out in the sink and then put them in that bucket of bleach water.

We weren't allowed to just heap dirty towels in a pile somewhere! When the water in the bucket started getting cloudy with ice cream and bits of toppings it had to be changed. I'm assuming that at the end of the day management would put the towels in the washing machine.

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