13 April 2011

"Oo--oo, that smell... Can't you smell that smell?" --Lynyrd Skynyrd

Can we talk towels?* (Anyone can talk turkey, amIright?)

I have had the experience of being in a guy's bathroom and smelling an odor. And, because sometimes I am too curious for my own good, I tracked that odor to its source: the towels. Ever smell someone's towels and think "Ew!"? This particular Ew! smell was of the musty, moldy sort. And, since everything else appeared to be reasonably clean/non-smelly, I realized this person must have been using these towels, sans washing, since Balki was telling cousin Larry, "Well, of courz nut, don be reedeeculous!"

I wondered if I got close to this reusing towel guy**, would he also have that smell? (Ew!) Did he not smell the smell? Did he smell it and like it? Did he just not care? None of these were good options so I never broached the subject with him. I, also, gratefully never found need to stay at his place. On rare visits that included a bathroom break, I dried my hands on my pants.

On the other end of the towelly spectrum, we have sometimes stayed with folks who provided us with fresh towels every day. EVERY. DAY. Even the fancy hotels try to avoid that nowadays, citing environmental concerns.

My folks never covered this topic with me and I don't really want to learn it on the streets. So, I'm asking you (answers to any or all are appreciated):

  1. How often do you change your own bath towel?
  2. Do you have separate "guest" towels?
  3. When you are in a bathroom and there are paper "guest" towels (aka printed napkins) and regular (terry) hand towels, which do you go for?
  4. What's your clean towel frequency expectation when staying with someone else?
  5. Am I the only one that loves those new public restroom high-powered hand dryers that nearly blow your skin off?

* Because you count on me to take on the important topics of the day. Tomorrow... Butterfinger versus Chunky Singles: Which candy has the best porn name?

** And, no, he was not Vince, of ShamWow! fame.


Anonymous said...

Long time, no comment!

1) At least weekly. More if I'm feeling fancy. (Is that gross? How often are we supposed to change? No one taught me, either!)

2) Oh, man, no. But then, I don't have guests (ever? Pretty much!) so it's a nonissue.

3) Where did you get such glamorous friends?

4) Um...same as at my own apartment? I think?

5) Probably!

Lemon Gloria said...

Did you ever read that David Sedaris short story (can't remember which book) in which they had brown towels in the bathroom and one of the family members was wiping his or her butt with them? Like so many of his stories, I laughed and laughed.

The Bug said...

1. Once a week
2. No - but we don't have guests either
3. I would use the paper ones (even though I would be sad for the environment). I figure if they put them there then they don't WANT me to use the real towel.
4. I would use the same one for my whole visit (if I'm there longer than a week then I'd better be helping out with laundry!).
5. I LOVE THOSE DRYERS! If I can't kill trees to dry my hands then I want a dryer that actually DRIES my hands.

Tania said...

1. My intention is once a week...
2 We have default guest towels because they are the wrong colour for my own washroom
3. Paper ones!
4. In a hotel for a week, I would like the towels changed once
5. I love those dryers. They blow back the skin and I can practically see my hands as skeletons. Cool.

HK said...

1. Once a week, twice now that I go jogging regularly
2. Yes. When I'm lazy and don't do laundry, I dip into the guest towels and always feel bad about it. In my head: "These are for guests!"
3. Cloth. I've only seen paper in a public bathroom
4. Use the same towels for duration of your stay or a week, whichever comes first
5. I for one, dislike

suicide_blond said...

in your bachelor friends defense..im betting his towels soured in the wash..and now he cant get rid of the smell (a cup of white vinegar in the rinse would do him right proper!)
that said..i do my towels on friday..and guests get clean towels as often as they like...but there is a giant stack of clean ones tub side at all times..
also ONLY Egyptian cotton..(except for a few hotel towels that follow me home) and ONLY white...you can find them inexpensively at marshalls tj maxx.. white can be bleached..

Unknown said...

This seems to be a trend with some of my male friends, the ill-smelling-towel trend. I think they do the wash and then forget about it. For days. I, however, always have fresh (and fresh smelling) towels for guests.

Anonymous said...

How did weekly become the consensus?? I can use mine for a week and it smells pretty much the same as it did when I took it out of the dryer (which is to say: "like an English Country Garden!", the song my officemates are playing right now). What on earth are people doing in the shower that causes their towels to get so dirty?

Guests, of course, get brand new towels when they arrive in order to guarantee freshness.

I like the high-powered dryers because they actually work. You mean the oftentimes yellow ones (Dyson?), not those lame big-reflective button that never gets your hands dry no matter how hard you rub them, right?

Mike said...

What smell?

3. Never seen paper at someone's house.
5. Love those things.

Little Ms Blogger said...

How often do you change your own bath towel?

I change the bath towels every 3 days, not twice a week, but every 3 days.

Do you have separate "guest" towels?

Umm... no. However, I believe a clean towel is good enough.

When you are in a bathroom and there are paper "guest" towels (aka printed napkins) and regular (terry) hand towels, which do you go for?


What's your clean towel frequency expectation when staying with someone else?

Ummm up to 3 days --

Am I the only one that loves those new public restroom high-powered hand dryers that nearly blow your skin off?

NO you are not the only one. I LOVE THEM....

Cyndy said...

2.Not really. The plain white towels we have all pretty much look the same.
3.Paper, because I'm a germophobe. There's no way to know how thoroughly everyone else before you has washed their hands, among other things. I'd rather dry my hands on my not necessary clean clothing than use a community towel.
4. I know that as a guest I have to graciously take whatever I get and that can be rather awkward sometimes. In very humid houses I guess people just get used to the mildew smell that's sometimes there even in freshly laundered towels and washcloths. I can't stand it though. I always pack a couple of my own washcloths just in case and I try to work some laundry into my stay to see if I can get the smell out of the towels they've given me to use. Sometimes it's hopeless.
5. No you are not. Those dryers are awesome!

asplenia said...

I am a neat freak. I've had the experience of staying somewhere and using mildewy towels to dry off (no other choice) and retaining the foul scent all day as if it'd rubbed off on my skin and stayed there. Towels MUST be clean and smell like it!

Anonymous said...

The best part about public restrooms (wait- has anyone ever said that before?!) is the new blow your skin off dryers. Love them!!
We change towels once a week. Guest towels are a different color which ensures nobody does anything gross with them.

Robin (noteverstill) said...

Dude, anonymous was me. I can't fill out a form properly to save my life today : )
But my word verification thing is now OVOPee, which sounds like something that definitely would merit a towel change.

Brutalism said...

My bath towel gets washed once a week, whether it needs it or not. (Just like my 5-year-old).

I love those dryers, but then you have nothing to open the bathroom door with to protect your clean hands.

Cannot wait for the Butterfinger/chunky singles discussion.

Trooper Thorn said...

Why do you need to wash towels? Aren't you always clean when you use them?

Alex said...

Was smelly towel guy in his 20s? Because not recognizing the value of clean towels is one of the not-quite-an-adult things most people eventually grow out of, like cheap beer and microwave pizza every night.

lacochran's evil twin said...

pureklass: "Where did you get such glamorous friends?" I ask myself this all the time.

Lemon Gloria: LOVELOVELOVE Sedaris. I've heard him read at Lisner twice. So much better than the voice in my head.

The Bug: Right? They are so much better than the old white ones with the silver button.

Mac and Cheese: Sort of like being in one of those centrifugal rides at the amusement park, right?

HK: It's funny how certain items take on "guest" status and we feel guilty using them. Like "the good china".

suicide_blond: "Soured in the wash"? Did he wash them with sourkraut? I've never heard of this.

Vivian: I never suspected otherwise.

Justin: I noticed you didn't actually put a date on when you change towels. *cough* And, yes, they probably are Dyson. They're the wavy ones where you put your hands in between something that looks like two sides of a panini press.

Mike: *looks discretely away and puts hand over nose*

Little Ms Blogger: Do you have a reminder on your calendar?

Cyndy: Good idea to work a laundry round in.

asplenia: Amen!

Anonymous/Robin (noteverstill): Dude, that would make a great name for one of those home pregnancy tests!

Brutalism: But do you wash the child or the towel first?

Trooper Thorn: I'd sure like to think so.

Alex: He was in his 30s at the time. And even bad pizza is good pizza.

Pinpaks said...

hello! popped over from LMB's blog after seeing your funny comment and blog name :) glad I did.
I wash my towels once a week too.
I do not have separate guest towels, and like LMB I feel a clean one will do.
I do not like the feel of wet paper, esp flimsy ones, so I would most prob go for the terry cloth.
And like someone above said, I take my own towels while visiting. Even at the hotel.
I LOVE the hand dryers.

and in your friends defense and mine, maybe he can't smell it. I can't. and I am not kidding. I am odor blind for 99% of odors, and I have no recall memory for odors either. good or bad. Unless if it is very very pungent and overpowering. another reason why I wash my towels min. once a week. :D I never know.

GreenCanary said...

Those high-powered hand driers (dryers?) are the best! I like watching my skin fan out like Play-Doh.

On a side note, once your towels smell like that, there is only one way to fix it: WHITE VINEGAR. For serious. Dump an ass-load of vinegar into the washing machine along with your normal detergent and you'll get non-nasty towels! Voila!