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Okay, another banal topic.  But as I'm unpacking boxes and boxes of kitchen stuff, in order to reset my kitchen, I see that I have more than just a few dish towels. I mean, I didn't justpack a bunch of dish towels, I literally used them as packing material as well.

 

I have dish towels that are older than some members here. They look filthy, even after being washed.

 

I have dish towels purchased in Paris, at the Marché Bastille. (They shrunk to half their original size, after a run through the washer and dryer). Dish towels from when I was in cooking school (though they may have been called side towels then). Dish towels from Italy. Dish towels from Spain. China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh (though not from trips there).

 

So - how many dish towels does a normal person have?  And, for how long does that sane, normal person keep them? Like, what's the final straw when you decide the dish towel is ready for the garbage, or some other unfortunate fate?


Edited by weinoo (log)
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6 minutes ago, weinoo said:

I have dish towels that are older than some members here. They look filthy, even after being washed.

You refer to the towels, right ?

 

To your question: we have about a dozen. I have in 10 years maybe replaced one or two, because they lost their structural integrity. Other than that, I see no reason to replace a sturdy piece of cloth, whose pattern or appearance does not matter and only job is to absorb water and the occasional spill ...

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I have about 10 or so. They always start out as nice decorative towels that my wife buys. I'm given strict instructions to not touch them, they're for looks only and if I get my grubby hands on them they will be ruined. 

 

Then in about six months, they become dishtowels.

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But I buy dish towels to really be dish towels. Yet I can't seem to throw them away!

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2 minutes ago, weinoo said:

But I buy dish towels to really be dish towels. Yet I can't seem to throw them away!

 Let us see if we can organize an intervention. 

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I have loads because I am always in search of the 'perfect' dish towel.  

They are microfiber, ribbed, cotton, thick, thin, large, and medium. 

ATK actually did a test to find the best kitchen towel; yes, I have a few of the winner.

I now think there really is no perfect towel.  It's more about its fitting the purpose at the moment.

 

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One of my favorite laugh-out-loud moments in Ruhlman's "Making of a Chef" was when he straight-facedly repeated the CIA's line that it imported its towels from Germany, because nothing made in America was good enough. Seriously, guys? It's a freakin' towel. I've bought them at Walmart in a big bundle, and they worked just fine. 

 

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3 minutes ago, chromedome said:

One of my favorite laugh-out-loud moments in Ruhlman's "Making of a Chef" was when he straight-facedly repeated the CIA's line that it imported its towels from Germany, because nothing made in America was good enough. Seriously, guys? It's a freakin' towel. I've bought them at Walmart in a big bundle, and they worked just fine. 

 

 

Well, mine ARE from Germany and they are excellent :D


Edited by Duvel (log)
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I also have tons of them, and I guess I don't throw them away, either. They end up scrunched at the back of the towel shelf, which is really one all-purpose shelf in the closet. The thing is they get stained and dirty and come out of the wash clean, but still stained. Not very appealing, but they are good cotton towels, so they're really fine, just ugly looking. But just think, if you hadn't kept all those towels, you wouldn't have had all that packing material. 

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I have a dish towel hoarding problem, too.

 

I have three drawers full--and not normal sized drawers.  The drawers are shallow, but very deep.  And they are packed.  I do have them sorted a bit.  One whole drawer holds only white towels--flour sack towels and these other white ones with blue stripes that are awesome.  The other drawer holds the nicer ones (which means the ones that don't have holes bigger than about dime and at least one side doesn't have horrendous stains) that I hang from the oven handle.  The last holds the really bad stained, ugly guys and the decorative ones that I really don't like but can't get rid of because someone gave them to me for a gift and they are perfectly fine (these are usually pastel colored with Easter Bunnies on them or something like that).  

 

My criteria for getting rid of a towel is if there are multiple holes and they have turned a sort of dirty gray color.........And....I never get rid of towels....they never go away....they never leave me....they simply migrate out to the garage and, much like the caterpillar turns into the butterfly (only reversed) they become "garage towels".

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I too have a hording instinct when it comes to side towels/dish towels.  Right now the snowflake /cardinal/snowmen are out.  They will be put away with the reindeers in about 2 weeks when the hearts and solid reds will come out.  When they become too raggedy they become dust towels......

 

 

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I currently have only half a dozen dish towels - 100% cotton, made in Pakistan - one is always hanging from one of the cabinet (fake) drawer handles below the sink. Mostly put to use for hand drying. All of the older towels have begun a new life with my husband as garage towels.

 

There is one decorative towel, not to be used - gift from a friend, that hangs on the handle of my top oven.

 

And several Christmas/Holiday themed towels that have been packed away with the tree ornaments until next year.

 

There are also a dozen or so flour sack towels that we use for dish drying - the one in current use hangs from the handle of the lower oven.

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I too have a sort of dish / hand towel thing. I used to search for good quality ones in all the wrong places and more than once had one melt and stick when I removed a hot sizzle platter from the oven using it instead of the tongs I normally use. Then, on a trip to Italy one market day in Castellina, we found some good quality, but inexpensive ones and bought several and have done so a few times since. All the old ones were promptly relegated to the garage and work shop. Storage is an issue and I recently spotted these little wooden cabinets at a vendor near the craft brewery I go to. I took their picture to help me decide if I want to buy 2 and refinish them and hang them on the wall in 2 places  in the kitchen, 1 for additional spices and one for dish towels.

HC

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I have one drawer full. It's a big drawer.   The formerly colorfully printed linen calendar towels that are now entirely white are used for straining things as are some of the blue and white check collection that must be 30+ years old.  After that, they range in age.  Once they get so many holes that I can't even find a few inches to line a strainer....that's when they become dust cloths!

Two other factors prevent new additions from earning admittance to the towel drawer:  non-absorbancy - why would anyone make towels that repel water?  I don't know, but they do.  I give them a couple of rounds through the washer. Then, they are OUT!  The other issue is towels that aren't cut on the straight grain of the fabric so the hems twist and wrinkle and prevent me from folding them into tidy stacks.  Again, I give them a few washer rounds to see if they will relax.  If not - OUT!

Both of those flaws are usually recognized early, while the towels are still presentable so I use them for lining gift baskets or wrapping other food gifts. 

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I have about 15-20. There are generally two hanging on the towel rack near the sink at any given time. They're used for wiping up spills, wiping down cutting boards or hand-washed dishes, and whatever else. I have several that are a cotton-poly blend that I dislike greatly because they are not very absorbent; those migrate to the back of the drawer and are periodically pulled out to use for dustcloths or folded up for hot pads. The remainder are all-cotton, either terry or the "flour sack" variety.

 

I also have, in the bottom of the china cabinet, a package and a half of flour sack towels (either 12 or 18 in a package) I got at Sams because you just don't see them often and I love them. They get gradually fed into the mix as the others go away. Right now, my goal is to get rid of all the blend ones, but the damn things just won't...wear...out...

 

 

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15 -20 as well.

If they get threadbare they are no good to pick up a hot dish so they wash the sink for a round or two...or wipe off the dog...and then they are done.

 

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I have 10-15.  Best one is at least 20 years old that a friend brought me from Poland.  It's hardly even faded and is my go-to towel....linen I'd guess but have no way of being sure.  It launders beautifully and is just a tad larger than what I'd consider average size.  

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12-15. That's all the drawer space allotted to them allow. I use terry towels but should have a few real "tea" towels. They last my DW and myself for years at a time. Some of them, after they get stained, become farie kitchen towels.

 

I HATE microfiber towels.

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I have one pair of linen towels for drying off the fine crystal. (no lint) But, I have about 20 decorative ones I rotate seasonally which do not get used -they are stored in a tub in the garage. I have a set of six that do the majority of the work. Plus, I started using a sani bucket and side towels to clean the kitchen a couple months ago. I have 30 side towels and actually purchased a plastic drawer to put on my counter near the sink, to store them.

 

BTW, with your older, dirty looking towels, try soaking them in a mixture of powdered oxygenating cleaner and water for about 20 minutes. Also, do a spot test, but occasionally, CLR can be useful if water has a lot of minerals in it which have accumulated in the fabric. Attending then teaching culinary school means I have an advanced degree in doing laundry.

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4 hours ago, Porthos said:

I HATE microfiber towels.

they are good for dusting........

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Around 20 terry towelling, regular size but I almost never use them for drying dishes, though. Also have about 12 small (8"-10" square) ones for minor spills and occasional hot pot lid picker-uppers. Always one of each hanging from the handles of the cupboards below the main prep counter.

 

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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

Around 20 terry towelling, regular size but I almost never use them for drying dishes, though.

 

Drying dishes? I am assuming that you either don't have or don't use a dishwasher.

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3 minutes ago, Porthos said:

 

Drying dishes? I am assuming that you either don't have or don't use a dishwasher.

 

Indeed. Dishwashers are all but unknown in China. My friends think it's a great joke when I try to  tell them such things exist.

 

Not that I'd want one anyway.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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15 hours ago, suzilightning said:

they are good for dusting........

Also for giving bathroom sinks a quick wipe out after toothbrushing.  

 

Well, I have different categories of towels.  Regular, everyday use ones.  I just counted 14 of them (I’m sure there are some in the laundry). 

 

Then, because I love tea towels, I have what I call my decorative ones – and woe to anyone that tries to dry a dish with one.  These are ones brought back from trips abroad – both ours and others.  I have a fabulous one commemorating the William and Kate wedding and a series of them from Buckingham Palace that a friend brings back every time he goes to England.  These are ‘displayed’! 9_9

 

I also have a rag bag hanging in the pantry – towels that are too stained or worn for use except as rags.

 

And then, of course, there are the “holiday towels”.  Christmas, really.  Yes, I’m crazy.

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So many uses for dish towels. But the truth is, I rarely - if ever - use them to dry dishes. I have a dishwasher, but since I'm a one-person household the only time I use it is when I have guests for a meal. Mostly I wash up by hand, and then I let the dishes dry in the dish rack and put them away later. The dish towel's main use is to dry my hands or to clean up spills, etc. while I'm cooking or preparing things in the kitchen. (Which is why they get so ugly, I suppose.) If I need space in the dish rack then I'll dry whatever is in there, but I'll always take out a new towel because I know the one already hanging in the kitchen has seen all sorts of muck. Do most people really use their dish towels to dry dishes?

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