General Question

occ's avatar

Why do dishtowels always have a weird smell?

Asked by occ (4046points) February 20th, 2010

I have found that dishtowels have a weird smell to them, even right after they’ve been washed and dried (the smell is not the same as the smell of handtowels or bathroom towels). Why is this?

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13 Answers

faye's avatar

hmm, I do not find this to be so. I use Gain-maybe the commercials are true.

lilikoi's avatar

No, grease is not a detergent…

Seriously though, I do not have this problem, and I really do think it could be the presence of grease that causes the smell. What else do you have in a kitchen that’s not found in the bathroom?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I find that if I use dishtowels just to dry clean dishes but not to clean up the sink or counter and if I hang them up after use they don’t develop that distinctive smell.

I suspect when used as all purpose towels in the kitchen they become a perfect medium for mold and mildew growth and then they never smell clean, especially if they are not rinsed well after each use and hung up to dry out between uses.

Does this sound reasonable?

galileogirl's avatar

They don’t when they are clean.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

How often are you washing them? I throw the dishtowel in the wash every day or two, depending on usage. Do you have enough dishtowels to wash with frequency? I have about 18 dishtowels. I have thin, linen-like ones for drying glassware, and heavier ones for pots and pans. Some of the linen ones are 30 years old, faded, but are still going strong. I use rags and sponges for wiping up wet stuff; those get bleached.

ucme's avatar

Over here (England) they’re known as teatowels.They smell really fresh & clean to me.

thriftymaid's avatar

Get fresh ones twice a day and they won’t.

ccrow's avatar

Mine don’t…. however, I am a bit anal about keeping them, & my dishcloths clean, so I change them out daily & when laundering them use hot water & bleach. (My mom always used a sponge for dishwashing & I hated the funky smell that thing developed. :-/)

thriftymaid's avatar

@ccrow Yeah, the sponge is way funky.

TheJoker's avatar

You probably need to buy new ones. Detergent can only do so much, & when the towels get old they just become feisty.

stallion44107's avatar

let’s see…..germs? mold? mildew? bacteria? irregular washing? and lastly….......what the hell are you wiping with them???

try wetting them lightly and then microwaving. THEN throw them in the wash.

classicalpete's avatar

Sorry I can’t suggest a solution, but I can confirm that this problem exists. It’s a sour, slightly resinous smell. I used to think it was coming from the wooden drawer, but no amount of washing will get rid of it. I wonder if it’s the linen giving off gas?

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