Is there an optimal way to hang towels on a heated towel rail?
August 8, 2012 9:46 PM   Subscribe

Is there an optimal way to hang towels on a heated towel rail?

I've got a heated towel rail in the bathroom. It's a ladder design, with 7 rungs. It's the same width as a standard sized towel.

Is there any particular way of arranging towels on it for maximum heating effectiveness?

I've always just draped one towel about 3 rungs down from the top, and then the other on the top rung. If there are any more towels, they'd go further down, so counting from the top, there's a towel on rungs 1, 3 & 5, in a kind of concentric inverted "U".

However, in showrooms & house inspections etc, you often see towels threaded through in a kind of "S" pattern. This makes me wonder if it's somehow better to have some of the heated rungs exposed? Does draping them in an upside down "U" shape just trap moisture in the centre?

For what it's worth, the towel rail is intended mostly for drying towels in between uses, and not specifically for making them warm & cozy except as a handy byproduct of drying them.
posted by UbuRoivas to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
 
If there's lots of turbulence carrying the heated air away from the rack, then having more of the towel's surface area in direct contact with the rack will probably improve the extent of heating and thus increase the evaporation rate. Also it will probably decrease the likelihood that members of the public will knock the towels off the rack. But I am speculating wildly.
posted by gingerest at 9:54 PM on August 8, 2012


I'd think the optimal way of hanging the towels for drying would be very different from the optimal way for making them warm & cozy. For drying you want to maximise airflow and surface area (although in some conditions there would be a tradeoff between losing moisture and losing heat), while for warm & cozy you want to minimise both. Either way you want to maximise heat flow from the rail into the towel.

I think your way of arranging them is probably good for drying, except that a better order would be 1, 5, 3. If there are only two towels, you could pull the top one further down at the front and the bottom one further down at the back, to increase the outwards-facing drying surface.

However, in showrooms & house inspections etc, you often see towels threaded through in a kind of "S" pattern.

I bet this is just to make sure everyone can see the heated towel rail. You know what they say, "location, location, heated towel rail".
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:09 AM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


except that a better order would be 1, 5, 3

I'm not sure how this differs. The towel on rail 1 is always on the outermost side of the inverted U, 3 must by definition be the next layer in, then 5 is the innermost layer. How is the 5 supposed to somehow end up on the outside of 3?

Or are you referring to the sequence in time for hanging the towels? That's something I hadn't thought of...perhaps I need to shuffle them around so that the wettest is always placed on 1 for easiest evaporation...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:40 AM on August 9, 2012


You're right, that doesn't make sense. What I meant to say was that if you have only two towels, they should go on rungs 1 and 5 (a third towel can go on rung 3).

perhaps I need to shuffle them around so that the wettest is always placed on 1 for easiest evaporation...?

Definitely.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:49 AM on August 9, 2012


I sort-of-lived in London for two months and burned myself so many times on that blasted towel rail I lost count. Since it was the only towel bar in a bathroom shared by two people, there was a lot of jockeying for position, but I finally figured out the optimal hanging arrangement for our particular situation.

There were two tiers of towel usage: ones that were sopping wet and needed the heat to dry, and ones that were only a bit damp, and could mostly air dry.

The sopping ones were a washcloth and the floor towel (because the floor always got soaked because there wasn't any shower curtain because apparently the Brits don't believe in shower curtains--don't even get me started on that rant), and those were hung across a rail hanging down over other rails to maximize both air flow and exposure to heat. They took up most of the towel bar room so as not to crowd anything.

The daily towels got draped over the top of the side rails (top arms of the ladder) and were allowed to just hang free. These got completely dry and toasty enough for our tastes. There was also a hand towel, which we looped just around one side so we could have easy access without risking a facial burn.

I never understood how the cleaning lady wove them through the bars without completely burning the bejesus out of her hands. Maybe she wore work gloves.
posted by phunniemee at 6:14 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks, all! "Best answer marks" for new (to me) ideas for (a) rearranging towels depending on wetness & (b) making use of the top 'corners' to capture the heat coming out of the vertical side rails.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:20 PM on August 12, 2012


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