Cleaning with used bath towels
August 29, 2006 12:43 AM   Subscribe

Is it wrong to take a dirty bath towel from the dirty clothes hamper to clean the toilet bowel rim? I do put it back in the hamper.
posted by the giant pill to Grab Bag (49 answers total)
 
As long as nobody catches you in the act, you're golden.

Just don't use a cloth you care about to clean your telephone .
posted by flabdablet at 12:47 AM on August 29, 2006


Wrong? No.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:49 AM on August 29, 2006


Thanks for cleaning the toilet bowl rim.
posted by beatrice at 12:55 AM on August 29, 2006


It's ok, but I wouldn't necessarily put it back in the same hamper with the rest of your "good" towels or clothes. There's going to be cleaner on it which could stain/discolor the contents of your hamper and, of course, there's going to be ickey toilet gunk
posted by nathan_teske at 1:01 AM on August 29, 2006


Why not use other dirty clothes in the dirty clothes hamper? What's so special about a (dirty) towel that makes you choose it?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:06 AM on August 29, 2006


Would you use your favorite shirt for the same cleaning job? If yes, then it is not wrong, but like fladablet said, don't let anyone catch you in the act (especially if you are using their favorite shirt).
posted by caddis at 1:24 AM on August 29, 2006


Of course, one has to ask, what is wrong with using toilet paper for this task?
posted by caddis at 1:25 AM on August 29, 2006


So long as you don't have any housemates who use dirty bath towels from the hamper to wipe their face after shaving.
posted by cogat at 1:44 AM on August 29, 2006


Speaking only for myself: man, if I caught you doing that in my house, I'd freak. What you do with your own towels is your business, though, I guess.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:45 AM on August 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


No. It's all going to get washed.
posted by wsg at 2:04 AM on August 29, 2006


Hmm. I'm in the bathroom, standing over the toilet, and I've got to clean up a little grunge (piss? I'll assume you aren't crapping on the seat) that is on the toilet. And, damn it, all I've got to work with is... toilet paper? Only toilet paper? Am I going to use a couple squares of cheap, disposable toilet paper that I can drop directly into the toilet I'm cleaning?

Not on your nellie! I will use... towels! I will use our finest bath towels to wipe the crud off the toilet. Brilliant!

1. Yes.
2. Moot, because 1 = yes, always wrong, gross, you should be ashamed of even asking about it. It is also wrong to use your kitchen spatula to scrape a dog turd off the linoleum. (I know I'm being a jerk, but I just want to make sure you never invite me over. )
posted by pracowity at 2:07 AM on August 29, 2006 [3 favorites]


This is something you have to decide on your own. I like to use a little self-test I call the "slippery slope" in these situations. To wit:

If I wipe the toilet seat rim with a dirty towel, I'm probably getting pee on the towel, tho I can't see it. If I'm fine with that, then logically it's OK, if I dribble a bit next time I pee, to wipe that up with a dirty towel. If that's still OK, then (if I'm of the vaginal persuasion), it's logically not any different to grab that dirty towel to wipe myself after I pee. Still OK? There's probably a wee bit of fecal matter on that rim, then, isn't there. Isn't there? If that's OK, why not wipe your ass with the towel? If that's OK, why not wipe your ass with your favorite shirt (as mentioned above)? No different, right? Dilemma resolved yet? Don't make me go into the kitchen.

Moral: If the action you're contemplating, no matter how easy to rationalize, takes you on journey the logical destination of which is revolting to you, then it's probably better to avoid that road altogether.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:21 AM on August 29, 2006 [2 favorites]


PS -- that last part is good career advice, too.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:22 AM on August 29, 2006


It depends on the temperature you are going to wash this at. If it's something that can only be washed at 30°C, all the germs and virii will do in the washing machine is do the happy dance and spread to the rest of your laundry.

Do it, but not in front of guests, and only if you are going to wash the item in question hot enough.
posted by uncle harold at 3:26 AM on August 29, 2006


I wouldn't advise it for many reasons, but a main consideration is that urine will bleach fabrics.
posted by headspace at 4:37 AM on August 29, 2006


No, it's not wrong. If you have roomates that are sqeamish then it may be objectionable.
posted by LoriFLA at 4:56 AM on August 29, 2006


I think it is wrong. If everyone cleaned the toilet rim every time they used the facilities, we would put cleaning staff out of work.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:17 AM on August 29, 2006


Assuming this is your house, or a house you share, couldn't you just buy one of the many bleach wipes that are out there and leave it in a bathroom cabinet? They are fairly inexpensive, and better than dirtying your towels and letting them sit in the hamper (moist and dirty). Plus you get the benefit of sanitizing at the same time (unlike with toilet paper).
posted by genefinder at 5:18 AM on August 29, 2006


Yeah, is this your house and your towel?

In the restroom at work I typically use toilet paper if it is a problem. Even at home I use TP or a rag I typically keep under the sink.
posted by JJ86 at 5:52 AM on August 29, 2006


Ditto genefinder—get some damn bleach wipes and use them. I would never use a towel that I was going to use on my body (or that someone else was going to use on their body) for that purpose.
posted by limeonaire at 5:58 AM on August 29, 2006


If I lived with you, I would have a major problem with it, and I'm generally not squeamish about germs.
posted by dame at 5:59 AM on August 29, 2006


The only problem I have with it is it is going back in the hamper.
You reach in there to get the clothes to wash them and stuff touches your forearms, etc. My vote is it's fine- but icky rags in my house go in a pile right in front of the washing machine... handled to prepare for ick and then I wash up well.
posted by beccaj at 6:04 AM on August 29, 2006


Moral: If the action you're contemplating, no matter how easy to rationalize, takes you on journey the logical destination of which is revolting to you, then it's probably better to avoid that road altogether.

Of course this is true, but the action described by no means does lead to that revolting destination. If this was the case, anyone with a mildly gross habit would, before they knew it, be reduced to masturbating in their own filth whilst eating cheerio’s out of the box all day, but doesn’t seem much more likely than swipping a french-fry from your friend's plate leading you down the path to mass-murder.

Yeah, it’s probably fine if you wash it thoroughly and at a high temperature afterwards, and are sure no one’s going to take out a dirty towel and use it.
posted by ed\26h at 6:06 AM on August 29, 2006


What dame said. Seriously, the giant pill: what's wrong with using toilet paper?
posted by mediareport at 6:07 AM on August 29, 2006


It's fine. You're going to wash everything anyway. And this way, you're not filling a landfill with those silly bleach wipes.
posted by desuetude at 6:19 AM on August 29, 2006


Unless you're washing them in bleach and boiling water, all you're doing is spreading very dangerous bacteria to the rest of your clothes. This isn't a good idea.

Personally, I'd probably try to never have any sort of physical contact with someone who cleans toilets that way. To the level of shunning, with cries of "unclean! unclean!".
posted by blue_beetle at 6:21 AM on August 29, 2006


Wrong. Use TP.
posted by languagehat at 6:34 AM on August 29, 2006


That article also says "There are a hundred times more bacteria on a cutting board than a toilet seat, so lick a toilet seat rather than a cutting board.' So you better not be washing any of your kitchen hand towels with your clothes either.
posted by smackfu at 6:34 AM on August 29, 2006


OK, say you have to lick one or the other. Toilet seat or cutting board?
posted by pracowity at 6:48 AM on August 29, 2006


I'm much more concerned about washing my kitchen towels than anything I use to clean the bathroom. Anyway, I put underwear right in the cold/cold wash with the rest of my clothes and nobody has dropped dead of toilet plague in my vicinity, and also we as a species survived the age before bleachy wipes and one-use toilet brushes, also without much in the way of toilet plagues.

Kitchens are way nastier than bathrooms. Most e.coli infections come from kitchens, not toilets. I wouldn't clean a kitchen counter with a bath towel, but a quick swipe of the toilet rim, especially if you're doing it all the time, is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:16 AM on August 29, 2006


I use TP or a rag I typically keep under the sink.

Aigh!

But seriously, there's far too much wasted time and motion in the bath towel technique. Have you considered wearing extra absorbent socks instead? Pee, wipe rim with foot, hey presto!
posted by naomi at 7:22 AM on August 29, 2006


When I waited tables, we were given rotating assignments, and one of them was to clean the bathrooms. When we played the "which would you rather" game, the choice was always between licking the floor of the men's bathroom and some other horrifying act.

I would choose the cutting board. It may have more bacteria, but it doesn't have the same association. Bet it tastes better, too.
posted by Evangeline at 7:27 AM on August 29, 2006


This is perfectly normal and fine.
posted by jdroth at 7:31 AM on August 29, 2006


It's gross. Don't do it. I'd have a hissy fit if you did that in my home.

Buy yourself some of those clorox wipes that are stocked in the cleaner section of the grocery store. Use a couple then throw them away.
posted by bim at 7:39 AM on August 29, 2006


I find this revolting. I'm sorry, I just do. And I keep my bathroom spotless - to the point of cleaning it twice a week (I'm a girl and I live alone). Then again, I do not keep my laundry basket in the bath, so I don't see how this would come up in my house. I think the Clorox Wipes are a much better idea. I keep them in my bathroom cabinet right next to the extra toilet paper.
posted by Not in my backyard at 8:12 AM on August 29, 2006


Yes, wrong and gross. Use toilet paper or a paper towel or a cleaning rag that is specifically for cleaning gross things (and that will later be washed in hot water).
posted by smich at 8:28 AM on August 29, 2006


Rubber gloves, qtips, alcohol and a magnifying glass.

What?
posted by empyrean at 8:48 AM on August 29, 2006


Wrong and pointless - use toilet paper. Why would you not use toilet paper is the question at hand, then. What the hell are you gaining?
posted by odinsdream at 8:50 AM on August 29, 2006


Well, with a towel, you probably won't get the stuff on your hand. Whereas toilet paper can soak through.
posted by smackfu at 8:59 AM on August 29, 2006


OK, say you have to lick one or the other. Toilet seat or cutting board?

No, it's not wrong. If you have roomates that are sqeamish then it may be objectionable.

Well, one’s duty to the other users of the towel doesn’t hinge on their prejudices as opposed to what might actually harm. Even if a potential towel user would be disgusted by the idea of using it when its covered with cooties or body thetans – this has no bearing on your duty to them as neither of these things actually exist.
posted by ed\26h at 9:10 AM on August 29, 2006


Yeah, that's disgusting. Toilet paper isn't a really great option either but if it's just to wipe up a little bit of pee, that's what I do. With a couple of folds, it's plenty thick to avoid the dreaded seepage. If you're actually *cleaning* the toilet bowl you should have rags specially dedicated for that task and wash them separately....... In a sterilizer. .....With lots of bleach.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:13 AM on August 29, 2006


It is also wrong to use your kitchen spatula to scrape a dog turd off the linoleum.

Heh, if the spatula was thoroughly sterilized after the event – what would be wrong with this?
posted by ed\26h at 9:28 AM on August 29, 2006


Also, maybe if you pee on the toilet so much, you should work on that.
posted by dame at 9:49 AM on August 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


And make sure to burn your underwear after wearing it. You wouldn't want to toss all those bacteria in with the rest of your laundry.
posted by wryly at 10:37 AM on August 29, 2006


Effin gross. Bare hand that shit.
posted by jikel_morten at 11:00 AM on August 29, 2006


I shuddered in fear when I read this, and again while typing this comment. I'll probably shudder again later in the day.

Ick.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:38 PM on August 29, 2006


After reading this thread, I would like to take a moment to thank my saintly wife, who washes my laundry for me, including my under-thingies.
posted by popechunk at 7:14 PM on August 29, 2006


No! Are you really going to feel comfortable drying your sensitive, precious face after shaving with that towl?
posted by dmt at 7:44 PM on August 29, 2006


I firmly believe that Douglas Adams was right about the utility of towels. I buy them at yard sales (<50 cents) and put a large X on them from corner to corner with a sharpie to distinguish them from our bath towels. Much better for wiping a large spill than paper towels and I keep a couple in each car (nice to kneel on when changing a tire or soaking up a spilled soda or drying yourself off if you get caught in the rain). When I collect a bunch of dirty ones I just do them in a separate load (I also use them as shop rags).
posted by 445supermag at 8:53 PM on August 29, 2006


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