According to practitioners of feng shui (Chinese geomancy that is supposed to help improve one’s life by bringing in positive energy), when you dry your body with a bath towel, you’re not just wiping away drops of water, but removing misfortune as well. So, if you use the same bath towel the following day without washing it, you’ll just be reintroducing the misfortune you had gone through the trouble of wiping away the previous day.
If that’s true, and the results of a recent survey are to be believed, then some of us are far luckier than others…
When it comes to the daily washing of our towels, some may claim that we’re never cleaner then when we’ve just stepped out of the bath or shower, so there’s little worry of our towels getting grubby. Others, perhaps rightly, counter with the fact that rubbing a towel against your body takes off dead skin that sticks to the moist towel and becomes an ideal nesting place for bacteria.
In an effort to find out what most people in Japan were doing, Shukan News conducted an internet survey asking, “How frequently do you wash your bath towel?” They received a rather large sampling of 139,460 valid responses.
Here are the results.
- Every day: 47.0%
- Once or more every 3 days: 24.8%
- Once or more a week: 16.1%
- Once or more every 2 weeks: 3.5%
- Once or more a month: 1.7%
- Once or more every 3 months: 0.5%
- Once or more every 6 months: 0.2%
- Less than once every 6 months: 0.2%
- Don’t wash the towel: 0.6%
- Don’t know 5.4%
Almost half of respondents answered they washed their bath towel after every use, putting regular washers in the clear majority. Comments included, “Doesn’t everyone? I would be surprised if anyone answered anything else.” “Using the towel again without washing it is gross.” “If the towel isn’t properly taken care of immediately after use, it will quickly fill with bacteria, using such a towel to wipe dry after cleaning yourself in the shower makes no sense.”
Those answering “once or more every three days,” the next most common response, said things like, “We only have one towel for each family member, so I can’t wash them every day. Depending on the weather, I usually wash them twice a week or more.” “We change bath towels every day, but I only wash them once every two to three days.”
With 16.1 percent of respondents answering “once or more a week,” this group was the third largest. Many commented, “You are only using the towel to dry off your body which was cleaned in the shower, I don’t think that much bacteria will grow in the towel between uses.” “You are washing your body every day, so the towel doesn’t matter that much.”
Comments from female respondents were especially noticeable in this third group, including, “I read in a feng shui book that positive energy would decrease if I didn’t wash my towel after every use. I washed it daily for a while; however, I didn’t notice any difference in energy and went back to washing it just once a week which isn’t such a pain.” “I decreased the number of times I washed my towel since purchasing one made by Imabari, as I want to preserve its excellent texture and feel.”
Those washing their towels less frequently than the 87.9 percent who do so at least once a week commented:
- “After drying myself off I soon hang the towel in a sunny and well-ventilated spot. There is no need for me to wash it so often!” (A respondent who answered that they washed their towel once every two weeks)
- “I take a long bath and am meticulous about cleaning my body, once a month is enough for washing my towel!” (Once-a-month respondent)
- “If it doesn’t smell I don’t think it is dirty, besides, my whole family is healthy,” (Once-every-three-months respondent)
- “A towel isn’t something that is supposed to be washed that often,” (Once-every-half-year washer).
While finally, another once-every-half-year respondent stated, “The towel feels best when it dries a little hard!”
The top three occupations for those who answered that they washed their towels daily were, full-time homemaker, part-time worker and student, all positions with a comparatively large amount of flexibility when it comes to time management.
Conversely, the top three occupations for those washing their towels once a week or less were SOHO worker at 22.6 percent, contracted employee or temporary employee at 20.6 percent, and full-time employee (management) at 18.8 percent. Often having to work late into the night, such respondents answered, “I’m only drying my already clean body with the towel, there is no need change it so often, plus, I’m knackered!”
Which side of the argument do you fall on?