. Wet Rag Management
I have received an email: “Rags are my pet peeve! Wet Kitchen rags, bathroom washcloth rags, towels. I have some ideas about drying and storing them until its time to wash them, but I know I would benefit from hearing your take on it. “
The Problems. Wet rags are a challenge for any homemaker for two reasons: 1) If they are not washed within a reasonable period of time, they begin to smell. 2) If they are to be dried before they are washed, they take up a considerable amount of room to dry (although I have heard of some women who put dirty rags into the dryer to dry).
So how do we tackle this problem? I have seen several successful ways which I would like to pass on.
The Rag Tub. If you do your wash regularly (i.e. every day or every other day) and your laundry room is near your kitchen, keep a small plastic tub next to your washing machine for the deposit of all wet wash rags and towels from the kitchen (most women find that this is an important daily exchange to keep things sanitary and sweet-smelling in the kitchen). This keeps them in view for addition to the next load.
The Drying Rack. If you don’t do your wash regularly (i.e. less than every three days) the rags will have to be dried to keep them from smelling, dampening other laundry, and soon making everything around them damp enough to begin mildewing. This can be accomplished in one of several ways:
a) Having a small clothesline hung in your laundry room along a wall (two “eye” bolts screwed into the wall about four inches out from the corner), some heavy string or light nylon rope, and a dozen or so clothespins completes the setup. Use this to hang up the dirty rags until wash day. (I have also seen this system used to hang wet plastic bags for drying and reuse, too.)
b) Having a row of coat hooks also does the job. Hang the rag over the hook and let dry. Clear yesterday’s rags when it is time to add today’s.
Other Racks. I have seen people leave their washrags hanging over the edges of their dirty clothes baskets until they dry, but I find this unsightly and don’t prefer it myself. I have also seen a bathroom towel rack which is exclusively used to dry washcloths before they are thrown in the dirty clothes basket (the job of the person cleaning the bathroom for that day). I have seen other women who encourage their children to take their wash rags (after bathing or showering) down to the laundry room clothesline or “coat rack” in exchange for a small treat (when the system is first being tested and tried).
You may have other ideas. I would enjoy hearing how you solve this problem. Write me soon!
Find more helpful ideas in the House of Order Handbook.
Photo used with permission of sxc.hu.
Below are several additional suggestions:
I have a multiple pant/skirt hanger with clips that I hang my wet dish rags, etc on. Works for me. : )
Thanks for all you do and share!
A happy homemaker! ~Linda H.
Since my husband and I work, the towels being hung over things does not bother me, until I walk in from work. I let wet dish cloths hang over the sink until dry (usually overnight) and the towel over the dishwasher then I put them in my hamper. I also put wet towels over the hall banister to dry while I am away. One of the first things I do when I get home is to put them back in the bathrooms. It’s nice to not have a wet towel smell. On days when I am home I put them over the chairs on the patio to dry fast – unless I am washing them that day. ~Sandy P.
I have a mesh bag hanging on a hook in my laundry room next to my washer. After the rags are well rung out I drop them into this bag. It has lots of ventilation so nothing gets too smelly and they are able to dry. Being right next to my washer is a good reminder to clean them and keeps them separated from the other laundry. I also like this method because It keeps them out of sight. ~Michelle D.
I haven’t completely put this into my system yet, but I have the materials. My plan is to hang a small rack on the inside of each sink cabinet. I found a 3-pack at wal-mart that will be perfect for me because I have 3 sinks. So I keep a washcloth under each bathroom sink for the daily wipe-down and I will hang them on the rack. Every time I wash towels, I will collect those washcloths to be washed as well. Or when I put the hand towels from that room into the laundry, the rags will go too. I will also have a rack under the kitchen sink, mostly for drying of one day’s rags before sending them to the laundry.
I don’t know if that’s helpful, but it is going to help me keep up the daily routine of wiping out my bathroom sinks at least. Thank you so much for all of your tips!! Your systems have done wonders for my organization and my house. ~Geneve F.
This is what I do when it comes to rags…The kitchen rag and sponge (and sometimes the kitchen sink plungers) go into the dishwasher every night when the dishes are being done….this sanitizes them and gets rid of any smell. I cannot handle yucky smells so I may be a bit extreme about this. As for the other rags…I do hang them over my hamper until they dry but sometimes they go straight into a bleach wash in the washing machine to soak a bit…it just usually depends on what I cleaned up…but this usually happens for pet accidents. So this is what I do. Have a great day! ~Kathy M.
Marie, I hang them over the washer as it is downstairs away from everything. Then I know to get them in the next cycle. If neccessary, they can be tossed in to soak with bleach in the washer while waiting. Have a great day. ~Mary A.
Here’s my wet rag solution… no pun intended: I keep a bucket in the laundry room or by the laundry basket. Mine is a Home Depot orange bucket (no overlooking that!) that cost about $2.50. In it, I have water and an oxygenated cleaner (OxyClean, or something like that) that’s a presoak. My towels never have to dry before laundering, and — since they’re covered with water — there’sno smell. Of course, this is just a short-term “holding area” for a day or two.
However, the oxygen-related ingredients usually deal with the bacteria (and its odors) in the rags and towels. For kitchen rags (and sponges): I rinse them, and then wash them in the dishwasher, on the top rack. Since we run the dishwasher most days, rags & sponges don’t have time to get smelly.
Cheerfully, ~Eibhlin (Eileen) M.
I use a ton of kitchen rags because I have 2 little ones and I prefer to get a clean rag every time I wipe their faces. I’ve cut a couple of flannel sheets into 1 foot square pieces and use those. This means I have 100 or so matching rags. I’ve hung 12 little hooks in the broom closet and put a garbage-can-slash-laundry-hamper in the bottom. When I use a rag, I hang it on the hook. When it has dried, I drop it in the bucket. All other kitchen laundry (towels, bibs …) goes in there too, and I only have to wash it once a week or so. ~Christina Hullinger