How Do Hotels Sanitize Towels To Ensure Cleanliness


When we stay at hotels, we expect the utmost cleanliness and comfort, especially when it comes to towels. Towels are an essential part of our hotel experience, and it’s important to know how hotels maintain their hygiene standards to ensure the well-being of guests.

In this article, we will delve into the process of how hotels sanitize towels, explore the various methods employed, address frequently asked questions, and ultimately highlight the efforts made by the hospitality industry to provide clean and sanitized towels for their guests.

How Do Hotels Sanitize Towels – Washing and Detergent

Hotels usually pre-soak their towels in bleach or vinegar. After soaking, the towels are washed with hot water using regular detergent.

The first and most crucial step in the towel sanitization process is washing. Hotels typically have their own laundry facilities or contract with professional laundry services to handle the extensive volume of towels. Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  • Sorting: Before washing, the towels are sorted according to their color and level of dirtiness. This prevents colors from bleeding and ensures effective cleaning.
  • Pre-Treatment: Stains and spots are pre-treated using specialized stain removers to maximize the chances of complete removal during the wash cycle.
  • Laundry Detergent: High-quality commercial-grade laundry detergents are used, which are specifically designed to remove stains, odors, and bacteria. These detergents contain enzymes and surfactants that break down dirt and kill bacteria effectively.
  • Water Temperature: Hotels typically use hot water for washing towels as it aids in removing stains and sanitizing the fabric. The temperature can vary, but it generally ranges between 130°F (54°C) and 160°F (71°C).
  • Washing Cycle: Towels go through a thorough washing cycle, which includes agitation and rinsing to remove dirt and detergent residues. The cycle duration and intensity depend on the hotel’s laundering equipment and guidelines.

Bleaching and Disinfecting

While washing effectively removes dirt and stains, it might not completely eliminate all bacteria and viruses. Therefore, hotels often employ additional measures to ensure maximum sanitation.

The following steps are taken to bleach and disinfect towels:

  • Bleaching: Chlorine bleach is commonly used in hotel laundry facilities to whiten and disinfect towels. It is highly effective in killing a broad range of pathogens, including bacteria and viruses. However, excessive or improper use of bleach can cause towel degradation and discoloration.
  • Oxygen Bleach: Some hotels opt for oxygen bleach as a milder alternative to chlorine bleach. Oxygen bleach is gentler on fabrics and colors while still providing effective disinfection. It is an eco-friendly choice, as it breaks down into water and oxygen.
  • Disinfecting Agents: Hotels may also use specific disinfecting agents, such as hydrogen peroxide or quaternary ammonium compounds, to ensure thorough disinfection. These agents have antimicrobial properties that effectively kill bacteria and viruses.

Drying and Folding

After the towels have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, they go through the drying and folding process. This step is crucial to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Drying: Hotels use commercial-grade dryers with high heat settings to dry the towels. The high temperatures effectively eliminate any remaining moisture, which is crucial for preventing bacterial growth. Some hotels may also use dryer sheets or fabric softeners to add a pleasant scent and softness to the towels.
  • Folding and Storage: Once the towels are dry, they are carefully folded and stored in a clean and dry environment. Hotels often use dedicated shelves or cabinets to ensure the towels remain protected until they are ready for use.

How Do Hotels Sanitize Towels FAQs

Are hotel towels really clean?

Yes, hotel towels are typically clean and sanitized. Hotels follow strict laundry protocols and use professional-grade equipment, detergents, and disinfectants to ensure the cleanliness and hygiene of their towels. 

How often are hotel towels washed?

The frequency of towel washing varies depending on the hotel’s policies and the guest’s length of stay. Most hotels change and wash towels daily or upon a guest’s request.

However, some hotels have implemented environmentally friendly practices, such as allowing guests to reuse towels for multiple days to conserve water and energy.

How do hotels keep their towels smelling fresh?

Hotels keep their towels fresh after multiple washes along with the use of brighteners. To keep your towels smelling fresh, use scented laundry products, and make sure to dry properly before storing them in a clean and dry place. 


Hotels prioritize cleanliness and guest satisfaction, and the sanitization of towels is an integral part of their commitment to hygiene standards. Through meticulous washing, and effective use of detergents, bleach, and disinfectants, hotels ensure that their towels are clean and free from harmful pathogens.

The process involves sorting, pre-treatment, washing with commercial-grade detergents, bleaching or disinfecting, followed by thorough drying and proper storage.

While hotel towels may not be entirely germ-free, extensive sanitation measures greatly reduce the risk of contamination.

So the next time you stay at a hotel, rest assured that the towels provided have gone through a rigorous process to ensure your comfort and well-being.

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