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How do you keep your kitchen towel handy while cooking?

I love my cooking towels, but I haven't yet found a good way to keep them handy while cooking. I seem to always need to search for them on whatever counter they have been thrown on and when things get hectic I have to remember to of course not put them too close to any open flames. Do you do the wasteband tuck? Not sure, why I haven't figured out a solution to this. I keep a few stored on the handle of the oven and usually fold them up after cooking for storage, but folding and putting them back everytime they are used while cooking is somewhat impractical.

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  1. I keep mine draped over my right shoulder. I'm left-handed, so that keeps it out of the way, but handy when I need it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tracylee

      i use the same method - over my left shoulder because i'm right-handed.

      1. re: tracylee

        that's it, just where I need it.

        1. re: tracylee

          Me too. Works great, except for the multiple occasions when I'm looking all over the kitchen for it because it's not in its usual resting place (hook next to the sink).

        2. I keep mine hanging off the handle of my fridge, which is near the stove.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Kat

            That's where mine is when I'm not cooking.

            1. I use my towels to wipe up many various things, any worries about whatever you're then putting on your shirt or transferring to the food?

              2 Replies
              1. re: fldhkybnva

                Not really. I usually use a sponge for wiping counters and stove-top. Mostly the kitchen towel is to wipe my fingers or dry them after rinsing, since I hate stuff on my fingers. I wear my grubbies around the house, so I don't worry about them getting dirty.

                1. re: tracylee

                  When I was 15, attending a well known cooking school in Paris, the drill was:

                  1. Apron on an tied correctly, with the towel folded into the RIGHT waist area of the apron.
                  2. The towel is to be folded NEATLY twice, before tucking it into the apron..
                  3. The smock, hat, apron, and towel are to be kept CLEAN at all times.
                  4. A good cook or Chef creates good food, but NEVER WEARS it.

                  This was the marching order barked at us, and maintained by the Executuve Chef, who also insisted his flatulent pet dog be allowed to stay in the kitchen at all times. Over the years, I can no longer remember name of the Chef, but amongst my fellow galley slaves we quietly called him " Fido, Baskerville, or Tintin."

                  And that is when we were being kind.

                  Today at home, no hat, rarely a smock, 99 % clean, and only Nr. 1 still applies. Alas, no dog.

              2. I keep mine in several parts of the Kitchen,dining room,living room, patio.....you get the idea.
                A kitchen towel is seemingly everywhere but where you need it for me...so is TV remote,car keys,cell phone,reading glasses........

                5 Replies
                1. re: Duppie

                  In restaurant kitchens, we always tied our aprons in front, which gave us a handy towel- hanger.
                  It's been a while, but I still do it.
                  I'm messy in the kitchen, so I generally wear an apron.

                  1. re: pippimac

                    Yeah. I should know better. It was drilled into us also in school but I don't usually wear an apron and after 5 minutes draped over my shoulder....it tends to migrate to other parts of the house.

                    1. re: pippimac

                      this ^ from pippimac. I tie the apron in front, tuck one towel in the front, and another in the back, in case I need 2. I always wear an apron- I feel naked in the kitchen without one.

                    2. re: Duppie

                      Exactly, "seemingly everywhere but where you need it." Yesterday, I found the "lost" towel on the couch...

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Exactly! I had been missing a salad plate (I only keep a set of 4 of everything out), and it was driving me crazy. I was looking at my gadget shelves, deciding what could be stored in labeled boxes to clear room, and finally "saw" the plate on the top shelf with various random hardware pieces on it.

                    3. I fling it over a shoulder. drives my DH crazy, because he can never find the towel. :)

                      1. If I'm wearing an apron, I tuck it into the belt. If not, I tuck one into the waistband of my pants or stick it through a belt loop. I also have towels hanging from a couple of cabinet pulls under the sink, but those are mainly just for drying clean hands after washing them.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: biondanonima

                          Yes, I had never really thought about it, but I've been using the right-side front belt loop in jeans as a loop for a kitchen towel for years and years.

                        2. Mine hangs on the oven door handle. It's a small kitchen, so I can usually reach it without taking a step.

                          1 Reply
                          1. Fridge - A white towel on the fridge door which I use to pull the open door and to wipe my hand.

                            Oven - A white towel on the oven door for wiping and cleaning. A black towel on the oven door as a pot holder.

                            White is for wet and can be easily bleached when washed.

                            Black is to be kept dry since steam hurts when using a damp towel to grab a hot handle or roasting pan out of the oven.

                            1. Hanging on the oven door handle.

                              2 Replies
                                1. re: Marusik

                                  I've got three hanging there. One sometimes gets draped on my right shoulder depending on the task at hand. But usually left on the oven door handle.

                                2. Fridge door handle. Used to use the oven door, but dripping water from wet hands collected at the drawer handle on the stove and eventually caused rust. New stove, no towel hanging!

                                  We ONLY use towels for drying wet things, not for mopping up other stuff. We have a clean, soapy dishcloth for crud and cleaning.

                                  1. "How do you keep your kitchen towel handy while cooking?"

                                    I don't.

                                    I hang them from the oven doors then I'll grab one put it down on the counter 'somewhere' and wonder where it went.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                      GAWD this is so me. I've also noticed that the counter I've dropped it on is always on the opposite side of the kitchen from where I'm at when I need it, too.

                                    2. Two towels are on the oven door handle. One is used only for drying clean dishes. The other is a general use/hand towel. We recently replaced the old vinyl floor with a wood laminate and now we keep another hand towel near the sink to dry hands so we don't drip on the floor.

                                      1. I hang them on oven handle, which is right there by the stove. and I often put one over my left shoulder, even though I am left handed. and despite these good options, I still find them scattered on various counters at all time.

                                        1. In my kitchen- it hangs from the oven handle on my stove

                                          In anyone else's kitchen-I tuck one into my belt

                                          I absolutely can not cook without a handtowel

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                                            Yup, I feel naked without a towel on my shoulder when I'm cooking!

                                          2. Solution,not me.
                                            One over the shoulder and two strategic stacks of four,fresh,clean.I don't use pot holders so having several clean,dry and handy is the habit.

                                            1. The way I was taught by my grandmother...

                                              Tucked into my apron ties around my waist.

                                              1. I keep several towels draped over lower cabinet doors. So, wherever I step in the kitchen, there is always a towel handy. I also keep a small towel (with velcro fastener already sown in) on the oven door handle. The towels get washed frequently and sometimes I forget to reposition them. If I reach for one and it's not there, I feel disoriented. It's not great for the woodwork but I'm gonna get my cabinets redone in a year or two. As an aside, my son now follows my example and has towels draped over the lower cabinet doors in his kitchen too.

                                                I always wear an apron tied in the front but alas, I never remember to tuck a towel in it.

                                                1. I have a LOT of kitchen towels, they live in a drawer near the stove, and I might go through several in one meal. Whatever towels have been partially used in cooking usually finish the mopping up of the kitchen counters, wiping of knives, etc. (Depending on how used they are) and then everything gets thrown in the wash.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Savour

                                                    Same here, and they live in the same place relative to my kitchen, too.

                                                  2. One in my apron waist and one next to my cutting board.

                                                    1. I keep two towels hanging on the oven handle just in case I use one and leave it on the counter. I'm pretty good about putting them back.

                                                      1. I know I'm going to end up asking myself why I can't just keep my mouth shut and go on about my business, but... since you asked... '-)

                                                        This thread has forced me to do some thinking. I've never considered myself "germophoic," or anything even remotely close, but... I HATE dishtowels! With a purple passion I hate dishtowels. I use disposables! Paper towels! Dishtowels are ALWAYS wet when I need them to be dry. I always picked them up by the spot on them I used to wipe up spilled things like gooey sticky honey, or staining chocolate syrup, or wiped up liquid from a drained can of tuna. And then I'd wipe floury (NOT flowery!) hands on the dishtowel, and well... You get the picture. Perpetual ick! Something about me and dishtowels is fully incompatible. So a few years back, I gave them all to someone who was looking for a sponge or something to wash their car. The only condition was that they NOT bring them back. It was around a dozen large white dishtowels, nicely folded and fresh from the dryer just waiting to make me miserable. Bye bye!

                                                        I do use a cellulose sponge, and it goes through the dishwasher daily for sterilization. My countertops are black granite, and Windex and Bounty make them shine like sponges and dishtowels could only dream of. I use the Bounty paper towels that tear off in half sheets. I feel defensive about admitting to this "extravagant" use of paper, BUT... I still consider myself a "Friend of the Planet." I think I only have one or two incandescent light bulbs left in the whole house, and they're in closets upstairs. Oh, and the need-a-firetruck-to-change-the-light-bulb chandelier in the stairwell is still incandescent, and god knows who will change that bulb if it ever burns out. I have not used an aerosol spray since the 1970s, though I do use a hand pumped atomizer for "Pam" type cooking oil. I primarily cook with induction, and cool/heat my house with heat pumps, and we recycle. But I DOOOOOO use paper towels...!

                                                        Now I can start ignoring this thread again without feeling too guilty. At least I've confessed! '-)

                                                        18 Replies
                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                          I've hoarded all the incandescent light bulbs I could purchase....stacked the boxes in the garage and hope they'll last a few years. I hate the others.
                                                          Having said that I use more water, per household I'm sure, to keep the rotation going with my, at least 20 dishtowels from William Sonoma that are in a continuous rotation in and out of the washing machine. I'm like you....if someone dries their hands on my dishtowels? It's in the machine even though their hands are clean. I'm completely anal about my dishtowels...and every other towel in the house. I also use Bounty next to my sink hoping one day my husband will use one of them to clean up his messes. He doesn't. He uses my dishtowels. In the machine they go.
                                                          I don't use sponges...I use bar towels that get the same treatment as my dishtowels.

                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                            And if Bounty was his only option, he'd use....?

                                                            Yup. I'm proselytizing! '-)

                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                              Great question...it's one of those 'I pick my battles' sort of thing :).

                                                              I have a question too....do you dry your pots and pans and knives with paper towels?

                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                Basically, yes with modifiers. Only my knives that live in the knife block are hand washed. All the rest go through the dishwasher. Pots and pans are scoured when required, then go into the dishwasher. Cast iron is "scoured" with salt, using a paper towel to drive the salt. When I was still using dishtowels, I was using three to five fresh dishtowels per day from a stock of about a dozen or so. That meant laundry every two days. Between me and my housekeeper, a roll of paper towels -- we use Bounty, the kind that tears off in half sheets -- lasts one or two days (ocasionally more) depending on whether Emmy polishes the stainless steel appliances, or cleans the chandelier. She is a compulsive housekeeper, and I love her for it!

                                                                When it comes to over-all environmental impact, I think we have a smaller "foot print" now than we did when doing laundry every other day, even though I do have a front-loading Energy Star washer. Financially? Tide and Downey are lasting a LOT longer now. I haven't actualy scrutinized the budget that closely, but off the top of my head, I think it's pretty much break even, or better if Bounty is on sale.

                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                  I think this where we differ.
                                                                  My housekeeper (and I) prefer the micro clothes for cleaning and polishing....there always seems to be a residue from the paper towels....maybe it's my OCD kicking in and the fact I love rags...for everything.
                                                                  I have a front loader/energy user also but I'm doing laundry every day anyway and so I don't know if it's even relevant financially or environmentally.
                                                                  I do like your idea of putting pots and pans in the dishwasher...I've done it with scrutiny from people who've watched me do it and I've really never understood the thinking.

                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                    With a little add-on....

                                                                    I'm a little more nuts when it comes to napkins. I have at least 100 white linens that are used for every meal. This requires washing with a soap from Europe that has no yellowing agent and starch and ironing every day.

                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                      Okay. Now you've made me cry. I USED to have gorgeous linens, mostly white linen damask from Ireland. Four sets in different sizes and patterns. And a lovely Battenburg lace tablecloth from Italy, with 12 napkins. And a wonderful hand embroidered tablecloth my father brought from Panama at the end of WWII, and that the family ate Thanksgiving dinner on every year thereafter. Then, about thirty years ago, a much treasured and beloved housekeeper retired and moved back to Mexico, to live with her sister in Guadalajara. I drove her to the Depot and helped with her luggage. Then, when I got home, I discovered ALL of my linens were in those damned suitcases, along with some jewelry and several very expensive fountain pens. I have spent the last thirty or so years hoping that she was mugged and robbed before she ever got to her sister's house. Does that make me a bad person?

                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                        Surely your beloved housekeeper, after all the years she worked for you, knew that your jewelry and fountain pens and linens belonged to you and not her. Did she actually believe you gave her all that was in that suitcase?
                                                                        She basically stole from you. A call from her from Mexico asking you if you'd made a mistake was all it took. She didn't do it. It's really hard to get over things like that when you, undoubtedly, were very generous with her all those years. It's such an act of betrayal.

                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                          Betrayed is exactly how I felt, but I hardly think about it any more. Obviously, I remembered it when reading of your linens. I can't deny missing them, but normally about the only time I think about them is during the holidays when I'm setting the table. But at my age, I don't entertain that much any more, so it's no longer that big a deal. 79 and counting does have some advantages. Hopscotch may no longer be on the agenda, but there are some positives! '-)

                                                                    2. re: latindancer

                                                                      Residue from paper towels? I suspect you're using the wrong brand. I use Bounty, and they NEVER leave ANYTHING behind! It's why I use them. But I have used other brands that were nightmares. I try to avoid them!

                                                                      Pots and pans in the dishwasher require a pre-inspection. If there is ANY reside from cooking anything in the pan, it must be scrubbed out with SOS before going into the dishwasher, otherwise it comes out washed, dried, and baked on! Nasty. But crust or no crust, they do come out of the dishwasher sterilized. Hand washing can't touch that!

                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                        Now that you mention it I'm not sure what they are that I'm using. I purchase them by the dozen and stack them in my pantry. They're not individually wrapped and so I'm not sure. Now I'm curious and will go to the market and purchase the Bounty.
                                                                        I'm anxious to give it a try.

                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                          So now I can bite my nails worrying whether they will work as well for you as they do for me! God, I hope so...!!! '-)

                                                                          I really do like them.

                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                            You should do a commercial for Bounty :).

                                                                            You're right....I went out, based on your recommendation, and purchased 12 rolls. I've spent several hours polishing my kitchen, along with my favorite kitchen wax, and Bounty paper towels. The result is magnificent and it's much easier, faster and I think nicer with absolutely no fiber residue.
                                                                            Thank you, Caroline1.

                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                              Hey, ya think if I send Bounty a copy of this thread they'll send me a couple of rolls free? Glad they're working as well for you as they do or me! '-)

                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                I try to limit the number of paper towels that I use but I do admit that there are some jobs that the kitchen towel just doesn't measure up.

                                                            2. re: Caroline1

                                                              Caroline1, I understand. It is clear in my house that if ANYONE uses ANY towel to mop up anything but clean water from freshly washed things, they are in BIG trouble. One towel is for freshly washed dishes, the other is for freshly washed hands and counters!!!

                                                              Am I the only one wondering here if the meaning is to clean gunk with towels?

                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                My sponges go in the microwave for microbe-zapping.

                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                  A Friend of the Planet side note... Paper towels are compostable.

                                                                  In the Seattle area, paper towels and food can be thrown in the compost bin.

                                                                2. Always over my left shoulder

                                                                  1. Sanitary issues aside..my hands and such are almost always involved in mixing or cleaning, but it;s only family. We have a "high" chair in the kitchen for sitting/reading/eating at the counter. There is a towel on the back of it always that I use for my hands............5 to 6 times a day. It gets washed every night (or at least replaced).

                                                                    1. Tuck into buttcrack. Always know where it is, available from either hand.

                                                                      1. The drying towel goes in a loop holder that is stuck over the sink with a suction cup, so it's at eye level right behind the sink. We also have a hand towel that is hung on another suction cup holder, this one a hook, on the wall. Our kitchen is a very narrow galley kitchen, so between the two of them we're basically always in arms reach of a towel.