dog with towel after bath

Can You Wash Dog Towels with Human Towels?

It sounds pretty harmless to wash your pooch’s towels with your own towels. After all, you probably sleep with your pet, you both cuddle on the sofa, and they may even use your favourite blanket to keep warm.

It also feels a lot greener and more cost effective to bung all the towels into one wash!

But it’s not actually as harmless as you may think to wash human towels with dog towels. There are multiple risks involved. Learn more about them below!


The Problems with Cleaning Dog Towels and Human Towels Together 

There are many potential risks involved when you clean human towels with dog towels. And although a lot of people wash all of their towels together, it’s generally not advised to do so.

human and dog bath towels

Here are the issues you could face:

1. Cross contamination of germs

Dogs are known for running through long grass, jumping into mud pits and swimming in ponds! So, goodness knows what germs and flees could be living in their fur because of this.

If you wipe your doggy with a towel after a walk, you’ll transfer these germs onto the towel. And if you were to then wash this towel with a human towel, you’d end up spreading the dirt around and onto your personal towels.

Of course, you’d hope that the hot water and detergent would kill this muck, but it could still be a problem.

The grime found on the dog’s towel could also infect your washing machine. In turn, the dirt could contaminate the next load of washing you put into the appliance, if you don’t clean the machine out properly.

In addition to this, if your pup is suffering with any skin problems, you don’t really want to wash your towels in the same cycle because you could catch the issue yourself.

If you give your pooch a bath and then you wash the dog’s towel, it should be a lot cleaner. But it is still too risky to wash your towels and your canine’s towel together.

2. Transfer of hair

If you’ve got a pet that sheds a lot of hair, you’ll undoubtedly notice that their towel will be covered in their hair after you wipe them. 

Ideally, you don’t want to wash your towels and your pet’s towel together because the hairs will rub off your pooch’s towel, and embed themselves in your towels as they spin around in the washing machine. If this happens, you’ll be wiping yourself with a hairy towel after a bath!

All the tiny hairs will make your towels prickly, and the hairs will also stick to your body as you dry yourself. They’ll be a nightmare to clear off! And don’t forget that the hairs will inevitably start sticking to your tongue too! Yuck!

3. Different kinds of towels

A dog should be dried with a more absorbent towel, like a soft microfibre one, and these towels are different to the cotton ones we use ourselves. The two types of towel should, therefore, not be washed alongside each other.

The two kinds of towels will have separate washing instructions, and you must adhere to what it says on each tag. If you don’t wash the towels in an appropriate manner, they may get damaged.

In addition to this, when cotton and microfibre are washed together, they sometimes cause a lot of lint. So, it’s better to stick to washing cotton towels together, and microfibre towels together, even if it does mean you have to run an extra washing cycle!

human and dog towel in the wash

4. They can make human towels smelly

You’d hope that a blend of hot water and detergent would obliterate all the nastiness on your pooch’s towel, including the essence of dog that typically plagues them. But this isn’t always the case.

In some cases, when you wash a canine’s towel with human towels, the human towels start to smell of wet dog.

Obviously, this isn’t ideally because you want to wipe yourself with nice scented towels after a bath. If you did wipe yourself with these odour-filled towels, you may notice that the scent transfers onto your body.

5. Too much detergent and fabric softener for your dog

When cleaning human towels people tend to add a standard dose of detergent, and occasionally fabric softener to the washer. This combination, in turn, can make towels smell great and feel soft.

However, this mixture isn’t actually ideal for your pooch. These ingredients can cause skin irritation because the detergent may be too strong, or there’s too much of it. And the fabric softener isn’t going to make your towels very absorbent!

In turn, you won’t be able to dry your pup effectively, and you’ll likely go through several towels in one dry session.

When you clean a dog’s towel, it should be with very little detergent and no fabric softener. This is to limit the amount of chemicals that can come into contact with your pup’s skin, and to ensure that the canine’s towel remains extra absorbent.

By washing your towels with your dog’s towel, and adding detergent and fabric softener, you could actually be doing more harm than good! Best to avoid it.

As you can probably see there, there are a lot of potential issues to think about when it comes to washing your dog’s towel alongside your own. One way to prevent any problems is to do separate washes.


Should You Wash Dog Towels Separately?

Ideally, you should wash your dog’s towels and your personal towels separately. This is to prevent the cross-contamination of germs, to stop your pooch’s hair from getting onto your own towels, and so you can actually wash your pet’s towels in the correct manner.

Of course, running additional smaller, and some would say less economically, washing cycles may not be to everyone’s taste. It is, however, a lot safer to do this and it means that everyone’s towels are kept safe!

You should also clean out your washing machine after you’ve washed your doggy’s towels, blankets, and bedding. This will stop any germs from getting onto your next load of washing.


Can I Use the Same Towel as my Dog?

dog and human towels

It’s not unheard of for humans and dogs to share towels, after all they are man’s best friend. But there are a few concerns with doing this, these include:

  • Hair – Dogs shed fur, so if you used their towel/they used yours, the towel in question would get covered in hair. Not all of this hair will wash out of the towel, so when you wipe yourself, you may coat yourself in canine hairs.
  • Germs and flees – Fur can be plagued with different kinds of germs, dirt and sometimes flees, so your dog’s towel is probably riddled with these too. By wiping yourself with your pup’s towel you run the risk of transferring this grime onto yourself. This could lead to complications in the future, like skin rashes!
  • Smell – You’ll be able to smell ‘wet dog’ on the towel, so if you use the towel yourself, you’ll start to smell like this too. This may even be the case after washing the towel, as not all odours are removed after a single washing cycle!
  • Towel types – To dry a faithful companion you usually use a microfibre towel because it’s super absorbent. So, if you used this type of towel on yourself, you might dry a tad quicker than normal. But if you were to use one of your cotton towels to dry your dog, you’d likely have to use a few of them. The cotton wouldn’t be able to absorb the moisture effectively. In the end, you’d have a pile of soaking wet towels to wash, which isn’t ideal!

It’s generally better for you and your dog to have separate towels. You can then use the right towel for the right animal/person. It’s also worth picking different coloured towels, so you don’t mix them up!