Brewing Towels?

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Being a brewer that has to put everything away at the end of the day it’s been easiest to just use the kitchen towels from my house. But I’ve recently upped the frequency of my brew days and I just got my Oktober bench canner. And I found that weekends can be packed with brewing related activities and we don’t have enough towels in my house. And my wife isn’t quite fond of stains on our nice ones.

So I decided it’s time to buy brewing specific towels. I use to work at a bar/restaurant and we used the white towels with the color coded stripe (blue stripe bar towel). But I have found if you use a cheap dyed cloth and leave it in a bucket of pbw or StarSan it actually leaches some of the dye out of the rag.

I could go all white towels, but then they might get mixed up with my house towels. Also for some reason the novelty of the colored stripe appeals to me for easy identification and for the look. But does anyone have experience with these? I’m worried the dye will be leached out when using cleaners and I don’t want to be rubbing dye water all over my equipment before or after a brew for some of that to get into the beer inevitably.

the cleaners/sanitizers I use are:
-PBW
-Bar keepers friend
-starsan
-dish soap
 

Deadalus

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When I worked in a kitchen we only ever had basic white washcloth type towels (square). If you need to dry stuff then hand towel size and up is useful but kitchen and hand towels to me are a generally too big to work with for wiping things down. I bought a big pack of the white square ones once to use at the gym (I sweat a lot) and when they get stained I end up using them for cleaning. I also bought one pack of cheaper almost disposal towels (again the square size). There were 20-25 in each pack and I still have new ones of each. I also cut up old towels into cleaning rags. Most times it's easy to tell what's a cleaning rag/towel and what's a bath towel when folding so color isn't that big a deal just don't buy the exact same ones that you use in the bath. I hate sponges too so we maintain a range of towels and such in my household.

Side story in one kitchen I worked in, management would just give the cooks two towels at the start of the shift. They would give you some more if necessary but they were stingy! So I learned how to be frugal and spray out the towels while working with them. In fact, cleaning up my brew rig at the end of the day reminds me greatly of closing time at the restaurant.
 

Dr_Jeff

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Go by you local hotel, they get rid of towels that aren't up to par.
I've been given a big garbage bag of towels that were really nice.

The better the hotel, the higher their standards are on culling towels.

Talk to the manager, explain that you brew beer and want them for that purpose, also ask him/her if they drink beer and offer to bring some by.
 
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Thanks for all the good advice! I might pick up a pack of the larger bar towels and some small square ones then through them in a bucket if starsan over night and let it leach out as much as it can and then wash them all.
 

crazyjake19

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I just bought a bunch of plain, single-color kitchen dish towels from Walmart. Cheap and they don't match our "fancy" kitchen towels, so I know they're for the brewing room. They go in with my regular laundry after a brew day.
 

cyberbackpacker

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I've got a stack of old towels that I use that have been saved over the years from my wife's donation pile for the local thrift store. When the towels are no longer up to snuff for bathroom usage, I re-appropriate them for brewery use!

Maybe you just need to convince your wife that it's really time to buy some nice new kitchen towels, and you can keep using the one's you have been using!
 
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But are they any good? I’ve used a handful of cheap rags and some don’t even absorb water. They’re just push it around. I could by new kitchen towels and take over the old ones but that will probably be more expensive then buying two packs specifically for brewing. 12 pack of blue stripe bar towels are $15. But I also just found out I like the reusable Swedish clothes. They’re dyed and I don’t know if they leach color out with starsan but for whiling things up off the side of the kettle and other harder things like they they work amazing. A pack of 10 of them on Amazon is $15 as well
 
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I have two bundles of Ikea kitchen/hand towels that I've run through a hot wash cycle with bleach and use them for my Blackstone and my brewing and they absorb water/liquids just dandy.
 

sicktght311

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I basically just inherit whatever towels we decide to retire from our kitchen or bathrooms. I dont put them in buckets of sanitizer or anything. They're basically just used to wipe up messes, or wipe up cleaners to dry things off, so i dont worry too much about dyes. Everything inside of the hot and cold gear gets air dried.
 

AzOr

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I use those yellow synthetic shop towels from Costco. They’re cheap and do well at absorbing liquid. They also don’t get stinky like when cotton absorbs anything besides water.
I wash them every month or so.
 
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I also just repurpose the household towels that aren't good enough for kitchen or bath. They are pretty easy to keep separate, mine have threads hanging off, holes, and/or stains that don't come out.
 

day_trippr

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The Spousal Unit refreshes her kitchen/dish towel collection every few years, replacing the ~10 towels with a fresh pattern, and I get the cast offs. None of them are ever more than lightly stained, so I keep one in each vehicle and the rest are split between my shop and brew space...

Cheers!
 

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youngdh

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Being a brewer that has to put everything away at the end of the day it’s been easiest to just use the kitchen towels from my house. But I’ve recently upped the frequency of my brew days and I just got my Oktober bench canner. And I found that weekends can be packed with brewing related activities and we don’t have enough towels in my house. And my wife isn’t quite fond of stains on our nice ones.

So I decided it’s time to buy brewing specific towels. I use to work at a bar/restaurant and we used the white towels with the color coded stripe (blue stripe bar towel). But I have found if you use a cheap dyed cloth and leave it in a bucket of pbw or StarSan it actually leaches some of the dye out of the rag.

I could go all white towels, but then they might get mixed up with my house towels. Also for some reason the novelty of the colored stripe appeals to me for easy identification and for the look. But does anyone have experience with these? I’m worried the dye will be leached out when using cleaners and I don’t want to be rubbing dye water all over my equipment before or after a brew for some of that to get into the beer inevitably.

the cleaners/sanitizers I use are:
-PBW
-Bar keepers friend
-starsan
-dish soap
I use rolls of the blue Scott’s Paper shop towels that I can get in six roll bundles at Costco. They’re sturdy enough to rinse and reuse in my home brewing. My wife and I also use them in the kitchen and of course the garage but we don’t reuse them there. Been doing this for years. When they get too nasty or worn/torn just throw away and grab a fresh one off of the roll.
 

Spinal

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I bought a pack of 50 car washing towels at costco (our local alternative). They aren't big (about a foot-and-a-half by a foot-and-a-half), but they are dirt cheap... and white, so any stains can easily be bleached out.
 
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