Captain OCD does most of the cooking and almost all of the dish washing around here. He refuses to use the dishwasher because every dish waiting for the dishwasher to finish is one dish not in the cupboard where dishes belong.
I grew up using flour-sack towels for drying dishes, like a civilized person, so when we were first married we had pretty terry cloth kitchen towels and lovely dish-drying towels, and only a barbarian would contemplate using a dish-drying towel to wipe ketchup off the counter.
It should come as no surprise that Captain OCD does not honor that important towel-use distinction and use the appropriate towel for the appropriate function, but uses all of the towels for every cleaning use, including wiping the floor, scrubbing the mud off of his boots, and stanching the fountains of blood pulsing out of a severed radial artery.
When we finished remodeling the kitchen, I again tried to establish a towel-use protocol. I bought black towels to match the new kitchen, towels that would look good sitting on the slate and granite counter tops. And they did look nice, but Captain OCD goes through about ten towels per meal-preparation session, a method that requires a lot of towels. And then he gets in a hurry to get laundry done and throws them in with the whites and I open the washer to find a bunch of gray underwear and socks. Again.
If someone else is doing the cooking and cleaning, I’m going to (eventually) shut up about which towel should be used for which purpose. Several years ago, I gave in and bought a gigantic bag o’ towels – a generous term, as they are closer to rags than towels – at Costco and we’ve never looked back. At $20 for 60 towels, I don’t care if they get stained. I don’t care when he uses them to wipe pipe glue off of PVC pipe, or grabs one to wipe off the dipstick when he’s checking the oil in the Bobcat, or uses one to grease his boots (hmm, perhaps I’d better check that that’s not a euphemism). If I’m staining a door or wiping caulk off the ceiling joints or wrapping a greasy alternator to take to the parts store or trying to wipe off the super-concentrated icing-color paste I got all over my fingers, I grab a kitchen towel. Few things make me happier than coming home on house-cleaning day and seeing a pile of filthy towels waiting to be washed, which means the dirt is no longer on the floor or woodwork.
For C2’s wedding, I bought a bag to use for the multiple people helping with the three days of cooking, not caring if any of the towels made it back home. Good thing, because none of the 60 towels did. I very much suggest the same strategy for any large gathering where multiple people will be cooking and cleaning. Twenty bucks well-spent.
I just bought a new bag, the third or fourth in about as many years. I have no idea where they disappear to, but at 33-cents a towel, I don’t care how many are sacrificed in the commission of someone else doing the meal preparation and dish washing.