Should a Clean Hand Towel be Required for Guests?

This is an old column, which I thought was very appropriate for this time period.

Dear Mrs. McVeigh,

My boyfriend and I recently went to a friend’s house for dinner. I had to use the bathroom when I was there. After I washed my hands, I noticed that their hand towel had been used before. I think it is good manners to put out a fresh hand towel when you are expecting guests. What do you think the etiquette on this should be?



Dear Margot,

I understand where you are coming from on this. If you are expecting company, putting out a clean hand towel in the restroom would be appropriate. I would also remove any bath towels from the towel rack if it is a bathroom that is used for the homeowners to shower or take a bath. Just like you do not want the germs of someone who has used the hand towel, I would not want someone accidentally (or on purpose) wiping their hands on my bath towel. I think the best solution is to remove any hand towels, and instead put out the disposable paper hand towels, in a decorative holder. This way people can get a towel that only they are using, and then throw it out.