how do airlines make hot towels

Hot towels are a familiar presence on airplanes, offered by airlines to pamper passengers during their flights. But have you ever wondered how airlines prepare these luxurious amenities that provide a refreshing touch amidst the hustle and bustle of air travel?

In this article, we will uncover the secrets behind how airlines prepare hot towels and explore their purpose, effectiveness, and hygiene. Get ready to embark on a journey that challenges common beliefs and sheds light on whether these hot towels truly live up to their reputation.

The Purpose and Use of Hot Towels on Planes

Hot towels on planes serve multiple purposes. Firstly, they are a hygienic way to clean passengers’ faces, hands, and tray tables. The hot towels provide a quick cleaning option, helping to reduce the spread of germs and illness during flights.

However, the effectiveness of using hot towels for face-wiping has been questioned. While the towels can remove surface impurities, they may not provide enough hydration for the skin. It is recommended to moisturize the face after using a hot towel to maintain moisture balance.

The order in which passengers use hot towels may vary. Some choose to clean their faces before their hands and tray tables, while others prefer a different sequence. The choice ultimately depends on personal preference and comfort.

Hot towels are a small but significant amenity that airlines provide to enhance passenger experience and promote cleanliness during flights.

Concerns and Confusion Surrounding Hot Towel Usage

hot towel usage

When it comes to hot towel usage on planes, there are several concerns and a fair amount of confusion among passengers. One of the common concerns is related to the way some individuals use hot towels on their faces without moisturizing afterwards. This can lead to dry skin, which is not ideal for maintaining a healthy complexion during a flight.

Another aspect that often raises eyebrows is the order in which passengers clean their hands, faces, and tray tables. Some find it unsanitary to wipe their hands and faces first and then use the same towel on their tray tables. This raises questions about the hygiene of such practices and whether it defeats the purpose of using a hot towel in the first place.

These concerns and confusion have sparked debates among scientists and skincare experts, delving into the effectiveness and cleanliness of hot towel usage on planes. While some argue that hot towels can help in providing a quick refresh and improving cleanliness, others question their overall hygiene and recommend caution when using them.

It’s important for passengers to be aware of these concerns and confusion when deciding to use hot towels during their flights. While hot towels can offer a sense of comfort and cleanliness, it’s essential to be mindful of proper usage to ensure personal hygiene and well-being.

The Impact of Sustainability Efforts on Hot Towels

In recent years, airlines have been actively implementing sustainability efforts to reduce waste and minimize their environmental impact. As part of these initiatives, some airlines have made changes to the use of hot towels on their flights.

One notable example is Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), which recently announced the elimination of hot towels on its short-haul business-class flights. This decision aligns with SAS’s commitment to sustainability and aims to address the environmental concerns associated with hot towel usage.

Many hot towels used on planes are discarded after a single use, contributing to significant waste. Moreover, most of these towels are non-biodegradable and cannot be recycled, further exacerbating the environmental impact.

SAS’s decision to eliminate hot towels on short-haul flights is a step towards reducing waste and promoting sustainability within the airline industry. This move encourages other airlines to reconsider their own practices and explore alternative options for passenger comfort.

While hot towels have traditionally been seen as a luxurious amenity that enhances the passenger experience, airlines now have an opportunity to prioritize sustainability without compromising passenger comfort. By introducing innovative solutions and environmentally friendly alternatives, airlines can continue to provide a pleasant journey for passengers while minimizing their ecological footprint.

Debunking Hot Towel Myths


Hot towels on planes have been the subject of several myths that we are here to debunk. It’s time to separate fact from fiction and clear up any misconceptions about these in-flight amenities.

  1. Myth: Hot towels are designed for face-wiping.
  2. This is a common misconception. Hot towels are not specifically designed for face-wiping. In fact, using them on your face could have unintended consequences for your skin.

  3. Fact: Hot towels can harbor bacteria.
  4. Due to the source of the water used to moisten hot towels, they have the potential to harbor bacteria. It’s crucial to be aware of this when considering their use as a cleaning option.

  5. Myth: Hot towels contain high-end skincare products.
  6. Contrary to popular belief, the lemon scent added to hot towels does not come from high-end skincare products. It actually comes from citrus wedges placed on the tray alongside the towels.

  7. Fact: Hot towels can lead to dehydration.
  8. Using hot towels on your face can actually contribute to the dehydration of your skin, especially in the dry cabin environment. It’s important to moisturize your face after using a hot towel to prevent dryness.

By debunking these hot towel myths, we aim to provide accurate information to help you make informed decisions about your skincare routine during air travel. Remember to prioritize your skin’s health and well-being, and take appropriate measures to ensure hydration and cleanliness.

Hot Towel Myths Debunked
Myth: Hot towels are designed for face-wiping False
Fact: Hot towels can harbor bacteria True
Myth: Hot towels contain high-end skincare products False
Fact: Hot towels can lead to dehydration True

The Benefits of Hot Towels for Passenger Comfort

Despite the controversies surrounding hot towels on planes, there are several benefits that contribute to passenger comfort and overall satisfaction. Hot towels provide a refreshing touch during long flights, offering a moment of relaxation and rejuvenation amidst the confines of the cabin. The warm sensation on your face, hands, or even neck can help you feel refreshed and pampered, creating a sense of well-being.

Besides the immediate sensory pleasure, hot towels can also serve as effective cleaning aids for passengers who prioritize cleanliness and hygiene during their journey. Whether you want to wipe down your seat area, tray table, or simply freshen up before landing, hot towels provide a practical solution. The availability of hot towels helps to ensure that your “travel area” remains clean and hygienic, promoting a more comfortable and pleasant experience onboard.

In need of visual appeal, practicality, and comfort? Look no further than hot towels!

With hot towels readily available, passengers can enjoy the benefits on both a physical and psychological level. The gentle warmth and fragrant scent can create a soothing atmosphere that helps alleviate stress and promote relaxation. Additionally, the act of being offered a hot towel by the cabin crew demonstrates a commitment to passenger well-being and satisfaction, enhancing the overall journey experience.

Enhancing your comfort with luxurious touches, hot towels provide a memorable aspect of air travel.

Benefits of Hot Towels for Passenger Comfort
1. Refreshing touch during long flights
2. Promotes relaxation and rejuvenation
3. Serves as effective cleaning aids
4. Provides a sense of well-being
5. Soothes and alleviates stress
6. Demonstrates commitment to passenger satisfaction
7. Enhances the overall journey experience

As the aviation industry continues to evolve, the benefits of hot towels for passenger comfort will remain relevant. While sustainability efforts may impact the availability and usage of hot towels in the future, their positive impact on passenger satisfaction cannot be denied. So next time you step onboard a plane and are offered a hot towel, take advantage of this small luxury that can make a big difference in your journey.


Q: How do airlines make hot towels?

A: Airlines prepare hot towels by pouring hot water over trays of towels from the airplane’s water tank. Some airlines also add a mild scent, such as lemon or rose, to the towels.

Q: What is the purpose and use of hot towels on planes?

A: Hot towels on planes serve multiple purposes. They can be used for cleaning passengers’ faces, hands, and tray tables, providing a hygienic option. However, the effectiveness of wiping the face without moisturizing afterward has been questioned. The order in which passengers perform hot towel operations may vary.

Q: What are the concerns and confusion surrounding hot towel usage?

A: There are concerns about using hot towels on planes. Some individuals wipe their faces without moisturizing afterward, which can lead to dry skin. Others find it unsanitary to clean their hands and faces first and then use the same towel on the tray table. The hygiene and effectiveness of hot towel usage have sparked debates among scientists and skincare experts.

Q: How have sustainability efforts affected the use of hot towels?

A: Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) recently announced the elimination of hot towels on its short-haul business-class flights as part of its sustainability initiatives. This decision aims to reduce waste and environmental impact, as many hot towels used on planes are not washed or reused and are non-biodegradable.

Q: What are some hot towel myths that need to be debunked?

A: Contrary to popular belief, hot towels on planes are not designed for face-wiping as they can harbor bacteria. The lemon scent added to the towels comes from citrus wedges and not high-end skincare products. Using hot towels on the face can actually lead to dehydration, especially in the dry cabin environment.

Q: What are the benefits of hot towels for passenger comfort?

A: Hot towels on planes can provide a sense of comfort for passengers. They offer a refreshing touch during long flights and can help travelers feel refreshed and pampered. Hot towels can also be used as cleaning aids for passengers who want to ensure their “travel area” is clean and hygienic.

Q: What is the future of hot towel services?

A: The future of hot towel services on planes remains uncertain. As airlines prioritize sustainability, more carriers may eliminate hot towels to reduce waste. However, for some airlines, hot towels remain a hallmark of luxury and personalized service. The use of hot towels may evolve to become more environmentally friendly, such as through the introduction of biodegradable materials or alternative cleaning options.