In part of learning to keep a kosher home, I understand I need to keep two sets of kitchen towels, tablecloths, etc. How do I maintain these items in a kosher state? Should the towels be run through separate laundry loads, either on the 'hot' or 'sterlize' setting?
Two different problems, problem of cooking Bassar Bechalav and problem of the towels.
If the detergents are present in water at beginning SA YD 95, 4.
We have a Towel called B meat soaked, and a towel called H milk soaked. B releases taste of meat in water, and H releases taste of milk. The detergent deteriorates both before the prohibited meeting between B and H, so not prohibited meeting occurred. No problem of coocking Bassar Bechalav The quantity of water (> 60 X quantities of milk and meat initially absorbed), and the deterioration of tastes have for consequence that the water absorbed during washing has no taste. They are allowed to be used indifferently with meat or milk.
If there are pieces of meat and of cheese, may be a direct contact and a prohibition of cooking meat and milk.
Laundry after cleaning are perfectly permeable to water and do not maintains absorbed matters, so after washing they are as new. Even if there is a stain, there is only a residue, not able to give taste.
While you are using the dishes, you need to keep them separate until they are put in the laundry. Once they are put in the laundry and washed, they are no longer dairy or meat as all food has been removed from them.
Maintaining separate towels is actually a way of making sure that one does not come to mix the foods or the dishes.. After they are in the laundry, this problem no longer applies.