A friend sent me a slightly giddy Email saying that I was the first guest ever to use the guest towel in her powder room. The little terry towels half-way between wash cloth and face towel are mighty useful but hard to find now. A mentor very sensibly used them as table napkins for her family of six. I use line-dried linen luncheon napkins as tip towels in my powder room. Since there are no other towels in the room, people do use them.
Department stores marketed guest towels as tip towels, and I assumed the term referred to fingertips. Further consideration suggests the tip might be the tip one handed to a washroom attendant. Times have changed.
I inherited several generations of tip towels that no guest ever touched. I finally framed the most beautifully embroidered one and posted it by the sink. Few pleasures match that of drying one's hands on ironed linen. I believe guests avoid linen out of consideration for the person who irons. High-tech laundry systems sanitize towels without ironing, so go for it. Using an individual towel prevents cross-contamination. -30-