I'd noticed recently that quite often the hand towels in the bathroom were smeared with marks that quite clearly had not come from clean hands or faces - smears that looked like the remnants of bolognaise or chilli or hoi sin sauce.
So we have had several mother-to-boys talks about lazy hand and face washing.
'Wiping your dirty hands and face onto the towel,' I explain while they fidget and look around and wish I would be quiet because they were in the middle of something far more important like a game of Star Wars The Clone Wars, 'is NOT the same as washing your hands and face with soap and water. It will not clean away your germs properly and it makes the towels dirty so that makes more work for Mummy...' etc, etc.
They tolerate these little one-way conversations because they know that if they dare interrupt or look like they're not listening, I will then go back to the beginning and say the whole thing again, so the smart thing is just to let me say it once and get it over and done with. Once today, anyway - it will come as no surprise to any of us when I repeat the whole thing again tomorrow.
Then yesterday I saw it again - the brown smear. I went to throw it in the washbasket with a sigh when I suddenly stopped and took a closer look. And I realised I may have been wasting my time on the 'lazy face washing' thing.
So me and my three year old have had a sit down. We have discussed that no matter how lovely and soft and easier for little hands to hold a towel may be, it is not a suitable substitute for toilet paper.
And I may be using only white towels for a while, just so I can keep a better eye on things.