Need washing advice...

Here's a photo of my backyard fence on Sunday afternoon.  I spent the warm-ish weather (on Easter Sunday, mind you!) out on the driveway, hosing down old towels from the pottery wheels that were caked in clay.  I was too worried to put them in the washing machine as-is, for fear that I'd clog up the plumbing.

Are there any art teachers (or expert clothes-washers) out there with good ideas or suggestions on how to clean towels (we put these on our laps while using the pottery wheels in an attempt to keep ourselves clean) without clogging my home plumbing, but also not reverting to old-school "washing-in-the-river-and-beating-against-a-rock" techniques?  I felt so goofy, spraying them out on the concrete and hanging them on the fence... and that was BEFORE I then brought them in and washed them via machine! 

Thankfully, my neighbors are nice... and kind of used to me being weird.

I should probably also give a big shout-out THANK YOU to my mother-in-law for donating a huge pile of old towels for us to use in the art room for this.  When we got our pottery wheels, we had no idea how many other odds-and-ends (such as spare towels) we'd need to use them efficiently.

That being said, 8th grade classes will start the 4th quarter round of pottery wheel usage this week!  Get ready, because it'll be messy!
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