Everyone loves nice, clean, fluffy towels. Some people love them so much that they even buy candles and air fresheners that smell like them. But something that we’ve noticed lately is that a lot of people have been asking just how to wash your towels to keep them that way, and of course how to avoid musty mildew smells. So today we’ll be explaining how to do just that.
Let’s start off with a few general tips. Towels should be washed at least once a week with similar colored towels, not clothes. The reason for washing them separately is that towels can sometimes leave lint or fuzz on clothes and need to be treated differently than clothes. Especially when it comes to kitchen towels, they can also be exposed to things that you don’t really want to wash with the rest of your clothes.
You should also watch how much detergent you’re using. Because you’re washing your towels separate from the rest of your laundry, it’s likely that you have a smaller than normal load which means you won’t need quite as much detergent.
Use fabric softener sparingly, if at all. Why? The reason you should avoid using fabric softener too frequently with towels is that it creates a film/waxy buildup on them that makes them less absorbent. If you do like using fabric softener try use it every 3-4 washes instead of every wash.
Before using brand new towels, you always want to wash them first. Many manufacturers often add a special softener to towels to improve the look and feel of the towel in the store. It also tends to make them less absorbent until it’s rinsed off.
We recommend using vinegar with your detergent the first time, or first few times you wash your towels. Not only does this help to more effectively dissolve and residue that may be on the towels, but it will also help to set the color of the towels to better prevent fading or bleeding.
Simply use half the amount of detergent you normally would for towels and add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. Wash the towels with warm water and shake them out before putting them in the dryer. You can also do this every few washes to refresh and sanitize your towels.
After the first wash, you can wash your towels normally. You should always check for care instructions first, but for the most part the majority of towels can be washed the same way. The only difference is if they are white towels or different colors.
For White Towels: Wash on a hot setting with non-chlorine bleach. Avoid chlorine bleach if at all possible as it damages the fibers of the towels.
For Colors: Wash warm with color safe bleach or a mild detergent.
You want to at least wash your towels on warm in order to sanitize them and kill any bacteria that may be lingering, which is why color setting with the first wash is so important.
As we mentioned above try to avoid using fabric softeners too often, and yes that includes dryer sheets. Avoid long gaps between washing and drying to prevent mildew smells and make sure that your towels are completely dry before putting them away. Although you want your towels to be completely dry, be sure to check on them as they dry to avoid over-drying.
For more tips on washing and drying, like which cycles are best for which fabrics you might like this post: Washer & Dryer Control Knobs and Settings.
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Written by: Sarah Walker