How to wash bath towels: Five things to keep in mind

The feel of a clean, warm, and fluffy towel after a shower is usually somewhat fulfilling. Sadly, that feeling is usually short-lived — at least when the towel is still new. After a few weeks or months of using the towel, it will start feeling like crunchy tree bark.

In most cases, this happens because the towel is not being washed properly. Improper drying, hard water, and product buildup are some of the things that make your towel stiff. While learning how to wash bath towels sounds simple, there are certain things you need to know that can actually keep your towels soft and fluffy.

Keep on reading to learn more.

Wash new towels

three bundles of different colored new towels
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Maybe you don’t know this, but it’s usually advisable to wash new towels before you start using them. Brand-new towels usually have silicone or other forms of coating to give them a plush feel. Unfortunately, these additions usually reduce the absorbency of the towels.

As such, you need to wash them to open up the fibers to ensure optimal soakage every time you wash your towels. It’s advisable to wash them in warm water (about 30° to 40°) to eliminate the excess lint and open them up.

Wash like items together

While separating laundry means taking more time to wash, it’s actually good for your towels. It helps to prevent lint transfer between different fabrics. Washing like items together in the washing machine delivers ideal cleaning because everything is similar in the machine.

laundry basket with laundry inside
Annie Spratt/Unsplash

New towels are more likely to create lint, so it’s essential to separate them from the rest of the laundry. This is particularly true for towels that are made of 100 percent cotton. That’s one of the reasons it’s usually advisable to wash new towels before using them.

Also, avoid loading all your towels at once in the machine. Doing this results in tangling and clumping, which create moisture pockets that the dryer can’t heat well.

Avoid too much heat

Don’t assume that more heat helps to kill germs in your towels when you wash them. We’re sorry to disappoint you. Too much heat can actually do more harm than good to your towels.

Cotton towels are usually soft, so if you “cook” them, they’re likely to flatten out and become dry. Instead, it’s advisable to wash and dry them at medium heat to protect the fibers and remove the bacteria.

Also, too much heat tends to set stains even deeper into the fabric, thus damaging your white towels.

Wash your bath towels regularly

How often do you wash your towels?

Well, the frequency of washing towels is quite relative. It depends on how often you use the towels. This is also a personal preference, and you can choose to wash your towels as often as you like.

Under normal circumstances, it’s advisable to wash your towels after using them three or four times, not days. Towels are intimate textiles because you use them daily, so washing them as often as possible just makes sense.

girl with towel on head putting on lip balm in mirror
Kevin Laminto/Unsplash

While washing them, pay attention to the products you’re using. Fabric softeners are not the best in helping you achieve a soft, fluffy feel for your towels. Instead, you can use white vinegar to whiten your towels and set colors. It also eliminates bacteria and mildew.

If your towels are stiff, baking soda can give them a softer texture and remove the wet laundry’s sour odor. However, be sure not to mix baking soda and vinegar in the laundry as the two usually have a chemical reaction.

Shake towels before drying

After washing your towels, it’s advisable to shake them properly to open up the fibers before putting them in the dryer. Shaking helps to give your towel a soft feeling once they’re dry.

Always ensure the towels are completely dry before folding them and stashing them away in the closet. You can always use a dryer ball or tennis ball in the dryer to ensure optimal drying for the towels.

two white towels with stripes folded
Thomas Cotton/Pexels

Also, avoid leaving damp towels in your dryer. This can get your fibers creased and create a perfect environment for mildew growth.

Final thoughts

Knowing the best way to wash towels can give you the softness you want and protect your towel’s fibers. A good towel can last about two to seven years with proper washing, depending on how you use them.

Bear in mind that not all towel fabrics are the same. High-quality towels have decorative trims, and they’re usually thick at about 700 grams per square meter. Such factors are worth considering whenever you’re washing your towels.

When shopping for towels, always go for lighter colors because they have less dye, and this allows them to stay fluffy for a longer time. They’re also unlikely to fade.

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