How to Care for Bath Towels
Wash Your Towels Before You Use Them
Wash your towels with a ½ cup of white vinegar before using them for the first time. The vinegar will help set the dyes and keep the colors more resilient. Plus, running the towels through a laundry cycle will reduce the shedding that can often be found in new towels.
Launder Your Towels Together
If you don’t want your towels to pill, launder them only with other towels. What is a “pill”? It’s when short fabric fibers rub together with the long fibers of bath towels, causing them to bunch and create little nubs on the fabric, or “pills.” Over drying can also lead to pills, so keep an eye on your drying time.
Wash Towels in Small Laundry Loads
Trying to wash and dry too many towels at once can damage your washing machine and interfere with your dryer’s ability to dry your towels properly. An overstuffed load of towels in your dryer won’t allow enough air circulation to fluff up the fibers. Instead, a too-full load will mat down fibers, causing your towels to come out stiff instead of soft.
Use Vinegar to Remove Buildup
Occasionally, add 1 cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle to strip your towels of the chemical buildup and hard water embedded in their threads. This will restore the absorbency of your towels and help the fibers fluff up and feel softer against your skin.
Eliminate Musty Odors with Baking Soda
Add a ½ cup of baking soda with your detergent in a wash cycle to eliminate the musty smells often associated with swimming towels or those left in a gym bag for a while.
Avoid Fabric Softener
This may seem like a contradiction, but fabric softeners will stop being effective after several uses and can actually damage your towels. Fabric softeners cause buildup and can mat your fibers down, which causes stiffness and a decrease in absorbency.
Replace Your Towels Regularly
Despite your best care, towels will lose fibers and absorbency with repeated use. Luckily, plush, fluffy towels are an affordable indulgence, so if it’s been more than two years of regular wear and tear, it’s time to replace them. For more tips, check out our When to Replace Household Items Guide.