How to Wash Towels

How To Clean Towels

Towels are essential for everyday use, it’s for drying off after a shower or cleaning up spills in the kitchen. However, many people may not realize the importance of proper towel maintenance to keep them soft, fluffy, and absorbent. In this guide, we will cover a range of topics related to how to clean towels, including washing towels separately from other clothes to prevent lint buildup, using proper laundry sorting techniques, minimizing fabric softener use, and sanitizing towels every few loads with non-chlorine bleach or white vinegar.

We will also discuss how to shake towels between washing and drying for fluffy results. Dry towels immediately after washing to prevent mildew and use the proper dryer settings for different towel materials. Additionally, we will provide tips on air-drying towels and ironing linen hand towels. Finally, we will cover proper storage techniques to ensure the longevity of your towels. Whether you’re a busy parent, a college student, or simply someone who wants to keep their towels in top condition. This guide will give you the knowledge and tools to properly maintain your towels.

Proper Towel Maintenance Using a Washing Machine

To keep your towels fresh and clean, you should wash them about once a week. Experts and some manufacturers may suggest washing your towels every three or four days. But as long as you put your towels in a well-ventilated area away from steam. A weekly wash is sufficient. However, if your towels develop an unpleasant smell or live in a damp climate where mildew is common. You should consider washing them every week.

Washing Towels: Why You Should Wash Them Separately from Other Clothes

When washing towels. Experts recommend washing them separately from other clothing in order to avoid absorbing colors from other garments, shedding lint, and trapping smaller clothes items which can result in a less effective wash. Although it is possible to mix loads, a separate towel load will produce better results for long period. If the towels were used to clean up a particularly filthy and dirty mess. It’s especially important to wash all the towels separately to prevent exposing other clothing to stains or germs.

Proper Laundry Sorting Techniques for Maintaining Towel Appearance and Quality

When doing laundry, it is important to sort laundry loads by different colors to avoid discoloration and fading. This is particularly important for towels because they are especially absorbent and prone to color transfer. To maintain their proper appearance, towels should only be washed in separate light and dark loads. White and light-colored laundry items, should be separated from dark-colored items load to prevent discoloration. Dark items load should be separated to avoid fading. If colored towels are faint pastel or pale yellow in color. They can be washed with the light item load, but for any other colors, they should be washed with the dark item load.

Care Tips for New Towels: Wash Before Use

To ensure the best performance and longevity of new towels, it’s important to wash the towels before using them to remove any softeners that were added by manufacturers to improve their appearance, as this can make the towels less absorbent. When washing new towels, use half the usual amount of detergent and try adding 1/2 – 1 cup of white vinegar (120 – 240 mL) to the wash to minimize color bleeding later on. This is particularly important because new towels are especially likely to lose their color early. If you want to take extra precautions, use this vinegar method for the first two or three times as you wash your new towel.

Proper Detergent Usage for Washing Towels

To avoid damaging towels and making them less fluffy, it’s important to use the right amount of detergent when washing them, adding too much does not mean better. When washing only towels, use half the amount of detergent recommended by the manufacturer and experts, and use a mild detergent for luxury or extra delicate towels. For a load with tougher clothing or heavily soiled towels, you should use the usual amount of detergent. The manufacturer usually indicates the recommended quantity to use on the packaging of the detergent or on the cap of liquid detergents, and you can add the detergent directly to some top-load washers or place it in a tray labeled for this purpose.

Proper Washing Temperatures for Different Types of Towels

To determine the suitable washing temperature for towels, you should check the care label on the towels. Most white and light-colored towels can be washed in hot water to help sanitize them and make them fluffy. For dark-colored towels, warm water is usually best to prevent the bleeding of colors and fading. However, if the towels are made of linen or have a decorative trim or delicate fibers, you should use cold water to avoid damaging them. If the delicate towels become heavily soiled, you may need to wash them in warm water instead of cold. It’s important to note that the hotter the water, the cleaner and more sanitized the towels will be because towels are absorbent.

Minimize Fabric Softener Use for Towels

When doing your laundry, you should use fabric softeners sparingly or not at all to maintain the absorbency of your towels. Most washing modern machines have a special tray for adding fabric softeners. It is important to note that Excessive use of fabric softener can decrease the lifespan of your towels. It is important to use it sparingly or not at all. If you are unsure how to add fabric softener to your washing machine, refer to the manual written by experts.

Sanitize Towels Every Few Loads with Non-Chlorine Bleach or White Vinegar

To sanitize your towels, add non-chlorine bleach or white vinegar every third or fourth load when washing. For white towels, use non-chlorine bleach; for colored towels, use color-safe bleach with warm water. To keep your towels free of odors and mildew, add 1/2 cup (120 mL) of white vinegar to the detergent once every few loads when washing. If you wish to use bleach, make sure to add it to the bleach compartment or mix it with water and pour it into the machine five minutes after the load begins with warm water. When using vinegar for this purpose, add it during the final rinse with warm water by pouring it into the fabric softener tray or directly into the top-load washer near the end of the wash.

Shake Towels Between Washing and Drying for Fluffy Results

To keep the surface fibers of your towels fluffy and absorbent, give them a slight shake between washing and drying with warm water. This will help prevent the fibers of the towel from clumping together and becoming flat and rough. After removing the towels from the wash, simply hold each one by the corners and give it a gentle shake before placing it in the dryer to dry.

Dry Towels Immediately After Washing to Prevent Mildew

To keep towels clean, dry them immediately after every wash. Mildew is more likely to grow on wet towels that are left to sit around for a long period of time. Spread out the towels in an area with good airflow, and sunlight and dry them as soon as possible after washing them. Note that in humid or cold conditions, hanging up a towel to dry may take several hours, but as long as they are spread out in an area with good airflow and sunlight they should dry properly.

Proper dryer settings for different towel materials

To set your dryer, adjust it according to the towel material written in the manual. Cotton towels should be dried at high heat, while linen towels and those with a delicate decorative trim should be dried at a cool setting if using a machine dry. Remember to always remove lint from the lint trap before starting the dryer in order to prevent the build-up of lint that could cause a fire. When using a dryer, there is no need to sort out towels by color just use the dryer. You may include them in a dryer load with other items load, but be aware that a towel may trap a piece of clothing and prevent it from drying.

Avoid Over-Drying Your Towels in the Dryer

To prevent damage to your towels, you should avoid putting them in the dryer for longer than necessary. You should check small loads before the cycle is finished by opening the door to see if they’re already dry or not. If the towels are already dry, you should cancel the drying cycle and remove the towels because longer is not required. In case your towels are slightly damp at the end of a drying cycle, you may want to hang them up to dry in the sunlight instead of running the dryer again, as this will save you money on your energy bill. If you do start another drying cycle, be sure to check on it halfway through to see if the towels are dry or not.

Limit dryer sheet use to maintain towel absorbency

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You should Limit the use of dryer sheets. Dryer sheets soften clothing, but they can leave a waxy finish on towels that reduces their absorbency rate. If you still wish to use them to make your towels softer and fluffier, only use them once every three or four loads at a time.

Air-Dry Your Towels: Tips and Tricks

To dry towels without a dryer, hang them in an airy and warm location with sunlight. Air-dried towels may initially feel stiff, but they will soften once they come into contact with water when used. Choose a location that has good airflow and sunlight to help dry the towels faster. If possible, hang them in direct sunlight and good airflow, which is best for drying towels and reducing germs. If direct sunlight is not available, put the towels in front of a heater (but not on top of it) or place them above a heating vent, well it is optional. Be sure to fasten your towels securely with clothespins to prevent them from blowing away in the wind which rarely happens.

Ironing Tips for Linen Hand Towels Only

The use of iron is only recommended for linen towels, and should not be used for cotton or other fluffy towels because it made them rough. If you would like to make your linen hand towels smoother and crisper. You may use an iron to do so but do not use high heat. The linen towels can be folded and stored just like any other towel at your home. However, be sure to only iron the towels as it may damage the fibers and ruin the towel’s absorbency rate.

Proper Storage of Towels for Longer Shelf Life

To ensure your towels stay fresh and work last longer, store them only when they are completely dry. Check that the towels are not damp by touching them, and if they are, hang them up for an hour or so to dry completely in sunlight. Once they dry in sunlight, fold them neatly several times to fit on a shelf without bunching up or wrinkling.

To prevent wearing out your towel’s quality more quickly, consider using them in rotation. 


Maintaining your towels properly can help them last longer and keep them soft, fluffy, and absorbent. When washing towels, it’s important to wash them separately from other clothes to prevent lint buildup. Proper laundry sorting techniques can also help maintain their appearance and quality. It’s recommended to wash new towels before use and use the right amount of detergent for the load. Different types of towels may require different washing temperatures, and to maintain absorbency fabric softeners should minimize. 

Sanitizing towels every few loads with non-chlorine bleach or white vinegar can help keep them clean and fresh. To achieve fluffy results, shake towels between washing and drying. Drying towels immediately after washing is crucial to prevent mildew. Using the proper dryer settings for different towel materials is important. Avoid over-drying to maintain absorbency. Air-drying your towels can be an effective alternative. Linen hand towels may require ironing, but this is not necessary for other towel materials. Finally, proper storage of towels can ensure their longer shelf life.

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