You use towels to wipe up spills, dry off after a shower, hit the beach, and mop up sweat after burning calories on the treadmill. With all that use, it’s no surprise that towels get dirty and smelly really quickly!
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to do some laundry! Here’s your guide to washing every type of towel, from large, fluffy bath towels to the microfiber towels you use to clean your car.
Do You Wash Towels in Hot or Cold Water?
Separate your towels by color, so they can go in different loads in the washing machine. White towels should be washed with hot water, while colorful towels should be washed with cold water.
What Are Towels Made Of?
Most bath towels are 100% cotton, but polyester, linen, and microfiber are also fairly common materials. The care tag will tell you which fabric is used to make your towel, so be sure to check it before washing.
Follow these tips when washing different towel materials!
*DISCLAIMER: Quality Logo Products® is not responsible for any damage caused by washing towels. Always follow the instructions on the care tag.
When washing towels, the first thing you should do is check the care tag. Follow the cleaning instructions as listed for the best results.
Do you want your white towels to seem like they came from a hotel or spa? Wash them in hot water in a separate load from colorful towels. The white will appear brighter and more pristine as a result.
Towels are thick and heavy, so you can only comfortably fit a maximum of 10 in the cycle. If you overload the machine, you may cause strain on the appliance and potentially damage the drum during the spin cycle. There’s even a risk of the water overflowing!
For a full load, you only need about 2 tablespoons of a mild detergent. This amount will be absorbed by the fabric during the cycle, resulting in clean, fresh-smelling towels.
Cotton and linen towels can be washed on a regular cycle, while bamboo and microfiber towels should go in a gentle cycle. Do not let the wet towels sit in the washer, or they will end up smelling like mildew or growing bacteria.
Dry your towels on low heat with no dryer sheets. You should tumble dry when possible since it keeps the towels fluffy, but a regular cycle works as well. Use a delicate cycle for bamboo or microfiber towels. After the load is done, remove the towels from the dryer right away so they don’t attract static or get covered in lint.
What Do You Wash Towels With?
While it’s technically okay to wash towels with sheets, blankets, or clothing, it’s much better to do a separate load. This prevents germs and bacteria from transferring from the towels to the other garments.
To remove the mildew smell from your towels, try adding 1 cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle.
You use baking soda to make cookies, cakes, and bread, but you can also use this pantry item to get the smell out of towels. Simply add a ½ cup during the load.
Lavender or Rose Water
Before you put your towels in the machine, give them a quick spritz of lavender or rose water. You can mix this ahead of time in a spray bottle using cool water and essential oils.
In extreme cases, you can use borax to get the sour smell out of towels. Turn the water level to high, and put in a ½ cup where you normally pour the detergent.
Are your towels still damp after the dryer? Avoid the mildew smell by hanging them up outside to dry in the direct sunlight. Just be sure not to leave them outside for too long, or you may accidentally damage the color.
Treat yourself to a spa day by soaking 8 to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil in a bowl of ice water. Soak a hand towel inside, roll it up, and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour. The towels will smell amazing, and as a bonus, you can use them to reduce puffiness around your eyes!
Always Wash New Towels
Did you buy new towels? Throw them in the washing machine before you use them. This keeps them soft and gets rid of any germs that may be lurking from their journey to the warehouse to the store to your home.
Throw in White Vinegar
Add distilled white vinegar alongside your detergent in the machine every other wash. This will help make your towels feel fluffy again.
Skip the Fabric Softener
The word “soft” may be in the name, but fabric softener actually makes your towels feel stiffer over time. Skip the fabric softener when you’re doing a load of towels so they stay soft.
Shake Out the Towels
You shouldn’t just toss the towels into your dryer bunched up in a wet ball! Take a moment to shake them out before you put them in the dryer. This is an easy way to keep them soft and fluffy.
Wash a Light Load
The less towels in the machine, the softer they will be when the cycle is done. Each towel will have breathing room, so it doesn’t become overly saturated and can properly dry. Four to five towels in the load is key to soft, fluffy towels.
Reuse Your Towels
As long as you didn’t use it to wipe up tomato sauce, you can reuse the same bath towel for a week. It’s much better not to over wash your towels anyways since this keeps them nice and soft.
Use Low Heat
Think about how dry your skin feels on a hot day. The heat in the dryer works the same way. High temperatures will make your towels feel coarse, so use a low heat setting in the dryer whenever possible.
Is it Okay to Use the Same Towel for a Week?
According to Healthline, harmful microorganisms may grow on damp towels. It’s okay to reuse the same towel for a week, but use your best judgment. If it’s overly saturated, it’s time to put it in the laundry and grab a fresh replacement.
The tri-fold is a very common way to fold towels. It makes them look neat and clean in your linen closet. Here’s how it’s done:
- Bring one corner of the towel about two-thirds of the way across on the left.
- Do the same on the right.
- Fold the towel in half.
- Fold it in half again.
- Put the towel in the linen closet with the folded edge facing outward.
Try a deep fold if you have a big closet, but only a few towels. Follow these steps:
- Bring one side of the towel to the center and make a crease down the length of the towel.
- Grab the other end and fold to the centerline, making another crease.
- Fold the towel in half lengthwise.
- Fold both ends in half toward the middle, leaving a gap in the center.
- Bring the two ends of the towel together. The fold will be nice and thick.
A narrow fold is a great option if you don’t have a lot of storage space. Here’s how you can fold towels with a narrow fold:
- Bring the two corners of the towel together.
- Repeat the first step.
- Fold the towel in half.
- Fold one end of the towel to the middle.
- Fold the other end of the towel toward the middle.
- Stack the towels in your closet. They will be less bulky and won’t take up much room.
Do you want to feel like you’re at a resort? Fold your towels like they do at a hotel!
- Fold one corner of the towel to the center lengthwise.
- Fold in half lengthwise.
- Flip the towel over and roll it tightly toward the pointed end.
- Tuck in the flap.
- Throw the towels in a decorative basket or storage bin.
Spa Roll Fold
The spa roll is very similar to the hotel fold, but it’s a little bit different. To accomplish this fold, follow these steps:
- Lay the towel flat.
- Create a triangle on one end.
- Fold the towel in half lengthwise.
- Flip the towel over so the folded edge is on the bottom.
- Roll from the bottom to the top and tuck in the corner.
Ooh la la! A French fold is an elegant way to fold your towels. You’ll feel like you’re sipping a red wine while walking the cobblestone streets in Paris!
- Bring both corners of the towel from one end to the other.
- Fold the bottom third of the towel toward the middle.
- Fold the top third of the towel so it meets the bottom edge.
- Bring the right side of the towel toward the middle and fold the edge.
- Repeat step 4 on the left side.
- Fold the right side over the left side and smooth.
Marie Kondo is a famous organization expert. She even has her own show! Follow her steps for folding a towel:
- Lay the towel flat.
- Fold the towel in half, bringing the bottom to the top.
- Bring the bottom to the top again and smooth it out.
- Fold the towel from the left to the right.
- Fold it from the left to the right again.
- Rather than stacking, stand the towels up so they can fit next to each other in a drawer or closet.
Animal Origami Fold
Guests in your home will feel welcome if you fold their towels to look like a cute animal. The easiest fold to do is a swan.
- Lay the towel flat in a “landscape” style.
- Roll the towel on the left side toward the middle.
- Roll the towel on the ride side toward the middle until it meets the left roll. You should now have an arrow shape.
- Hold the towel firmly in the middle with your hand and bring the tip of the arrow toward the bottom.
- Curve the tip of the arrow up to make the swan’s neck.
- Ruffle out the bottom of the towel to make the swan’s feathers.
- Repeat steps 1 to 5 to make another swan. Set it up on the bed so the two swans are “kissing.”
- If the necks are falling, you can tie the swan’s “body” in the middle with a ribbon.
Now you know eight different ways to fold your towels. This infographic provides a quick overview of each style.
Remember, there is really no “right” way to fold your towels. Your goal should be for them to look clean and organized in the storage space you have, whether you use a narrow fold to fit in your linen closet or roll them up and put them in a basket.
The Bottom Line
Laundry may be your least favorite chore, but if you have to do it, you may as well do it right! Wash your towels with care, and they’ll be nice, fluffy, and spa-like as a result.
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