Getting out of the shower and grabbing a stinky towel is the worse! I am sure we have all been there. I know that as a mom of four it happens all of the time. My kids are horrible at remembering to hang up their towels quickly, and I am terrible at getting my laundry in the dryer quick enough. As a result we often end up with stinky mildew smelling towels.
Luckily it doesn’t have to mean the end of those towels! I used to think if I added extra fabric softener it would help mask the smell…unfortunately the opposite is what happens. It doesn’t mask the smell and instead it adds a layer of chemical build up on the towels making them less absorbent and thus more stinky!
So here it goes…
Start by running your load of towels in extra hot water. (If you have a top loader you can even add a extra pot of boiling water!) Next add 1 cup of white vinegar to your top loader washing machine (or in the detergent container of your front loader). Run laundry with the hot water and vinegar ONLY. No detergent, fabric softener or anything else.
Once the load is done, repeat the previous instructions with one change. Instead of running the load with vinegar, use 1/2 cup baking soda to the load and wash on extra hot.
Once it is done washing, make sure to place in the dryer IMMEDIATELY and dry COMPLETELY. Remember one of the reasons towels can get that stinky mildew smell is because towels often times get put away while still damp. Even a tiny bit of moisture in a towel will cause mold and mildew to build up.
- 1 cup white vinegar
- ½ cup baking soda
- Hot Water
- Wash towels in extra hot water and 1 cup of white vinegar. DO NOT add any detergent or fabric softeners to the load.
- Once the load is complete, run the load again with extra hot water and ½ cup of baking soda.
- As soon as the second load is done washing, immediately place towels into the dryer and dry completely.
- Fold and put away. Enjoying the new soft, refreshing feel and smell of your "new" old towels!
Extra Tip #1: If your towels are extra stinky, like my dish towels get – you may need to repeat washing your towels in extra hot water and white vinegar.
Extra Tip #2: I recommend washing your towels this way at least once a month to “maintain” their freshness, softness and absorbency. For dish towels I do this every other wash!