How to Wash Stinky Towels

Do you dread doing laundry because of the unpleasant smell emanating from your towels? If so, you’re not alone. Many people struggle with stinky towels that just won’t go away no matter how many times they wash them. But fear not, there are some simple steps you can take to get rid of that foul odor and enjoy fresh, clean towels once again.

Why Do Towels Smell Bad?

Before we dive into the solution, it’s important to understand why towels can get so stinky in the first place. The most common culprit is bacteria. When you use a towel to dry off after a shower or bath, you’re essentially transferring bacteria from your body onto the towel. Over time, this bacteria can build up and create a musty, unpleasant smell.

Another common cause of stinky towels is mildew. If you leave your towels in a damp environment, such as a humid bathroom, they can develop mildew which produces a distinct odor.

How to Wash Stinky Towels

Now that we know what causes towels to smell bad, let’s talk about how to fix the problem. Here are some simple steps you can take:

Step 1: Pre-treat

Before washing your towels, it’s a good idea to pre-treat them to help remove any bacteria or mildew. You can do this by soaking the towels in a mixture of water and white vinegar for 30 minutes before washing. The vinegar will help kill bacteria and eliminate odors.

Step 2: Use Hot Water

When washing stinky towels, it’s important to use hot water. This will not only help kill bacteria, but it will also help remove any buildup or residue that may be causing the odor. Make sure to check the care label on your towels to ensure they can be washed in hot water.

Step 3: Add Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and can help eliminate odors from towels. Add half a cup of baking soda to your wash cycle along with your regular detergent.

Step 4: Avoid Fabric Softener

Fabric softener may make your towels feel soft and fluffy, but it can also contribute to the buildup of bacteria and mildew. Instead, use white vinegar as a natural fabric softener.

Step 5: Dry Thoroughly

After washing your towels, make sure to dry them thoroughly. Damp towels are a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew. Use a high heat setting on your dryer or hang your towels outside in the sun to dry.


How often should I wash my towels?

You should wash your towels after every three to four uses. This will help prevent the buildup of bacteria and mildew.

Can I use bleach to wash my towels?

While bleach can be effective at killing bacteria, it can also damage the fibers of your towels over time. If you do choose to use bleach, use it sparingly and dilute it according to the instructions on the bottle.

What if my towels still smell bad after washing?

If your towels still smell bad after following these steps, it may be time to replace them. Towels can only withstand so many washings before they begin to break down and lose their absorbency.

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