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How to Wash Bath Towels to Keep Them Soft
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best wash cycle for towels

Everyone loves the soft fluffiness of a brand new bath towel, yet we’re soon resigned to the roughness that results from multiple washings. Don’t despair, you’re not doomed to scratchy towels forever. The washer repair experts at Moore Appliance Service have created a step-by-step guide on how to wash towels properly. Check out our insider tips on the right wash temperatures, detergents, and drying methods to keep them nice and soft for you.

Spa-Quality Bath Towels at Home: How to Wash Towels the Right Way

While washing towels with other items and any amount of detergent can get them clean, it won’t keep them soft and fluffy. With some minor adjustments, our tips and tricks demonstrate how to wash bath towels to keep them like new. But, first, here are some common problems and mistakes to avoid.

Problems With Cleaning Towels

It’s likely your towels don’t feel the same as they did when they were brand new. They probably don’t smell the same either. Here are some common towel problems that can make you feel anything but fresh and clean:

  • Musty odor
  • Poor absorbency
  • Faded colors
  • Roughness
  • Shedding 
  • Lack of fluffiness

Common Towel Washing Mistakes

So how do these problems occur? Often with the best of intentions. While we may think we know how to wash towels, these common practices are actually mistakes:

  1. Washing with too much detergent: This can stiffen towels, contributing to roughness and shedding.
  2. Adding fabric softener: Most softeners create a waxy buildup that lingers on towels, limiting absorbency.
  3. Using as a makeup remover: Makeup stains often require multiple washings to remove, resulting in faded colors.
  4. Washing in water that’s too hot: Hot water can also contribute to fading for colored towels.
  5. Improper drying: Too much time in the dryer can break down fibers, while insufficient drying leaves towels damp and susceptible to mildew.

Best Tips for Washing Towels

In light of these problems and mistakes, here are our insider tips for how to wash towels in a way that preserves their color, softness, and absorbency:

  1. Limit detergent: The best detergent for towels is more about amount than a particular brand. We suggest using only half of what most brands recommend. Your towels will still be clean and won’t have a sticky residue. 
  2. Use fabric softener sparingly: So how to soften towels in the wash? Add fabric softener only every 3-4 washings to keep towels fluffy and absorbent and limit waxy buildup. Better yet, use ½ cup white vinegar with every wash to soften fabric and limit fading.
  3. Use different wash temperatures for different towels: While white towels can be washed in hot water, colored towels are better able to retain their color in warm water. Though washing towels in cold water will get them clean, warmer temperatures are better able to destroy germs and bacteria.
  4. Wash separately from clothes: clothes can easily transfer dirt and bacteria to a relatively clean towel. Wondering how to wash dingy towels? Wash them separately from clothes to keep them cleaner and fresher.
  5. Dry properly: Before putting towels in the dryer, shake them out to loosen their fibers. Dry on a regular setting, making sure they’re completely dry at the end of the cycle.

Here’s How to Wash Towels Correctly

These simple steps detail how to wash bath towels the right way with some additional tips to keep them looking their best.

What You’ll Need:

Fabric softener or white vinegar
Baking Soda
Wool laundry balls

how to wash towels

Follow These Simple Steps:

  1. Separate white and colored towels
  2. Wash white towels in hot water with detergent and non-chlorine bleach, as needed. The best wash cycle for towels with colors uses warm water, detergent and color-safe bleach, as needed.
  3. Use fabric softener only every 3-4 washes. Soften with ½ cup of white vinegar with each wash if preferred.
  4. For persistent odor, first, wash towels with just ½ cup of baking soda. Rewash immediately afterward with detergent.
  5. Before drying, shake towels and add wool dryer balls to the dryer. This will decrease drying times and add fluffiness. Make sure towels are completely dry at the end of the cycle; damp towels can harbor mold and mildew.

Moore Appliance is here to help with all your washer questions and concerns. Now that you know how to wash towels correctly, we also suggest our tips for how to wash items with pet hair.

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