I can't remember exactly where I found this -- maybe on the Speed Queen website....but this this is some good information:
You’ve just taken a refreshing shower that leaves you feeling invigorated. You reach for your towel, and your spirits deflate. The towel feels coarse against your skin. Worse yet, as soon as dampness settles in, your towel takes on a smelly funk. Sound familiar?
When your towels smell and lack absorbency—especially shortly after being laundered—it’s a sign that detergent and fabric softener have built up in the fabric. While it sounds counterintuitive, using too much detergent is bad for towels. When soap residue builds up, the towels don’t dry as effectively, decreasing their softness and increasing the possibility of being a breeding ground for bacteria (thus, the musty smell).
The good news is that there are steps you can take to reverse these effects.
How to refresh towelsWashing towels with vinegar and baking soda can bring them back to life in just three steps:
- Wash towels in hot water and one cup vinegar. Don’t add any detergent.
- Wash the towels a second time (without drying them) in hot water and one cup baking soda.
- Dry your towels but avoid fabric softener, which builds up on towels and reduces softness. Learn more about fabric softeners in our Liquid Fabric Softener vs. Dryer Sheets
How to keep towels softNow that you’ve refreshed your towels, how do you ensure they will stay that way? Here are a few hints:
- Make sure you are using the correct amount of detergent. These tips will help you stay within recommended guidelines:
- Fit the detergent to your machine. If you own a high-efficiency machine, use detergent to match.
- Measure detergent according to the manufacturer’s package. You’re likely to use more—rather than less—than recommended if you eyeball the measurement.
- Know how to tell if you have used too much detergent. Suds left over after rinsing is a sure sign. Also, if your wet clothes feel stiff, they are likely filled with soap residue.
- Hang your towels to dry. Never throw a wet towel in the hamper. Bacteria will grow faster on towels that aren’t allowed to dry completely.
- Clean your washing machine frequently by running a cycle with one-quarter cup bleach.
- Launder your towels frequently. A good rule is to use the towel no more than three times between washings.