There is nothing better than stepping out of the shower and wrapping a soft, absorbent towel around yourself. However, after time, even the most luxurious towels can become stiff and smelly. If your bath towels are starting to feel more like a scrubbing bush against your skin or never seem to dry out completely between uses, we suggest you try these 10 helpful hints to keep your towels in tip top condition.
It seems obvious to say you should be washing your bath towels regularly, but according to a recent Lorraine Lea survey of 1000 Aussies & Kiwis, almost half of us aren't washing our towels frequently enough. Towels begin to smell and contract germs quickly and should be laundered after every third use, however, 44% of people admit to washing their towels only once a week or even less! As hand towels get used even more often, they should be washed accordingly and go into the machine every 1 - 2 days.
2. Give them space to breathe
If you're short on towel hanging space, you may be guilty of using one hook for more than one towel. This is a bathroom no-no. Without proper ventilation space, the moisture in towels breed bacteria and mold - which is not what you want to be wrapping around yourself as you step out of the shower.
3. Don't leave them in the machine
It goes without saying, but wet items should be removed from the washing machine promptly. Don't give mildew and mold an opportunity to set in! Throw wet towels into the dryer or hang them up properly with lots of room to air and make sure they don't have any bunching.
4. Using the same towels too often
It's important to have a few towels in rotation. Even with regular washing, the wear and tear on just one towel will severely shorten its longevity.
5. Don't use excess detergent
Using more than the recommended amount of detergent in your wash cycles doesn't increase the cleanliness of your towels. In fact, because towels are absorbent, extra soap suds will soak into them and, if not rinsed well, the leftover detergent can actually feed bacteria and mold. The residue detergent can also leave towels stiff, rough and scratchy.
6. Use vinegar
Vinegar removes almost any kind of build-up. Try using about 1 cup of white vinegar with a little bit of detergent to remove the chemical debris and hard water stuck in the fibres of your towels. This will help your towels feel softer against your skin and will bring back some of the absorbency.
7. Fabric softener
Too much of this stuff will effect a towel's absorbency and can actually damage your towels. Softeners collect on your towel and will eventually push the fibres of the fabric down. Your towel fibres then stiffen and become less absorbent because they are full of build-up from your softeners.
8. Some like it hot!
For most towels, it won't do them any favours to be washed on a cold gentle cycle. Hot water is better able to dissolve oils from bath products or your skin which cause them to become stiff. Check the care tag and wash them in the hottest water safe for the fabric to really get them clean and kill germs.
9. Shake it off
Just like you shake your laundry out before you fold it, you should also shake your towels before you toss them into the dryer. This will help them to stay fluffy over time.
10. Strange but true...
Not just a wives tale, adding a clean tennis ball (or dryer ball) to the dryer with your towels will actually remove lumps. As the balls bounce around the dryer, they will naturally fluff your towels.