Do you just toss your towels in the washing machine with clothes and hope for the best? Hey, we’re not here to judge! Any washing is better than no washing, right? But if you’re looking for maximum freshness from your towels (and to make them last as long as possible), there are a few things you should keep in mind on laundry day.

Step Up Your Towel Game The Easy Way

Let’s cut right to the chase and share a ridiculously easy tip that will change the game when it comes to your towel freshness levels. We hinted at this one above: wash your towels separately from your clothes. Why? Not only can heavy towels damage clothes, but even if your clothes aren’t visibly soiled, they’re probably dirtier than you think. Towels, on the other hand, although they may get a bit musty from being wet, don’t really get much dirt on them (when used as directed). Removing dirt from the equation makes a huge freshness difference and dramatically extends towel longevity, so give it a try!

How to Wash Towels: A Step-By-Step Guide

Want to take your towel care routine a step further? Whether you’re dealing with hand towels, bath towels, or beach towels, we’ve got you covered with the following guide. So unless you’re planning to send your towels out for Wash N Fold service, read on!

Choose the Right Cycle

What’s the perfect towel wash setting? Most towels are cotton or a cotton blend, and the regular cycle will do the trick. If they’re looking a little dingy, you can wash them on the whites cycle. If they’re extra dirty or smelly, it won’t hurt to use the heavy-duty cycle from time to time.

Wash Your Dark and Light Towels Separately

The absorbent nature of towels is a lifesaver after a shower, but it can backfire in the wash. Towels are prone to picking up dye from darker towels permanently, and the last thing you want is for your white or light towels to end up with a pink tinge (or worse)!

Ease up on Detergent

Less is more when it comes to detergent and towels. Over time, too much detergent can actually make your towels less absorbent. Crazy right? It turns out, when you’re cleaning towels, you can use around half the amount of detergent you’d use on an average load. Using too much detergent can cause a buildup on your towels, making them less able to absorb moisture and stiff to the touch. You’ll be amazed at how much fluffier your towels will be when you dial back the soap!

Get the Temp Right

Your white and light-colored towels will stay bright the longest if you wash them in hot water. When it comes to darker towels, try using warm water to keep the colors true for as long as possible. Warm water helps destroy the bacteria that causes musty towel odors, so avoid using cold water if possible.

Bleach as Needed

If you have white towels, bleaching them from time to time is a great way to keep them looking new. Just be careful not to overdo it, as this can damage the fibers and shorten the life of your towels. Got colorful towels? Stick to color-safe bleach to help keep their vibrant hues intact.

Hold off on the Fabric Softener

This one’s a bit counterintuitive. Unfortunately, fabric softener reduces a towel’s absorbency by coating the fibers. So if you’re looking for softer, fluffier towels, try using less detergent instead of fabric softener – your towels (and wallet) will thank you!

Towel Drying Tips

The best way to dry your towels is to hang them up. Sure, there’s a time and a place for dryers, but they’re a leading cause of wear and tear on towels and garments in general. But, if you’ve ever used an air-dried towel, you know they can be a bit stiff. The workaround? Toss them in the dryer briefly on a low setting to fluff them up.

Need your towels soonish? No worries. Choose a lower heat setting and run them through your dryer. High heat and over-drying can damage fibers, so avoid them to maximize towel longevity.

How to Tackle that Persistent Musty Towel Smell

We’ve all been there. You step out of the shower, all fresh and clean, and reach for a towel to dry off. You cringe as a musty odor unworthy of your cleanliness accosts your nostrils. Once these odors set into your towels, they can be, shall we say, somewhat persistent. So what do you do?

First, try running a towel load without soap and add at least a cup of white vinegar to the mix. Rinsing away any excess soap buildup, the acidity of the vinegar will also help remove any lingering smells. You can also try this method with a cup of baking soda instead of vinegar. Got white towels? Wash them with bleach, and you should be all set.

If you have an outdoor clothesline, don’t underestimate the sun’s power to freshen up towels.

Washing New Towels

You should always wash new towels before using them. Factory fresh towels have a silicone finish that can reduce their absorbency. A good wash will remove any residues and get them ready for action. Unfortunately, new dark towels may bleed, so it’s more important than ever to wash them separately from your white or light towels.

Send Your Towels To ZIPS

Here’s one last tip. If you’re overwhelmed by musty-smelling towels or just need a break from your never-ending laundry grind, find your nearest ZIPS Cleaners! Head over to your nearest ZIPS Cleaners to drop off towels and any other items that need washing, or dry cleaning, give them a spa day, and bring them home to you fresher than you ever thought possible.