It’s only but a simple piece of advice when buying towels, especially from flee markets, or street vendors in town or such that are unpackaged, please be sure to wash them first before using them for the first time to avoid any sort of bacteria passed onto your body from the countless numbers of hands that would have touched it prior to your purchase. You’d hate to contract anything, and it sort of feels violating knowing all those hands are now touching your body.
Now when washing, note that most towels have silicone or other finishes in them that make it absorbent…and washing them, over time, it removes these finishes and doesn’t permit for maximum absorbency when time to dry your skin. And before you know it, you’ll realize you’re only spreading water evenly about your body rather than sucking it up. So to avoid that, use vinegar and baking soda to recharge your towels.
So if you're in the habit of using the “recommended” amount of detergent on the bottle – which is almost always too much more than you ever need – and then hitting towels with fabric softener in aims to get it back plump again….you're setting yourself up for absorbless towels. Try the vinegar and baking soda remedy…it works!
The use of vinegar is also good for color stay. When washing colored towels in warm water, use about half the recommended amount of detergent in vinegar, which is about a ½ to 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash water. The vinegar helps set the colors and removes excess detergent residue. White towels should be washed separately or with other white items to avoid subtle discoloration over time (preferably in cold water). Nobody likes their whites looking that dingy yellowy color. Not cute.
Nb. Use fabric softeners according to directions, but use only every three or four washes. That waxy build up it leaves on the fabric can deteriorate the towel fibres over time and reduce their absorbency like mentioned above.
After your towels are washed, place them in the dryer and be sure that towels are completely dry when you remove them from the dryer, but not singeing hot. Even slightly damp towels can quickly mildew, but avoid over drying because it can destroy the integrity of the individual cotton fibres and make them coarse and rough and you feel every strand scratching against your skin like sandpaper. Ok maybe not so harsh, but it’s still not a comfortable feeling. But to digress, yes, most of the time those towels that smell perpetually unpleasant aren't a result of failing to wash your towels enough or not changing it often enough, but instead it’s the simple reason of using too much laundry detergent and fabric softener. So ease up on the Breeze and Downy a bit. Simply put, it’s like this; more isn't always better and over time soapy residue can build up within the fibres of the towels making them incapable of doing their honorary duties as towels. So when your towels seem to get a funky smell upon getting washed again, failure to dry completely due the soaps residue is usually the perpetrator.
What can you do? Saving your towels is as simple as running them through two hot loads. Skip the detergent on both loads, run them through once with hot water and a cup of vinegar and then again with hot water and a half cup of baking soda. Your goal, whether washing brand new towels or old towels, is to strip the softener and detergent build up from within the fibres of the towel and get them as absorbent as possible.
Nb. Wash bath towels separately from kitchen towels and face towels for sanitary reasons.
Fold bath towels and hand towels in thirds for best use of shelf space: Fold the towel in half, with open ends to the left, then fold in half again. Fold up the bottom third of the towel, then fold the top third down. When storing, face the outer edge of the towel to the front to make it easy to grab.