Have you ever wondered how you should wash your towels? Or how often you should wash them? It’s a common question for many because towels can be tricky to wash. With so many uses for towels and how often they are used it can be slightly confusing how to take care of them and keep them from looking dingy. Here are some simple tips from our laundry expert Mary Zeitler.

Q: When should I wash my towels?

How often you wash really depends on what you are using your towels for. Towels used at the gym for example should be washed more frequently than your bath towels that you use after a shower. Sweat, oil and skin cells can build up on the towel and if stored in a moist environment can cause bacteria to grow on the towels making them smell faster than normal.

Zeitler recommends using the sight & smell method. If the towel looks dingy, stained or smells sour or musty, wash it immediately.Towels become harder to clean when odors and stains build up over time. Don’t worry about waiting until the laundry basket is full either. Most modern washing machines have sensor technology that sense the size of the load and will adjust the amount of water needed to the size of your load, saving water and energy.

Q: How should I wash my towels?

One of the most important things when washing towels is to make sure that you are using the proper amount of detergent. Most consumers use more than actually needed, which can leave your towels looking and feeling dingy. Some modern machines have auto-dispense systems that sense the load size and accurately administer the correct ratio of detergent to the load. However, if your machine doesn’t have this function make sure you check the dosing label on your detergent bottle. When in doubt, it never hurts to add the extra rinse option to make sure all of the detergent is completely rinsed out.

When washing white towels, try using the warmest water option safe for your towels. Using a detergent with bleach or adding chlorine bleach to the load will also help those towels come out clean and bright.

Choosing a cycle is as easy as recognizing how soiled your towels are. Using a heavy-duty cycle will help with heavily soiled towels but most of the time the normal cycle will work just fine, and create less wear on your towels.

Go easy on the fabric softener! Fabric softener is great for making your towels soft and smell wonderful but too much over time can decrease the wicking ability of the towel.

Always give your towels the sight & smell test before adding them into the dryer. If your stains and odor are stubborn, it may take a few cycles to get them completely clean.

For more laundry tips from our experts: Stain Assist.