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Towel Care: Steps to Washing, Drying & Storage

Ever wonder why your towels aren’t as fluffy or fresh as they used to be? It’s likely due to the way you wash them. Proper care can extend their lifespan, keep them absorbent, and ensure they’re always ready to wrap you up in softness.

Mastering the art of washing towels is something other than rocket science, but it does require some know-how. Whether you’re dealing with everyday bathroom towels, luxe spa towels, or beach towels, this guide will show you the ropes.

Choosing the Right Detergent

Remember, you are selecting the optimal cleaning agent majors to improve the longevity and texture of your towels. Detergents are not just any you come across at your local store. You must evaluate the contents and properties that make it favorable for your towel type.

Firstly, consider using a liquid detergent. Compared to powdered varieties, liquid detergents rinse out more effortlessly. More so, they don’t leave a residue that can accumulate in the fibers of your towels, making them stiff.

Opt for detergents that are free from optical brighteners. These are chemical compounds that reflect light, giving the illusion of whiteness. While they may seem like a good idea for keeping your whites dazzling, they can damage the fibers and reduce the porous properties of your towels over time.

Enzyme-based detergents are also a good bet. They are designed to break down specific stain types, which may make them more effective for fresh towels. For instance, protease works on protein-based stains (blood and sweat), while lipase tackles fats and oil.

Lastly, consider using detergents free of fabric softeners. While you might assume fabric softeners would keep your towels fluffy, they can build up and reduce their absorbency. Ever wonder why freshly laundered towels seem less absorbent? Now you know.

Here are some considerations as you make your detergent decision;

  • Soap type: liquid vs solid
  • Contents: Brighteners, enzymes, and fabric softeners are present.

Take the time to read the labels and truly understand what’s in your detergent. Your towels will thank you.

Sorting Towels by Color

Next up on your towel care journey, we’re delving into Sorting Towels by Color before the washing process. By now, you’re aware of the crucial role detergents play in washing towels rightly. But do you know color sorting is just as critical? Well, it’s true! Cornell published expert guidance that emphasizes the importance of sorting laundry by color. More than adequately sorted towels may lead to unwanted color transfer, spoiling your precious towels.

So, before you start your washing cycle, divide your towels into separate piles – white, light, and dark colors. By sorting towels into these broad categories, you reduce the risk of color bleeding. Whites stay white, lights keep their subtle shades, and darks hold their deep tones.

White Towels

When washing white towels, using a detergent with a bleach alternative is perfectly safe. This helps maintain their crisp, clean appearance. Plus, washing white towels separately allows the utilization of the hot water cycle to kill germs and bacteria more effectively.

Light Colored Towels

In contrast, light-colored towels require a gentler approach. Use detergents without bleach or brighteners, and use a warm or cold water cycle. Why, you ask? Light colors are susceptible to fading or discoloring when exposed to bleach or high temperatures.

Dark Colored Towels

Lastly, our vibrant, dark-colored towels. Remember, these are prone to losing their rich hues with every wash. To ensure they don’t fade quickly, it’s recommended to utilize a detergent without harsh chemicals and a cold water cycle.

Remember, these aren’t just tips but essential practices to maintain the quality of your towels. As you delve further into proper towel care, it becomes evident that these laundry tasks are more mundane. Each step carries significance and contributes to the longevity and functionality of your towels. From the proper detergent selection to appropriate color sorting, every choice counts.

Setting the Right Water Temperature

Next up in your towel-washing journey, let’s talk about water temperature. Setting the proper water temperature is crucial to preserving your towels’ softness, color, and quality. Here’s what you need to know about picking the right temperature for washing towels.

Cotton fibers that make up your towels are resilient and can withstand high temperatures. However, not all towels should be washed with hot water. Water temperature selection typically depends on:

  • the color of your towels,
  • the type of stain you’re trying to remove, and
  • the quality of the towel material.

Hot water often provides an excellent cleaning, removing heavy soil and stains when dealing with white or light-colored towels. Hot water also aids in thoroughly disinfecting your towels, making them hygienically clean. However, remember to check the care label of your towels. Some unique materials may not withstand hot washing.

In contrast, dark-colored or colored towels should typically be washed in cold water. Cold water helps prevent colors from fading or bleeding onto other fabrics. Yet, hard water may be less effective in removing stains than hot water. Thus, ensure the use of a good-quality, color-safe detergent.

If you need to decide what temperature to use, lukewarm (warm) water is a safe bet. It’s less likely to cause color fading than hot water, and it’s more effective at removing stains than cold water.

To maintain the integrity of your towels, make sure to balance between washing effectiveness and fabric care. In simple terms, the hotter the water can be, the sturdier and dirtier the towel. The more delicate and colored the towel, the cooler the water should be.

Now that you know about the proper water temperature, let’s discuss another essential aspect: the correct washing method.

Pre-Treating Stains

Pre-treating stains is a compelling step to make your towel-washing routine more effective. Remember, the earlier you handle a stain, the easier it’ll be to clean. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to pre-treat these stubborn stains.

First, you should identify the type of stain on your towel. This is essential because various stains call for distinct cleaning methods. For instance, protein-based stains like sweat or blood require cold water for removal. Meanwhile, oil-based marks like makeup greases benefit from hot water treatments. Once you identify the type of stain, you can start with the pre-treatment stage.

Protein-Based Stains

Cold water is your best friend for these. In a small bowl, mix a half teaspoon of liquid detergent and a tablespoon of white vinegar with a cup of cold water. Carefully apply this mixture to the stained area and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, blot using a clean towel.

Why this Method Works: The liquid detergent breaks down the stain while vinegar helps lift the stain from the fibers, thanks to its acidic properties.

Oil-Based Stains

Hot water is the preferred option for such stains. Dab a cotton ball soaked in liquid detergent onto the stain. Afterward, place the towel in a sink filled with hot water (ensure it isn’t too hot for your hands) and let it soak for about 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and keep an eye on the stain. If you catch some residue left, repeat the process.

Washing and Drying Techniques

Once you’ve pre-treated your stained towels, it’s time to navigate the washing process. The exact route will vary depending on your towel fabric and the specifics of its grime.

Regular Wash Cycle: For most cotton towels, you’ll want to opt for a regular wash cycle. Use hot water to eliminate bacteria and germs. Don’t overfill the machine, as towels need ample space to move around for effective cleaning.

Feature-Packed Detergents: When considering a detergent, look for one with color-safe bleach, enzymes, and brighteners. These ingredients work to maintain your towel’s vibrancy while handling tough stains and dinginess.

White Towels: Regular bleach alongside detergent can help white towels retain brightness. However, be wary of overuse, as it can break down fabric.

Fabric Softener: It’s best to avoid fabric softener with towels. While it may seem like a good idea, it makes towels less absorbent.

Proper Drying: Even the best washing efforts can be undone by improper drying. Make sure to shake out each towel before throwing it into the dryer. This helps fluff the fibers and even helps with drying.

Dryer Sheet: Although dryer sheets might seem convenient, they’re not always a good fit. Similar to fabric softeners, they can decrease towel absorbency.

Avoid High Heat: Silk, linen, and microfiber towels are sensitive to high heat. Even if they take longer to dry, opt for a lower setting.

Air Drying: If weather or space permits, consider line-drying your towels. It’s the most gentle method and promotes freshness.

Remember, each towel type and stain might need specific treatment. But this serves as a practical general guide for maintaining the longevity and effectiveness of your towels. Keep up with these quality practices, and you’ll reap the benefits of fresher, fluffier, and more efficient towels.

Avoiding Fabric Softeners

Using fabric softener on your towels is a good idea. After all, it’s known for making fabrics feel softer and more comfortable. Contrary to popular belief, however, fabric softener is a towel’s worst enemy. It’s one of the biggest culprits behind your towels losing absorbency over time.

Fabric softeners coat fibers with a waxy residue to make them feel softer. For towels, that’s a disaster. When fabric softener coats your towels, it creates a barrier that water cannot penetrate. This reduction in absorbency happens gradually. You may not notice it until your towels don’t get you as dry as they once were.

Consider these points:

  • Fabric softeners reduce the absorbency of your towels.
  • The waxy buildup can also make towels feel stiff over time.
  • Frequent use of fabric softeners leads to rebuilding your towels.

What should you do instead, you ask? Stick to detergents with color-safe bleach, enzymes, and brighteners. They’re practical and don’t harm the towel’s absorbency. White towels can handle regular bleach, but moderation is critical; too much can weaken the fabric.

So, think twice before adding fabric softener to your towels next time you do laundry. They might feel nice initially, but you’ll only reduce their main function: drying you off.

Folding and Storing Towels

After you’ve washed your towels carefully, as suggested, you can’t just dump them into a pile. Proper folding and storage are equally critical to maintain freshness and usability.

Let’s tackle folding first. To maintain the towel’s shape and absorbency, follow these easy steps:

  1. Fold the towel half lengthwise.
  2. Repeat the fold lengthwise again.
  3. Use a simple fold into thirds.

You now have a neatly folded towel that retains shape and maximizes towel shelf life.

For storage, it’s important to let what’s your towel breathe. Avoiding damp, enclosed spaces is the pinnacle—store in a dry, airy place, such as a linen closet or a well-ventilated bathroom cabinet. Stacking towels is fine, but don’t cram them in. Towels need air to circulate to keep them fresh and free from mildew.

  • Regular rotation: Sometimes, don’t grab the top towel from your stack. This way, all your towels will get used—and washed—more evenly.
  • Use of vinegar and baking soda: Once a month, using vinegar and baking soda during washing helps maintain freshness for longer.
  • No Ironing: Yes, that’s right. Your towels don’t need ironing. Not only does it save time, but it also protects the towel’s absorbency.

Following these golden rules of towel care will help your towels last longer and perform better. Washing, drying, folding, and storing—it’s a complete cycle that keeps your towels at their fluffiest and most absorbent.


So you’ve got the scoop on towel care. Ditch the fabric softener and opt for detergents with color-safe bleach, enzymes, and brighteners. Proper folding and storage are vital to keeping your towels fresh and ready for use. And remember the power of regular rotation, monthly vinegar and baking soda treatments, and the no-iron rule. Stick to these golden rules, and you’ll see your towels last longer and perform better. As for washing frequency, it’s all about finding the perfect balance. Towel care may seem like a small thing, but it’s these little details that make a big difference in the long run. Remember to underestimate the power of a perfectly cared-for towel!

Clotheslyne: A Professional Laundry Solution

For those who prefer professional laundry care, Clotheslyne provides an ideal solution. Through the app, you can hire Clotheslyners for expert laundry services, including washing, drying, and folding of clothes and bulky items.

Choosing Clotheslyne ensures your laundry is handled with care and expertise. It’s convenient for those who value their time and prefer professional laundry services.

To use Clotheslyne, download the iOS Apple App or Google Play Store Android app to schedule your laundry pick up.

You can also schedule your laundry pick up through our web portal.

Fill up a tall kitchen bag full of clothes. A Clotheslyner in your community will pick it up and deliver it back to you washed, dried, and folded in 48 hours. It’s that simple.

Got a question for us? Head over to our contact us page and make a custom request by email or by phone! We’re here to help.

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