Buildup on bath towels can lead them to be less absorbent and create a musty, mildew smell. Learn how to remove those stinky smells from towels and prevent them from reoccurring!
It happens from time to time, you’ll go to dry your face and you realize your towel, even fresh from the laundry, has a musty, mildew smell to it. Not good. Luckily it’s easy to remove musty smells from towels with a few simple tips and tricks. Read on to find out how to get rid of smelly towels for good!
Table of Contents
Why Do My Towels Smell?
Over time build-up from detergent and fabric softeners can prevent towels from absorbing and drying as quickly. This can lead to bacteria growth (gross!) which then makes those towels stink!
How to Fix Smelly Towels
Place your towels in the washer but instead of detergent add 1 cup of vinegar to the basin. Set the water temperature to hot and wash as usual. (DON’T ADD DETERGENT!)
Repeat the process but this time use one cup of baking soda instead of detergent, just baking soda, no detergent or vinegar!
Ninety percent of the time I do this my towels have no remaining musty smell after doing just the vinegar rinse. On the rare occasion that it does not work, I highly recommend this laundry sanitizer.
How Does it Work?
Vinegar contains acetic acid which helps to break up mineral deposits and dissolve build up on the towels. Learn more about acetic acid here. Baking soda is alkaline in nature which helps to neutralize odors.
How to Prevent Smelly Towels
Now that you have gotten rid of the mildew smell in your towels, prevent it from coming back by repeating the vinegar and baking soda rinses on the towels every other month or so. It’s an easy way to keep your towels smelling fresh and absorbing properly!
Tips for Keeping Towels Smelling Good
- Always hang towels up to dry after using them
- Make sure towels are completely dry out of the dryer before folding and putting away
- Do not use fabric softener on towels, add white vinegar instead to prevent buildup
- Do not use too much laundry detergent when washing towels, make sure you are measuring accurately, especially with newer high-efficiency washing machines
Have you had your towels go smelly? I’ve heard it’s more common on the east coast of the US where there is more humidity. Let me know if you have, and if so, where you live. I’m curious if it happens in drier climates too!
You might also like these cleaning tips:
- How to Keep a Clean Home (Without Trying)
- How to Have a Stress Free Morning with Kids
- How to Clean: 5 Tips to Keep Your Home Clean Easier
- baking soda
- white vinegar
- washing machine
- Place your towels in the washer but instead of detergent add 1 cup of vinegar to the basin. Set the water temperature to hot and wash as usual. (DON’T ADD DETERGENT!)
- Repeat the process but this time use one cup of baking soda instead of detergent, just baking soda, no detergent or vinegar! Set water as hot as possible.
- Dry towels thoroughly in the dryer.
- If towels still have an odor after the vinegar and baking soda rinses, you can repeat the cycle again.
- As an alternative, the laundry sanitizer below also helps remove smells from towels.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.