Crisp, clean towels hanging off the rack can make your entire bathroom look fresh. And although it can be tempting to douse your towels in detergent to get them extra clean, too much detergent might actually be counterproductive and inhibit a towel’s absorbency.
Don’t wash your towels too often (or not enough)
Bath towels should be washed once every three to four days. “Ideally, you will want to alternate between two towels and wash them all together to save time and energy,” Cohen said.
And don’t forget hand towels — people tend to use them multiple times throughout the day. “Hand towels can fly under the radar, especially if you don’t have guests often, but you should tend to these as often as you do bath towels. Wash hand towels every couple of days.”
Use a cold water setting when washing
Although many traditionally use warm or hot water to wash towels, Cohen says icy temperatures can help keep colours true and prevent shrinkage at the seams. “Beach houses and summer timeshares are also prone to mildew, and a cold bath every so often is a good way to help discourage its presence!”
Skip fabric softener
Fabric softeners have chemicals that can damage the fibres and make towels less supple over time. Cohen suggests dropping a tennis ball into the tumble dryer to agitate and “puff them up.”
Wash the towels separately
You can actually increase the towel’s lifetime by washing it separately, as this will avoid pilling, which is commonly caused when two fabrics rub against each other.
Take a towel out of the dryer before it’s fully dry to avoid damage from overdrying. And skip the dryer sheets; according to Cohen, because hey reduce towel absorbency over time.
Less, not more detergent
Too much detergent can prevent your towels from rinsing clean. Since towels are absorbent, they will cling to excess soapsuds and leave your towels feeling stiff and rough. Cohen advises measuring out the amount of detergent to the manufacturer’s specification, “knowing that less is frequently more.”
Powder, liquid, or laundry pods?
Both powder and liquid detergents will work fine. Cohen says powder detergents perform better in warm water, but a liquid formula can double as a “small treatment stain fighter” that can be applied directly to a stain before being placed in the wash. “Laundry pods are super easy and take the work out of measuring, but be prepared to pay more for this convenience,” Cohen says.
Skip this bleach and use this instead
Bleach can damage your fabric, so try Cohen’s recommended alternative: baking soda and vinegar. Add 200g of baking soda to the washing machine along with your preferred detergent. Then add 125 ml of distilled white vinegar during the rinse cycle.
“When you’re done, your towels will look like you dried them in the warm summer sun.”