Got stinky towels? Here’s how to get the musty smell out, step by step. Keep your towels smelling fresh and clean with these easy tricks.
There’s nothing more disappointing than stinky towels!
You get out of the shower, all fresh and clean, only to discover that your towel smells musty.
You wonder if you should even use it, but don’t exactly have a choice…
Luckily, there are a few easy tricks that will remove that mildew smell from your towels.
And keep them smelling fresh ALL the time!
Bonus: These tips also work for other fabric, such as clothes (even jeans), and blankets.
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Why do my towels smell musty after using them?
Towels usually get smelly when they’re not allowed to dry thoroughly.
They can also get a build up of detergent and fabric softener because they’re very absorbent.
New washing machines don’t always rinse loads as well as older models, which means they don’t necessarily get cleaned properly either.
How to get musty smell out of towels
When your towels smell musty, they need a special treatment beyond just a regular washing.
Don’t worry, it’s really easy!
Wash your towels in hot water and 1 cup vinegar, instead of detergent. Don’t use any fabric softener or scent boosters – just plain white vinegar.
If your towels still smell like mildew, run another cycle with just hot water and ½ cup baking soda.
Dry them very thoroughly. I usually like to do a full 60 minutes on high in the dryer.
You can even line dry them in the sun for an extra fresh scent. If they feel crunchy afterward, throw them in the dryer for 5 minutes to soften them up.
How do you wash towels so they don’t smell?
To prevent your towels from smelling, use vinegar every other time you wash them.
You can add it in right along with your regular detergent.
You may think that fabric softener is necessary for keeping your towels smelling fresh. But the build-up they put on your towels only compounds the stinky towel problem.
Vinegar can actually replace fabric softener, and keep your towels soft and fluffy.
How do you stop towels from smelling?
Try these fresh smelling towel tips to keep towels smelling fresh all the time!
1. Allow your towels to dry thoroughly
Your towels absolutely have to dry completely, both after washing AND after using.
Hang your towel over a towel bar (not a hook) after every use.
If you don’t have room for a bar, you can drape it over the shower rod or door so that it can dry properly.
Bonus tip: If you’re installing a towel bar, put it above the floor vent if possible so that it gets lots of air circulation.
Never put your towel in a crumpled lump on the floor. And don’t throw into a hamper or laundry basket unless you’re about to do the laundry right away.
👉 Don’t fold or put away your towels after laundering until they’re completely dry.
2. Don’t use too much detergent
Detergent can really build up on your towels.
Liquid detergent is very concentrated, so you really only need a little.
3. Avoid using fabric softener
Fabric softener will actually makes towels less absorbent, and increases build up, leading to that musty smell.
Vinegar will make your towels just as soft. Don’t worry, your towels won’t smell like vinegar!
4. Clean your washing machine regularly
Your washing machine needs to be cleaned too!
If it smells musty, it will pass than onto your clothes. Ideally, clean it once a month (or at least every quarter).
Leave it open to dry thoroughly between uses, too.
5. Don’t overcrowd the load
Your towels won’t be able to rinse thoroughly if the load is too full.
Add a tennis ball or a dryer ball to the dryer. It’ll help separate the items in your load, so they can get better air circulation.
It even helps reduce drying time!
6. Get rid of smelly towels
If for some reason you really can’t get the mildew smell out of your towels, consider donating them to your local pet shelter.
They’ll make good use of them, and you can start out with fresh, new quick-dry towels.
Ready to get the stink out of your towels?
As you can see, getting the mildew smell out of towels is actually really easy. Vinegar is your secret weapon to fresh AND fluffy towels.
It’s amazing how something so cheap and natural can be a total game changer for your regular laundry and cleaning tasks.
Finally…a simple solution!
Be sure to also check out:
- How to Make Your Whole House Smell Good (all the time!)
- 6 Simple Ways to Keep Your House Clean ALL THE TIME
- How to Make Your Home Smell Like a Spa