Cleaning Smelly Towels: Natural Solutions to Get Rid of the Icky Smell

Posted on June 23, 2014 | In Cleaning Tips
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Written by, Becki Andrus

One of my biggest pet peeves is having stinky towels… the feeling of washing your face and drying it with a funky-smelling towel is not pleasant! I’m good about keeping up with laundry, so it wasn’t an issue of the towel being dirty, but I noticed that some of the towels smell funny even when they are freshly cleaned (right out of the dryer).

Can you relate?

I found out that towels can start to smell funny over time because of the build-up of detergent and fabric softener in the fabric. This residue build-up makes the towel less absorbent, and it will start holding in the smell.

So, I looked around online and found an easy solution to get rid of the smell and make my towels fresh again! Here’s what you need to do:

1. Run the towels through a wash cycle with HOT water and 1 cup of white vinegar… no detergent!

2. When the washing cycle is done, keep the towels in the machine and start it again. This time, use 1/2 cup baking soda and hot water (again, no detergent). I also like to add 10 – 15 drops of lemon essential oil, or any other fresh smelling essential oil.

3. If you live in a warm climate and have the option, hang-dry the towels in the sun which will also help to get rid of the smell. Otherwise, use the dryer to dry the towels as normal, and presto… fresh, clean towels that smell great!

Note: Keep in mind that you can avoid the funky towel smell by decreasing the amount of laundry detergent in each load. I use half the recommended amount of detergent, and don’t use fabric softener since it just causes build-up.

Also, always make sure the towels are completely dry before they are folded and put away. Folding a wet towel is a recipe for disaster, because mildew may start to form in the damp creases of the fabric. Even if the towel is a little damp, allow it to dry completely before folding.

With love,

Becki :)

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