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How to Keep Your Towels Smelling Fresh and Feeling Fluffy

Despite our best efforts to keep them clean, towels often develop a less-than-fresh smell. One of the main causes of this is detergent build-up: Over time, soap residue accumulates in the fibers of the towels, stopping them from absorbing as much water as possible and from drying as well as they could. Bacteria then starts to builds up in the fabric, and then you’ve got yourself a mildew-y smell in a pile of just-washed laundry.

Make your old towels feel as fluffy and fresh as new with two ingredients: white vinegar and baking soda.

White Vinegar and Baking Soda Treatment

  1. Put your towels in the washing machine with a cup of white vinegar instead of laundry detergent, then wash on a hot cycle.
  2. When you hit the rinse cycle, add 1/2 cup of baking soda, and run as normal.
  3. Remove your towels and dry thoroughly on the line or in the dryer.

Preventative Measures

  1. Always allow towels to dry thoroughly. Never leave them on the floor, and make sure your towel racks allow space for air to circulate. Using exhaust fans will stop the bathroom becoming too humid for towels to dry properly.
  2. Keep a second tier of older towels for odd jobs — this includes drying your pets. The less you need to give them a heavy duty wash, the less product build-up they’ll suffer.
  3. Stick to the recommended amount of laundry product, if not less.
  4. Give towels the white vinegar and baking soda treatment every third or fourth wash as a matter of habit.
  5. Don’t use commercial fabric softener on towels; they coat towels with a thin layer of chemicals, making them less absorbent. White vinegar is a better (and cheaper) choice to soften and freshen them.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.

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