Bathroom towels must be completely dry before they’re put away — and they must stay that way. If they don’t, they can become very smelly very quickly. During most of the year, this shouldn’t be a difficult goal to achieve. If you can, drying your towels outside in the fresh air is usually the best way to get them dry and smelling fresh.
But keeping towels dry during hot and humid days during the summer isn’t as easy. There’s a lot of moisture in the air, which can lead to mildew forming on towels — giving them that awful musty smell people hate.
But you don’t need to worry about pongy towels if you take the necessary precautions. Follow these simple steps to keep the mildew at bay.
Hang them to dry
A lot of people make the mistake of folding their towels as soon as they come out of the tumble dryer. Just in case there is any moisture left in them, hang them or lay them out for an hour or so afterwards. If you fold slightly damp towels, mildew will form sooner or later.
Wash towels more frequently during the summer
You might get away with using a towel four or five times before washing it during the winter. However, when there’s more moisture in the air, you might want to wash your bathroom towels a little more frequently.
Whenever possible, hang your towel or lay it out flat after each use. Give it a chance to dry properly before folding it. If you’re using your towel outside at the pool or beach, however, keeping it dry might be a little easier, thanks to all the fresh air it gets.
Check your washing machine for mildew
If your washing machine is affected with mould or mildew, the problem will simply transfer to your towels after every wash. In order to protect your towels — and all your other garments — you need to keep your washing machine clean.
Once a week, run a hot cleaning cycle on empty. To ensure you kill any mould or mould spores, add a cup of white vinegar to the drum before starting the cycle. Once the cycle comes to an end, inspect the drum, the seals, the door and any moving parts for signs of mould. A spray bottle filled with vinegar and an old toothbrush should be all you need to remove accumulations.
Wash your towels in the right way
Towels, by their very nature, are thick and hard to get dry. They’re also difficult to clean properly without causing permanent damage or discolouration. To ensure your towels get a proper clean, and you don’t damage your clothes, only ever wash towels with other towels.
Check the care label on your towels for the maximum washing temperature, and make sure you set your washing machine to that temperature. You can also get a better finish if you add a little vinegar to the drum every time you put in a load of towels.
Always wring towels out and remove excess water before placing them in a tumble dryer — although drying them outside is always the best course of action. Choose the maximum drying temperature as stated on the care label, but be careful not to over-dry your towels, as this can cause permanent damage.
Don’t be in a hurry to fold your towels and store them away. Give them room and time to breath, and they should continue to smell great throughout the summer months.