The Right Way to Wash Your Towels

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Keep your towels fresh, fluffy and colorful by using different cleaning methods.

Throwing dirty towels directly into the washing machine can transfer stains, bacteria and dyes from other items to the towels and ruin clean towels. In addition, putting large towels in the washing machine can damage the fibers of delicate clothing and wrap small items so they don’t wash evenly. Here are some tips on how to properly wash towels for hygiene and comfort, and how to maintain them for longevity.

  1. Wash towels in bright and dark conditions.

First, pull the towels away from other clothing and sheets. Next, place white or light-colored towels and dark-colored towels in separate piles. Towels that are darker in color than pale yellow should be placed in the darker pile. Because towels are highly absorbent, the white or light-colored towels will absorb the dye from the darker towels, causing them to fade over time. When the dye is transferred to the white or light-colored towels, the dark-colored towels may fade.

  1. Towels should not be overstuffed.

Starting with white/light or dark colored fleece, load towels into the washer drum without overstuffing as overstuffing will result in uneven washing. This machine can wash up to 12 lbs (12 kg) of towels, approximately 7 bath towels, or 15-18 lbs (9-11 towels) of tops.

  1. Use half the amount of detergent normally used for laundry.

Too much detergent will make the towels stiff. Open the detergent drawer at the front of the machine for front-loading washers and under the lid for top-loading washers and fill with half the amount of detergent normally used for laundering. 3. Use a good quality detergent, either natural (such as Mrs. Meyer laundry detergent, available on Amazon) or synthetic (such as Tide cleaning detergent, available on Amazon).

  1. If necessary, add chlorine or non-chlorine bleach.

To remove stains, add the amount of bleach indicated on the package to the bleach container in the washing machine as follows.

  • If washing only white towels, add chlorine or non-chlorine (also known as colorfast) bleach to the bleach tank.
  • If washing a combination of white and light-colored towels or dark-colored towels, use only color-neutral bleach. Chlorine bleach can lift dyes and stains from colored towels together, causing them to fade over time.

5. Select “Standard” or “Normal” on the washing machine.

High speed spin and long wash time will remove dust, dirt and bacteria from the towel fibers.

  1. Set the water temperature to high (for whites) or warm (for similar colors).

Set the water temperature according to the color classification of the towels as shown below.

  • For white and light colors, set the water temperature to high temperature. This temperature has the effect of brightening white and light-colored towels.
  • For darker colors, set the water temperature to warm. This temperature helps to remove bacteria and maintain color.

7. Shake excess water out of each towel before transferring to the dryer.

Press the start button to begin the wash cycle. When the wash cycle is complete, remove each towel one at a time, shake it by hand to remove excess water, and transfer it to the dryer. This will reduce drying time.

  1. Place the towels in the dryer until they are completely dry, or place them flat.

Select the dryer’s “Normal” or “Auto” cycle. This setting uses high heat for a fluffier result. After drying (over-drying degrades the fibers), remove towels one at a time and immediately fold each towel to minimize wrinkles.

If you don’t have a dryer or prefer to dry them naturally, hang them indoors on a clothesline near a window to dry in the sun, or hang them near a heater if you can’t place them near a window. Or, hang them on a clothesline outdoors.

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