By Kerry Hale

The Ultimate Guide To Washing Your Towels

  • Thursday 15 December 2022
  • 3 minute read

Washing your towels might seem like a simple household chore, but there are some dos and don’ts.

Throwing your towels in the wash with the correct setting and laundry detergent is enough to clean them, but it’s not the ideal way to care for them. Discover our top tips for washing towels to help you get them clean, fluffy, soft and smelling fresh.

The best way to wash towels

Find answers to frequently asked questions about washing towels, including how often to wash them, what temperature to use, and whether they should be washed with clothes.

How often should you wash your towels?

For hygiene purposes, we recommend washing your towels at least once a week as part of your bathroom cleaning routine or every three to five uses. Still unsure when your towels need washing? Smell them to check for unpleasant odours.

What temperature should you wash towels at?

There are differing opinions on what temperature and setting to wash towels on. Some people advise 30˚C, saying anything hotter will make towels stiff and scratchy or fade their colour. Others believe hotter temperatures between 40˚C and 75˚C are the only way to kill bacteria. We recommend washing coloured towels at 40˚C and white towels between 60˚C and 75˚C.

Why do my towels smell after washing?

Towels that still smell unpleasant after washing may contain stubborn bacteria that need removing. Rewash your towel using a cup of white vinegar instead of detergent. This should kill the bacteria and neutralise any odours.


In addition, ensure you hang towels out to dry immediately after washing them. Leaving towels in the drum allows mould and mildew to develop, causing damp smells.

Why are my towels hard after washing?

Too much detergent can make your towels feel stiff after washing. Use half the amount you would for clothes and choose an extra-long rinse cycle to remove detergent residue. Never use fabric softener on towels, as it lessens their absorbency.

How to dry towels

Drying your towels in the tumble dryer alone won’t achieve the best results and can ruin the fibres. But it’s even worse to dry them on the radiator, as this leaves them stiff and scratchy and can make your heating system less effective.

Air-drying your towels outside on a mild, dry day is the best method. The sun will bleach white towels to keep them bright while the UV rays kill any remaining bacteria. If you don’t have any outdoor space, open the windows or use a dehumidifier to prevent moisture from building up in the air. 

How to get fluffy towels

Drying your towels correctly will help you achieve soft, fluffy towels. Try this method for optimal results: 

  1. Take the towels out of the wash and shake them thoroughly.
  2. Put them in the tumble dryer with some clean tennis balls and dry for around 20 minutes on a high heat. The tennis balls will fluff up the towels, and the heat will kill any remaining bacteria.
  3. Hang the towels on the washing line to finish drying them, and ensure they are completely dry before storing them.

When to buy new towels

If your towels look worn or smell unpleasant, it’s time to invest in new ones. Remember to wash new towels before you use them for the first time, as they have a silicone finish that makes them less absorbent. This also sets the colour so that it doesn’t run or fade. We recommend using half your usual amount of detergent and adding half a cup of white vinegar to your rinse cycle for the first few washes.

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