Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly

how to wash towels so they last

How to wash towels so they last? Wash new towels before using, and wash them separate from the rest of your laundry.

Do this, and your towels will keep you and your kids wrapped in post-bubble-bath softness and comfort for at least five years. And they'll look color-correct, too.

The expected life span of a good- to best-quality towel is five to ten years. (Best quality towels are those made from premium fibers, such as Supima or Egyptian cotton.) Here's how to wash towels to keep them looking good and feeling soft.

wash new towels before using.

Don't just put that new towel on the bathroom hook or towel bar! Get it primed for softness and absorbency before the first use.

Many manufacturers add a finish that creates a sleek, soft feel, but in truth this actually diminishes the towel's absorbency.

While these chemicals will rinse out with a few washes, you're often left with a scratchy, rough towel.

To get the absorbent and fluffy towels you crave, first soak or wash the towel in cold water without detergent or fabric softener. Then tumble dry low. And only then, into the bathroom clean towels go!

wash towels separately from the rest of your laundry.

This is both for the longevity of your towels and your family's clothes. Towels can cover co-washed clothes with lint. And clothes with zippers, hooks, and buttons can pull loops out of terrycloth towels and snag others.

Further separate dark-colored towels from their lighter cousins. This will keep both the light and dark colors intact.

read the towel label to check for specific washing directions.

If the fiber wears best in cool-water washings, the label will tell you this. Otherwise, warm is best. Extra-hot water can fade colors and reduce the soft and fluffy towels kids (and parents!) love. 

Choose a gentle laundry detergent to protect both the fibers and the color during weekly washings, and use only half the recommended amount of detergent to keep towels absorbent and soft.

Towels should be washed at least once a week, every three to four days if needed. Be sure to wash towel sets together so any color fading is uniform.

don't over-dry towels if you want to keep them supple and absorbent.

After you wash towels, tumble dry on a low setting and remove the clean towels while they're still slightly damp. Excessive heat wears down towel fibers. If they're hot (not warm) to the touch, you've over dried them.

skip the silicone softeners.

Some fabric softeners contain water-repellent silicone, the death knell for towel absorbency.

let your towels hang out between washings.

Between bathing, hang towels loosely on the towel rod or on hooks to allow quick air-drying. This will keep mold at bay, meaning your towels will stay fresh longer and need fewer washings (a double plus: less work for you and less machine time for the towels).

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for the laundry products and supplies you'll need to keep your towels soft, vibrant, and clean - safely.

More Stories

Related Pages

› What Temperature to Wash Towels In


Have your say about what you just read! Leave a comment in the box below.

About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.