washing towels with vinegar

Washing Towels with Vinegar in 4 Effective Ways

A new towel is all soft and fluffy. But after several months of use, there is no harm sprucing it up to restore it to the original texture and absorbency.

With an odd texture that leaves your body wet after minutes of a failed drying attempt and a persistent musty smell emanating from it, the only solution is to find a way to revive it significantly. One such approach is to use vinegar.

Washing towels with vinegar is an effective remedy for stripping off excess detergent and fabric softener from the fabric fibers. And vinegar also acts as a solution to the disgusting funky smell that puts you off at every attempt to use the towel.

How to Wash new Towels with Vinegar

washing towels with vinegar

You can wash towels with vinegar at different stages of their lifecycle. The first stage is when the towels are new. According to Fine Linen and Bath, towels are laced with silicone finish to look fluffy and feel soft to the touch when they are distributed from the manufacturers to apparel stores.

These chemicals decrease the absorbency and real softness of towels. Poor absorbency prevents a towel from soaking up water when you dry your body.

Vinegar comes in as a handy cleaning powerhouse for stripping off chemicals from your new towel, making it more absorbent, setting in the color as well as giving it a fresh odor.

Follow the steps below to launder your new towel with vinegar

Step 1:  Add a small amount of non-scented detergent in the detergent compartment of your washer.

Step 2: Fill the fabric softener compartment of your washer with a ¼ cup vinegar.

Step 3: Place your towel in the washer and wash it on hot in a short cycle.

Step 4: Rinse your towel thoroughly on cold.

Step 5: Dry your towel in the tumble dryer

If you find the smell of vinegar a little bit too strong for your liking, ignore laundry detergent and add vinegar at the beginning.

Combine enough hot water and ¼ or less vinegar in the washer and place the towel in the solution. Set your machine on a short cycle and finish with the extra rinse cycle. Hang your towel outdoors so that the lingering smell of vinegar can dissipate as it dries.

Washing Towels with Vinegar and Baking Soda

A different way that your towels can benefit from the standout cleaning powers of vinegar is bringing in baking soda. This is another all-purpose cleaner and deodorizer that you can’t afford to ignore.

But since a direct combination of vinegar and baking soda leads to a neutralizing reaction, you only use the two separately but in the same cycle.

This method is perfect for towels that have lost their original softness and become less absorbent over time. Another group of culprits is towels that reek of musty odors even after washing them with regular detergent.

Generally, towels lose their absorbency as a result of rinsing them with fabric softener. Another problem could be poor rinsing. Always run the extra rinse cycle when washing towels to ensure that detergent residue comes off completely.

Step 1: Combine enough hot water with a ½ cup vinegar in your washer

Step 2: load in the towel and run a normal cycle

Step 3: Rinse then wash the towel again in a combination of hot water and a cup of baking soda.

Step 4: Rinse and dry in the tumble dryer

Washing Towels with Vinegar and Washing Soda

washing towels with vinegar

If your local area has hard water issues, washing your towel in hot water and vinegar might make your washer toil in vain. Going ahead to do a second round of laundering with baking soda might also be somewhat unhelpful. How then do you revive your towels to superb softness and freshness?

A reliable remedy is to use vinegar and washing soda. This is a naturally occurring agent that is also known as soda ash or sodium bicarbonate. It is an excellent laundry booster because of PH regulating, water softening and deodorizing properties.

Follow the steps below to clean your towels with washing soda and vinegar.

Step 1: Add unscented laundry detergent to the laundry detergent compartment and ¼ cup vinegar to the fabric softener compartment.

Step 2: Add ½ cup washing soda directly into your washer then fill the drum with enough hot water

Step 3: Load in the towel and run a normal cycle.

Step 4: Rinse and dry in a tumble dryer.

An alternative approach is to first wash the towel in vinegar and hot water then wash it a second time in washing soda alone and hot water. You can also do it the other way round by starting with the washing soda cycle then rinsing the towel in a solution of water and vinegar.

How to Get Smell out of Towels with Vinegar

Sometimes the smell in your towel might be so bad such that washing it directly with vinegar does not help. Address this problem by soaking your towels overnight.

Presoaking allows the vinegar solution to remove odors that are trapped in the fabric fibers from your towel. You can presoak the towel in vinegar alone, or combine equal portions of water and vinegar.

Follow the steps below for best results.

Step 1: Fill a bucket with enough vinegar cover your towel completely. Alternatively, combine warm water and vinegar in equal portions.

Step 2: Place your towel in the solution and ensure that it is completely submerged, then let it sit overnight.

Step 3: Rinse the towel thoroughly and transfer it into the washer.

Step 4: Add non-scented regular detergent to the detergent compartment of your washer and wash the towel in hot water under a normal cycle.

Step 5: Rinse normally then run the extra rinse cycle.

Step 6: Dry in the tumble dryer and use dryer balls instead of sheets.

How Often Should You wash Your Towels?

Your towel is one of the sensitive laundry items you have because it dries you off, gets wet and stays wet for the most part. Just by the virtue of the purpose it serves, a towel collects microorganisms from the body, and breed others while it is wet.

One way to determine whether your towel hosts unwanted guests is by doing a sniff test. If it stinks of mildew and mustiness, it is likely that the fabrics are breeding molds.

Hang your towel to dry properly after each use. Most importantly, ensure that it does not dry in a humid environment.

Healthline recommend that you wash your towels after every 3 uses. That said, this can be stretched a little bit depending on how well your towel dries in-between uses. Regular washing and drying helps to ensure that you do not transfer germs to your body.

If you have a skin or health condition that passes body fluids to the towel, wash it after each use. The same case should apply if it is a gym towel.

How to Keep Towels Soft

Replace fabric softener with vinegar: Using fabric softener with towels is never a good idea. It leaves an oily coating on your towel, which makes it less absorbent. Worse off, repeated use of fabric softener on towels makes them lose their original texture.

Replace fabric softener with vinegar by adding vinegar to the fabric softener compartment of your washer. If hand washing, add vinegar to the final rinsing water. If you like the efficiency of vinegar but the smell puts you off, hang your towels to dry. The smell will dissipate.

Alternatively, wash your towels in a solution of vinegar first, then finish up by washing again in a solution of baking soda.

Use dryer balls: Placing your wet towel with dryer balls in the dryer can bring back the extra fluffy and soft feeling. If you prefer to air dry your towels, do not let them dry completely. Put them in the dryer with the dryer balls while they are slightly damp.

Shake the towel after use: Give your towel a bit of a shake after use to restore the fibers into their fluffy form. Shake it again after air-drying it for the next use.

Measure detergent correctly: Using excess detergent with towels can be unexpectedly troublesome. Towels tend to trap excess soap in the fibers because of their texture. As a result, the fibers turn out stiff and crunchy. Use the recommended amount of detergent or half of it to avoid a buildup of soapy residue in your towels.

Further, always run the extra rinse cycle when washing towels.

If using a HE washer, use very little detergent because HE washers are economical with water.

Wash in warm or hot water: Since towels collect body oils, washing them in hot or warm water breaks down the dirt. You can boost the effectiveness of the wash solution by adding a ½ cup of washing soda.

Keep the load light: Towels are heavy. Even the small ones. Fill your load reasonably to leave ample space in the washer for each towel to clean and rinse thoroughly. Poorly rinsed towels are stiff and rough.


How often should you wash towels with vinegar?

Wash towels with vinegar every once in a while to restore their original fluffiness and eliminate musty odors. If your towel feels rough and stiff or it is no longer drying the body thoroughly, wash it in a normal cycle with hot water and a ½ cup vinegar. Finish up by washing it again in hot water and ½ cup baking soda.

You should also use vinegar to wash new towels. Place the towel in the washer and run a quick cycle with hot water and ¼ cup vinegar.

Will vinegar damage towels?

Vinegar does not damage towels. Instead, it revives them by restoring their fluffiness and softness. It also removes musty odors and strips off fabric softener and detergent coatings.

Can I wash towels with vinegar instead of laundry detergent?

Absolutely! Replace laundry detergent with vinegar confidently when washing towels. Vinegar does a better job at removing fabric softener residue from your towel as well as the lingering odor that emanates from storing towels in a damp state repeatedly.

What’s more, vinegar leaves your towel softer as compared to laundry detergent.

Is it okay to use the same towel for a week?

It is best to wash towels after every 3 uses to avoid multiplication of germs and accumulation of bad odors. That said, depending on the health condition of your skin and body and how well you dry your towel after use, you can use it for slightly more than 3 days.

Can you use vinegar and laundry detergent together?

You can use vinegar and laundry detergent together but at different stages of the wash cycle. Generally, the best way is to start by washing your towel or clothing with laundry detergent and use vinegar in the rinse cycle. Alternatively, presoak smelly towels with vinegar overnight, rinse, them wash them with laundry detergent the next day.

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