This week’s focus is on towels. (The weekly focus is always listed on the left hand side of the calendar in gray.)  If you haven’t grabbed February’s Cleaning + Organizing Calendar, go get it! It’s free here.

A Towel Tutorial via Clean Mama

There are a couple ways to approach this week’s task – you can purge towels, organize towels, buy new towels, or just give your towels a good washing. Today I’m going to give you some ideas for all 4 of these ‘towel tasks’.

Let’s call it a Towel Tutorial, shall we?
Sweet smelling, fluffy towels are the best, aren’t they? What happens to make them veer away from that wonderful state? Real life. Towels absorb water, aren’t hung up optimally, remain damp and get stinky. Hampers are full, towels get stuffed into the washing machine and never get fully clean. Then they get over-stuffed into the dryer and don’t get completely dry or get dry but aren’t folded right away and they are wrinkled and crunchy. All of this stops this week. Let’s get a handle on the towels and make a little progress in this super simple homekeeping task, shall we?

  1. Purge old towels or towels that don’t match.  If towels have frayed corners and are falling apart or are stained, put them in a purge pile. Most animal shelters love used towels for pets – instead of tossing them, consider dropping them off at your local shelter. If you have a little extra space to store old towels you can save them for rags, your pets, or for those icky messes when your kids are sick.
  2. Purchase new towels.  If you need some new towels, now’s the time to grab them. I love Home Goods and Target for high quality towels at low prices. If you’re looking to simplify your laundry, I also suggest switching to white towels. Why? You can wash them all at once, they can be washed on hot without fading (obviously) and you can wash them with oxygenated bleach to remove stains without any spotting or fading. And best of all? White towels add a spa-like look to your bathrooms and they match with just about any color or decor.
  3. Organize your towels.  This sounds funny as I’m typing it but all you need to do is group like towels together – group your wash cloths, hand towels, and bath towels together. Fold them all the same way – use your favorite method and fold each towel the same way to keep a neat and tidy look in your linen closet or cupboard. Regardless of if you choose a rolled towel, folded in half or folded in thirds, doing the same thing for each towel type is all you need to worry about.
  4. De-stink your towels.  Make sure your towel storage method is optimal for non-stinky towels. A couple things to keep in mind… Use bath towels no more than twice before washing and make sure that they are able to fully dry in between uses and before tossing them in a hamper or laundry basket. Change your hand towels often – daily is optimal. Never leave your towels (or any laundry) longer than a couple hours in the washing machine. The wet towels and closed space are breeding grounds for bacteria to build up. Never over-fill your washing machine or dryer as you want adequate water flow in the wash and air flow in the dryer to clean and dry your towels (and any laundry). If you notice on my cleaning schedule (see link at the top for this month’s) I wash sheets and towels on Saturdays. This works really well to keep the towels clean and put away on schedule. Try it if your laundry routine is lacking at the current moment. Stop using liquid fabric softener. The softener coats the fibers and can keep your towels from getting fully clean. You can use white vinegar as a softener (1/4 cup/load) and you can use it to freshen up your towels too. If you have some extra stinky towels use 1/2 cup baking soda in a wash and then re-wash the towels with your favorite detergent.

My favorite laundry detergent? This homemade recipe is perfect for a subtle scent and most importantly, CLEAN towels. If you want to know all about the right way to do laundry (according to me) go to this post.

Ready to tackle your towels this week?

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