Frustrated with crunchy or musty smelling towels? Want to restore them to their soft and clean look and smell? How do they go from super soft and fluffy towels to crunchy and stiff and musty smelling? It just takes a couple simple steps to keep your towels soft, clean, and luxurious feeling for a long time.

Towels absorb water, if they aren’t hung up to allow for quick and thorough drying or if they remain damp, they get stinky. Hampers and baskets 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 leaving them wrinkled and crunchy. I use Wool Dryer Balls and a couple drops of the Clean Mama Blends of essential oil (love the Clean Home Blend for laundry!) on the dryer balls (let dry before putting in the dryer) to lightly scent towels and to help them dry thoroughly in the dryer.

It’s much easier than you might think to keep those towels looking and feeling like new.

First things first, here’s my Towel Laundering Method:

  1. Every load of towels gets 1 scoop of Laundry Super Powder or 5 sprays of Laundry Detergent Spray – both have enzymes that break down dirt, sweat, bacteria, odors, etc.
  2. Every load gets 1/4 cup white vinegar in lieu of a fabric softener – this helps to soften the towels naturally – there is NO smell in the wet or dry laundry.
  3. Every load of towels gets 1 scoop of Oxygen Whitener – this whitens, brightens, and cleans.

De-stink your towels

  • Make sure your towel storage method is optimal for non-stinky towels.
  • 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 and smells 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 routine I wash sheets and towels on Saturdays. This works really well to keep the towels clean and put away on schedule.
  • If you have some extra stinky towels use 1/2 cup baking soda in a wash with warm water and then re-wash the towels with your favorite laundry powder or spray.

Stop using liquid fabric softener

Fabric softener coats the fibers and can keep your towels from getting fully clean –  not to mention it’s full of chemicals that you don’t need in your home. You can use white vinegar as a softener (1/4 cup/load) and bonus, it’ll freshen up your towels too. Simply pour the vinegar in the softener dispenser on your washing machine.  I use a pump on top of a glass spray bottle.

Switch to white towels

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 or sanitize when needed without fading. Wash them with bleach alternative 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.  They never look dingy because I use Clean Mama Oxygen Whitener on all of our whites and kids’ clothes.

Purchase new towels

If your towels have seen better days and they’re showing signs of wear, you might need some new towels. Donate old towels to your local animal shelter or donation spot. I keep a stack of old, worn towels on hand for bathing the dog and when the kids are sick and need a path to the bathroom. Pictured are the spa towels from Boll & Branch, I also recommend Home Goods, Costco, and Target for high quality towels at low prices.

Grab my must-have soft and clean towel (and every load of laundry) products with a discount with the subscription or bundle!

Here are a couple more laundry posts you might enjoy:

How to Naturally Strip Laundry
Free Printable : Laundry Guide
Doing a Load of Laundry Every Day Can Change Your Life 
How to Naturally Clean Any Washing Machine and free printable guides

Have a soft + fluffy towel tip? Share it in the comments!