Soft and 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 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.

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

De-stink your towels

First things first, let’s start with a couple ‘rules’ to help keep your towels smelling good:


  • 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 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 and then re-wash the towels with your favorite detergent.

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. If you’re a fabric softener junkie check out this post for 4 ways to naturally soften and freshen your laundry.


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.


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. I love Home Goods, Costco, and Target for high quality towels at low prices.

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

My book Simply Clean is full of tips, tricks and ideas for keeping your home clean with minimal time and effort. Go here to check it out!