Why Do My Hand Towels Smell? Tips On How To Properly Wash Your Hand Towel

Why Do My Hand Towels Smell? Tips On How To Properly Wash Your Hand Towel

You just washed your hands with a sweet-smelling antibacterial handwash, only to be grossed out by the musty bathroom hand towels lying next to the sink. Yes, it has happened to the best of us.

But don't give up already! Keeping bath towels smelling fresh isn't as difficult as you may think.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to get rid of the funky odor. All you need to do is make changes in how you wash, dry, and hang them.

How to Wash Towels?

Most of us learned to do laundry from our parents or our partners. You saw them washing each piece of clothing the same way, and that is where the problem begins. If you treat towels like you treat any other item of your laundry, then you are in for trouble.

First, towels are meant to dry you up, but they shouldn't remain wet. When they stay wet for too long, bacteria piles up on their fibers. Even after you wash the towels, the slightly musky smell remains because the bacteria is still there.

Secondly, towels are highly absorbent. So when you use too much detergent, the machine has a hard time removing all of it. It results in a build-up of detergents and fabric softener.

Hand Towel

They also absorb any mildew odor in the washer. Over time, your towels lose their absorbency, begin smelling weird and become too stiff.

When you wash your towels perfectly, they last longer. This guide is all you need to know about taking care of your towels.

Go ahead and splurge on those luxurious Egyptian cotton ones you have been eyeing for a long time. It will be worth it, especially when you wash them right.

Routinely Clean your Washing Machine and Lint Filter

Whether you are single or have a family with kids, you need to clean the washer up. You must be wondering, 'Doesn't my washing machine clean itself?' Sorry to break the news, but the machine that does all your washing needs to be regularly cleaned too.

Like your dishwasher and other appliances used regularly at home, your washing machine needs to be cleaned periodically too.

If you don't clean your washing machine from time to time, it won't be able to do its job, and you will end up with grave mildew and odor.

Depending on your usage, you should be washing your machine once a month. Pour half a cup of liquid bleach and run a complete cycle on hot water. This will remove grime, gunk, bacteria, and detergent residue from the tub.

Some machines also have an option to self-clean. Don't forget to use it regularly. Additionally, remove the lint filter and clean it with a brush. Or else, it will reduce your machine's efficiency, and you will end up with dirty clothes.

Wash Towels Separately From Other Laundry Items

Your towels are made out of a completely different material than all other items in your laundry basket. So it would be best if you washed them separately too.

On average, you shed 1 billion dead skin cells daily. They accumulate on your clothes, sheets, and pillowcases. On the other hand, you only use your hand towels after washing your hands thoroughly.

White Hand Towel

When you throw them all in the washer in one load, the dead skin cells gather on your towels too.

Additionally, experts recommend separating your towels in loads of darks and lights. It may seem like a lot of work, but it will increase the life of your towels by a long shot.

Similarly, it will also increase the life of other clothing items. Big towels can get too heavy and tangle small delicate items. The tugging and pulling of heavy towels end up destroying the delicate fibers of your clothing.

Save your towels and your clothes from all the trouble.

Use Half the Detergent

Now that you have separated your towels, make sure you use half the detergent amount you would typically use in one cycle.

The detergent build-up is the leading cause of your towels smelling foul and losing their luster. Your towels need a minimal amount of detergent. When you put too much, it gets absorbed in the fibers.

Over time the residue detergent reduces your towels absorbency potential, and as soon as they get wet, they give out a stale smell. Save your bucks and your towels- a significant win!

Don't Use Fabric Softeners

Your towels don't need fabric softeners at all. Fabric softeners coat the fibers of your towels with a sticky, waxy residue. As a result, the towel loses its absorbency potential.

If you think your fabric softener helps towels smell better, you are too far from the truth.

It? is the main culprit behind stinky towels.

Ditch the softener. Instead, use wool dryer balls or even tennis balls in your dryer. This will help fibers to become as smooth as new.

Some people also swear by using essential oils while drying their towels. If you are fond of lavender, vanilla, or mint, use a tiny amount while shifting your towels to the dryer.

Pretty soon, stinky towels will be a problem of the past.

Hang Towels Immediately After Use

Some people dump their wet towels in the hamper right away, and some hang them in plain sight. If you are from the former group, you need to change your habit right away.

Hanged Towel

When you dump a used bathroom hand towel, you are inviting bacteria to feast on it. As it sits in your laundry basket for a few days, it becomes the breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

The simple solution is to hang your towels on a towel rod after every use. Don't roll them up and leave them on the floor or, even worse, your bed. 

Assign Separate Towels

Apart from being super hygienic, having a separate towel for each member of the family means you don't end up with someone else's damp towel.

Use different colors, designs, or patterns, so it is easy to differentiate between them. It also makes it easier to track who has been leaving wet towels scrunched up on the bathroom floor.

Having at least two pairs per member ensures that you never run out of fresh fragrant towels. It also means that you don't need to run laundry every other day.

Buy Antibacterial Towels

If you have not heard about antibacterial towels, you are surely missing out. Wouldn't it be perfect if you don't need to worry about cleaning your bathroom hand towels.

Mizu Towel

Now is your turn to ask if it's even possible. Enter- Mizu towels and their ground-breaking technology. Mizu towels are made using the highest quality Japanese cotton. They infuse pure silver, which is highly anti-bacterial while weaving the towel.

Their antibacterial bathroom hand towels repel almost 100 percent bacteria, leaving your towels fragrant and new as store-bought.

Mizu towel's revolutionary design allows the towel to dry three times faster, at the same time being incredibly soft to touch.

The innovative towel can also tell you when it's time to go in the washer. The stripes on the towel change from blue to red when the towel is soiled.

Now you don't need to worry about smelly, soiled towels. Mizu towels got you covered, literally.

Best Antibacterial japanese Towel

How to Deep Clean Your Towel

There are times when you end up with smelly towels, even after taking good care of them. It's also possible that you left your towels in the dryer way too long. Just a simple wash with detergent won't be able to remove the mildew smell from them.


Maybe it's time to give them a deep clean. All you need is some kitchen staples: vinegar and baking soda.

Follow the easy steps to strip your towel of all residue and bacteria. You may repeat the process once a month or when you feel your towels need some tender loving care.

Step 1

Pour two cups of white vinegar in your washer and toss in all your bathroom hand towels. Don't add detergent or fabric softeners. White vinegar contains acetic acid, which helps remove build-up and soil from towels. It also balances the Ph level.

Step 2

After rinsing them, run another cycle. This time add half a cup of baking soda and run the load with the hottest water. Baking soda helps neutralize odors.

Step 3

Now that your towels are sparkling clean shake off excess water before putting them in the dryer. Don't use dryer sheets and set the hottest setting until completely dry. Some people prefer to dry them under direct sun, which works great too.

How Often Should You Wash Your Towels?

The general rule of thumb is to wash your towels every couple of days. Ideally, it would be best if you cleaned them twice a week. As long as you let them air dry appropriately after every use, you can use them three to four times or even longer.

It is a misconception that you should wash towels with hot water. Cool or warm water will also do the job unless your towels are heavily soiled. You can use non-chlorine or color-safe bleach if needed but try to avoid it as much as you can.

When to Replace Your Towels?

How often have you dreamt about wiping your hands with a towel as fresh as a daisy? It's weird what adulting do to us! If you are wondering when is a good time to buy new towels, every day is a good day.

Black Towel Folding in three

But if you want to know when you should discard your old ones, experts recommend using one up to two years based on regular usage. Similarly, if you feel that your bathroom hand towels have become rough and cannot absorb as much water, then it's time to dispose of them.

If you keep using old towels, you don't only end up getting frustrated but also risk causing possible health issues.

Also read: 7 Best Kids Bath Towel Sets You Can Buy Online In 2021

How to Increase the Life of Hand Towels?

Here are some essential tips to follow to increase the life of your bathroom hand towels. By following these tips, you can preserve the fuzziness and keep using them longer.

It would help if you always washed towels when you first bought them. This is because new towels are coated with a silicone finish to make them look shinier in the shops. If you use the towels without washing them, it will affect their performance in the long run.

Don't leave your towels in the washer for too long. This will end up increasing your work trifold. Ensure you remove them from the washer and quickly put them in the dryer or hang them on a line.

Towels take longer to dry compared to other clothing items. Therefore it is imperative to make sure that they are completely dry. If you accidentally fold a damp towel, you will end up with a funky-smelling towel.

Your towels do not need to be ironed. In fact, ironing towels damages the fibers and makes your towels hard and dry.

If you are fortunate enough to have enough sunlight where you live, then dry your towels under the sun. Sun works as a natural deodorizer and bleaching agent. Towels that dry under the sun don't shrink and smell much cleaner and fragrant.


It just makes you feel so warm and fuzzy inside when you use a soft, fragrant towel. We all deserve it after a long day.

Even if your bathroom hand towels are pillowy soft and brightly colored, they are good for nothing if they don't smell fresh.

Making a few simple changes or simply replacing them with anti-bacterial towels like Mizu towels is all it takes.

After all, it is about your family's hygiene, and it’s best not to compromise on it.

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