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How to Remove Stains From Towels

Knowing how to remove various stains from bath towels is an invaluable skill. Not all stains are created equal, so a method that would be perfect for one type might make the situation worse with another. Don't worry, because Towel Super Center has created a guide that will help you blot out the most common stains towels face, as well as teach you general tips for towel maintenance and how to get white towels clean.


Foundation and other kinds of makeup are prime candidates for staining your towels. Even if you're being extremely careful, it's easy to slip up when washing your face after a long day and smudge your towel. If you're able to catch the stain when it first occurs, pretreat it with a few drops of liquid detergent directly on the area. After it's had a few minutes to soak in, throw the towel in a hot wash with detergent and bleach.


For stains that are already set in, the towel should first be presoaked in high-quality liquid detergent. Combine a cap of detergent and a couple of gallons of hot water, then dip the towel in. The best route is to let the towel soak overnight to allow time for the oils in the makeup to dissolve. Then in the morning, you can empty out the solution and run the towel through the hot wash cycle with detergent and bleach.

This extra step should remove the colored mark left on the towel from the makeup. Let the towel air dry to see if the stains have truly disappeared, and if they haven't, try repeating the process again.

Hair Dye

Some people color their hair often enough that they have a dedicated towel for the occasion. If you're not one of those people, however, and you're worried you ruined a perfectly good towel with streaks of hair dye, these tips and tricks are for you.

For water soluble hair dyes, you can simply rub baby shampoo into the stain with your fingertips until it comes out. Another idea is that, if your towel can safely be bleached, you could mix 1/4 of a cup of bleach with a gallon of cold water and leave the towel in it for thirty minutes. Afterward, rinse it off and wash it like usual.

There are many other methods you could use as well, dreamt up by resourceful people on the internet — but they do work. You could stretch out the towel over the top of a bucket, then either leave cold water dripping through the stain for a few hours or pour a mixture of a gallon of water and one cup of ammonia over the stain very slowly.

Additionally, you can let the towel soak in a gallon of warm water combined with two cups of white vinegar and two cups of detergent, or you could even spray the stain with hair spray to loosen it, letting it set for a few minutes before rinsing it off. None of these avenues will harm your towel — they just deal with the pesky stain.


Gym towels tend to get quite the workout themselves with all the sweat that seeps into them. Perspiration doesn't just make your clothes and towels smelly — it also may leave a stain behind. If sweat has altered the color of your towel in places, there are a couple of different ideas you could try.


Ammonia should be applied to fresh stains, while white vinegar works better on old stains. Rinse off whichever one you used before tackling it again with prewash stain remover or bar soap. After this process is complete, wash the towel in hot water. For stubborn stains, pour oxygen bleach or a cleaning product that contains enzymes in during the hot wash cycle.


Incidents with injuries take place every day, especially in a home with small children. After tending to the wound and wiping off the area, you may notice that a bit of blood got left behind on the towel. If the stain is fresh, combat it immediately by soaking the towel in cold water. As you probably know, hot water will set blood stains into fabric. Then wash the towel like you usually do.

For dried blood stains, it's recommended to soak the towel in a product with enzymes before you wash it. If the stain is still visible after going through the laundry, wash the towel again with fabric-safe bleach.


After that fateful lunch hour when you mopped up the mess from your child tipping their cup over, how do you get the stain out of the towel? Are you doomed to wrap up your hair with a grape juice-covered towel forevermore? No, you're not! There are ways to get all manner of beverages — including soda, tea and wine — out of your towels.


Begin by sponging the stain with cool water. You can then pretreat the stain using your choice of products. Liquid detergent or detergent booster, stain remover or a paste of powder detergent and water will work just fine. Follow this up by washing the towel with sodium hypochlorite bleach or oxygen bleach. If the stain has been on the towel for some time, try soaking it in an enzyme-filled product prior to washing it.


Though toothpaste stains may look a lot like bleach, they aren't impossible to get out. Start by scraping off as much toothpaste as you can from the towel. Wet it slightly if you must, but only if it's really stuck on there. You can pretreat the stain with a store-bought laundry stain remover and wash the towel like usual. Check to see if the stain is gone before throwing the towel in the dryer. A stain that sticks around should be treated again because drying it in this state will end up setting the stain.

Baby Formula

Parents everywhere, rejoice! Whether you're a new mother or you already have a few of your own, you'll be happy to know this secret for getting baby formula out of your towels. All you have to do is drench the stain in a cleaning product with enzymes. Let the towel soak for about half an hour, or longer if it's an old stain. Then you can wash it like normal, and your towel should come out pristine.


Some families use towels to block off the bottoms of their doors or as welcome mats for visitors tramping in with dirty shoes. In any case, mud caked into fabric is never fun to deal with. Once the summer comes around or you buy a new mat for the front door, you can get the dirt and leaves out of your towel.

After the mud has dried, brush off as much of it as possible before addressing the stain. A light stain can be treated with powder detergent and water, liquid detergent or a detergent booster. For more serious stains, you should presoak the towel in laundry detergent or a cleaner with enzymes. No matter the method you use, the towel should be put through the wash afterward, and the stains should come out with no problem.


Whether you're living in a humid climate or you hastily put away your laundry before it's had a chance to fully dry, mildew is a problem you will likely face at some point. Any lingering moisture on items will lead to mildew accumulation in due time. Often mildewed clothes or linens are damaged beyond repair and should be replaced. However, if you want to try your hand at refreshing your mildewed towels, try using bleach that's safe for the fabric during a hot wash cycle.

Nail Polish

This may seem like an unlikely situation to get into, but if you're painting your nails in the bathroom and the bottle accidentally tips over, it could be an absolute disaster for your towel. Though you should know that nail polish stains may be impossible to remove, there are some steps you could try.

If your towel isn't made from an acetate or triacetate fabric, you can safely use nail polish remover on it. Just lay the stained side onto a clean paper towel and pour nail polish remover onto the back of it, remembering to replace the paper towel at regular intervals. This process should be repeated until the stain is gone (if it goes away), and only then should the towel be rinsed off thoroughly and thrown into the washer.

Getting Stains out of White Towels

All of these suggestions may be fine and dandy for darker towels, but what about your white towels? What could possibly make them less dingy after a stain occurs? One household trick you could try is dripping white vinegar or lemon juice directly onto the stain, then scrubbing it gently with a soft bristle brush. Let the liquid you chose soak into the stain for fifteen minutes or so. Afterward, blot off the area with a damp sponge and toss the towel in the washing machine.

How to Get White Towels Clean

Stains are localized areas that have become darker in color, but what about towels that have naturally become drab through everyday use? If there are ways to get rid of blemishes on towels, there must be a solution for towels that have grayed over time.


Restore your white towels with this homeowner's secret. First, add a good amount of lemon juice to water. Then boil the mixture for roughly twenty minutes before soaking your towel in it. Let your towel sit in the lemon water for about an hour, then wash it like normal with detergent. You should notice a definite difference in its brightness!

Refresh Your Towels

What if stains are no longer an issue, but your towel has lost its absorbency or still has an unpleasant smell to it? You may be tempted to give up on the whole matter and just purchase new towels, but you don't have to.

The experts advise running your problem towel through two hot washes without detergent. The first cycle should include a cup of vinegar, and the second should have half a cup of baking soda. This will sufficiently remove old soap residue, fabric softener and whatever you used to treat stains, fluffing your towel back up and giving it a neutral scent.

General Tips for the Cleanest Towels Possible

Most of this article has contained tricks for dealing with specific stains or certain types of towels. If you want to extend the longevity of your towels and keep them at their cleanest, here are some all-purpose tips you can utilize:

  • Don't go overboard with how much detergent you use when washing towels. It will build up in the fibers, making your towels rough and less absorbent. While the solution for refreshing towels above truly works, you should prevent the issue from happening in the first place.
  • The same goes for using fabric softener when laundering towels. You should only use a small amount, if any at all.
  • If you want your towels to have a pleasant scent, it's okay to add a couple of drops of essential oil to their last rinse in the washer.
  • Be sure to dry your towels completely after they've been washed and before storing them away. That way they won't mildew or develop an odor.
  • When you are able, let your towels air dry instead of using a dryer. Overuse of the dryer will wear them out prematurely.

Through this article, you've learned how to remove stains from bath towels, how to get white towels clean and much more. Gyms and golf courses will benefit from knowing how to get perspiration out of towels, and beauty salons everywhere would love a trick for removing hair dye or nail polish from their towels.

Towel Super Center offers the highest quality terry cloth towels for whatever type of business you run, whether it's a hotel or a country club. Why purchase towels in smaller quantities when you could purchase them wholesale and save a bundle? Their superior fabric and large selection of colors means your business will be getting exactly what it needs. Stock your home or business affordably with Towel Super Center — shop today!

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