Make Your White Towels Last Longer

If you own a business that provides towels to its clients or guests, then you know firsthand the delicate balance between providing soft, comfortable towels and protecting your bottom line. Replacing towels is expensive, so the last thing you want is to have to replace them frequently. But when you’re washing them every day, it can be difficult to keep them looking pristine.


When you own a business like a hotel, gym, spa or golf course — anywhere that your patrons use a lot of towels — your towels are constantly being used to wipe up a variety of messes — water, sweat, dirt and goodness knows what else.

On the other hand, there’s nothing more elegant than a basic white towel. Whether we’re talking hand towels, golf towels, gym towels or full-sized bath towels, white towels are a staple of the hospitality and fitness world.

So how can a savvy business owner afford to offer towels that still look white after constant use?

Why Buy White?

While a wide variety of colored towels are on the market today, white towels are generally accepted as the standard when it comes to providing towels for patrons at a variety of businesses, ranging from health clubs to yoga studios to golf courses and everything in between. Why is that?

1. They’re Classy

Picture the most glamorous hotel you’ve ever stayed in. What color were the towels? That’s right. Odds are they were white. White towels match anything and everything. They compliment whatever decor you have without being overpowering. There’s no question about whether your towels will match with the mossy green drapes or blue sofa because, well, white matches everything.

2. Their Color Doesn’t Fade

Since white towels are, well, white, there’s no color on them that’s going to fade over time. You don’t have to worry that the bright yellow towel you purchased will fade to a muted mustard after a few washes. And you don’t have to wonder if they’ll still match your blue walls after six months. Want proof that colored towels can’t maintain their hues long-term? The Seattle Times reported that stores actually push to sell colored towels over white because people buy more colored ones replacing the ones that fade over time.

Besides fading after washing, colored towels are vulnerable to skin care products containing benzoyl peroxide, a popular anti-acne medication found in many over-the-counter skin care products. Benzoyl peroxide is known to bleach towels. Even a little bit of residue that’s left after a person washes their face can completely wreck the color of the towel.

Sure, white towels can get dirty or dingy, but the white will never turn into another color completely. It won’t streak if it’s exposed to strong skin care products. And, when it does get dirty, it’s easier to clean.

3. Easier to Keep Clean

For a business that’s got to keep a close eye on its budget, this one is really important. Frequent washing can damage towels and shorten their lifespan, especially if they aren’t washed according to the directions on their tags. White towels are easier to keep clean because they can be washed in hot water — which kills more germs — and can be bleached to remove stains without destroying their color. Because white towels are less vulnerable to fading and easier to remove stains from, they’ll last longer than their colored counterparts.

What Ruins a White Towel?

When towels are being used daily, they’re going to experience a lot of wear and tear. A golf towel, for example, is going to be used to wipe dirt off of a putter, mud off of a golf ball and sweat off of a golfer. Sometimes all in the same day. Any of these things is enough to ruin a white towel. But, there are some specific mistakes you can make that will shorten the lifespan of your pristine linens.

1. Waiting Too Long Between Washes

Even in a gym or yoga studio where towels are only used once before being washed, waiting too long to launder them can spell trouble. If you aren’t laundering towels daily, then they’re most likely being left in a pile in a basket or hamper somewhere. When damp towels are left balled up and smashed together, they will start to smell and grow mildew or other bacteria.

2. Using Too Much Detergent or Fabric Softener

It’s easy to assume that dirty towels need extra detergent to get rid of all the dirt and bacteria hidden in their fibers. But, adding extra detergent can damage your towels. When towels are washed with too much detergent, they become stiff. The same is true for fabric softener. Using fabric softeners on your towels can lead to a wax build up in their fibers that prevents them from absorbing moisture as they should.

3. Drying Towels for Too Long

Yes, damp towels can grow mildew, but extending the dryer cycle to over-dry your towels isn’t the solution. Neither is increasing the heat setting on the dryer. When you don’t follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing your white towels, you risk destroying the integrity of its fibers with overexposure to heat.

4. Bringing Towels in Contact With Makeup

There’s no good solution to this one — if your patrons wipe their faces with a white towel, their makeup is going to leave stains. When you can, attempt to identify and spot clean these stains before throwing the towel into the washing machine. But that still may not be enough to salvage the towel.

How to Wash Towels to Make Them Last Longer

Wondering how to make white towels last longer? The best way to keep white towels looking fresh and clean over time is to be diligent about keeping them clean and well-maintained. It may seem like a pain to put the time and effort into towels, but preserving your towel inventory helps you save money and reduces the frequency with which you’ll need to buy new towels.

Keeping your towels clean is also a great way to amp up your customer service. Even in a casual setting like a gym or a yoga studio, offering soft, clean towels goes a long way toward showing your members that you genuinely care about them and want to make them feel comfortable and cared for. When you do that, word spreads, and you’ll find yourself with new members because of it. Yes, a towel really can make a difference.

1. Wash Towels in Hot Water

When it comes to figuring out how to keep your white towels clean longer, hot water is king. Hot water can actually ruin colored towels, but it’s a great way to maintain the pristine color of a white towel. Another bonus? The higher water temperature kills germs, meaning a clean white towel is truly clean.

2. Don’t Go Overboard on Detergent

If you’re looking for ways to get your towels clean without going overboard on detergent, try this — use half of the detergent manufacturer’s suggested amount of detergent in a load of towels. After you’ve added the detergent but before you start the washing machine, add 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar into the washer tub with the towels. The vinegar will help repel any extra detergent residue that may attempt to hang on to the towel fibers.

3. Shake Towels in Between the Washer and Dryer

It’s tempting to drag wet towels into the dryer in one big lump, but this can spell disaster if you’re looking to keep towels soft. When you pull towels from the washing machine, shake each one to remove wrinkles and excess water before placing it in the dryer. Shaking them out in between cycles will ensure luxurious, fluffy towels and prevent them from coming out of the dryer flat and wrinkled.

4. Go Easy on the Fabric Softener

Similar to detergent, fabric softener leaves a waxy buildup that can actually prevent moisture from being absorbed the next time the towel is used. A towel that can’t absorb moisture isn’t going to do anyone much good. Rather than using fabric softener, place a few dryer balls — or clean tennis balls — into the dryer to fluff towels as they dry. Besides being better for your towels, this will save money since dryer balls and tennis balls are both reusable.

5. Don’t Launder Too Frequently

Experts recommend that home towels only be washed after three uses. Obviously, if you’re using towels in a hotel, spa or gym, then this just isn’t going to be possible. So how do you keep from washing the same towels over and over again? Many hotels have started inviting their guests to reuse their towels if they’re staying for more than one night. Besides being a great way to be more environmentally friendly, this also cuts down on how frequently towels are being washed.

If you don’t have the option for customers or guests to reuse towels, then keep enough towels on hand that you can switch between sets and avoid washing the same towels every single day. A great way to make sure you have enough towels on hand is to purchase white towels in bulk. Purchasing in bulk through Towel Supercenter is a great way to save money because you can purchase towels at wholesale prices. Better prices mean you can afford to buy more towels.

6. Don’t Leave Damp Towels in a Pile

When used towels are piled together, they’re folded and wrinkled. Wrinkled, damp towels are a prime breeding ground for mildew. Besides being smelly, mildew can mess with your towel’s appearance too. Keeping damp towels from building up in a pile can be a challenge, especially for gym and hotel owners since laundry can’t be done several times a day. But, the best way to protect against damaging mildew is to make sure your towels are being washed regularly.

Doing laundry daily — or at least laundering damp towels each day — will cut down on the occurrence of mildew and preserve the life of your towels.

7. Spot Clean First

Before throwing a batch of white towels into the washing machine, take a few minutes to look over them for spots and stains, including dirt, makeup and other hard-to-tackle residues. Pre-treating a noticeable stain will improve the towel’s chances of coming out of the wash fresh and clean, and get it back into your towel rotation sooner. If spot cleaning doesn’t work, then you can attempt to bleach the entire towel to remove the stain. If bleach also doesn’t work, then it’s best to take that towel out of your rotation. Offering clean towels to your members and guests is a great addition to any customer service plan, but offering them stained towels can throw that strategy right out the window.

8. Don’t Mix Colors and Whites

Your mom wasn’t kidding — washing whites and colors together isn’t a good idea. If you throw colored fabrics into the same load as whites, your whites are more likely to come out dingy. Yes, it’s tempting to combine loads for efficiency’s sake, but don’t give in to that temptation when it comes to white towels.

9. Don’t Wash Oversize Loads

Everyone is guilty of overloading their washing machine in an attempt to do fewer loads of laundry. But this can spell disaster for your white towels. When a load is too big, fabrics can’t move around in the washer. When they can’t move around in the washing machine, then the dirt and grime on the towel aren’t going to come off as well. Stick to smaller loads so that your towels can move freely and dirt and stains come out.

The same goes for the dryer. Don’t cram too many towels together in the dryer or none of them will really get dry. If a towel isn’t dry, the fibers won’t be fluffy and ready to absorb moisture. Opt for several smaller loads rather than one large one that isn’t going to dry properly.

12. Don’t Leave Towels in the Dryer

It can be tempting to put off folding towels, especially during a busy day, but if you leave towels in the dryer after the drying cycle is complete, then the fabric of your towels becomes wrinkled and flat. Instead of a fluffy white towel, you’ll end up with a flat, wrinkled piece of fabric — and no one wants to dry off with that. Pay careful attention to your dryer and remove towels as soon as possible.

Buying White Towels in Bulk

If you own a business that uses a lot of towels, then it’s smart to buy your towels in bulk. This allows you to rotate your supply and keep them looking clean as long as possible. It also means that when towels become stained and dirty — and can’t be salvaged — it won’t break the bank to replace them. When you purchase towels from Towel Supercenter, you are working with the country’s leading online towel wholesaler. We are dedicated to providing you with high-quality towels at an affordable price — and we offer great customer service too!

While we are partial to the benefits of the classic white towel, we recognize that your business might need a variety of towels in a variety of colors. We offer absorbent and durable towels in a wide variety of colors that can be coordinated to tie in with your branding or to complement your business’ decor. For more information or to purchase towels, visit our website and contact us today.

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