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Towel Washing Tips

towel washing tips

Towels are an investment. When you run a business that relies on clean, fresh-smelling towels, it’s essential to find a way to prolong their life. Whether you own a spa, gym, hair salon or another business where clients come in contact with towels, you need to keep them looking good and smelling great. After all, the state of your towels speaks volumes about your business.

After a few wash cycles, towels can start to lose that wonderful, new soft towel feel. A few more, and they’re not as absorbent as they once were. Before you know it, it’s time to buy new towels all over again. Is there any way to avoid this?

Positive towel washing habits should be practiced the day your towels arrive. From that very first washing, you can ensure they’re around for a long time. From there, it’s important to maintain their upkeep. Although it may mean changing the way you do a few things, it’s actually not that difficult to keep your towels in excellent condition.

Businesses that use towels will always need fresh replacements, and Towel Super Center will always be there to refresh your stock of high-quality cotton towels. But our goal is to give you tips so that the daily wear and tear won’t exhaust your towel supply faster than it should.

If you’re wondering how to keep your towels soft and fluffy wash after wash, here’s some advice on the best way to wash your towels. The outcome is bright colors, plush feel and hard-working towels that are there when you need them.

How to Wash Towels for the First Time

Incredible towels require simple care, but it all starts on day one. Before using your brand-new bath towel, hand towel or washcloth, it’s important to wash them.

When your towels arrive, they may have been treated with silicone or another type of finish. This protects them from moisture while they’re being transported to your home or business. Once they’re in your hands, this finish has done its job, and it’s no longer required. If left unwashed, it will continue to block absorbency. Once you wash your towels for the first time, the finish is removed, and your towels are at their most absorbent.

Here are some more hints that will help make your initial towel wash a success:

  • Check the Label: Most towels, like the ones you find at Towel Super Center, include a label along the edge with basic care instructions. They include washing temperature and drying recommendations. Following the directions on the label will ensure your towels won’t get damaged.
  • Separate White and Colored Towels: Although many people separate whites and coloreds in all their washings, this step is especially important during that first wash. New towels can transfer their dye more easily, which could ruin the beautiful crisp color of your new white towels. After all, an extra load of wash never hurt anyone.
  • Give Them Their Own Load: Especially for that initial wash, don’t add any other clothes or other items to your towel laundry load. As we mentioned, the dyes are still new and could transfer, ruining your favorite blouse.
  • Set Colors With White Vinegar: For the first few washes, use half the amount of detergent you would normally use and add about one half to a cup of white vinegar. Vinegar will not only help the cleaning process, but it’s also useful for setting the colors.
  • Warm Water: For the first few washings, it’s good to use warm water instead of hot, unless the label on your towels specifically says not to.
follow label directions

Temperature for Washing Towels

Not all towels should be washed at the same temperature. This subtle decision can have an incredible impact on your towels’ color, softness and even how long they last. Most towels have a label with a recommended temperature. The hotter the water, the better it will clean. Your goal is to choose the hottest water setting possible that won’t damage or fade your towels.

Here are the basic rules of thumb when choosing what temperature to wash your towels in:

  • Whites or Light Colors: Hot water helps keep these light-colored towels staying bright.
  • Colored or Dark Colors: Warm water is best for colored towels, as hot water can make the colors bleed or lead to fading.
  • Decorative, Microfiber or Delicate Fabrics: Although warm water is more effective if these towels are soiled, cold water is better to maintain the integrity of the fabrics.

If towels are especially dirty, they may need to have a hotter water temperature to get them clean.

What Washer Setting to Use When Washing Towels

Depending on the type of washing machine you have, there may be quite a few washer settings. We’ve already discussed which temperature to use for which colors, but let’s go one step further. Here are our recommendations for which settings to use:

1. Load Size

Choosing the appropriate load size setting depends on how many towels you are washing:

  • Small load — one-quarter full
  • Medium load — one-half full
  • Large load — over half full
  • Super large load — washer is full

2. Cycle Selection

This setting determines the washing and spinning of each load. Although there are many options, not all are appropriate for towels. Be sure to check your towel’s label for specific instructions. Here are the cycles you should be aware of when choosing the right one for your towel load:

  • Normal — For average loads, this cycle has a high-speed wash and spin.
  • Heavy-duty — This is the most common cycle for towels, and it provides a longer wash cycle, high-speed agitation and a high-speed spin which expels as much moisture as possible.
  • Whites — Occasionally your white towels may need a white cycle which releases bleach at the appropriate time during the cycle.
  • Rinse and spin — For towels that are especially soiled and need additional detergent, adding an extra rinse and spin cycle helps get your towels extra clean.

How to Dry Towels

Proper drying techniques are essential to a soft and fluffy towel. After all, what’s better than the warmth and feel of fresh towels straight from the dryer? Just like washing towels, it’s important to follow a few simple guidelines when drying them. Extreme heat and other factors can make your towels appear worn out before their time.

drying techniques

Here are a few drying tips you can try from the get-go to keep towels at their optimal fluffiness:

  • Fluff Your Towels: We all know what towels look like when they get out of the washer — wet, crumpled, usually compacted in a wad. The simple act of shaking out your towels and running your fingers over the loops before drying them helps them fluff up and aids absorbency.
  • Clean out the Lint Catcher: We don’t always think about it, but a clean lint catcher will keep towels fresher longer.
  • Nylon Netting to Remove Lint: Towels, especially new ones, may have lots of lint. Drying your towels with nylon netting will help remove this excess.
  • Make Sure They’re Dry Before Folding: If a towel is slightly damp, you may be tempted to shrug your shoulders and fold it up anyway. However, this actually prevents towels from drying properly. Damp towels develop mildew, making them lose their clean, fresh scent.
  • Don’t Over-Dry: If you over-dry your towels, the individual cotton fibers can become damaged and lose their integrity.
  • Avoid Dryer Sheets: Dryer sheets contain chemicals that are not only bad for the environment, but they can also make towels lose their absorbency over time. If you’re concerned about keeping your towels smelling great, we’ll discuss some odor-eliminating tips below.
  • Use Dryer Balls: Dryer balls, or even tennis balls, beat lumps out of towels while they’re in the dryer. They can also help fluff them up.

How to Protect Against Fading

Brightly colored towels add a touch of vitality to any space or business. If you’ve purchased one of our vibrant and exciting colored towels, then your goal and ours is to keep that color going strong for as long as possible.

Even if colors naturally fade over time, there are a few things you can do to keep them brighter and more vivid for longer:

  • Use Color-Safe Bleach: We all know that bleach is great for keeping white towels whiter, but color-safe bleach can be used on your colored towels. If you’ve got a pesky stain, try this method so your colored towels maintain their vibrant color.
  • Pre-Treat Stains: Stains happen, but they don’t have to ruin your towels. Pre-treating pesky spots will prevent stains from holding on. For oil-based stains, dishwashing liquid is an option that’s readily available.
  • Wash at Cooler Temperatures: Hot water may be excellent for cleaning, but not so much for colors. It notoriously makes colored towels fade. That’s why it’s important to clean these towels at a cooler temperature.
  • Follow All Care Instructions: The label on the edge of your towel may be small, but it contains useful information that will keep your colored towels looking beautiful.

Preventing and Eliminating Odors

There can be many different causes for pesky odors, but getting those smells out is essential to maintaining your towels for as long as possible. Mildew is the major culprit, but dirt, dust, bacteria and other things your towels come into contact with could be causing them to smell, too.

Washing your towels on a regular basis is essential to avoid those things that may cause odor. Since it’s recommended that towels be washed every three to four days, or more depending on your business, schedule a couple of days a week for towel washing so you don’t forget. In most cases, this will thwart bad smells from developing.

avoid odor

It’s true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But if there’s already an odor that’s developed, don’t give up. There are quite a few things you can do to get the pesky smell to go bye-bye:

  • Multiple Washes: If the towel still smells after the first wash, then run it through again. But this time try adding a cup of white vinegar or a half cup of baking soda to the mix.
  • White Vinegar: Adding this to your towel load helps keep them free from odors and mildew.
  • Baking Soda: If the vinegar isn’t cutting it, then adding baking soda to your wash gives its cleaning power extra oomph.
  • Add Naturally Fresh Smells: As we discussed previously, dryer sheets aren’t necessarily the best option for sweet smelling towels. Instead, trying spraying your towels with herbal-infused water before washing them. You can also spray them after they come out of the dryer.
  • Store With Soap or Potpourri: Tucking a scented bar of soap or a little bit of potpourri in between your towels when they’re freshly folded in your linen closet instills the fresh scent into the fabric. Once you pull it out for use, the nice aroma remains.

Prolonging the Life of Your Towels

Now that you have some basic tools about how to wash and dry your towels, there are a few more things you should keep in mind. Some of your daily habits may be ruining your towels. Here are some additional tidbits that will help your new towels last longer than ever:

  • Watch out for Stain Causers: Towels are great for cleaning up messes, but it’s okay to avoid using them for certain spills or tasks. Bleach, hair dye, makeup and other chemicals can leave your towels stained no matter how much you wash them. Avoiding these will give your towels a longer shelf-life.
  • Lay Them Flat: Each time you use a towel, lay it out flat to air dry. This ensures your towel can breathe and won’t develop mildew.
  • Wash Often: You may believe that over-washing your towels makes them wear out faster, but that’s not true. Towels should actually be washed every three to four days, and daily if you own a business where clients use them.
  • Don’t Overdo It With the Detergent: Stiff towels may be the result of too much detergent. Most the time, towels aren’t especially dirty. Unless they’re soiled, try using half the detergent you would use normally.
  • Pay Special Attention to Whites: White towels, especially, can lose the vibrancy and crispness that made them great. Wash your whites in their own load to avoid discoloration over time, and use non-chlorine bleach if needed.
  • Towel-Only Loads: Because of how we use towels, giving them their own load is more sanitary. Plus, it also lets you adjust the settings to the recommendations we made above.
  • Little to No Fabric Softener: Fabric softener is a divisive issue. Some people swear by it and can’t imagine a load of laundry without its extra added touch. But it can create a waxy buildup over time that reduces your towels’ absorbency. Although it’s better to do without it, if you must, try using it only every three to four washes.
  • Don’t Iron Terry Towels: We know that crumply towels may appear unappealing, but ironing your terry towels will reduce their absorbency. Instead, shake your towels out between cycles and as soon as they are done drying. Then immediately lay them flat or fold them.

Start out Right With Towels From Towel Super Center

If you’re ready to invest in some new high-quality towels, then Towel Super Center is here for you. We’re the perfect solution for both homes and businesses that buy their towels in bulk because we offer incredible deals the more you purchase.

Our bath towels, hand towels and washcloths come in a variety of colors, including pristine white options. Plus, they’re made of 100 percent cotton. If you’re ready to make a clean start, order your towels from Towel Super Center today. Once they arrive, practice some of our washing tips, and you’ll be enjoying your towels for years to come.

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