How to care for your towels

Drying off with a luxuriously soft and plush towel after a relaxing bath or invigorating shower is one of life’s simple pleasures.  A well-appointed bathroom should include an assortment of attractive and useful towels to dry the body or hands after washing.  But how can you keep your beautiful towels in the best condition possible, so you can continue to enjoy them time and time again?

All towels should be laundered after purchasing before first use. Wash your towels in a load by themselves, keeping them separate from clothing, bedding or other linens. Although it may be tempting to utilize the hottest water setting possible to wash towels because you seek to clean them thoroughly, for colored towels extremely hot water can fade items and cause premature wear and scratchiness. However, for white towels, very hot water is more effective at preserving their crisp appearance than bleach, so choose your laundering water temperature based on color. For colors besides white, use cool or warm water, as these moderate temperatures are a better choice for effective and damage-free washing.  Take care to separate white towels from those with any color, and be sure to wash vibrantly-hued towels in a load by themselves. 

Laundry products
Do not use an excessive amount of detergent in the wash cycle, as this can cause towels to feel stiff and scratchy.  Some even suggest using half the amount of detergent needed for a load of a comparable size in order to avoid this problem, especially since towels may absorb some residual soap from your skin following a bath or shower. If you do need to use an extra measure of detergent because towels are excessively soiled, be sure to run towels through an additional rinse cycle to remove soap. In addition, do not use fabric softeners on towels, as these can create a waxy buildup that causes towels to become unabsorbent and feel somewhat slippery. Instead of packaged softeners, consider using widely-available dryer balls or a pair of clean tennis balls in the dryer when tumbling your towels.  When these items cartwheel in the dryer, the action serves to soften and fluff towels as they dry. When machine drying towels following laundering, resist the urge to use very high heat, instead use a moderate heat setting to lengthen the life of your items and preserve their softness.

Daily use
In order to prevent stains and discoloration, be careful not to expose towels to household cleaners, disinfectants or skin care products that contain brightening agents, bleach, benzoyl peroxide or alpha hydroxyl acid. These substances can remove the color from your towels, causing irreversible damage. Do not use washcloths to remove facial makeup, as cosmetics can permanently stain linens. Instead utilize specially-formulated makeup remover wipes or solutions that can be dabbed off with a disposable tissue. If you must use a washcloth to remove makeup, consider keeping one aside in a darker color reserved only for that purpose, as the dark color will hide staining. Keeping one item assigned for makeup removal will ensure that your other towels remain lovely and stain free.

After each use, hang towels over a hook or rack in order to ensure that the items can dry completely. Store clean, surplus towels in a cool, dry, well-ventilated space to prevent mustiness. If your towels have a sour odor or have developed mildew during storage, run them through two wash cycles, adding half a cup of baking soda to remove the unpleasant scent.

Beautiful towels add a decorative element to the bathroom but also add an unmistakable touch of extravagance to the bathing ritual. To ensure that they remain clean and fresh, towels should be changed at least every three days.  Some even prefer to change their bath towels daily. With correct laundering, proper storage and thoughtful care, high-quality bath towels can last at least 10 years. Purchase the best quality towels you can afford and care for them intentionally to ensure an unforgettable, luxurious bathing experience.

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