Believe it or not, there is an actual right way to wash your towels. If you want them to last, that is. While you can get a towel clean by simply tossing it into the washing machine, these helpful tips will keep your towels looking and feeling like new even after several washes.
Wash and dry bath towels before using them for the first time. Most towels have silicone or other finishes that block absorbancy. Washing the towels removes these finishes and permits maximum absorbency.
To set colors, wash colored towels with similar colors in warm water for the first several washings. Using about half the recommended amount of detergent, add 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash water. The vinegar helps set the colors and removes excess detergent residue.
Wash towels every three to four days. Use warm water and color-safe bleach (if needed) for colored towels. Use hot water and nonchlorine bleach (if needed) for white towels. White towels should be washed separately or with other white items to avoid subtle discoloration over time.
Wash bath towels separately from clothing for sanitary reasons. Putting towels in their own load also makes it easier to adjust to the best settings for cleaning towels based on color.
Use fabric softeners according to directions, but use only every three or four washes. Waxy buildup from softeners can deteriorate the towel fibers over time and reduce their absorbency.
Give your towels a shake when taking them out of the washer. This will help fluff the terry loops that aid absorbency. Don't iron terry towels; this will reduce absorbency.
Ensure that towels are dry when you remove them from the dryer. Even slightly damp towels can quickly mildew. Avoid overdrying; it can destroy the integrity of the individual cotton fibers.
Many high-quality towels feature decorative trims to add a soft design element amid the hard, shiny surfaces of the bathroom. If possible, use towels with specialty trims as accents only, so you can limit their laundering and reduce the wear on ribbon, rickrack, lace, or other decorative elements.