How to Get Rid of Musty Smell From Towels

By Mary Smith. February 4, 2021
How to Get Rid of Musty Smell From Towels

When we use towels, we may find ourselves drying our face on a section of it and come to the realization it's maybe not the best thing we should be rubbing on our body. If we reuse the same towel after every bath or show, it will collect dirt and mildew. This mildew loves wetness, so if we don't dry the towel, it will quickly develop a very musty smell. This smell can get right down into the fibers of fabric and it is tricky to get it out.

This is why oneHOWTO shows you the best methods how to get rid of musty smell from towels. We also show you some of the best ways you can prevent a towel smelling musty in the first place.

You may also be interested in: How to Stop Your Towels From Smelling

Why do towels smell musty?

The smell of mold on towels is due to their great ability to trap moisture. It is the reason they are used, taking moisture from our body or even a surface and soaking it up. Many bath towels are made of cotton, this being a fabric that manages to absorb large quantities of liquid. Unfortunately, although our bodies are relatively clean after we shower, the towel will still pick up bacteria and other microbes when we use it.

Due to the humidity of the towel, the microbes proliferate and create the mildew and mold smell. Even if we dry after a shower, when we use it enough times, the smell will grow stronger. Essentially, towels smell bad because:

  • Constant exposure of the towel to the humid environment of the bathroom and to water when we dry ourselves.
  • Incorrect drying of towels. It should be done after each use, laying them out in the sun or spreading them on a heated towel rail or radiator.
  • Hanging towels in the bathroom. Steam and other humidity from the bathroom will be soaked up into the towel, even if we are not showering.
  • Not laundering towels properly.
  • Using towels too often without cleaning.

If you think you may be using your towels too much without cleaning, take a look at our article on how often you should wash your towels.

How to remove the musty smell from towels with baking soda

Sodium bicarbonate is one of the most common home cleaning remedies, known for being cheap yet effective. It also helps to eliminate the musty smell of towels because it eliminates bacteria and fungi exacerbated by excess humidity. The baking soda is very absorbent and helps soak up the bad smell from towels. Learn how to use baking soda to wash towels by following these steps:

  1. Add a cup of baking soda to a bowl full of warm water large enough to add the towel to.
  2. Stir the mixture so that the baking soda begins to dissolve.
  3. Place the towel in the baking soda water and let it soak for 20 minutes .
  4. After this time, you should rinse the towel with clean water.
  5. Dry the towel in the open air, taking advantage of the sunny hours.
  6. If the towel contains stains that are difficult to remove, apply the baking soda directly by rubbing the affected areas before soaking it in the baking soda water.
  7. Finally, you can optionally put the towel in the washing machine and run a normal cycle to make sure we completely remove the unpleasant aroma. Just ensure it is dried again properly.

Bicarbonate of soda is a really useful home cleaning product which is cheap and safe. Find out more and see how you can use baking soda to clean a mattress.

How to Get Rid of Musty Smell From Towels - How to remove the musty smell from towels with baking soda

How to get rid of the musty smell from bath towels with vinegar

Washing towels with vinegar to remove the musty smell is a great alternative to harsh chemicals. This product has the power to neutralize bad aromas and fight bacteria. If you want to wash the towels with vinegar and baking soda in a washing machine, follow these steps:

  1. Put the towels affected by the musty smell in the washing machine.
  2. Add a mixture of hot water, baking soda and white vinegar to your washing machine in the section for fabric softener.
  3. You can also wash the clothes first and add the white vinegar mixture first, depending on the type of washing machine you use
  4. Pre-soak the towels in the white vinegar mixture as an alternative.

If you have apple cider vinegar, you can also use it together with your favorite fabric softener to get the best smelling towels. The vinegar will enhance and improve the smell of the fabric softener. If you were wondering how to perfume your towels, this is an easy and effective way.

We also advise you to read this other article on how to clean your washing machine with vinegar. If you use our tips to get rid of musty smells in towels with vinegar, but your washing machine smells bad, it can be counterproductive.

How to remove the musty smell from towels with ammonia

Our last method for removing bad smells from towels is to use ammonia. This is stronger than the other methods, but it is also very effective if used correctly. Since it is very corrosive, we need to be careful with our mouths and eyes. Use gloves to prevent damage to the skin. To get rid of the musty smell from towels with ammonia, follow these steps:

  1. Mix soap with diluted ammonia and add it to a bowl of water (diluted ammonia is usually 1/4 cup water:1 gallon water).
  2. If you are dealing with very large towels, you might want to mix in a bathtub.
  3. Let the towels soak for 20 minutes.
  4. Finally, put them in the washing machine and program a normal cycle so that they are completely clean, without bad smells. They should also become nice and fluffy.

Check out these other household uses for ammonia if you want to see why it is such a powerful cleaner.

How to Get Rid of Musty Smell From Towels - How to remove the musty smell from towels with ammonia

How to prevent musty smells in towels

After helping you discover how to remove the musty smell from towels with these products, oneHOWTO helps you to stop them smelling bad in the first place. Consider these tips:

  • Do not leave towels in the laundry basket. Try to wash them as soon as possible, since if you mix them with dirty clothes, you will probably worsen the bad odor.
  • Store towels neatly folded and dry. Make sure that the closet is not a source of humidity by placing small bags of coffee, salt or rice as natural dehumidifiers.
  • Change towels frequently. Do not prolong their use too long between washings.
  • Ventilate the bathroom to prevent too much moisture from collecting and damaging the fabric.
  • Dry the towels lying in the sun for as long as possible and if there is not enough sun in your area use a dryer. Avoid storing them anywhere where the humidity is high.

While the tips here are very effective, we should not use the towels again if they have become too moldy. If you see mold stains on the towel, it might be time to recycle them and get some new ones. There's nothing like the smell and feeling of clean fresh towels.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Get Rid of Musty Smell From Towels, we recommend you visit our Home cleaning category.

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