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How Do You Get That Sour Smell Out of Towels?


We all love the fresh smell of clean laundry when it comes out of the dryer — it’s like taking in a breath of crisp spring air. But when it comes to towels, after some time, things can get a bit… funky. We know that the last thing you want to do is throw away your towels and spend all that extra cash replacing them every couple of months, so we’ve rounded up a few tips for cleaning towels that will help save you the trouble. Whether you’re wondering if washing towels with vinegar really works or looking for the best solution for how to get a sour smell out of towels, we’ve got you covered!

How can I get mildew smell out of towels?

In order to know how to get rid of smells from towels, we have to understand what causes the stench to form in the first place. Since we use our towels so frequently, the moisture can get trapped in the fibers of the towel and cause mildew to form. And sometimes, even when we wash towels with regular laundry detergent, the mildew smell can linger if extra measures aren’t taken. If you’ve found yourself with stinky towels that you’ve washed over and over again to no avail, then it might be time to employ a few handy tricks to get rid of the stench for good.

All of these simple home hacks can combat that sour towel smell with things you’ve probably already got lying around the house, so there’s no need to go out and buy any additional cleaning products. What’s more, these cleaning hacks are all-natural and non-toxic, so you’re benefiting from squeaky-clean and green methods for towel odor removal!

How do you get the mildew smell out of towels with baking soda?

Ah, baking soda — the one ingredient we can always rely on to banish pesky odors in just moments. As it turns out, baking soda can be used to make that musty towel smell a thing of the past, too! 

This hack is super simple, and you don’t need any ingredients other than baking soda to finally get rid of towel odor. To use baking soda for sour towel smell, all you have to do is throw your towels into the washer along with one cup of baking soda and run your washer through a cycle. For this hack, you don’t even need to use laundry detergent — in fact, you shouldn’t! By using just the baking soda and hot or warm water, your stinky towels will come out smelling like new. 

How do you get the mildew smell out of towels with vinegar?

Another common hack for cleaning towels is using vinegar. While this option may not seem as appealing as using baking soda, it can be rather useful if you’ve got really stubborn, smelly towels. 

To use this towel cleaning hack, simply do the same as you would with the baking soda. Just add one cup of white vinegar to a load and wash your towels with no detergent or bleach in warm or hot water. If you notice that your towels still have a smell after using this hack, you can combine both hacks by first washing your stinky towels with vinegar, then running another load with the baking soda. 

Extra Tip: If you’ve found that even after you’ve tried these tricks that you’re still noticing a bit of an odor, you can also add a few drops of your favorite freshening essential oil to either of these hacks. To do this, just add three to five drops of essential oil into your load, and your towels should come out smelling fresher than ever. Some of our favorites to use are lemon and tea tree essential oil, which both have an uplifting and refreshing scent. The compounds in both of these oils also help in removing odor — for good! 

How do you wash towels properly?

What many people don’t know is that stinky towels may also come about from washing your towels the wrong way. That’s right, your towel cleaning efforts might actually be making the problem worse! 

To make sure you’re cleaning your towels the right way, don’t use too much laundry detergent or fabric softener. Using too much detergent can cause buildup in the towel fibers which — even when that buildup is a cleaning product — cause towels to smell over time. Just as well, make sure you’re not washing too many towels at one time. Washing in small loads will help to ensure that your machine is working to remove all dirt and grime from your towels efficiently. 

To make sure your towels are always clean and fresh, be sure that you’re washing them every three to seven days and that you’re hanging them on a drying rack after each use to ensure that moisture doesn’t linger for too long. In general, you shouldn’t wash your towels with clothes. As mentioned, using warm or hot water is best when it comes to cleaning towels. And what’s more, you can even take preventative measures each time you clean your towels by washing them with half laundry detergent and 1/2 cup of white vinegar before towel odor even becomes a real problem. 

Want some more easy cleaning tips? Take a look at our guides on how to clean an oven quickly and painlessly and how to deep clean a carpet without a steam cleaner!

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