Have your towels seen better days? They aren’t as soft or absorbent as when you first got them? Do they now have a lingering weird mildew smell? No need to rush out and buy more. You can refresh those old towels easily at home!
I like Goldilocks towels, not Professor Quirrell ones.
I wash my hair every morning and have a set of towels I love because they are not too big and not too small. They are the “Goldilocks-perfect” size to dry my hair. I’ve had them for a long time and they are becoming the worse for wear. I have tried to find new ones in that size several times, but haven’t had any luck so far. Most were either hand towel size (too small to wrap and secure) or ginormous bath towel size. And since I didn’t want to carry an extra 5 pounds of heavy wet towel on my head, looking like Professor Quirrell hauling around He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, I decided to breathe some new life into the towels I already had.
Here’s the problem with old towels.
The problem is that over time towels lose their absorbency through build up of detergents and fabric softeners. But, just to make it even worse for those living in places like Florida, (ahem, like me) is that we have HIGH humidity most of the year. So, if you use a towel or washcloth in the morning, even if you drape it over the faucet or edge of the laundry basket for better air circulation, it will still be damp later in the day. And that, my friends, is the perfect formula for mildew. P.U.!!! And because doing laundry every day ranks right up there with flossing every day, I had a perfect storm of issues with my towels and they desperately needed help!
So not only did I refresh my towels, I did my washcloths as well.
Here are my clean and dry towels and washcloths before, straight out of my linen closet. They are sad, I know. Don’t judge me.
Step 1 to refresh old towels. Vinegar and hot water.
Yep, run the towels and washcloths through a wash cycle with the hottest water setting and a cup of vinegar. Nothing else, not even soap.
When that cycle was done and I opened the door, I expected my towels to smell like Easter eggs. But they didn’t. They just smelled…clean! Wow! Since I didn’t have a very big load, they were plastered to the drum of the washer. So, I pulled them all out and re-fluffed them and put them back in the washer for the next step.
Step 2 to refresh old towels. 1/2 c. baking soda and hot water.
Since I have an HE washer, it was easy to pour the vinegar right into the drawer where I would normally put in the detergent. But with the baking soda, I didn’t think it would all dissolve in there, so I just sprinkled it right on the towels and washcloths. Again, only baking soda and nothing else.
When that load was done, the towels and washcloths were definitely fluffier. And, they smelled great. As in, no stinky gym bag smell. Yay!
Step 3 to refresh old towels. Dry them thoroughly.
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I tossed all the towels and washcloths in the dryer on the normal setting I use and threw in a couple of dryer balls. But I didn’t put in any fabric softener. I was a little worried about that, because I was afraid they would get static-y, but they didn’t.
So, here are my refreshed towels and washcloths. You can tell they look noticeably fluffier. They smell clean and I am just thrilled at how they turned out.
Here’s the proof of how easy it was to refresh my old towels. Side by side pictures of before and after.
Wow! I think this was a big success. And, I was able to use stuff I always have on hand. So, grab those favorite towels that have seen you through college, your toddlers, and now with your teens. You know, those ones you just don’t want to part with but you hide when company comes, and give them a new lease on life with this technique. I bet you’ll see a real improvement, too.
Since you’re on a roll, here are a couple of bonus posts for the rest of your laundry.
What is your laundry pet peeve? Let me know. I’d love to tackle it in another post.
Now that my laundry is done, I’m going to go read a few chapters of Harry Potter. 😉
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