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How To Get Sour Smell Out Of Towels

Feature | Bath towels of different colors in wicker basket on light background | How To Get Sour Smell Out Of Towels
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Learn how to get sour smell out of towels and make every bathing experience a luxuriously pleasant one! Keep reading to find out more.

RELATED: How To Wash Microfiber Cloth Towels and Robes (No Pills Allowed!)

In this article:

  1. Disinfect the Washing Machine
  2. Limit Each Load
  3. Wash Towels in Vinegar
  4. Wash Towels in Baking Soda
  5. Dry Towels Thoroughly
  6. Store Towels Properly
  7. Other Hacks to Avoid Smelly Towels

No More Stinky Towels! How to Get Sour Smell Out of Towels in 6 Steps

Step 1: Disinfect the Washing Machine

Before you attempt to wash your towels, make sure your washing machine is in tip-top shape. It’s possible that your towels are actually gathering the bacteria and unpleasant odors from your washing machine.

It’s best to regularly disinfect your washing machine. Here’s an easy DIY solution for disinfecting your washing machine:

  • Pour 1/4 cup of bleach in the empty washing machine.
  • Choose the hot water option.
  • Run an extra rinse cycle.

It’s important to use the extra rinse cycle to make sure there won’t be any bleach remnants leftover.

Tip: If your washing machine doesn’t have an extra rinse cycle, simply run another empty cycle after the bleach cycle. This will also flush out any excess bleach.

Step 2: Limit Each Load

Young Woman Crouching With Cleaned Clothes Near The Electronic Washer | How To Get Sour Smell Out Of Towels

For more efficient cleaning, it’s best to limit each load when you’re washing your towels. Make sure you separate your towels from all of your other garments.

Then, you can wash up to three regular-sized towels at a time. That way, you’re sure that the water can thoroughly penetrate the entire towel.

Tip: Try to apply this step even when you’re using your regular washing method! That way, you’re sure that you maximize the cleaning power of each laundry cycle.

Step 3: Wash Towels in Vinegar

If you notice that your towels begin to smell after a single-use, then it’s probably due to a bacteria build-up. Your regular washing methods won’t be enough to break it up.

Instead, try vinegar! The acidity of vinegar gets rid of any chemical or mineral build-up that could be contributing to the sour smell

And an added bonus: it also acts as a natural fabric softener! All you’ll need for each load is 1 cup of white vinegar.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Put up to three towels into your washing machine.
  • Pour in the cup of white vinegar directly into the machine.
  • Use the hot water, long wash cycle setting.

It’s best to use the hot water setting so it can kill all of that odor-causing bacteria. After the vinegar wash cycle, leave your towels in the machine for the next step.

Tip: Avoid using colored vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar. This may stain your towels.

RELATED: 9 Tips Before Washing A Terry Cloth Robe

Step 4: Wash Towels in Baking Soda

After the first cycle with vinegar, it’s time for the baking soda cycle. Baking soda is an alkaline agent.

It helps get rid of odors, dirt, and even grease. It also helps brighten your towel’s natural color!

Here’s what you need to do for this cycle:

  • Evenly distribute 1/2 cup of baking soda into the washing machine.
  • Use the hot water, long wash cycle setting.

Tip: Baking soda is an odorless cleaning agent. If you prefer using scented laundry detergents, you can add 3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil to the baking soda before you pour it into the machine.

Step 5: Dry Towels Thoroughly

Laundry wash cleaning clothing | How To Get Sour Smell Out Of Towels

After your second cycle, dry your towels immediately. There are two ways you can dry your towels:

  • Dryer – Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions that are usually found on the tag.
  • Air dry – Shake out any excess water and hang your towels evenly on a clothesline or rack. Leave them out until they’re completely dry.

Whichever method you prefer, do not leave your wet towels in your machine or a laundry basket for an extended period of time. Keep in mind that damp or wet towels are prime breeding ground for bacteria.

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So, when you don’t dry your towels right away, you’re providing the perfect environment for that bacteria to multiply! And as gross as it sounds, that foul odor is actually a byproduct of bacterial growth on your towel.

Tip: If your towels dry completely and you aren’t satisfied with their odor, you can repeat steps 3, 4, and 5. Just keep in mind that these heavy duty washing techniques shouldn’t replace your regular washing methods.

Step 6: Store Towels Properly

Only store towels when they are completely dry. While most people conveniently store their towels inside the bathroom, it’s best to store them inside a covered container or in a cabinet outside the bathroom.

Clean and dry towels can be contaminated with bacteria and viruses every time someone flushes the toilet in a bathroom or uses cleaning or personal care products. The bacteria and virus can live on towels from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Tip: If you can’t store your towels outside of your bathroom, find strategic storage spots instead, preferably away from the toilet or other germ-prone areas.

Other Hacks to Avoid Smelly Towels

Bathroom and interior design | How To Get Sour Smell Out Of Towels

Apart from these heavy-duty washing techniques, there are some things you can do to help avoid the bacteria build-up that usually leads to that annoying foul odor. Here are some things you can try to help keep your towel fresh and odor-free:

  • Bathe thoroughly – Take extra care in washing the sweatier, bacteria prone spots of your body (ex: armpits, feet, inner thighs, etc.). When you don’t scrub and wash thoroughly, it’s likely that the bacteria will remain on your skin and all of that bacteria gets transferred onto your damp towel.
  • Hang towels after use – After each use, make sure your towel is flat and hanging evenly on the rack. Avoid overcrowding your towel rack and try not to hang anything on top of it either.
  • Wash towels frequently – After 3-4 days, wash your towels. This prevents bacteria from building up and becoming resistant to regular washing methods.
  • Use the appropriate amount of detergent – Don’t overdo it on the detergent. Too much of it can lead to residue build-up which can trap unpleasant odors and prevent water penetration.

If you follow these tips, you won’t need to use the heavy-duty washing techniques as often.

Now that you know how to get the sour smell out of towels, it’ll be easy to maintain and enjoy your bath towels. Keep in mind that it’s easier to maintain high-quality towels in the long run, so you may want to consider trading in your older, worn out towels for new ones.

Check out RobeMart’s selection of Turkish towels. It comes in the form of bath towels, hand towels, washcloths, bath sheet towels, and bath mats.

With just a few clicks, you’ll be on your way to a more luxurious bathing experience!

Have you tried any of our towel cleaning tips? How did it go? Let us know in the comments section.

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