A day at the pool or beach is not complete without a beach towel. This summer essential, functions as a towel and a blanket and lets you show off a bit of personality. However, all that sand, salt, sunscreen, and chlorine takes its toll. Taking the time to clean and care for your beach towels properly will go a long way in preserving their life. Follow these tips and tricks to ensure they last for many summers.
It may seem logical to use your bath towels as beach towels, but you really shouldn’t. Bath towels are made from bulky and fibrous materials. While this is great for absorbing water after a shower or bath, it’s not so great for swimming. Beach towels are much thinner than bath towels, so they’ll dry more quickly. Beach towels are also larger than bath towels. The extra length and width come in handy when you want to lie comfortably at the pool or beach. The blanket size also provides plenty of coverage for drying off and changing clothes. Beach towels also put the fun in functionality. They come in a range of vibrant colors and eye-catching patterns. You can even get personalized beach towels to show off your unique style.
Just like other towels, beach towels are incredibly porous. When damp, this makes them an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. Since beach sand is full of dirt and toxins, it’s best to wash your beach towels after every use. This will help prevent dirt and germ buildup. On vacation, when you’re heading in and out of the water, it may not be possible to wash them every time. In that case, hang them up somewhere with plenty of ventilation to help moisture escape. You can also pop them in a dryer to eliminate moisture and bacteria. If you’ve treated yourself to new beach towels, wash them before first use to rid any lint, dust, or chemical finishes on the fabric. If you have brightly patterned beach towels, also set the colors so they don’t run or fade.
After using your towels at the beach or pool, hang them up to dry in the sun. The warm rays will act as a natural disinfectant to rid any harmful germs. If you’re at the pool, give your beach towels a quick rinse before hanging them up. Too much chlorine can cause the fibers to wither and the colors to fade. Once your towels are dry, give them a good shake to remove sand and debris. This will ensure you don’t accidentally bring buckets of sand home in your beach bag tote. It will also protect your washing machine from damage. Too much sand or grit can clog the washer’s filters, leading to broken pumps and leaks.
Before washing your beach towels, check for stains. Food, mud, and dirt can leave unsightly marks. Sunscreen is especially damaging. For example, formulas that contain the chemical avobenzone may leave rust-like marks when mixed with hard water. If you notice these stains, apply some beach sand to the area to soak up the oils. At home, you can use a stain remover and detergent mixture. Ensure the cleaners aren’t harmful or damaging before applying. For a natural, gentle, and inexpensive alternative, try using distilled white vinegar or lemon juice. Let it soak for a few minutes, then wash it off with warm water.
Beach towels can be made from a variety of materials, from natural cotton to synthetic microfibers—so check the label for special care instructions. A good rule of thumb is to wash your beach towels in cold water. This will prevent leftover sand from embedding in the fibers. Cold water also helps reduce shrinkage and keeps colors brighter for longer. Sort the towels in your laundry hamper by dark and light colors and wash them separately. This will protect them from color bleeding. Go light on the detergent and skip the fabric softener to preserve your beach towels’ softness and absorbency. Be careful not to overload the drum so they can move freely to get clean.
Once your beach towels are clean, recheck the care label for special drying instructions. If you’re using the dryer, look for stains that didn’t come out in the wash. The dryer’s heat will only set them in. Once your towels are clean and stain-free, load them in the dryer and set it on low. Some dryers have a moisture-sensing cycle that will stop when the towels are ready to avoid overdrying. You can also air-dry your beach towels. Simply hang them outside in the sun or in a well-ventilated room to dry.
Beach towels are durable enough to withstand sweat, sunscreen, and sand when washed and dried properly. By taking the time to care for your beach towels, you can extend their life for many years.