Towels are one of the most used linens in our homes and are also one of the most prone to stains and soiling. Whether the stains come from dirt, liquids, food, makeup, or anything else, there are loads of great household secrets to help wiggle them out of your towels. We have some tips on how best to prevent staining your towels, how to wash them, how to best keep your various kinds of towels, and how to remove those pesky stains.
Perhaps you recently invested in some gorgeous white bath towels for the bathrooms in your home and you want to keep them looking fresh and like new. White towels tend to turn gray over time, and if heaven forbid you accidentally wash them with your red socks, they can turn pink, too! So how do you keep your towels looking at white and sparkling as they do at your favorite luxury hotel? Using detergent with bleach will help to keep white towels bright. This will also help to remove more basic stains such as from makeup or dirt. Use a mixture of bleach and water with detergent to soak the towels first. Then, rinse them out and put them through a regular wash.
For a more hardcore but less frequent approach, boil your whites! Put three tablespoons of laundry soap and three tablespoons of baking soda into a big pot and fill with cold water. Next, gently boil the pretreated towels in the pot for half an hour. Allow them to cool and then put in the washing machine to rinse and spin as usual. This technique will also help keep towels from going gray.
Nothing says summer like your bright and colorful beach towels sprawled across chairs on the lawn, beach, or poolside. Though we usually only use beach towels for a small part of the year, these linens tend to get the most wear and tear. That’s because beach towels can take a lot of abuse from sand, salt, chlorine, sunscreen, spilled drinks, messy picnics, grass stains, barbeque sauce, tanning products — the list goes on.
Knowing how to best wash and remove stains from your beloved beach towels will help retain their vibrant colors and keep them lasting for many more summers to come. It is best to use an oxygen-based bleach that is safe for colors so that the colors don’t fade over time. Shake out excess sand, dirt, grass, and potato chips from your beach towels before throwing in the washing machine. Use a heavy-duty color-safe detergent and skip any fabric softener, which will interfere with the absorbency of the towels. For most stains, you can use a generic stain remover to pretreat them. Avoid putting the towels in the dryer or washing with warm water, as heat will set the stain.
It is important to avoid washing towels without first treating the stains. This accident can easily be avoided by properly separating your laundry. For example, perhaps have a laundry hamper in your home that is only for soiled or stained pieces that need to be treated before washing. Remember, washing before treating will increase the risk of the stain setting!
Skip the expensive and generic chemical stain removers and instead opt for the powerful stain removing properties of nature. Distilled white vinegar is a cheap and natural way to effectively remove stains or smells from your towels. A miracle worker in the laundry room and gentle on your fabrics, simply add one cup to your wash to remove yellowing, staining, mildew, and odors. This will leave your towels feeling soft and smelling fresh. For tougher stains, presoak towels in a mixture of cold water and white vinegar up to several hours. You will feel better knowing you and your family are not adding more chemicals into your lives than necessary.
Hydrogen peroxide is another household favorite. The 3% drug store hydrogen peroxide is cheap and easy to use to keep your white towels white and to remove stains. The oxygen in the hydrogen peroxide is also bleaching and is safer than chemical bleaches. This is great for removing yellowing stains, makeup, nail polish, and most other pesky stains. This is also a great choice for other white linens such as bed sheets.
Simple kitchen baking soda is another great stain remover. Mix with a little water, then use an old toothbrush to scrub out any stains. You can also use detergent but remember your middle school science projects: Do not mix baking soda with vinegar unless you’d like a volcanic towel explosion.
Last, but certainly not least, a great way to remove oil stains from your towels is with simple dish soap. Many of the body products you use contain a lot of oils, so whether you are removing stains from bath towels, bathrobes, or bathroom rugs, this is a great way to correct any accidental spillage or staining. Put the dish soap directly on the stain, allow it to sit in the soap for a bit to break down the oil, then scrub it and wash it out. For more intense stains, let the towels soak in a bucket of water with a mixture of dish soap and a splash of hydrogen peroxide. Wash as usual afterward.
Keeping your towels in tip-top condition may seem like an overwhelming task, but by following these tips above, you're certain to keep them looking great. Regardless of what kind of pesky stain you get on your towels, there is almost always a way to remove it. Your beautiful towels will be looking and feeling fresh for years to come.