If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel and been impressed by the cleanliness of their towels, you might be wondering what they do to keep them so white. Perhaps you might even want to replicate their methods at home.
So, how do hotels keep towels white, and is it something you can do at home? Let’s take a look.
How Do Hotels Keep Towels White?
Hotels keep towels white through a combination of cleaning products and cleaning methods.
Typically, they’ll use a heavy-duty detergent and some kind of bleach combined with frequent boil washes in heavy-duty washing machines.
All this means they’re able to remove stains far more easily than we can at home.
The main thing to remember is that hotels prioritise appearance over longevity. As such, they can treat their white towels more harshly than we do at home because they expect to replace them far sooner.
Hotels will typically have a high turnover rate for towels and bed linens to keep them looking as fresh as possible.
Let’s discuss a few of the elements in more detail to understand how they help.
1. Bleach for white towels
Depending on the hotel and its washing machines, cleaners can use either chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach on their white towels.
There’s no danger of this leaving behind any residue, as both products are easy to wash away.
Pre-treating white towels or washing them with bleach is one of the easiest ways to keep them white.
2. Heavy-duty detergent
Similarly, hotels will use industrial strength detergent that has powerful stain-removing properties.
A lot of cleaning products can be quite harsh on towel fibres, but this doesn’t matter as much if you plan to replace the towels regularly.
3. Heavy-duty washing machines
The same is true for the washing machine you use. While towels are fairly resilient to the agitating movement of washing machines, industrial-scale washers can spin faster and wash harder than our domestic versions.
How Do You Get Towels White Like the Hotels Do?
So, how do you get your towels white like the hotels do? Is it fine to wash your white towels with bleach at home?
It depends on the quality of your towels and how often you bleach them, but some cleaning options include:
1. Pre-soak your towels
Pre-soaking your white towels can help remove stains, making the washing process more straightforward.
You can use either oxygen bleach or white vinegar for this depending on how bad the stains are.
Avoid chlorine bleach because, while it can remove pretty much anything, it’s too harsh on the fibres.
If you’re using oxygen bleach, mix a solution according to the package’s instructions.
For white vinegar, mix 100 ml or so in a washing up basin with 5 litres of warm water. Soak your towels for a few hours and then wash them as normal.
2. Spot-treat stains
Another option is to spot-treat any noticeable stains with some laundry detergent.
Wet the area with cool water and add a small amount of laundry detergent.
Work it into a lather, let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then wash as normal.
3. Wash similar colours together
This is beginner-level stuff when it comes to washing, but keep your whites separate from colours.
Even if your towels are colour-safe, there’s still a risk of them transferring colour to white towels.
Plus, washing whites separately means you can use oxygen bleach without any danger of affecting the coloured towels.
4. Wash at the right temperature
White towels should be washed at 60 degrees Celsius. This can help shift stains more easily, and there’s no risk of the colour fading.
You could even wash them at 90 degrees, but this risks breaking down the fibres quicker.
5. Less is more with laundry detergent
When adding your laundry detergent, the most you’ll ever need is about two tablespoons.
Adding more can cause it to not rinse properly, leaving a greasy residue on your towels. This can discolour white towels along with not feeling great.
6. Don’t overload your machine
This is another fairly basic washing tip, but it’s important with towels. Avoid putting too many in the washing machine at once, as overloading the washing machine can prevent towels from getting properly cleaned.
The weight of an average bath towel is 500-700g, although larger bath towels can weigh more.
Work on the basis that you should probably add one towel per kilo of weight allowance for your washing machine. For example, if you have an 8kg drum, wash a maximum of 8 towels.
Using the tips above, you should be able to keep your towels fresh and white like hotels do.
Oxygen bleach is probably the most effective product to use, provided you rinse it out properly.
Other than that, regular washing with other whites will help maintain your towels to a hotel standard.
Jacob is a freelance writer based in Wales, where he lives with his partner and two dogs. All his work is fuelled by extensive research and buckets of coffee.