That feel of a clean and soft towel against your skin is one of life’s simple pleasures. For those who have had the same towels for a long time, they’ll know that eventually towels can become more coarse and harsher on your skin.
But is there a way to keep that fresh feeling for longer and how should you wash them in your front loader? We’ll give you all of the answers here so you’ll know exactly what to do with your new towels.
When Should You Wash New Towels?
Before we get onto the how, it’s important to talk about the when. The answer is that you should wash your new towels immediately and that’s because of two main reasons.
Firstly, many new towels have a chemical coating on them which helps to keep them ‘fresh’ and feeling soft.
The problem with this coating is that it seriously restricts the absorbency of the towel. You, therefore, need to wash it straight away for it to become an effective towel.
The second reason is that you have no idea how long the towel has been in storage and what condition it has been kept in.
Washing it will remove any particles inside the towel which may cause irritation or trigger allergies.
There are other reasons too as washing them first will help to remove any excess lint, lock in the colour and fluff out the fibres that may have become compressed in storage.
Now let’s move on to how to wash towels for the first time.
Steps to Washing Freshly Bought Towels
1. Read the instructions
It’s tempting to take shortcuts but it’s always important to read the label before you first use towels, as you may otherwise miss crucial information.
The right temperature to wash towels can largely depend on their material so refer to the label for guidance.
Once you’re ready to place your towels in the front loader, don’t be tempted to put any other clothes in with the wash. Just put the towel in on its own, or with any other new towels of the same colour.
2. Add vinegar to a regular cycle
If your front loader has a specific cycle for the material, then choose that but with any cycle, ensure that the temperature doesn’t exceed the maximum stated on the label. You then need to add distilled white vinegar.
If you don’t have distilled white vinegar, don’t be tempted to use any other type of vinegar or use any other substitute.
For household cleaning tasks, white vinegar is extremely useful so it’s a great idea to always have some in your home—find out where to buy it here.
The next step is to add approximately 250ml of vinegar to the front loader. You can either place this in the detergent compartment or throw it straight into the drum.
The reason we use vinegar is three-fold. It’s great at removing any bacteria that has formed on the towel and will also help to remove that chemical coating we mentioned earlier. Finally, it will lock in the colour and stop it from fading.
3. Run another cycle with bicarbonate of soda
Now, you may already be thinking “why can’t I just use vinegar and bicarb in the same wash?” The reason is that they react together creating bubbles that may overwhelm your washing machine. Also, they cancel each other out which makes the vinegar less effective.
It’s this cancelling out which is the reason so add the bicarbonate of soda. It will neutralise the smell of the vinegar and leave your towels nice and fresh. You can even add some essential oil into the mix if you want a nice fragrance.
Steps to Wash New Towels After the First Wash
So, you’ve got that first wash out of the way and now you have new towels that you want to keep soft and fluffy for as long as possible.
Here are the steps you should take:
1. Add half the amount of detergent
By definition, towels should never get very dirty as they are mainly used for wiping clean water from our bodies.
Therefore, you never want to overload them with too many chemicals. You only need to use half the amount of detergent you’d need for a regular wash.
2. Don’t add any fabric softener
It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But to preserve towels, you should avoid using fabric softener. The reason is that the oils inside the fabric softener will coat the towels and they will lose absorbency.
If you want to increase the fluffiness in your towels, then adding some white vinegar will help to remove any stubborn soap residue.
How to Dry Your New Towels
One of the most overlooked parts of maintaining fabrics is how you dry them. Almost always, the best way is air-drying them outside on a beautiful sunny day with a gentle breeze and low humidity.
That’s great for the few days a year you get weather like that but what are the alternatives?
There are two good options, which are putting them in a tumble dryer on a low heat setting or placing them on a drying rack that is close to a heat source but not directly touching it. You’ll also want the room to have some ventilation.
Without ventilation, or in areas with high humidity, towels will take a long time to dry which would be the perfect environment for bacterial growth.
You should also avoid high temperatures, which include the tumble dryer on a high heat and placing them directly on a radiator. Both methods will quickly dry the towel but damage the fibres in the process.
With new towels, it’s best to take your time and run them in a white vinegar wash followed by a bicarbonate of soda wash.
Once you’ve done that, for subsequent washes in your front loader, add half your usual detergent and don’t use any fabric softener. Always make sure after the wash to dry your towels in the right way.
If you follow these steps, then your new towels will keep their colour, absorbency and softness for a long time and you can enjoy that fresh towel feeling time and time again.
I’m a mother of three who loves going on fun adventures with my family. With three little ones, I’ve learned the hard way how to keep a busy home clean! I want to share my tips and tricks to make your life as easy as possible.