6 Quick and Easy Fixes for Common Towel Problems

Towels that need fixing

Every day you probably end up using a number of different towels, which makes them an essential part of your daily routine. This means it’s important to care for these trusty partners as much as they help take care of you!  

It’s not always easy to figure out the best ways to keep your towels soft, fluffy, and smelling fresh, so here at Fiberologies, we’ve put together a list of some common towel problems and our favorite tips and tricks for solving them. From dealing with that wet towel smell to fixing scratchiness, snagging, and lost fluff, we’ll hopefully get you back on good terms with your towels in no time!

Problem 1: My towels don’t dry completely

Why do my towels smell?” is a common question we get asked. The majority of towel smells are linked to towels staying wet after use. The two keys to towel drying—and banishing wet towel smells—are first to choose the right towel for the job from the start, and second to let your towels breathe

Choosing the right towel comes down to knowing about towel design. A towel’s weave influences how much air flows through it when it's left to dry, meaning designs that allow for more airflow, like waffle or gauze weave, tend to dry faster than dense terry cloth. 

The material a towel is made from is also important. Certain types of cotton, while being super absorbent and fluffy, take a long time to release moisture. If you want a towel to dry faster, avoid towels that use upland cotton or Egyptian cotton. 

Want to learn more about different types of cotton? Check out our Fiberologies 101 post on what towels are made of for a crash course!

The second thing that slows down drying is how you hang your towel

Towels won't dry out if you don’t hang them properly, or if they’re hung in a place with limited ventilation. Towels need air flow to help carry moisture away from the surface, so it’s always good to hang your towels neatly on a towel bar right after use. The more space you give them the better, so avoid doubling up or hanging towels too close together. Towel hooks are fine in a pinch, but try and arrange the towel so that it’s not too bunched up.

There’s one final issue with new towels that can be hard to spot. Sometimes manufacturers use a surface treatment to make towels feel fresh and fluffy in the store. This treatment can actually prevent them from absorbing liquid: instead, the moisture stays on the surface and your towel stays damp. A few wash cycles will rinse out this surface treatment and get your towels working properly again.

Problem 2: My towels smell musty

When you’ve just rolled out of bed and washed your face to help wake up, nothing reverses that cold water feeling faster than smooshing a smelly towel up against your face. Unfortunately, even if you’ve just washed your towel it can still harbor bacteria that create that sour or musty smell. 

Luckily, there’s a simple solution to stop towels smelling musty. 

Take your smelly towels and run them through a spin cycle in your washing machine with 1-2 cups of white vinegar, then wash again with your regular detergent. When you’re done, put your towels in the dryer or hang them outside on a line, spreading them out as much as possible. This drying step is super important, as dampness in your towels provides ideal conditions for the spread of the odor-causing bacteria that you’re trying to beat and leads to the wet towel smell we covered in problem 1.

Problem 3: My towels are shedding

You just bought pristine beautiful new towels, but oh no! They’re constantly linting and shedding little fibers all over the place! Don’t worry: this is a common problem with new towels. 

Brand new towels are made with new fibers, and as these fibers are exposed to wear for the first time they can break down. After the first few washes, the delicate fibers will break down and settle, meaning your towels will stop shedding so much. Higher quality towels made with long-staple fibers will also tend to shed less, as these fibers are stronger.

Problem 4: My towels are getting rougher

Most of the time when you wash cotton towels they keep getting softer, but if you’re making a common washing mistake then you may actually be making your towels rougher!

If you find the softness is disappearing from your towels, it probably means you’re using too much detergent. Excess detergent won't make your towels any cleaner, and instead can make them feel rough and scratchy. Remember that even if you have really dirty towels, your washing machine is specially designed to get out even the toughest stains with just the minimum amount of detergent.

Here's a quick and natural fix for crusty towels:

Basically, you’ll need to rinse out the detergent residue. The best way to do this is with a combination of vinegar and baking soda. You’ll need to run your towels through two wash cycles with the temperature set to hot. 

For the first wash, replace the detergent with 1 cup of white vinegar and run the machine. Immediately follow this up by washing your towels again, this time with 1 cup of baking soda in the detergent compartment. The combination of vinegar and baking soda should remove all of the residue from previous washes and get your towels feeling soft and plush again.

Problem 5: My towels have lost their fluff

Nothing beats stepping out of a shower and wrapping yourself up in a lush fluffy towel, but over time thick, spa-style towels can often lose their fluffy texture. This is usually due to too much scrunching. The key to keeping your towels thick and soft is giving them a big shake before putting them in the dryer, and another after taking them out. 

Using dryer balls during drying is another way to maintain maximum fluff. Finally, make sure you neatly fold your towels after drying, and store them in a place where they aren’t squished.

Problem 6: My towels are snagging and have tears

Most towel problems begin with how you clean and dry them, and tears and snags are no different. 

First of all, make sure to never overload your washer. During the spin cycle, an overfilled washer can rub too many fabrics together, which may end up damaging your towels. 

You should also avoid washing towels with clothes that have zippers, buttons, or other hard accessories. These can get caught in delicate towel loops during the washing process, causing the loops to unravel. Finally, give your towels a quick once over as you fold them after drying, to check for snags or open seams. If you spot any, make sure to clip them as close to the base as possible to avoid further damage. 

And that’s it!

As we said at the start, we like to think of towels as trusty partners that deserve good care. From beating wet towel smells to stopping snagging, if you follow our simple tips, your towels should stay fresh and fluffy for years to come.

Do you have any towel issues we didn’t cover? Let us know and we can try and answer them for you!

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1 comment

  • Thank you for the pretty clear and easy to follow recommendations

    Andrea Borghese

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