Musty Dark Towels

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated December 20, 2021)

Towels can often be a difficult piece of laundry to get clean. For some reason, towels more than any other type of laundry, become musty over time. Normally this problem can be solved by simply bleaching the towels. However, when dealing with musty dark towels bleach simply is not an option. Here are a few methods that you can use to help deal with musty dark or colored towels the next time you are faced with them.

  • Ammonia. Use two cups of household ammonia (not bleach) in the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener. You may need to do try this method a couple of times. The reason for this is that over time some fabric softeners can make fabric almost water resistant. This means that it may be almost impossible to wash the fabric completely clean. The ammonia is a natural water softening agent, and will remove the fabric softener buildup.
  • Baking soda. When washing musty towel, try adding a little bit of baking soda to your wash cycle. Typically only a few tablespoons of baking soda should work, say about three. Simply add this to the start of your wash cycle as you would any detergent. However, keep in mind that you should also cut back a little bit on the detergent as well when using this method.
  • Vinegar. Get rid of musty dark towels by adding a little white vinegar to the rinse cycle. This should remove any residual soap which could be causing the musty odor. Remember that towels don't usually get grungy like jeans, so this means that they don't need as much soap when laundering them.
  • Sun dry. Only have your towels run in the dryer for about 10 minutes before you pull them out. Having them in the dryer for no more than 10 minutes will allow the towels to "fluff" them up so that they are nice and soft. After that, hang them up on an outside line to allow them to sun dry. The sunlight will help kill any mold or mildew that is on the towels.
  • Febreeze. Using fabric fresheners, such as Febreeze, can dramatically help eliminate the musty odor of older towels. While the sprays may not eliminate the source of the problem, there are now some detergents that have cleaners such as Febreeze included as an ingredient. Try switching to these, and see if the problem goes away.
  • Clean the washer. Sometimes the best way to prevent musty towels is to actually clean the washing machine, particularly with front loading washing machines. If you happen to have one, then you should clean around the gasket seal of the front loading door with a bleach solution. Do this about once a month to prevent any detergent buildup. While you are cleaning this gasket, take the time to also remove the detergent tray and clean that as well. There is often a buildup of mildew in there if not periodically cleaned. Another way to clean the washer is to run it through a complete washing cycle empty except for some bleach.
  • Check your water supply. Sometimes towels can get a little musty due to an impurity in the water. If, after you have tried these other methods, the problems still persists take a sample of your water to your local county extension office, and have it tested. The results will tell you if there is any problems, and help you determine what to do about them.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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