I’ve got different sets of towels for different bathrooms. The sherbert colored towels were used by the kids and unfortunately, they sometimes got wet with swimming or used as clean up and not dried or cleaned properly. No matter how many times I’ve tried washing them, there is still a slight undercurrent smell to the towel that is unpleasant.
Note! Before proceeding make sure you have a clean washing machine!
The first method I used to remove the towel mildew smell required that I run the towels through the washer twice. The first time with Vinegar. The second time with Baking Soda. No detergent. With the hottest water.
DO NOT MIX THE BAKING SODA AND VINEGAR IN THE SAME LOAD!!! They will react and you will have a foaming mess on your hands.
After they went through a normal dry cycle set at the highest heat (see below), the towels had a neutral smell and the texture of the cloth was rather rough, not soft like you get when you use a softener in your washer. The hard case, a washcloth, still had the smell.
Lessons Learned: Running double loads is going to take time out of your day so be prepared. With two loads of wash for the same towels and a drying cycle this took me 3 hours. The first method might work for towels with a slight smell but will be ineffective against anything with a real, deep in the fibers, stench. This method IMO is over-rated hype as I didn’t find the towels fluffy, smelling good, or feeling soft.
Another method I had pinned has several options –using Vinegar (like I did above) OR Ammonia. It too uses the hottest water setting. It also recommends you set the dryer on the hottest setting (which I did for the above method). I’ll use that method this week and report back on this post as to the results.
BTW Ammonia is STRONG SMELLING and if it splashes into your eyes very dangerous. Be careful when using.
Future Application: I’ll try the Ammonia method but overall I found this method took too much time and really didn’t clear out the deep smell in the towels. I think these towels will just be moved to the garage for cleanups and than trashed.