85 answers

Stinky Bath towels.......help!

Ok I need some advice on bath towel odor. Our bath towels stink after we wash them. They appear to be clean, but once they get a little wet they STINK BAD!!! We have tried everything, different detergant, fabric softeners, low heat, but nothing is working. Has anyone else exprienced this problem with the towels and what can I do?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for all the great advice, I would have never thought to use vinegar. I put all the towels in the washer and added 2c of vinegar and ran the load on normal wash (hot/cold) second rinse and extra spin. After the load was done I ran the towels again. This time I used 1/2 of organic soy laundry soap and then put vinegar in the bleach dispenser and in the fabric softener dispenser and ran the load on normal 2nd rinse and spin. After all that I finally put the towels and dried them on HIGH heat until they were super super hot and dry (before I would only dry on low). What happen you ask? Well it WORKED! My towels finally smelt clean today when we used them. Aw it was great, Thank you guys for all your advice. I almost threw the towels out because of the odor. I am also now keeping the door open on my front loader between uses!

Featured Answers

I'm saying the same thing as others: Hot water and a cup of vinegar. Vinegar also works to keep lint at bay.

1 mom found this helpful

Try either clorox 2 or regular clorox bleach. Just a little if you are using regular bleach about 1/4 cup should do it. I have had the same problem with my bath towels in the past. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

We had the same problem at out house too! I started putting oxi-clean in each load and that seems to have helped! I also put 1/2 the fabric softener in with the load too.
I try to use the same towel for about 2 days or else my laundry pile would be HUGE!
I also have a 2 year old named Hayden and he has pretty sensitive skin, and the oxi-clean doesn't seem to bother him.
Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

L.,
I work at an Adult Foster home, So I am washing stinky clothing and towles all the time. I have found out that if you put a cup of Viniger in with your wash it will take almost every smell out that there is. It also works great when you leave the wash in the machine to long and they start that mildew smell.
I hope this will help. It may take a time or to, to really get all the smell out.
Good luck
B. C
Vancouver WA

2 moms found this helpful

We had the same problem at out house too! I started putting oxi-clean in each load and that seems to have helped! I also put 1/2 the fabric softener in with the load too.
I try to use the same towel for about 2 days or else my laundry pile would be HUGE!
I also have a 2 year old named Hayden and he has pretty sensitive skin, and the oxi-clean doesn't seem to bother him.
Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

I used the method described on this site involving white vinegar to get rid of the "stink" in my kitchen towels. It worked but I did need to repeat about a month and a half later.

http://www.wikihow.com/Remove-Mildew-Smell-from-Towels

1 mom found this helpful

Use vinegar in the wash cylce. It helps get rid of the odor.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

Sometimes detergent and especially fabric softener can add to the problem. I would try washing your towels in hot water (cold rinse okay) with a basic natural/unscented detergent (I like ALL free & clear) and some borax (found in most laundry aisles). Put 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of plain white vinegar in your rinse water (no softener). The goal is to actually strip all the detergent/softener residue from your towels which can be 'sticky' on the fibers and make an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Dry thoroughly on a hot cycle. You may have to do this more than once, and it might just be too late for your towels. Towels are made from cotton which is a natural fiber that decomposes just like other natural materials, a process hastened by a possible bacteria issue.

Hope it helps! :)

~T.
www.Hoot-n-Annie.com

1 mom found this helpful

I would look at detergent buildup as the likely culprit - I had the same problem and never heard about it until I started cloth diapering our baby.
Here is what I do:
To strip your laundry use a teaspoon or so of dish soap (I use dawn) and wash on hot for as many cycles as it takes for the water to be completey suds-free (no more bubbles) - this can take a while. Once you see no more bubbles run one last cold rinse (I add a little white vinegar to this for additional deodorizing power).
Hang in the sun to dry - and you get the summer-fresh smell.
To keep buildup at bay use no more than half of the recommended detergent (I found it does not make a difference in cleaning power), pretreat stains if necessary (I never do, as I said no difference).
I also sparingly use either Borax or OxyClean every other cycle or so, whenever I feel the need for some extra "cleaning power".
I always run a second rinse on our laundry, or my daughter will get a terrible rash from detergent residue.
Always try to hang in the sun to dry (weather permitting), this will bleach out stains the wash did not get (you should see the wonders it does on my diapers!) and gives you that fresh smell. Sunlight is a great deodorizer and sanitizer (kills germs). If you don't like the coarser feeling of sun-dried clothes fluff in the dryer for a few minutes to soften.
Oh, and before I forget: no fabric softener or dryer sheets - they are bad (leaving chemicals on your clothes) and make things worse (only mask the bad smell with strong perfumes).

1 mom found this helpful

You are probably using too much laundry soap. Do you have a front load washer? if you do I know you are using too much soap. even HE detergent formulated for front load high efficiency washers at the cap level is too much. Use about two tablespoons of detergent on hot water with a 1/4 cup of bleach and they will stop having this problem. When you use too much soap it doesn't rinse out of the towels and it causes them to sour. You would think it would make them smell better but it doesn't. Also unless you are bleaching your towels once in a while you aren't killing the bacteria in the towels even when you wash and dry them. If you are using a top load washer try using about 1/4th of the detergent you normally use and bleach and that should eliminate your issue. My husband is an appliance repair man and he sees problems like this all the time. USE LESS SOAP!

1 mom found this helpful

May be is your washing machine. Recently, we had to call a repair man and he showed me all the stuff that got stucked around the drum and he sad that these can cause bad odor later. Try to do a soaking and washing cycle with bleach to see if that will help. If this is not the reason, bleach your towels and do an extra rinse with vinegar, let them soak in the vinegar for a while too. Check the place where you keep your towels for mold too. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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