What You Should Know About Your Towels
Ben Goldstein/Studio D
If your towels could talk, here's what they'd say:
I felt softer in the store-sorry
Brand-new towels often have a coating left on their fibers from the manufacturing process. That extra-silky feeling fades after a few washes-don't blame your washing machine or detergent.
I'm comfier in the hall closet
A bathroom gets steamy. Towels kept there have a tough time staying completely dry, which can give them a musty odor, so it's best to store them elsewhere.
Fluff me up with vinegar
If your towels feel scratchy, put half a cup of white vinegar in your washer's fabric softener dispenser. It will remove any extra detergent that latched onto the towel and open up the fibers, making them feel softer. You can also mix the vinegar with a few drops of colorless essential oil to make towels smell nice.
I thin with age
Towels lose cotton with every wash-you can see it in the amount of lint you clear from the dryer. After two or three years, they'll lose their plush feel, so it may be time to replace them.
Hold the fabric softener, please
Using fabric softener or dryer sheets with towels is like putting too much conditioner in your hair. The extra coating keeps the towels from absorbing water, so it takes you longer to dry off. Stick to detergent only.
Watch how you wipe your toothpaste
Whitening toothpastes, facial cleansers, and other beauty products can contain ingredients that may leave light spots on towels, just like bleach. Rinse your face thoroughly before reaching for a towel.
Meet the experts: Linda Cobb, author of talking dirty with the Queen of Clean; Ingrid Johnson, professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and coauthor of J.J. Pizzuto's Fabric Science; Mary Zeitler, consumer scientist at the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science