The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid Of Smelly Towels

Do you know that there is nothing more frustrating and embarrassing than getting out of the bath feeling fresh only to dry off with a smelly towel that sticks with you for hours?coming here means you already know and you are looking for a solution, so welcome! 

Your bath towels don’t just smell, they smell for some reasons and to fix the stinky towel problem you need to know why they smell. 

To get rid of stinky towels, there are some easy steps and tips to follow. This includes using high-quality bath towels, washing your towel the right way, and more. Read on for more detailed information on how to make your bath towel smell good.


high quality hand towels

Why Does My Towel Stink?

Before we tell you why your bath towels smell, do you know what smells in your towel? When bath and hand towels stink, the odor you perceive are bacteria, mold, and mildew.

We have mentioned it many times in our previous post that towels are a perfect breeding place for bacteria. Do you remember? The bacteria are what cause the odor.

Bacteria are what make your towel to smell, and they can result from the moist towel, detergents build-up, the residue of softeners, dirty laundry machine, and more. 

Unfortunately, you can’t see the bacteria; you can only perceive the odor. They are buried deep within the fibers of your absorbent towels. The more they live there, the more they grow and multiply, and the more your luxury soft towel stinks. But relax, they are not impossible to remove if you follow the tips we will provide for you later in this article.

The common reasons why your towel stinks are:

1. Leaving your towel in the washing machine for too long - most of us are guilty of this. We throw our bath towel inside the washer, set it to wash for one or two cycles and leave it there for hours or even till the next day before we remove it. This is the most common culprit for smelly towels. Leaving your towel to sour in the washer for many hours will cause the odor-causing bacteria to grow on it. Remember, your washing machine is often a warm, humid environment, and such an environment supports the rapid growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew.

2. Leaving your towels damp after bath – this is another common mistake that most people make. After having a shower and drying your body with a luxury soft towel, you just throw it on the bathroom door or somewhere where it can’t dry. Some people will throw it on the bathroom floor. Doing all these and not hanging the towel to dry will take a toll on your luxury cotton bath towel. It will make the towel breed bacteria which cause your hand and bath towels to give unpleasant odors.

3. The residue of fabric softeners – Even though there are some towels like Mizu Towels that are durable and may not damage from the effect of fabric softeners, we don’t encourage people to use fabric softeners. However, if you use it, this can be the reason why your towel smells. Do you know there are oils within the softeners? The oils are what makes the fibers of your towel feel soft, but they have a disadvantage other than lessening the absorbency of your bath towels. The oily coating traps detergent residue, dirt, mildew, mold, and bacteria, which result in stinky towels.

4. Detergent build-up - We need detergent to wash and clean out bath towels. But do you know there is a downside to its use if care is not taken? Using too much detergent to wash your luxury cotton bath towel will make it difficult and almost impossible for you to rinse the detergent out completely. As the detergent residue builds up on your towel, it will start to attract dirt and bacteria. Of course, you can tell where this ends. Smelly towel!

5. Dirty laundry machine – You might use the right proportion of detergent, remove your towel from the washer immediately after wash, stay away from fabric softeners, dry the towel immediately, and still get a smelly towel. How is this possible? When your washing machine is dirty, it means it will breed bacteria, mildew, mold, dirt, and also smell. These can be transferred to your luxury soft towels each time you put them in the washer.

How Do I Get Rid Of My Towel Smell?

You can get rid of your towel smell by giving your towel a deep wash and cleaning, making sure your washing machine is not dirty, and drying the towel out to get rid of the moisture quickly.

There are some other efficient ways like using an ultrasonic cleaner instead of a laundry machine, changing your laundry product, and finally buying a self-cleaning Mizu towel.

1. Give your towel a deep cleaning

Giving your luxury cotton bath towels a deep cleaning basically depends on two factors. These are the washing machine and the washing process. A clean washing machine can help achieve deep cleaning. I believe you already know how to clean your washer. Apart from this, the washing machine you use can hugely contribute to how clean your towel will be.

I often encourage people to go for an ultrasonic washing machine like Sonic Soak. It is very reliable and gives a more effective cleaning than a laundry machine. With the ultrasonic cleaner, you will be able to get rid of 99.9% of bacteria and contaminants that can make your towel smell.

How do you give your stinky towels a deep cleaning?

  • Use hot water and detergent or one cup of vinegar to wash your towel in a single cycle – even though hot water is not encouraged when washing fabrics, hot water is the key when you are dealing with stink. It let your detergent work better and also kills some of the mildew and bacteria on your hand and bath towels. Also, if you don’t care much about green cleaning, you can use detergent. But vinegar or other green detergent is best advised.
  • Once the first cycle is complete add a half cup of baking soda to the towel and hot water – when you add the baking soda let your towel soak for about 15 minutes and then start the second wash cycle. In this step, you can make use of oxygen bleach instead of baking soda. However, if you want a green wash, baking soda is the best option.
  • Remove the bath towel from the machine immediately the cycle is complete and rinse it – leaving the towel in the washer for long after the wash cycle is complete means you are giving the bacteria time to start breeding again. Remove the towel and rinse it by adding a half cup of white vinegar in water.
  • Dry your towel very well – there are two methods to dry your towel. You either line dry in the sun or the dryer by putting it in the hottest setting. Both methods kill mildew and bacteria. Regardless of the method, ensure you dry your towel thoroughly. However, if you are living in a humid climate and using the dryer method, you are encouraged to remove your bath and hand towel from the dryer immediately, the cycle is complete. If you don’t do this, damp air can enter the dryer through its exhaust vent and make your towel musty.

2. Replace your bath towel with quick dry towels

Even though replacing your bath and hand towels might not be compulsory since you can give them a deep cleaning and get rid of the annoying odor, you may sometimes need to replace them. If you think replacing your towel with a new one is the best solution for you, we encourage you to go for quick dry towels like Mizu Towels.

Apart from the fact that they are one of the best quality bathroom towels and hand quality hand towels that dries three times faster than an average towel, they also prevent bacteria growth and kill more than 99% of bacteria. On top of that, they alert you when they detect impurities, and let you know when your towel needs wash. No wonder they are called the best smart bath towel on the market.

What Should You Do If Your Towel Still Smells After Washing It?

    quick dry cotton towels

    Is your towel still smelly? There is a solution. You will need to repeat the deep cleaning steps, but this time, you will add an ingredient that will make your bath towel smell good. You will need to choose an essential oil. It can be lavender, lemon, coriander, or tea tree essential oil. You can use a combination of two. Regardless of your choice, how you apply it to the cleaning process is what matters. In the step where you will add a half cup of baking soda, add three to five drops of essential oil to the baking soda and shake well before pouring it in the machine. Your towel will come out smelling good when the deep cleaning process is complete.

    Final Advice

    You don’t have to wait for that smelly towel to embarrass you or take a toll on your health before you start looking for a solution. Follow the tips mentioned above, and you will always come out of the shower having the assurance of drying your body and wrapping yourself in a safe and good smelling bath towel.

    Remember, the solution to your smelly towel is to give your hand and bath towel a deep cleaning or buy a new towel. Not just a new towel, but a quick dry towel like the Mizu towel that offers more than you need.