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Stale Towels, Help

(16 Posts)
susanjones123 Fri 11-Jul-14 09:49:03

I need some help MNers- why do my towels start to smell after a couple of days?

I always wash my towels at 40C or 60C if they're grubby. I always use bio powder mixed with half soda crystals and then a good glug of Lenor. They always come out smelling lovely.

I dry them in our sun room which is all glass so boiling hot - plastic jugs have melted in there before. Usually takes a couple of hours.

I put them away in a chest but after a day or so they start to smell really musty, especially when they're wet.

I have put little smelly soaps in the chest and washed the towels with some vinegar but nothing seems to help.

How can I keep my towels smelling lovely?

spiderlight Fri 11-Jul-14 09:51:57

Stop using the Lenor. You're not supposed to use fabric softener on towels because it reduces their absorbency and makes them all claggy and horrible. I think you can get special towel softener but I've never tried it.

ShatnersBassoon Fri 11-Jul-14 09:54:19

Dry them outside in fresh air.
Run a hot, empty wash in your washing machine. It might be a little manky in the workings.
What does the soda do?

HenI5 Fri 11-Jul-14 09:57:53

I never use fabric conditioner on anything and haven't missed it. It's true that you're really not meant to use it with towels.

It sounds to me as though you're not getting any air around them, baking in a hot sun room might be efficient temperature wise but they need a nice blow in the fresh air I reckon.

CeliaFate Fri 11-Jul-14 10:01:32

I wash mine on 90 using Aerial with an extra rinse. If there's too much powder that can't be rinsed off and that can smell off quickly.
Do a maintenance wash in your machine.
Don't use fabric conditioner.
Line dry if possible. Finish them off in the tumble drier if you have one. If not, leave them to dry for longer - any residual moisture will make them smell damp.
The chest could be causing the problem if there's no ventilation.
Stop using that for a week and see if it makes a difference.

bunnyfrance Fri 11-Jul-14 10:11:17

If you're putting wet towels away in a chest, it's not surprising they smell musty. They need to be hung out to dry after every use.

HenI5 Fri 11-Jul-14 10:18:29

Actually I didn't consider the bit about storing in a chest.
Airing cupboards always have slatted shelves so you still get some air around the fabric.

If you emptied the chest and left it closed up for a couple of days and then open and smell it, I wonder if it smells musty on its own? It probably does.

susanjones123 Fri 11-Jul-14 10:28:04

Hello all,

Thanks so much for all the comments! I had no idea you weren't meant to use fabric conditioner on towels- you learn something new everyday as they say!

I don't have a line as we only have a little yard so I do use clothes horses but they can blow over in the wind so I'm forever up and down stairs picking them up!

Hmm, yes the chest might be a problem. However, I used to store them in a bed drawer with no ventilation and they were fine.

Hotter wash 90 degrees and try to air them. Can you open windows in the sun room when they are drying?

90 degree Service wash on your machine with soda crystals. Ditch the softner and don't put away damp towels, hand them on a towel rail or something.

susanjones123 Fri 11-Jul-14 11:43:46

90C for towels? This may be ignorant of me but won't they shrink rubbish at domesticness

No they won't shrink, but the high temperature will kill any bacteria. Don't bother with bio detergent at that temperature though as the heat will kill the enzymes.

Have a look at the wash care label on your towels - I bet it says not to use fabric softener. My MIL uses softener on her towels and you end up just spreading the water around on your body and eventually air drying.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Fri 11-Jul-14 11:48:20

I doubt you need to wash ANYTHING at 90 deg C. That's practially boiling stuff.

I never use fabric conditioner on anythig - I like a nice rough towel smile

Why don't you try storing them where you used to store them, and see if the problem goes away. Then you'd know if it was the chest.

googietheegg Fri 11-Jul-14 11:49:55

I don't think you're drying them properly before you put them away. Even slightly damp towels put away smell 'piggy' quite quickly.

Oldraver Fri 11-Jul-14 11:54:22

Towels are the hardiest of fabrics and can take 90 degree wash. I usually do mine at 60 and do use fabric softener they get put in a cupboard before use.

In between they go on the radiator in the winter and in the summer I hang them from an open Velux window or pop them out side. They are only used for one person and changed after a couple of days....

How long do you keep the towels on the go and are they communal ? how are they drying in between ?

Also, I wash my hair everyday and use my hair towel to take the wet straight from the shower off them wrap myself in a bath sheet, so the towel isnt actually getting too wet

susanjones123 Fri 11-Jul-14 12:45:36

Thanks folks!

oldraver I keep the towels on the go for four days for my DH and a week for me but I go to the gym everyday and shower there in the morning so I only use my towel at night after I've washed my face before bed. We have hand towels in the downstairs toilet which I change every other day.

In the in-between time the towels are hung over a towel radiator and over the side of the bath in the bathroom. In winter the towl radiator is on and in summer the window is always open.

Have got a 90C wash on right now with all the towels in and will put them outside once this has finished.

Purplecircle Fri 11-Jul-14 12:47:29

I always use fab cond on towels and wash them at 60degrees
I never ever put them away until I know they are bone dry.
I've had bedding smell a bit foisty before and I think it wasn't fully dry

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