Here’s how to tidy your towels and have a perfect life!
Just kidding about that last bit. But remember when you were in college, and once a month or so – or whenever you ran out of clean clothes – you would stuff everything you owned into a laundry bag, including towels and bedding, dump it all into an industrial-sized washer and call it good?
Yeah, it turns out that wasn’t so good. In the real world, it takes a bit more effort to tidy your towels and sheets and get your clothes clean. But while most of us start taking better care of our clothes as we get older and smarter, we’re not always so conscientious when it comes to our towels.
And let’s face it, towels do a lot of heavy lifting for us. At the same time, they can be tricky to store, especially if you have a small bathroom. So here are 10 expert tips to help you tame and tidy your towels.
Tidy your towels. Tidy your life.
1. More is more when it comes to towel racks.
Most bathrooms simply don’t offer enough towel racks. But one place that’s often overlooked yet perfect for hanging towels is the bathroom door. Hang three racks, such as these Interdesign Classico 18″ Towel Bars, on the door, far enough apart to allow your towels to hang comfortably. Or make it super easy by simply hanging this York Over the Door Towel Rack on the door. No tools required!
2. There’s more than one way to store towels.
Don’t have a handy linen closet? No worries. Tidy your towels by mounting baskets on the wall as shelving. Stack folded towels in square or rectangular baskets, or roll them to fit neatly into round ones.
3. Look for overlooked space.
There’s almost always room for more shelving above the bathroom door. Or, if you’ve got the space above the toilet, consider a shelving unit that fits around and above it – without taking up additional floor space – such as this Home Basics 2 Shelf Bronze Steel Bathroom Space Saver.
4. Fold it for fluff.
Speaking of folding or rolling towels, you’ve probably been doing it wrong. For folded towels, there’s a trick to making them look as lush and inviting as they do in hotels and spas. First, lay out the towel on a flat surface and smooth it out. Next, fold a long edge in toward the center. Fold the other long edge in to meet it.
Now here’s the trick: fold up a short edge to a point about 1” short of the middle. Fold the other short edge the same way, leaving about a 2” gap between the folded ends. Finally, fold the two short ends over each other, with the gap allowing the folded ends to lie neatly instead of being jammed together. Oh, and by the way – for best wear, ensure that you rotate linens by placing freshly washed towels on the bottom of the stack.
5. Roll it out.
To roll a towel, lay it out on a countertop. Fold the towel lengthwise in thirds. Fold the towel widthwise in half. Roll the folded edge toward the open edge, holding the towel taut and flat to keep the rolled towel looking as neat and clean as possible.
6. Wash your towels the right way.
Experts agree you should wash towels every three to four days. Use warm water and color-safe bleach (if needed) for colored towels. Use hot water and non-chlorine bleach (if needed) for white towels. White towels should be washed separately or with other white items to avoid subtle discoloration over time. Shake them out before putting them into the dryer to fluff the terry loops that aid absorbency.
7. Don’t get carried away.
Be careful not to overfill your dryer, remembering that towels will gain volume as they dry. Don’t fill the dryer more than two-thirds full with towels.
Use the highest dryer temperature for towels, but avoid overdrying them, which can destroy the integrity of the individual cotton fibers. Make sure towels are dry when you remove them from the dryer. Even slightly damp towels can quickly mildew!
8. Keep ‘em bright.
To avoid fading, set the colors of your towels by washing them in warm water for the first several washings. Using about half the recommended amount of detergent, add 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash water. The vinegar helps set the colors and removes excess detergent residue.
9. About those spots …
Keep your towels away from products that contain bleaching agents. These include products containing benzoyl peroxide – found in many acne medications such as Clearasil – household cleaners that contain Clorox or other chlorine-based bleach.
Some people say that whitening toothpastes can leave bleach spots on nearby towels. Chemist Anne Andrews, who teaches at UCLA, says that tooth-whitening rinses, toothpaste or mouthwash wiped on a towel rarely cause spots. On the other hand, some fabric dyes (including natural ones) are more susceptible to bleaching from products (including hair bleach) that contain hydrogen peroxide, sodium percarbonate or sodium perborate — even though those chemicals are found in “color-safe bleaches” for your clothes.
10. Cleanliness is next to mustiness.
No matter how careful you are to wash your towels regularly, sometimes they still smell musty. That’s because the thicker and fluffier they are, the better they lock in moisture and odors. Solution? Laundry expert Mary Marlowe Leverette suggests using vinegar in place of fabric softener to strip away residues.
For that matter, experts agree that fabric softeners coat towel fibers and reduce absorbency. Leverette suggests running your bath towels through the washing machine as normal, but with no soap and just one cup of vinegar. Then, wash again with regular detergent. Clorox’s “Dr. Laundry,” Mary Gagliardi, says you should give them a “second rinse,” if your washer has that option. Dry immediately to prevent mustiness.
Now that you know how to tidy your towels from start to finish, you’ll have a neater, more inviting bathroom – and a much more relaxing shower or bath! Oh, and here’s a bonus tip: When buying new towels, consider that lighter-colored towels have less dye than darker towels, which helps them stay fluffy and absorbent for a longer time.
Be sure to check out curtainandbathoutlet.com’s great towel selection, and when you’re ready to store and display them, we’ve also got plenty of practical options for that, too!
For instance, we love the Taymor Four Double Hook (Over the door) for hanging multiple towels in a limited space.
Of course, no bathroom would be complete without a bath rug. We love the subtle tones in this Quarry Bath Rug.