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Smell on Towels? Here’s Your Fix (2 ways)

How to get mildew smell out of towels


Few things can make a smell in towels, whether it’s kitchen, hand, or bath towels; they are not completely dried after washing; they can develop a mildew smell. Mildew is a fungus that grows in warm, moist conditions. When towels are left wet for a long period of time, mildew can form and produce a musty odor.

If you want to keep mildew from growing on your towels, hang them up to dry after each use. If you have already noticed a mildew odor on your towels, there are several options for getting away from this. Vinegar is a popular remedy for this issue, but there are alternative methods available for those who prefer to avoid its scent. Here, we’ll explore effective ways to eliminate mildew smells from towels without vinegar.

1.    How to get mildew smell out of towels without vinegar

How to get mildew smell out of towels with vinegar

 Oxiclean Soak:

When vinegar is not available, Oxiclean is an effective alternative. First, make a solution in a large bucket using 2/3 cup Oxiclean.

  1. Fill the bucket halfway with boiling water, ensuring the OxiClean dissolves fully. To combine the solution, gently agitate the water without producing spills.
  2. Put your towels in this mixture and soak them for at least an hour. After the soaking period is over, wash the towels as part of your regular laundry process.

This method efficiently combats and eliminates the mildew odor from the towels by utilizing the cleaning power of OxiClean.

Borax Soak:

When vinegar is not available, another acceptable approach is to use Borax.

  1. Fill your bathtub half with hot water and add about half a cup of Borax. To properly dissolve the Borax, thoroughly stir the water.
  2.  Allow the towels to soak in this Borax-infused bath for at least an hour. When the soaking time is up, wash the towels as you normally would in a regular laundry cycle.

Borax, well-known for its cleaning and deodorizing abilities, helps remove the mildew odor from the towels, leaving them fresh and stink-free after washing.

 Baking Soda Treatment:

If the mildew smell remains on the towels after your regular wash cycle, baking soda can provide an additional choice. Baking soda, well-known for its natural cleansing, whitening, and deodorizing properties, can efficiently remove odors. Simply add a cup of baking soda to the washing machine with the towels and wash on hot. This procedure helps to eliminate the mildew stench and refreshes the towels, leaving them smelling clean and fresh after washing.

2.    How to get mildew smell out of towels vinegar

Smell on Towels

Vinegar Wash:

When vinegar is available and suggested, this method provides an effective means to remove mildew odor from towels.

  1. First, load the smelly towels into the washing machine and turn it on to the hottest water setting. Add one cup of white vinegar to the machine and thoroughly mix before soaking the towels in the vinegar solution for about sixty minutes.
  2. After the soaking duration, add another cup of vinegar to the machine along with your regular washing detergent. Run the washing cycle as usual, being sure to include an extra spin cycle for complete rinsing. Once the second spin cycle finishes, transfer the towels to the dryer and dry them on the highest setting until completely dry.

This method effectively uses vinegar’s acidic aspects to get rid of the mildew smell, leaving the towels feeling fresh and clean after drying.

Sun sanitization

Towels can be effectively sanitized using sunlight. The sun’s UV light has disinfectant characteristics and can aid in the killing of microorganisms, and the smell can disappear after this. But first, do the washing.


The article discusses the continuous issue of mildew smells in towels, which are caused by improper drying, which promotes mildew growth. It highlights the importance of proper towel drying after use and provides a complete guide to dealing with mildew smells using a variety of approaches.

These include vinegar-free methods such as Oxiclean and Borax soaks, which use their cleaning characteristics to remove odors. It also suggests using baking soda to remove lingering odors. The post also recommends a vinegar-based wash with step-by-step directions for a thorough cleaning.

Furthermore, it shows the effectiveness of sun sanitization in harnessing UV radiation for disinfection after washing. Overall, it provides a varied selection of options to ensure fresh, odor-free towels, adapting to different needs and material availability.

Read: 3 issues regarding microfiber towels

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