Find everything you need to know to pick durable towels and keep them looking and smelling fresh.
Nothing beats wrapping yourself in fluffy terry following a bath, but if not properly cared for, towelscan start looking drab and smelling worse, leaving you feeling less than clean. A towel’s dense fibres wick moisture – and everything that comes with it – deep into its core, creating the dark, damp conditions ideal for bacterial growth. So launder towels often, using the hottest setting the fabric can handle and a mild detergent. For an extra disinfecting kick, add a cup or two of white vinegar, but skip the fabric softener, which tends to cling to and remain embedded among the loops, compromising a complete cleanse. Be sure to remove towels from the washer immediately and dry thoroughly (in direct sunlight, if possible) but don’t overheat – it can damage the fibres.
Less is more
Though it might be tempting to load up on detergent, Melissa Maker, founder of Clean My Space, warns that leftover suds can cling to extra dirt and redeposit it onto your laundry, leaving it dingy.
DO: Wash coloured towels separately the first few times, even those labelled colourfast (better safe than sorry!).
DON’T: Use chlorine bleach on white towels (opt for gentler oxygen-powered bleach instead).
Beyond aesthetics, a towel left crumpled on the bathroom floor is a strict no-no, as it will remain moist for a prolonged period and therefore be vulnerable to bacterial growth. Hang it on a towel bar rather than a hook, on which it would bunch and fold. For an extra drying boost and luxe factor, consider investing in a towel warmer.
Get to know the most popular towel textiles.
- Egyptian cotton: Dense, strong fibres that produce the ultimate softness and absorbency.
- Supima cotton: Almost as soft as egyptian but longer lasting.
- Organic cotton: Sustainably sourced; quality depends on the type of cotton.
- Turkish cotton: Highly durable, boasting a natural sheen.
- Bamboo viscose: Sustainable and antibacterial; fast drying and lustrous.
- Microfibre: Super-fast-drying synthetic; lacks plushness.