How to use Baking Soda and Vinegar to clean towels!
We’ve all been there right? We grab a clean washcloth out of the drawer to do a little chore around the house. We take it to the sink and as soon as it gets wet we smell a musty gross smell. I was at my wits end trying to figure out why this was happening over and over and over again. I was becoming a crazy woman making sure nothing was sitting in the washer for any length of time because I was sure that was what was happening but all of my hard work wasn’t helping the situation. It got to the point where I threw out all of my washcloths and bought new just to get rid of the smell.
Sadly, it didn’t take long before the smell was back. Talk about depressing!
Then a very interesting thing happened. Our washer kept throwing a weird code and shutting off. We called the repair man and he gave me some life changing information. All of the work I was doing to try to get my towels clean, really clean, was doing the exact opposite!
The code was being thrown on our washer because a tube had been gunked up with fabric softener residue. When we bought the new washer and dryer they told us not to use dryer sheets in the dryer (various reasons, mainly something about residue on the sensors in the dryer) so we had switched to a liquid fabric softener – not good! Also, using the recommended amount of laundry soap…WAY more than needed! He told me especially with towels the excess soap and softener weigh down the fibers and prevent the towel from absorbing as it should AND is probably the reason it feels like towels take 20 years to dry in the dryer, they’re actually preventing the towels from being able to dry all the way. These reasons were why even though I *thought* I was cleaning my towels really well I was still getting the gross musty smell.
He recommended I use baking soda and vinegar to get my washer really clean and then recommended I regularly use them on my towels to get rid of all the build up. He also recommended NOT using liquid fabric softener but I’ll save that post for another day.
So do you want to know how to use baking soda and vinegar to clean towels? I mean really get your towels awesomely clean?
(please note – this isn’t a stain remover, it’s a rejuvenater, a refresher, it literally will make old towels feel and smell new again.)
You’re going to want to start with a clean washer. If you’re noticing a funky smell from your washer he recommended adding 1 cup of baking soda to your washer and running it through on the hottest wash cycle your machine has. Then do the same thing with 1 cup of vinegar. I like to do this in the evening so before I go to bed I can leave the door open to the washer so it has time to get nice and dry (if you have a front load washer you should always leave the door open between loads to prevent the growth of mold and gross smells).
Now we’re going to use the same baking soda and vinegar to clean towels. The method is the exact same.
1. Put your towels in the washer.
(I have a front loader, if you have a top loader I would suggest starting the water and adding the baking soda before adding your towels.)
2. Use 1 cup of baking soda in place of laundry soap.
3. Start your washer on the hottest cycle and let it run through.
(I don’t mix white/colored towels, my colored towels are old and I haven’t noticed any bleeding/fading but I still wouldn’t risk it)
4. When the full cycle is complete add 1 cup of white vinegar in place of laundry soap.
5. Start your washer on the hottest cycle and let it run through.
6. Move towels from washer to dryer and dry thoroughly. It is important to make sure that the towels are completely dry before folding and putting away (as soon as it warms up I use a clothes line for 98% of our laundry so that is another option for drying).
Vinegar is a safe and natural fabric softener. I use it in place of liquid fabric softener all the time (just add to the fabric softener spot on your washer) and once the items are dry you don’t smell the vinegar at all.
After I got this great tip from my repair man I started looking around online, everything I have found has the steps backward from what I do (vinegar first and baking soda second). I tried it that way and personally did not like the baking soda smell that lasted even after the towels were dry, it was too strong. I don’t know that it makes a difference as far as the refreshing of the towels goes, I just know the smell was too strong and that using the baking soda first and vinegar second has completely changed the way I wash my towels, it works so wonderfully!
I don’t do this every time I wash towels (there are 9 of us, I would only always be washing towels if I did this every time I washed them). I have found that I can get away with doing this about every 4 weeks and it keeps the towels absorbent and smelling fresh. Sometimes I have to do it sooner (if someone left a load sitting in the washer or damp at the bottom of a hamper) but typically once a month, spending a day, washing all the towels, hand towels, and wash clothes does the trick.
Based on these funny laundry quotes I found I know I’m not alone in the struggle!
Because I’m obviously not alone I hope these tips on how to use baking soda and vinegar to clean towels will help you out like they helped me!