You reach into the dryer to feel the warmth of freshly dried towels. Grabbing one, you put it up to your face to get ready to breathe in the freshness of your favorite fabric softener and...YUCK!! Ew! You have sour-smelling towels. "But I just washed them!" you say. What do I do now?
Don't despair and don't just "wash them one more time". There are some other things that you can do to ensure soft, fresh-smelling towels every time they come out of the dryer.
The washing machine probably needs a good washing...without clothes in it. Try running a load on warm or hot water with 1 cup of baking soda for the "soap" and white vinegar for the "fabric softener". Then let your machine air out overnight with the lid up or open. By the way, it is a good thing to leave the lid up or open when your machine is not in use. Of course, if you use your machine as much as we use ours, there is rarely a time when it's not in use! =)
Now this will make you shudder, but if you have smelly towels coming out of the dryer or after sitting on the shelf a day or so, they are more-than-likely not getting clean. I know it's gross. Bacteria is growing in the towels. This bacteria feeds off the dead skin on your towel and thrives in the moisture. It is a possibility that there is bacteria in your washer as well. No more worries now though. You've got your washer cleaned up and are getting ready to have great-smelling towels!
Here are some suggestions on what to do with dirty towels.
1. Always let them air dry before throwing them into the hamper.
2. Never mix wet towels and washcloths in with other dirty clothes.
3. Don't let clean towels sit in the washer. Put them in the dryer immediately and dry them thoroughly.
4. Fold and put away immediately.
Now, let's do a load of towels. I usually wash them in cold water, but you might have a different preference. Use your regular laundry detergent (I use homemade...go here for directions on how to make it), and use white vinegar in your rinse cycle. Then you may rinse them again using fabric softener or just put them in the dryer with a dryer sheet. I prefer the fabric softener in my second rinse because it seems to make the towels softer.
Ok, we are going to try this one more time. Reach into the dryer and feel the warmth of freshly dried towels. Grab one and put it up to your face. Breathe in the freshness of your favorite fabric softener and...ahhh! Warm, soft, sweet-smelling towels. Grab a few more from the dryer and snuggle them around your teenager who is reading on the couch or your pre-teen as he is just about to wake up for the morning. Ahhh! There's nothing quite like "good-smelling" towels!