How To Get Smell Out Of Towels

As any homemaker knows, towels are one of the essential items in the home.  However, towels can also be one of the most significant sources of unpleasant odors in the home. Towels that aren’t properly cleaned can quickly become musty and stained, and they can even transfer those odors to other items in the laundry.

Why Do My Towels Smell After Using Them? 

One common cause of stinky towels is bacteria buildup. In addition to the reason mentioned above, others can develop an unpleasant towel smell, but the good news is that there are several easy ways to get rid of the stink. Now, let me introduce you to three ways to remove peculiar smells.

Young chinese woman wearing shower towel cap and bathrobe smelling something stinky and disgusting, intolerable smell, holding breath with fingers on nose. bad smell

How to Get Smells Out of Towels?

There are a few different ways to eliminate the musty smell of towels.  

First, make sure that you’re washing them regularly. Towels can trap moisture and dirt, so washing them often is essential. 

Ensuring your towels get fully dry is crucial in getting the smell out of towels. Many people suggest hanging your towels outside because when you hang them outside, they will be able to dry faster and with less electricity. This is because the UV light from sunlight can kill off any mildew that may have formed on them during storage in a damp environment like our homes’ bathrooms or kitchen cabinets where there are high humidity levels due to water damage (e: sixty).

Besides, Vinegar and baking soda are two natural odor-fighters that help keep your towels smelling fresh.

A man in yellow gloves loads a dirty towel into the washing machine.

Detailed Steps For Deodorizing Towels With Vinegar

Here are the detailed steps for washing towels in vinegar. To do this:

1. Mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water, and soak the towels for 30 minutes.

2. Wash the towels as usual in your washing machine. You can add 1 cup of vinegar to your washing machine’s rinse cycle to help freshen up towels (and clothes).

3. If your towels still have a lingering odor after being washed, try hanging them outside in the sun for a few hours. The fresh air and sunlight will help to remove any remaining mustiness.

With these simple tips, you can keep your towels smelling fresh and clean all year long. For extra odor-fighting power, add half a cup of baking soda. Run the machine on the hot cycle, then dry the towels on high heat. The combination of vinegar and baking soda will help break down any bacteria buildup, leaving your towels smelling clean and fresh.

baking soda with brush and vinegar

Why Can Vinegar Remove The Smell On The Towel?

But why would a condiment be used to wash towels?

Vinegar is a natural acid that can break up the molecules, causing a nasty smell on your towel. When you soak your towel in vinegar, the acid will work to break down the smelly molecules, making them less intense and removing the foul odor.

Vinegar is also a great way to clean your towel, as it can help to remove dirt, grime, and another buildup that can cause your towel to smell bad.

In addition, vinegar is a natural disinfectant, so it can also help to kill any bacteria that may be causing the bad smell. 

So, if your towel smells terrible, try soaking it in vinegar before you wash it. You may be surprised at how well it works!

Why Do My Towels Still Stink After Washing Them With Detergent?

Our towels may still smell after being cleaned with vinegar, so we should look for another reason. Many people have experienced this frustrating phenomenon, and a few possible explanations exist.

It’s possible that your towels are too old or worn to be effectively cleaned with detergent. In this case, it’s time to invest in some new towels. 

Your washing machine itself could be to blame. If it isn’t cleaning your towels effectively, detergent won’t be able to do its job either.

It’s possible that the detergent you’re using isn’t strong enough to tackle the bacteria causing the bad smell. If this is the case, switch to a stronger detergent or add a fabric freshener to your wash cycle. 

With some troubleshooting, you should be able to get rid of that musty towel smell for good.

Basket with soft bath towels on wooden background.

How to Prevent Towels From Smelling Bad?

To prevent odor generation, we can do some preventive work.

One way to prevent towels from smelling is to ensure they are properly dry before storing them. Wet towels can develop mold or mildew, which can cause them to smell. 

Another way to keep towels fresh is to air them out regularly. This helps to prevent the buildup of odor-causing bacteria.

Using a clean towel for each shower or bath is essential. If a towel smells, it’s best to wash it with hot water and bleach to remove the odor. 

Following these simple tips, you can keep your towels smelling fresh and clean all year round.

The woman does the housework. A smiling beautiful woman dressed in casual olive green clothes spreads her laundry and towel on the wire on the terrace. Arrange clean and wet laundry on the terrace


In short, most people use vinegar to wash their towels. Whichever method you choose, follow the instructions on the product packaging carefully to achieve the best results. You can keep your towels smelling fresh and clean for many futures uses with a little effort.