How to Freshen Your Towels & Remove the Mildew Stink


Can we all be honest for a minute. I mean really, admit it. Your towels sometimes stink….and what did you do? If you are like me you just went out and bought new ones. No one wants to dry off from a refreshing shower with towels that smell moldy, mildewy, and like a towel that was left in your beach bag too long.

Well, I am here to make you feel better. You aren’t doing anything wrong. You aren’t the reason your towels start to smell rank after a little while. You see, over time towels grime, dirt, and detergent build up and take residence in your towels. Gross. But it doesn’t have to be this way friends. And you don’t have to buy new towels to fix it.


Here is how:

Wash your load of towels with the hottest water cycle and 1 cup of white vinegar. NOTHING ELSE. No detergent, no baking soda, nothing. If you have a top loader, just pour it in. If you have a front loader, take out the detergent tray and pour it in that spot. Then let the washer do it’s thing.

Now, if your towels are just kinda smelly, you are done after COMPLETELY drying them in the dryer! However, if your towels are really rank, toss 1/2 cup of baking soda into the basin (top or front loader) and wash on HOT again. Then dry, COMPLETELY.

And just in case you were wondering….no you don’t need any detergent. I “freshen” my towels this way at least once a month and they are always smelling, “so fresh and so clean clean!”

This also works great on your husband’s sweaty workout clothes or your kid’s sports jerseys!


 Isn’t vinegar awesome! Did you know you can also use it to clean your sink, stove top, and microwave??


21 thoughts on “How to Freshen Your Towels & Remove the Mildew Stink”

  • I have used vinegar as a cleaner in my home for many purposes for years as it is economical, safe for children, pets, and myself to use and inhale as I clean and most of all, efficient for so many different tasks, laundry being just one of them. Along with remove smelly mildew odors as Gwen explained very well, vinegar also sets bright colors, preventing even new colored clothes from “bleeding” on the first wash, removes chemicals which fabrics may have been treated with in the manufacturing process which you will always want to remove before wearing, my favorite use and money saver, not to mention works better than the product it is replacing is to use it as a FABRIC SOFTENER. It may sound strange and make you ask HOW?,but it is by rinsing any “left over” detergents from your clothing, all minerals from your water from them by acting as a natural water softener, and I am sure there are other possible chemical reactions that take place that are beyond me as well but what I do know is that my clothes come out fresh smelling, clean, bright, sheets, towels and blankets fluffier than I ever remember them being since they were new. And, you know all of those microfiber towels, sheets, clothing and anything else you have that the washing instructions say “NO FABRIC SOFTENER”? Well, if you use white distilled vinegar as a regular practice instead of traditional fabric softener you need not worry about sorting out your wash before your final rinse because not only will the vinegar not harm these fabrics by clogging up the fibers and sealing them together so that they are no longer nice and soft, but the vinegar actually cleans and separates them better than detergent alone and these items come out so soft and fluffy and your towels more absorbent than they may have ever been since you first purchased them and washed them for the first time, changing their texture and absorbency until now, when you ran them through a vinegar wash or rinse. So if you thought microfiber towels were a waste of money and you could not see what the fuss was about, pull them back out from the back of your utility room, or the garage where you put them and told your husband he could have them as rags to use as he pleases, and reclaim them! You will be shocked at the difference. As he will be at the softness of the sheets and bath towels and the freshness of how all of the laundry smells (not to mention the money you are able to save over a year in fabric softener, fresheners, and ever detergent boosters. I am adding a link on the “HOW TO’S” of using Vinegar in the laundry room but in your spare time search your favorite site for all of the household uses of vinegar. I am sure you will be surprised if you are not already using some of them. Happy Cleaning!

    • Surprisingly, not at all :) They just smell fresh! I sometimes run then through the wash again with my detergent if I want them to have that smell, but the mildew smell is gone!

  • I read that you can also use vinegar in your dishwasher use 1 cup of white vinegar and run one cycle without dishes in it! It disinfects and helps with the build up stuff from the detergents.

    • My husband & I use vinegar quite often with our dirty dishes in dishwater, it does not leave dried drops on glasses and dishes are quite shiny. We come from Europe and after washing our windows we would finish is off with a cloth rinsed in vinegar water, then really shine it up with newspaper; we use also vinegar sometimes to rinse our hair after washing…

  • Thanks for the tip. Going to try it today but I read somewhere that you shouldn’t pour vinegar right on towels, so should I wait til the basin fills with water? Great tip!

    • I haven’t had that problem. I would pour it in with the water as it is filling the tub if you are a little hesitant. If you are hesitant you could wait & add it during the rinse cycle!

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