Post # 1
I recently learned that bath towels and washcloths lose their ability to efficiently absorb water due to residue build up from detergents and soap — with fabric softners often being the worst culprits.
If you notice your towels smelling stale or like mildew as soon as you towel off from the shower, the reason probably isn’t that the towel is dirty! It’s because the towels aren’t really getting clean due to the oily residue.
To Strip Your Towels:
1. Complete both cycles without laundry detergent. Put your towels on the hottest cycle, along with a cup of white vinegar. Allow the washing machine to complete the cycle. Then run a second cycle, again on hot, with a half cup of baking soda.
2. Once the second cycle ends, make sure you don’t dry the towels with fabric softener! We use dryer balls, since they’re chemical free and help shorten drying time by constantly fluffing and separating anything running through the dryer:
That’s it! I just stripped our towels and I can’t believe what a difference it made with our washcloths! They seem to be much fluffier. I plan to run our towels through this stripping cycle every 6 months.
Post # 3
I’ve never heard of this but our towels are starting to get that gross mildewy smell, so I might try it. I often toss some baking soda or vinegar into the load but I also use detergent. We don’t use softener of any sort.
Post # 4
I haven’t heard of this! I don’t use fabric softener, but this would be interesting to try.
Post # 5
Instead of using fabric softener, you should try throwing a ball of foil into the dryer. It works just as well!
Post # 6
- Wedding: April 2013 - A court...
Never heard of this either. But I have cheap towels so it hardly seems worth it.
Post # 7
Wow – thats cool, never heard of that. But I do have some old washclothes that were smelling a bit funky and I always use Tide but I thought maybe it was because I left them in the washer too long a couple times and they got a little stinky. So I turned them into cleaning towels, but in the future I will try this, Thanks for the info!
Post # 8
If we had our own machines, I’d go through the entire process. As it is, I just wash towels together in hot water with a tablespoon-ish of liquid detergent (HE washer), and use white vinegar instead of fabric softener…use this process everytime.
ETA: To clarify – I use vinegar instead of the liquid softener in the wash. We don’t use anything in the dryer because I keep forgetting about our dryer balls in the closet.
Post # 9
@MrsEdamame: I’ve never had a problem with my towels smelling funky. Though I never use dryer sheets or fabric softener.
Post # 10
Encore Bride, Oldtimer Bee here…
Vinegar & Baking Soda are mainstays in getting things clean and fresh
Personally, I don’t “strip” my towels
But then again, I learned a long time ago that Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets aren’t that great for your Laundry / Clothes overall (build up as you stated)
Just 2 commercial products you really can do without… sold to you to make MORE money for the BIG Detergent Companies.
Wash your clothes properly (READ the Directions on the tags)… Seperation – Fabric Care – Water Temp – Stain Treatment. And Dry properly… Temperature & Method (Flat, Hang, Drip, Fluff, Low, Warm). And EVERYTHING will last much much longer.
Post # 11
I never use fabric softener and I leave the dryer sheets out when doing the towels
Post # 12
I have never needed to strip my towels because I have never used fabric softener. My mom never used it when I was growing up and explained the towel absorbency thing to me when I asked her about it. I use either the dryer balls, or reusable chemical free dryer sheets.
Post # 13
I’ve never heard of this… but I think I know what I’m doing tomorrow after work. Thanks!
Post # 14
Did not know this was a thing… but I don’t have a dryer anyway. (I throw a little vinegar in the washer every so often just to clean it out)
Post # 15
I’ve had the same towels for almost a decade, never stripped them, and have never had this issue.
Also, fabric softener is a waste of money.
Post # 16
I don’t see the need to. I use a free detergent, so I don’t know how much of a residue is left on my towels. If I accidently pour a bit too much detergent in I select the extra rinse cycle. I never use fabric softner in the washing machine, unless you count vinegar. In the dryer, I sometimes use 1/2 a bounce-free sheet, but first I rub it in a paper towel to just get a little bit. I don’t do this for towels. I think quite a few people’s dryers are full of the static sheets stuff. In shared facilities I cleaned out the machines first and I still didn’t need to use my own because it was difficult to get all the residue out completely.