How to wash towels: the complete towel care guide

How to wash towels: the complete towel care guide

Nothing beats the feeling of stepping outside a shower to then being wrapped in a fluffy towel. But caring for your towels and keeping them soft can often feel daunting. So, what ends up happening after a few uses and washes is that our favourite plush towels turn limp and rough.

If you've invested in quality bath towels for your home, the most common questions are "how to wash towels", "how to keep towels soft", or "how to fold towels". You may also wonder about the kind of laundry detergent to use, how often should you wash your towels and what temperature to wash them. Our A-Z towel care guide offers all the tips, tricks and advice you need to get your towels clean, fluffy and as good as new with every wash. We're also throwing in some bonus tips around storage and improving your towel's longevity. Let's dive in.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the best laundry detergent for washing towels?

While most detergents will work, the more important question is how much detergent is good. Don't be fooled into believing that more detergent is the solution to washing and keeping your towels soft. Using too much can cause the fabric to feel stiff and scratchy. That's why refer to the instructions on the box or bottle to ensure you're using the right amount.

How often should you wash your towels?

Ideally, wash your bath towels after 3-5 uses. Also, hang in a way that allows it to air dry uniformly after every use. Damp towels offer the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and are the one thing you want to avoid getting on your body, especially after getting clean. Since hand towels are used more frequently, we recommend washing these once every couple of days.

What is the best way to wash towels?

Wash your towels before use and separately from other clothes. This is because towels have delicate fibres that could entangle with your other clothes. Washing towels with towels will help extend their life and reduce other snags.

How to wash new towels?

Wondering if you need to wash new towels? Then the answer is YES. Washing before use removes silicone coatings or finishes, allowing for maximum absorbency.

Washing Towels

How to wash towels correctly?

Read on if you're wondering about the best way to care for your towels. We've outlined some of the critical steps during the process. The correct washing cycle and temperature are essential - so here's a quick rundown on how to make towels soft again and leave them looking like those at a luxury spa.

Step 1: Separate dark and light towels

Don't be tempted to wash white towels with dark-coloured ones. Separate your load based on the colours you're cleaning. A towel's fibres are absorbent, which means the lighter towels could pick up the dye colours from the dark ones, making them discoloured and dull over time.

Step 2: Try not to overload the washing machine

Overloading will mean the towels are packed too closely together, creating friction during the cleaning process. As a result, the water and detergent will not likely have space to move around the towels properly, resulting in a poor cleanup. Typically a front loader washing machine can accommodate up to 6 or 7 bath towels, while a top loader will hold 10. This number can vary although depending on the size of your appliance.

Step 3: Less is more when it comes to detergent

As mentioned in our FAQs, be mindful that too much detergent could cause your towels to feel stiff and scratchy to the touch.

Wash towels in vinegar

A great tip to prevent colour bleed is to wash towels in vinegar. Do this for the first several washes with similar coloured towels. Add in the recommended amount of detergent, and pop in about 1/2 to 1 cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle. Vinegar works as a fabric softener, killing bacteria while removing excess detergent residue.

What temperature should I wash towels?

We recommend a warm water cycle over a hot one to help improve your towel's longevity. If you're wondering what temperature should I wash towels, the ideal temperature is about 40 degrees on a warm, regular wash. This helps clean effectively and remove dirt and bacteria from the towels'fibres.

Should I use bleach to wash towels?

Bleach works to remove stains on your towels. But don't wash your towels with bleach with every wash. We recommend reading the towel care guide before you consider using bleach. Wash towels with white vinegar or baking soda if bleach is not recommended. Add this along with your laundry detergent, and voila!

How to make towels soft again?

We share three quick tips on how to keep towels soft and fluffy.


Avoid using a fabric softener as this can cause a waxy buildup, deteriorating the towel's fibres and reducing its absorbency and softness over time. Use fabric softener once in three or four washes only.


If you want to keep cotton towels soft, resist the urge to iron them. Heat tends to flatten and damage a towel's fibres, reducing that plush feeling.


Clean towels = fluffy towels. So, remember to wash towels at least twice a week to maintain that soft and fluffy feel.

Drying your Towels

How to fold towels

Now that we've covered the details about how to wash towels and make them soft, let's look at some drying techniques. Tumble drying is a great way to keep your towels soft and fluffy and reduce linting.

Towels in a dryer

Once the towels are out of the washer, remember to give them a good shake. And whatever you do, don't just pop them into a hot dryer. Here's what to do instead.

Use a low heat setting for your towels in the dryer

You read that right. Expect your towels to last longer when dried on low heat. This is because high heat tends to damage the cotton fibres.

Don't leave them inside the dryer

After the dry cycle, remove your towels and give them a shake. Next, fold to avoid wrinkles. This is an excellent tip to keep your towels soft and fluffy.

Air dry your towels

Alternatively, you can choose to airdry your towels. You can do this by laying them flat on a drying rack or the clothesline. Airdrying could leave your towels feeling a little stiff. In that case, toss your towels into the dryer for a quick 'no heat' cycle to soften them up a little.

How to fold towels

How to dry towels

Making your towels look perfect and fluffy depends on how you wash and dry them. But, equally key to a soft towel is its folding technique. How you fold a towel depends on your storage or display preference. Here are two easy methods to follow

Rolling method

Rolled towels will take less space and add a luxurious spa-inspired touch to your overall arrangement. Here's how to achieve this display.

Step 1

On a flat surface, lay your towel horizontally.

Step 2:

Fold the longer side of the towel in half.

Step 3

Next, pick one of the corners and bring it across, creating a triangle.

Step 4

Flip the towel over and fold the corners in thirds.

Step 5

Flip the towel over again, ensuring most corners are facing down, except the top corner.

Step 6

Tightly roll your towel and tuck the exposed corner inside the rest of the fabric.

Third fold method

With this technique, you'll end up with fluffier-looking towels that are easy to store on open shelves and linen cupboards.

Step 1

Remove your towel from the drawer and place it lengthwise on a flat horizontal surface.

Step 2

Then take one side and fold it in a third of the way. Do the same for the other side as well.

Step 3

After folding in thirds, grab the bottom end and fold the towel in half and then in half again. The trick is to fold it in half twice.

Replacing your towels

Nothing lasts forever, and your towels are no different. One tell-tale sign that your towel needs replacing is when you notice a musty smell or when the towel has lost its fluffiness or absorbent qualities. Our latest blog covers you if you're looking for advice on choosing the best type of towel for your personal needs. For all things bathroom, we recommend browsing our towels and bathroom range. Head to the online home hub for more home decor inspiration.