How to Get Rid of Smelly Bath Towels

The easy way to get rid of smelly towels. How to remove even the most stubborn towel odor.

How Do I Fix Smelly Towels?


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Do you have smelly bath towels? Towels are just one of those things that build up funky odors that are really hard to get rid of.


One solution is just to get rid of them and get new towels, but there is a way to easily remove that stubborn gym locker smell so that your towels smell clean and fresh again.


In a hurry? This odor eliminator is made specially for removing smelly towel odor both fast and effectively.


One of the reasons that towels get smelly after awhile is because they build up detergent and fabric softener residue that attracts mildew, which in turn causes the bad odor.


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Vinegar and Baking Soda


Many people also use this DIY solution for getting odors out of smelly towels. All you need is some vinegar and baking soda.  


Place your towels in the washing machine and fill the machine with hot water. Add 1 cup white vinegar (no detergent), and wash as usual.


After the washing machine goes through its cycle, fill it with hot water again and wash the load again with 1/2 cup baking soda. Again, don’t use detergent.


Dry as usual. If the smell is still not gone, try the above steps one more time.


Related Article: How to Get Smell Out of Towels in Front Load Washer


The reason you are running the washing machine through two separate cycles is because to effectively use vinegar and baking soda to clean and deodorize, they must be used separately or they will “cancel” each other out.


This method works better than regular detergent for removing odors because the vinegar removes the built up residue on the towels that is causing the odors in the first place. The baking soda then removes any lingering odors.


This is not something you need to do all of the time, only every couple of months when you start to notice the mildew smell again. In between, just wash as usual. Enjoy your clean smelling towels!


Related Cleaning Hacks


Follow my general cleaning and laundry care boards on Pinterest.


Easy hack for cleaning smelly bath towels.

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2 Comments on "How to Get Rid of Smelly Bath Towels"

  1. Oh I’m sorry- same Alison poster here. Didnt realize when I wrote my comment that your first solution is a certain product. How’d I miss that? So I’m changing my vote to 5 stars since vinegar/BS was your secondary option. I’m sorry for the 4 stars before. Thank you for all the info!!!


  2. This worked, however it was of course a lot of extra water alongside washing them before treatment. And I don’t like that it has to then be done every couple months. I used to not have this issue. Years ago I washed towels with my other clothes, and the towels would stink, and finally I realized they wouldn’t if I washed them separately from my clothes. This only became a problem in the past couple years again, using different washing machines than before, and im not sure what’s different. Just wondering if there is a better way than this, to use less water, but yes it did work, so thank you!!!!!!


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