I’m going to share with you my tried and true ways to get rid of those musty smells out of your towels. Actually, these homemaking tips not only work to get that sour smell out of your towels, it also helps for other laundry problems like laundry left in the washer too long, sweaty gym clothes, kids’ sports clothes, dirty dish rags, potty-training accidents, pet urine, or my favorite, when someone sneaks a wet towel into a pile of dry clothes and then everything stinks.
I have a few different methods you can try.
I’m going to start with the one that works for me 99% of the time, but I have a couple extras. In case the odor persists, you can give those a try. All you’re going to need are a few natural products to get the job done.
For my go-to method, all you’re going to need is white vinegar and baking soda.
- Put the towels in the washing machine and set the temperature to hot.
- Add one cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener tray, or a Downy Ball like me if you don’t have one, or you can even wait and put it in the rinse cycle.
- Then, sprinkle about a half a cup of baking soda into the washing machine drum. Add your laundry soap.
- Wash as normal.
- Before drying, check to see if the smell is gone. If it is, you can just dry it as normal, and you’ll be all set. Also, don’t worry. Your towels are not going to smell like vinegar. I promise. If for some reason, that one doesn’t work, then give this next one a try. You’re going to need white vinegar again, but also, you’re going to use tea tree oil.
- Set your temperature to hot again and add one cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener tray, your Downy Ball, or the rinse cycle, whichever works for you, but this time, you’re also going to add five drops of tea tree oil.
- Add your laundry soap and wash as normal. Remember: check to see if they smell before you put them in the dryer. Before we go on, you many have another favorite laundry detergent which is different from mine. My favorite is the red Tide. Okay, moving on the next step to getting the smells out of your towels.
If those two didn’t work, it’s time to get a bit more aggressive. This is my final method:
- Put the towels into the tub and add about four cups of hot water, not hot tap water, but boiling hot water from the stove.
- Then add about a half a cup of lemon juice. Depending on how many towels you have, you may need to double or triple the amount of water and lemon juice.
- Let it soak for about 40 minutes.
- Then you’re just going to wring them out, put them in your washing machine, and wash them with laundry detergent as you normally would.
Now that your towels are smelling fresh again, there’s another thing I wanted to mention. We really shouldn’t use fabric softener on our towels. It actually puts a buildup on our towels which locks in all of those stinky odors. The best thing to do is to use vinegar in place of fabric softener. You’ll have nice, fresh-smelling towels, and it also will leave them a lot more absorbent. And you won’t get that musty smell back.