How to Refresh Your Stinky Towels Naturally

refresh stinky towels naturally

Despite being green for the most part, we always wash our towels in hot water because — let’s face it — towels washed in cold can smell just gross.

The other day I noticed a towel after one use smelled like it had been dragged through an onion patch. This happens more than I care to admit (but I will anyway). A towel used on a clean person’s body should not smell bad. However, months on end of detergent buildup and mildew as well as many other factors can take their toll on towels. I turned to the worldwide web for a solution. Here’s what I came up with:


good ol' white vinegar saves the day



  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 1/2 cup baking soda


How to Destinkify Towels:

  1. USE NO DETERGENT. Run your towels through the washer in hot water adding 2 cups of vinegar.
  2. When that’s done, run them through the washer a second time in hot water with 1/2 cup of baking soda.
  3. Dry using medium or high heat, or line dry if it’s a nice summer day.


I usually dry everything on low, but thankfully we had a massive power outage due to the ice storm this past Sunday. It lasted 15 hours. I think that makes up for the one mid-peak hour of hydro that we consumed a bit more. Guilt mostly gone.

The reason this freshens your towels up is that it removes the build-up of residue from your detergent. That build-up can prevent towels from absorbing well enough to dry properly after use, causing a filthy towel stench that you won’t want to admit you’ve smelled in your own home.

To prevent this stench from returning, don’t use a lot of detergent every time you do a towel load. More is almost never better, especially when it comes to detergent.

freshly washed and rolled towels

Try this method out on your towels and tell me they aren’t fresher afterward!

About Nikki

I've been writing since I was in kindergarten where I Crayola-markered an epic tale of a tiger and a balloon on a stack of lined papers folded into a booklet and stapled along the edge (carefully, and by my teacher). I love DIY, sewing, folksy music, animals and getting out to look at and listen to nature.
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