What is the best way to remedy sour smelling colored towels?
No one likes a smelly towel, but with the increased use of towels during the summer, it can really stink! I get this question a lot, especially from people with HE washers. Smelly towels usually indicate that there is soil build-up inside the inner workings of your clothes washer that harbors odor-causing bacteria. The odors transfer from the washer to your laundry, and it is particularly noticeable on towels once they get wet. Here are several ways to address the problem:
1. Clean out your washer. Run an empty washer through a clean-out cycle with hot water and ¾ cup Clorox® Regular Bleach2 (or fill dispenser to the “max fill” line). Select the extra rinse option if your machine offers this; otherwise run an extra rinse cycle when the first cycle is complete. Depending on how bad the build-up is, it might take running several clean-out cycles with bleach to fully clean the washer. To keep the problem from coming back, run a clean out cycle with bleach once a month. Washing at least one white load with bleach per week will also help.
2. Check your towels for bleach colorfastness. Some colored towels can be safely bleached — find out if yours can with a quick bleachability test: add 2 teaspoons Clorox® Regular Bleach2 to ¼ cup water; apply a small drop to a hidden part of the towel, such as under the care label; wait 1 minute then blot dry; no color change means you can safely bleach the towel. If your towels pass, bleaching them regularly will eliminate odor causing bacteria on the towels. You can just add them to your white load along with your other bleachables.
3. Wash in hot water. The hotter the water, the better the cleaning. This is especially important for towels that can’t be bleached!
4. Dry towels immediately following the wash cycle. Any item that sits around damp is providing the optimum environment for mildew growth. Be sure to select enough drying time so that towels dry completely, too.