Bath towels again

PatJune 13, 2012

So, I haven't been paying much attention to those of you who don't wash in very hot water. I've always washed bath towels in very hot water, but just recently got wind of the fact that I may be ruining them. Almost every towel label says to wash in "Warm" water and I never knew that. Do you think the towel manufacturers recommend Warm water to keep the towel color from running or because hot water destroys the towel fibers? I think Martha Stewart recommends drying in Warm not hot heat also. What do you think?

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I think some towels are cheaply made nowadays and if you wash and dry them using very hot temperatures, the colors may bleed or the decorative bands may shrink and pucker. Having said that, I ignore all washing instructions and wash my towels in very hot water and dry them in hot. I've encountered no problems and my towels are not ruined. They are soft and clean.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 4:28PM
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The care label on our Land's End Supima Cotton towels says to wash in Warm water. I ruined one set by washing in HOT. They immediately became rough and scratchy and totally unredeemable. (I do not use fabric softener)

Even washing these Lands End Supima towels in Warm has left them not as soft as brand new, and the bands are sort of shrunk. ( I dry on a very low, gentle heat)

I think it's all a toss-up. Every home and environment is different. Towels differ in the cotton, weave, thread used, etc. For the Land's End Supima towels, I use a detergent that has an oxygen bleach in it, in lieu of Hot water, to kill any mustiness that the towels develop from drying slowly in a bathroom with poor air circulation. And it will develop in our climate and environment.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 6:31PM
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Whether it's good or bad I do like izeve. They go through the sanitize cycle and then in a hot dryer. We only use a towel one time and then it goes to the wash. When they get too flimsy they become car towels. I do buy light colors so I don't worry about fading. The only dark towels, that are kept in the doors of the vehicles, are washed in cool water to keep the color true.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 10:55PM
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I'm thinking: how dirty can towels be if they were only used to dry off your just-washed body? I mean, it's not like they were on your body all day, soaking up all your oils and grime. And the detergent should get rid of any must or mildew, if it's a good one, or if you added something like Borax. I wonder what I was thinking. I can see hot water for bed linens and certain clothes, but towels? I think I just lowered our hot water bills.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 11:55PM
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I also read that drying white or light colored clothes on High Temp over time makes them have a dull, dingy look from too much heat.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 12:15AM
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We use our towels several times before they go into the wash. Before I started using Sanitary cycle on my towels (my prior washer did not have an internal heater), they invariably developed musty smells. And the white towels were dingy. Washing them on Sanitary got rid of all that. My white towels are bright white and they all smell fresh and clean. Towels may not look dirty but they do gather a lot of body oils and skin cells that over time will build up and make them smelly.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 6:44AM
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izeve, I don't need to resort to a hot wash for towels. We reuse our towels a few times, but face cloths just once. Our FL washer gets everything clean and totally odor free using WARM or COLD settings. You should be relatively CLEAN, after you take a shower, so your towels shouldn't be full of "body oils", etc.

I still can't fathom how some of the posters here talk about how gross their sheets get (the nude sleepers with "body oils", etc). And now we have you telling us about your body oils on towels. sigh.

FYI, I have a very sensitive nose, so I notice any odors on clothing, towels etc, so it's not like I'm not noticing. Now my OLD washer (a top loader) did a lousy job of cleaning the laundry. For all it's faults our Samsung FL does a very very amazing job of getting everything clean.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 11:29AM
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Sorry about grossing you out, dave, but this is a laundry forum after all ;-) I guess you are blessed with not having oily skin.... My experience is definitely different from yours. Washing towels in warm water definitely did not get our towels clean enough. Sure, they looked clean but over time (I'd say a year or two of just warm washes) they got quite stinky (OK when dry but stinky as soon as they got wet). I've had front loaders since late 1990s, but got one with a heater about a year and a half ago. I can honestly say that my towels are like night and day. After a couple of sanitary washes, they lost all the stinkies and have been super clean since. I don't think they need super hot washes every time, but they definitely need them on regular basis. And same with bed sheets, esp. pillowcases....

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 8:01PM
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glad you got your problem sorted out regarding the towels. Yes, I know it's a laundry forum. :) I wonder if you have issues with your front loader getting things clean enough due to their being too much water. My washer cleans well when there's not so much water in the drum that the laundry fails to "lift", via the paddles. Some cycles I run, such as the Active Wear or Delicates seems to use a lot more water, and coupled with the lower agitation, the clothes just kind of "sit there" in the water. Great for reducing wear and tear, but not so great for effective cleaning, as when the other cycles lift the clothes over and over onto themselves. Therefore I'm wondering if your FL from the 90's simply had too much water in them to do an effective job of cleaning. Might be that or the detergents--cleaning isn't rocket science--it's a matter of agitation, temperature, time, and detergent quality.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 5:14PM
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oops--no edit function! please forgive the obvious grammatical gaffes due to my lack of proofreading. I'm really NOT that ignorant--just in a hurry. LOL!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 5:16PM
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