Maintaining fresh, clean towels is crucial for any hospitality business. The lingering stench of stinky towels can tarnish the guest experience and reflect poorly on your establishment.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the best practices for keeping your towels fresh and odor-free. We’ll cover everything from using natural fabric softeners to incorporating vinegar and baking soda into your wash routine. By the end of this article, you will learn how to eliminate musty towel odors. This will ensure that your guests always have a pleasant experience.

Get Rid of Stinky Towel

Understanding the Problem of Stinky Towels

Stinky towels are a common issue in many hospitality settings. The combination of frequent use, moisture, and improper washing techniques can lead to persistent bad smells. If you don’t dry towels properly or leave them in a laundry basket for too long, they can develop a musty smell. Additionally, using too much regular detergent or fabric softener can build up residue, further contributing to the problem.

Best Practices to Prevent Smelly Towels

1. Choose the Right Detergent

Using the wrong detergent can leave a residue on your towels, leading to a musty smell. Using a high-quality detergent designed for heavy-duty washing is essential. Make sure to fully rinse out the detergent during the wash cycle to prevent buildup.

2. Add a Cup of Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer. Adding a cup of baking soda to your wash cycle can help neutralize odors and turn your stinky towel into a fresh towel. Baking soda also softens the water, which enhances the effectiveness of your detergent.

3. Use a Cup of White Vinegar

White vinegar is another powerful natural cleaner. To get rid of detergent residue and odors, add a cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle. Vinegar is particularly effective at getting musty smells out of towels.

4. Incorporate Dryer Balls

Dryer balls can improve the drying process by reducing drying time and fluffing the towels, which helps prevent sour smells. They also reduce static and can eliminate the need for chemical fabric softeners.

Effective Washing Techniques

1. Hot Water Wash

Always wash towels in hot water. Hot water kills bacteria and dissolves detergent more effectively than cold water. This is crucial for eliminating the sources of a smelly towel.

2. Don’t Overload the Washing Machine

Overloading your washing machine can prevent your towels from getting thoroughly cleaned. Make sure there’s enough space for the towels to move around freely, allowing water and detergent to penetrate the fabric.

3. Use the Right Wash Cycle

Select a heavy-duty wash cycle for towels. This ensures a longer wash and rinse, which is necessary for removing deep-seated dirt and odors. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Drying Your Towels Properly

1. Dry Towels Completely

Ensure your towels are completely dry before folding and storing them. Even slightly damp towels can develop a musty smell. Use a high heat setting on your dryer, and if necessary, run an extra cycle to ensure thorough drying.

2. Use Dryer Balls

As mentioned earlier, dryer balls can significantly improve the drying process. They help separate the towels, allowing hot air to circulate more effectively and speeding up drying time.

3. Avoid Leaving Towels in the Dryer

Remove towels from the dryer as soon as the cycle is complete. Letting them sit in a damp, warm environment can lead to sour smells developing.

Additional Tips to Keep Towels Fresh

1. Regular Maintenance

Regularly clean your washing machine to prevent mildew and detergent buildup. Run an empty wash cycle with hot water and a cup of white vinegar once a month to keep your machine fresh.

2. Store Towels Properly

Store towels in a cool, dry place. Avoid piling them up in a damp laundry basket or closet, as this can encourage the growth of mold and mildew.

3. Natural Fabric Softener Alternatives

Commercial fabric softeners can leave a residue that traps odors. Instead, use natural alternatives like vinegar or baking soda to soften your towels and keep them smelling fresh.

4. Quick Action on Damp Towels

Immediately dry any damp towels to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Whether they’re from the pool or the bathroom, ensure they don’t stay damp for long periods.


Keeping your towels fresh and free of odors is essential for maintaining the high standards of your hospitality business. To get rid of stinky towels, use baking soda and white vinegar when washing, and follow proper cleaning and drying methods. Not only will this improve the guest experience, but it will also extend the life of your towels, making it a cost-effective solution for your business.

Remember, the key to preventing and eliminating towel smell lies in diligent maintenance and the use of appropriate cleaning methods. With these tips, you can ensure that your guests always enjoy the comfort and freshness of clean, pleasant-smelling towels.


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