How to Wash Towels

How to Wash Towels. Towels range from affordable to luxuriously expensive. All towels, however, no matter what their price levels, need continual washing to remain clean and healthy for the user. Lots of little loops in terrycloth towels are designed to trap moisture, and they don't always get a chance to dry properly. Regular, thorough washing takes care of any mildew or mites that attack the fabric and cut short its useful life.

How to Wash Towels (Image: Mark May)

Step 1

How to Wash Towels (Image: Mark May)

Gather all your towels and sort them into darks and lights. For patterned towels, go with the most dominant color.

Step 2

How to Wash Towels (Image: Mark May)

Sort any towels used for cleaning into a separate pile.

Step 3

How to Wash Towels (Image: Mark May)

Wash the first load. Set the load capacity for the volume of towels you have.

Step 4

How to Wash Towels (Image: Mark May)

Adjust the temperature control to hot. A hot wash, with a cold rinse, is okay.

Step 5

How to Wash Towels (Image: Mark May)

Set the cycle to normal or heavy for an extra-large load of towels.

Step 6

How to Wash Towels (Image: Mark May)

Turn the washing machine on to start the cycle. Let a little water pour in, and then add your soap, so you won't get powder or sticky spots on your towels.

Step 7

How to Wash Towels (Image: Mark May)

Add the towels to the washer, arranging them to give the agitator space to move around.

Step 8

How to Wash Towels (Image: Mark May)

Close the washer lid and allow the cycle to progress. Some washers have a buzzer that sounds when the load is done.

Step 9

How to Wash Towels (Image: Mark May)

Dry dark and light towels separately in order to keep white or light towels bright. Dry cotton towels on high heat.


To prevent mildew, always air towels out for a short time after machine drying. The terrycloth pile may still hold moisture that needs to evaporate. Towel seams take a beating in the washer and dryer. As you sort your towels, check for wear that might be repaired before putting them through the wash again.


Be careful with bleach, as it can irritate some people's skin. Watch the lint screen if you are washing and drying a lot of towels. Towels create more lint than most fabrics, and a clogged lint screen may prevent your clothes from drying. It can even cause a fire. Do not let an errant red item make its way into your load of white towels. If you do, you will own pink towels. Don't cram a washer full of towels. Some units won't be able to handle the heavy load.