Thursday, August 11, 2011

Towel Troubles

Friends, can I ask you a personal question?  I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable or dig too deep, but...

Do your towels smell?

So I'd never really known about the mildew-y, gross smell that towels can take on until I was a freshman in college and, when faced with doing my own laundry for the first time in my life, wasn't quite on top of my game.  What on Earth is this smell my towels have taken on?  Ah yes - it's mildew, and it's because I haven't done laundry all semester.

As my college years went on, I got better with the laundry situation in general, and also learned to air out my towels better between uses.

But lo and behold, after I graduated college I was reacquainted with the smell - at Jonathan's house! Now, ok - when we first started dating, Jonathan had lived alone for awhile and hadn't yet learned to be the neat, tidy man he is today.  So maybe we'll chalk the smell up to less-than-ideal laundry practices.

But about a year into our relationship, I bought him a whole new set of towels.  And from that point, it was decided they would be properly aired out after use and washed on a regular schedule.  And!  Well...  They still started to smell after a couple months!

It is the weirdest thing, you guys, and I don't know what causes it or what to do about it.  But our towels, despite how often we wash them or if we completely air them out to dry after each use, smell like mildew.  So much so that we still don't use the nice, new set of towels we got as a wedding present because we don't want to ruin them.

The circulation in our bathroom is really bad.  It also holds humidity a lot after each shower.  So I'm wondering if that has something to do with it?  But the weird thing is that Jonathan's denoted "towel drying spot" is outside of the bathroom, so wouldn't his at least be free of the smell?  And on the same note, I keep my terrycloth bathrobe hanging on the back of the bathroom door and it doesn't smell, which, you would think it would if the bathroom itself was the problem.

So, do you guys deal with this too?  If not, how often do you wash your towels?  Do you replace them the second you start to get the smell - and if so, how often are you replacing towels?

Never never never did the towels at my house smell when I was growing up, although my mom was pretty much superwoman when it came to home cleanliness, so I wouldn't really expect they would. But also, our house was relatively new (compared to our house now), so I'm wondering if circulation was better there than it is here?


Sarah said...

Interesting. I do not have this problem, but I would say my towels are always completely dry after in the morning after an evening shower. Have you tried using a different detergent? I wonder if that is somehow contributing, or for example do you use fabric softener? I vaguely remember my mom saying something about not using fabric softener on towels. I did a little internet searching and they said a few things: 1) Front loading washers cause this due to mold buildup in the "boot" 2) Liquid Tide causes this 3) Try white distilled vinegar in your laundry load and 4) Make sure they are extra dry when taken out of the dryer

Good luck!

Team DesGranges said...

Ha, well, I'm sure you've tried all of these tactics but:
1) Wash once a week (we probably do ours every other week but if you really want to be clean...)
2) Wash them with super hot water.
3) Rinse twice (just in case there's something going on with the detergent)
4) The bathroom drying situation probably isn't helping but as long as you're spreading the towels out (vs. just hanging them on a hook) they should be drying okay.

I'll be interested to see if someone has a genius solution to this!

AmyBethJames said...

I am right there with ya Jax! We also hang ours on hook on the backs of the bathroom doors which probably contributes to their not getting fully dried out. I just try to wash them more often in really hot water. Oh, and I have had some luck with washing w/ vinegar and also w/ baking soda. I don't replace them because I'm basically too cheap! But I also have a nice "display" set that doesn't ever get used because I don't want them to suffer!