Ever get out of the shower or bath squeaky clean (thanks to a brown sugar body scrub or apple cider vinegar shine rinse) and the minute the towel hits your skin you think "What's that stench? I just washed this!"
I've tweaked my laundry soap recipe, bought eco-friendlier store-bought options, used vinegar in the rinse cycle, soaked them in oxygen bleach but nothing seems to get the skunky mildew stink out.
So I begged Dihan Chandra of Organic Lifestyle to help me solve my bath towel woes.
Turns out the secret is in the drying, not the washing! AIR CIRCULATION!
Tip #1: Hang towels
Whether they're organic cotton, bamboo or a blend, it's crucial that towels "breathe" immediately after use, to allow air flow through fibers and speed drying time. A towel balled up on the floor encourages bacterial growth, which increases funky smells.
Solution: Hang towels to dry! (In the sun, weather permitting, also helps.)
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Tip #2: Bamboo is better
Dihan suggests bamboo towels over organic cotton for odor prevention.
Why? Bamboo is made of a stringy material, which breathes better. Bamboo towels tend to be lighter than cotton and so dry faster. Bamboo plants are also thought to be naturally resistant to bacteria, mildew and fungus. But purchase Oeko-tex certified bamboo!
(Note: organic cotton towels can perform just as well when you follow all four tips.)
Tip #3: Air dry immediately
Bamboo can withstand high heat dryer cycles but dryers are energy hogs. Stick to air drying or the dryer's air cycle.
Use an air cycle for organic cotton (high heat will cause shrinkage). With proper care, organic cotton towels will last a long time!
Tip #4: Avoid bleach and softeners
Bleach destroys the luxurious softness of towels and fabric softener leaves a coat of chemicals behind.
Have towels that cannot be salvaged?
- Donate them to an animal shelter or rehabilitation centre
- Give them to a mechanic friend or local auto repair shop
Have you found the perfect towel that doesn't get stinky?
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green