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When The Forgotten Beach Towel Resurfaces

Musty-smelling beach towels? Don’t throw in the towel! Here’s how to get them smelling fresh and feeling fluffy without using overly harsh laundry stripping methods. We call our expert method of deep cleaning items like towels pretreating, because it treats fabrics effectively, lifting heavy odors and stains without the harsh additives. Follow along for our expert towel tricks!

GATHER THESE TOOLS: Stain Solution, All-Purpose Bleach Alternative, Scented Vinegar, Stain Brush, Wash Tub Basin, Signature Detergent, Fabric Fresh Classic

how to wash towels

Pretreat Stains & Mildew

Apply Stain Solution directly to stained or mildew-y areas. Sprinkle All-Purpose Bleach Alternative over solution to create a powerful cleaning paste. Now dip a Stain Brush into hot water and work the mixture into the fabric. Finish by pouring hot water from a faucet or kettle over the affected area. The force of the pouring water will help drive the solutions deeper into the fabric.

Address Odors

If the towel has a musty odor, “strip” away the buildup by soaking in a bath of hot water (use a tub or Wash Tub Basin) mixed with ½ - 1 cup of Scented Vinegar for a minimum of 30 minutes. Vinegar naturally fights mildew and deodorizes fabrics. Repeat until the spots have disappeared and odor has expelled before tossing it in the wash.

how to clean smelly towels

Do a Deep Clean

Once you see mildew stains lifting, machine wash the towel in hot water on the normal cycle. Add the appropriate amount of Signature Detergent, and 1-2 capfuls of All-Purpose Bleach Alternative. The stain-fighting enzymes and mineral-derived enhancers in our detergent, combined with the chlorine-free brightening properties of the Bleach Alternative will provide the most thorough clean. Do not add fabric softener or conditioner to the cycle, as it can affect moisture absorption in towels.


Only dry when you are sure that all traces of mildew are gone. Opt for a high heat setting to ensure towels are completely dry—wet or damp towels are breeding grounds for mold and mildew growth. Before folding, spritz with Fabric Fresh Classic for an extra hit of crisp, clean linen scent.