‘Revive’ your white towels with ‘simple cupboard solution’
Cleaning hack: How to whiten and remove stains in towels
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A cosy white bath towel isn’t just a dreamy thing to wrap up in after a soak – they also look brilliant folded on the rack. Unless of course, households are struggling to keep theirs white and fluffy when doing the laundry. With daily use and regular washing, Britons are not alone in the fight to keep their white towels looking bright – those shades of grey can happen to everyone. Kathleen Bell, smol’s sustainable cleaning expert, has shared her “best alternatives” to bleach when washing white towels to keep them looking fresh.
While households may turn to bleach for the whitest whites, they should know that bleach can be damaging. It is a strong chemical that can damage clothing.
Chlorine bleach is so strong, it weakens and deteriorates fabric. It cannot be used on silks, wools, or synthetic clothing.
Wash with similar colours
To keep white towels looking their best it’s recommended to avoid washing them with other colours.
However, the expert warned: “Running the washing machine when it’s not completely full is a sure-fire way to run up your energy bills, so if you don’t have a full load of white towels this might not always be possible.”
Kathleen shared a “quick tip” to check if a washing machine is full. She instructed: “Use your hand to measure a palm’s width between the top of your laundry and the top inside of the drum – any less and the washing won’t have room to clean, any more space than the width of your palm then you know you’re not at capacity.”
Wash at low temperatures
The laundry pro explained that washing at higher temperatures can increase the likelihood of dyes running or bleeding.
She said: “Most detergents work perfectly – and sometimes even better – at lower temperatures, because anything too hot can denature the enzymes in them that breakdown stains.
“Washing at the right temperature not only helps keep your towels looking better for longer, but can also help you save on energy, too.”
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Washing at 60°c is usually what’s recommended for a weekly towel wash, however, Kathleen claimed that “by using a good laundry detergent, washing at 30°c will work just as well or is even recommended for washing with bio laundry capsules”.
She added: “I recommend a regular weekly wash at 30°c and a monthly wash at 60°c to help kill any nasties.”
Use kitchen staple
For towels that do appear to be greying, “a simple solution could be in your cupboard”, according to the expert. She said: “Baking soda is an easy way to brighten white towels.”
Mix one cup of baking soda mixed with five litres of warm water and leave the white towels to soak overnight before washing as normal.
Half a cup of baking soda can also be added straight to the washing machine’s drum for those who don’t have the time to soak their towels overnight. She said: “This will keep them nice and fluffy, perfect if they need a little reviving.”
Hang them outside
According to Kathleen, keeping white towels “looking bright and preventing greying doesn’t need to cost you anything”.
She claimed: “Line drying outside in the sun will help as the UV rays naturally bleach clothing. Even during a cold snap, hanging towels by a window will have the same effect.”
This will also stop towels smelling “damp and musty” in between washes. Hanging towels outside or in a ventilated area will allow it to dry fully after each time, and “will prevent bacteria build up that can lead to your towel feeling less than fresh”.
Check the label
To keep your towels cosy and absorbent, it’s a good idea to also check what’s in the fabric softener being used.
Kathleen warned: “Many use ingredients derived from animal fat, such as tallow, which sticks to the fibres causing them to lose their absorbency and even go crispy and dull. Look for an animal fat free fabric conditioner to help keep them soft and fluffy.”
Opt for enzymes
If towels do become stained and households choose to use a stain remover to treat them, rather than baking soda, the expert said: “I’d recommend opting for one that is enzyme-based and bleach-free, like smol’s, to break down the proteins of common stains.
“Most stain removers simply bleach your clothes clean, using high concentrations of harsh chemicals that, like bleach, can damage fabrics and even irritate skin.”
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