Everyday Cheapskate: A Simple Solution for Gross, Smelly Towels
If my inbox is any indicator of what's going on in the world, and I believe it is, smelly towels are a growing problem for consumers -- and certainly for my dear "Everyday Cheapskate" readers. And it's a rather new problem, the result of modern things like front-loading high-efficiency washing machines, detergents, fabric softeners and damp conditions.
If you've noticed gross, smelly towels in your houses, albeit appearing to be washed, dried and ready to go, perhaps you've also noticed that your towels have begun to repel rather than absorb water.
That moldy, mildewy, gross smell? It's the result of the buildup of detergents and fabric softeners that have not been rinsed out properly, together with damp, moist conditions. What you have there is a breeding ground for bacteria. No wonder you've got a big, gross, smelly laundry problem.
If your towels have stopped doing what they're supposed to do well -- absorb water -- that problem stems from the same source: detergent and fabric softener buildup. Seriously! With detergent and laundry, more is decidedly not better.
You are going to use white vinegar and baking soda to fix this skanky problem once and for all. But do not use these products at the same time. This will be a two-step process.
Vinegar contains acetic acid that breaks down mineral deposits and dissolves the buildup of detergent and fabric softeners. Baking soda is alkaline and breaks down dirt and grease and neutralizes odors. Used together, they counteract each other.
For this process, we want them to do their work independently. This will strip the residue and leave them fresh and able to absorb more water again.