Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Bye Bye Smelly Towels

Do your towels, and washcloths ever emit that stinky smell that never goes away despite continuous washing?  This moldy, musty smell has mystified me for years and I finally decided to find out why they smell, and most importantly, how to get rid of the smell.  I contacted my Busy Bea soapmaking friend and asked for her advice.  Here is her response:

Things that lead to smelly washcloths: not hanging them to air dry before tossing them in the hamper or leaving them crumpled up around the bath and laundry room and too much laundry soap. Remember that if they already have un-rinsed bath soap on them when they go into the wash you're adding to your overall soap content of the wash.

At this point I would recommend doing a load of just washcloths and towels in very, very hot water with a half cup of washing soda or borax or both or one and then the other. You might have to do it more than once to really get rid of the soap build up. It's like stripping cloth diapers that have gotten stinky from too much soap build up. After that if you still have an odor I'd wash them with a few ounces of Bac Out and then call it a day other than cutting down on your soap usage.

I always wash towels and such in hot water to prevent this, but sometimes it still happens with dishcloths anyway. I usually use a non-soap surfactant called Basic H on my dishes, but once in a while we'll use reg dish soap for a few days until my dishcloths start smelling again and I remember why I don't use dish soap!




Taking Kristina's advice, I decided to try Borax because that is what I have on-hand.  I put a 1/2 cup Borax in the washing machine with my towels and washcloths.  I used the Deep Clean Sanitary Cycle which uses super hot water for both washing and rinsing.  The entire cycle takes 2 hours!

The results:  NO SMELL!  I couldn't believe it!  By finding a solution to the smell, I have increased the longevity of my towels, and therefore, fewer have to be cut up and used as rags.  Thank you Kristina & thank you Borax!

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A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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