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Towels that smell horrid after washing


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#1 purpleblackqueen

Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:43 PM

Yes another washing question

I have noticed that some of my towels smell horrid after washing, they smell like across between parmesan cheese and off milk, (they didn't smell like that before washing)

I wash them in woolwash in a cold, with a bit of fabric softener (which I know is not the cause, as I use the same fabric softener on evyething else and they all smell fine)

Towels are line dried.

I clean the filter, and put vinegar and Hot water through the machine regularly.

Any ideas?


#2 Logical nonsense

Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:50 PM

I never wash my towels or linen in cold, I find it just don't get clean, especially in summer as we sweat during the night.
I line dry as well.
No fabric softener just some vinegar.

Try putting them through a warm wash.

#3 Beanbag Warrior

Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:51 PM

I'd probably do a hot wash with just the stinky towels, bicarb and vinegar.  Might be the fibres reacting with something.

Then sun dry.

#4 chickenpants

Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:56 PM

You're not supposed to use fabric softener on towels, it stops them from absorbing water well.

I always use napisan and a hot wash with an extra rinse (make sure all the soap is out), with a line dry.

#5 katrina24

Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:57 PM

Is it possible they are sitting wet for a little while before hanging them out or taking ages to dry (damp weather). Being moist for too long can cause the odour.  I find that, if it happens, a warm/hot wash ans straight in the sun shine until really dry gets rid of it.

#6 purpleblackqueen

Posted 19 January 2013 - 05:52 PM

QUOTE (katrina24 @ 19/01/2013, 05:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Is it possible they are sitting wet for a little while before hanging them out or taking ages to dry (damp weather). Being moist for too long can cause the odour.  I find that, if it happens, a warm/hot wash ans straight in the sun shine until really dry gets rid of it.


They get washed an put straight on the line, if it is wet weather they get washed and eithe rput into the dryer or hung on the airer.

Even towels that have been used and are ready to be changed are hung to dry before going into the dirty laundry basket.

#7 ~THE~MAGICIAN~

Posted 19 January 2013 - 05:52 PM

Ditch the wool wash, and the fabric softener which is bad for towels anyway. Wash in normal detergent, cold water.



#8 purpleblackqueen

Posted 19 January 2013 - 05:57 PM

QUOTE (~THE~MAGICIAN~ @ 19/01/2013, 06:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ditch the wool wash, and the fabric softener which is bad for towels anyway. Wash in normal detergent, cold water.


I wash in wool wash as I found normal detergent made the towel crusty and horrible, so matter how they were dried- even the expensive towels went the same.

Edited by purpleblackqueen, 19 January 2013 - 05:57 PM.


#9 kez71

Posted 19 January 2013 - 05:57 PM

id ditch the towels or use them for pets and buy more..but thats just me..i hate stinky towels!

#10 Loulla

Posted 19 January 2013 - 05:59 PM

Yeh I second that - get a normal detergent, add a little extra as well as a cap of nappysan. Put on soak cycle warm wash with vinegar for rinse then straight into the sunshine. Consider a second rinse too.

#11 purpleblackqueen

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:04 PM

QUOTE (Loulla @ 19/01/2013, 06:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yeh I second that - get a normal detergent, add a little extra as well as a cap of nappysan. Put on soak cycle warm wash with vinegar for rinse then straight into the sunshine. Consider a second rinse too.


How do you then get rid of the vinegar smell?? I have tried it before for the rinse and the smell- even after a 2nd rinse cycle, turned me off.


#12 ubermum

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:06 PM

If you have been using softener, I'd strip wash them like nappies. The smell will we trapped in the oily build up from the softener. I would hot wash them with some dishwashing detergent which is designed to break down oil and then double rinse and line dry. I don't understand the whole crunchy towel hate though.  shrug.gif The minute they touch your wet body and get damp, they're not crunchy anymore.

Edited by ubermum, 19 January 2013 - 06:07 PM.


#13 Beanbag Warrior

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:31 PM

the vinegar smell evaporates off.  It's pretty strong while wet, but dries away to scentlessness

#14 mamma2miracles

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:37 PM

You're probably leaving them in the washing machine too long.  Whenever anything gets stinky in this house, it's because it sat in the washing machine and I have to rewash it to get rid of the smell.


You're probably leaving them in the washing machine too long.  Whenever anything gets stinky in this house, it's because it sat in the washing machine and I have to rewash it to get rid of the smell.


#15 purpleblackqueen

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:39 PM

QUOTE (Soprano-Cat @ 19/01/2013, 07:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
the vinegar smell evaporates off.  It's pretty strong while wet, but dries away to scentlessness


So what would you use in the rinse that softened, but also smelt nice?? I love nice smelling towels..

#16 purpleblackqueen

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:41 PM

QUOTE (mamma2miracles @ 19/01/2013, 07:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You're probably leaving them in the washing machine too long.  Whenever anything gets stinky in this house, it's because it sat in the washing machine and I have to rewash it to get rid of the smell.


You're probably leaving them in the washing machine too long.  Whenever anything gets stinky in this house, it's because it sat in the washing machine and I have to rewash it to get rid of the smell.



As soon as the buzzer on the machine goes off to say the cycle has finished, they are pulled out and either hung on the line or put on the airer, so they are not left in the machine or laying in the basket wet.

#17 neddyteddy

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:42 PM

I agree, ditch the wool wash as towels are not made of wool and the fabric softener will be leaving a film on the towels. Soap has a high fat content and the residue ends up on your towels, my mum used to do a wash without detergent and a hot wash every now and then to break this down.
I like vinegar for the rinse cycle and find if you line dry them and don't use too much you can't smell it.


#18 cas8cas

Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:43 PM

i use dettol or canestan rinse and my towels stay fluffy and smell nice  biggrin.gif

#19 Gudrun

Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:02 PM

Yeah, ditch the woolwash. I think that's where the smell is coming from. Not meant for towels.  Maybe from the fabric softener as well.  Use perfumed drawer liners or pot pourri sachets in your linen cupboard if you want sweet smelling towels

#20 lep_78

Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:12 PM

do you have a front loader? that can make the towels come out more crisp than a top loader. i found this when i got my new front loader, you get used to it.

#21 Freddie'sMum

Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:22 PM

I wouldn't be washing towels in a wool wash - it probably isn't helping.

I would use normal detergent - no fabric softener - and a warm wash.

Oh - and if you are using a front loader - bring your spin speed down - mine only go thru on 900rpm - the machine can spin at 1400rpm.

Hope this helps.



#22 unicorn

Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:24 PM

Make a softener using one cup of bi carb, one cup of white vinegar, a couple of drops of essential oil, I use eucalyptus oil and i also add lemon myrtle just coz I love the smell. Put all that in a 2 litre bottle and fill with warm water, shake well before each use, I just fill the softener dispenser with it.

And too much soap will make your towels scratchy.

#23 purpleblackqueen

Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:30 PM

QUOTE (unicorn @ 19/01/2013, 08:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Make a softener using one cup of bi carb, one cup of white vinegar, a couple of drops of essential oil, I use eucalyptus oil and i also add lemon myrtle just coz I love the smell. Put all that in a 2 litre bottle and fill with warm water, shake well before each use, I just fill the softener dispenser with it.

And too much soap will make your towels scratchy.



Thanks for the recipe

#24 purpleblackqueen

Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:31 PM

QUOTE (lep_78 @ 19/01/2013, 08:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
do you have a front loader? that can make the towels come out more crisp than a top loader. i found this when i got my new front loader, you get used to it.


I have a top loader, it is the latest simpson model and only about 2 years old

#25 Feral timtam

Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:32 PM

The woolwash and the fabric softener will be leaving a film on the towels that traps body oils. That's what's causing the stink, it happens with cloth nappies too and to get rid of it you do something called a strip wash.

Give them a wash on the hottest setting you can set the machine to with napisan. Then run them through another hot cycle without detergent to get rid of any residue in them. They'll come out stiff as a board but at least they won't stink.
Dry them in full sun if you can because that will get rid of any residual stink.

To get rid of the stiffness either pop them in the tumble dryer or fold them up and put them in the freezer. I'm not quite sure how it works but freezing the towels is a trick my Grandmother taught me and it makes them come out lovely and soft.

If you can adjust the RPM of your washing machine, set it to the lowest RPM when washing towels. In my machine I set it to 600RPM for towels, if you can't adjust the RPM try washing your towels on the delicates cycle. The lower the RPM of the wash the softer the towels come out.

Also try using the Earths Choice detergent on towels, I find it leaves the towels softer than the other brands and it takes longer for smell and stiffness to build up.




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