How to take care of your towels

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PHOENIX -- I am constantly being asked about keeping towels clean and odor-free. Here are some tricks and tips to keep them clean and fresh smelling.

First, always sort correctly. Never wash your dark towels and light ones together. Light color lint will embed in the dark towels and dark color will slowly bleed into the light colored towels.

KICK IT UP: Is important to always wash towels in the hottest possible water. This is not the time to use the cold wash cycle. You want your towels to be clean and germ-free. Remember, when you dry with a towel it is exfoliating dry skin which is then trapped in the towel. To kick your regular detergent up a notch, add 1/2 cup of washing soda to a full load of towels.

PRESOAKING: It’s a great idea to presoak heavily soiled towels. Soak them in hot water and 1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax and that will not only loosen the dirt, it will also help with lingering odors.

DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENER: Don’t use liquid softener or dryer softener sheets. It may seem like it leaves your towels soft and fluffy but in truth it is coating the fibers making them less absorbent and allowing them to smell. Use 1/2 cup of white vinegar instead. Pour it into the softener dispenser or into the wash load. The vinegar smell will disappear when then are dry. Once you have done this a few times you will be amazed at how nice the towels are and how well they dry.

DARK TOWEL FADING: If you use dark towels and they are fading, the next time you buy the new towels put the old and new in the washer together and allow to soak a few hours. Dye will transfer from the new towels to the old ones.

NEW TOWELS: They have sizing in them so they don’t dry well. Wash them before using in warm water and your regular detergent and use white vinegar to soften.

NON-ABSORBENT TOWELS: If your towels are no longer absorbing water when you dry with them or just slide over your body, Wash them several times in hot water and use NO detergent or fabric softener.

You can also soak them overnight in a washer full of hot water and 1/4 cup of epsom salts (available at drug stores. The next day allow the washer to drain and then wash in hot water and detergent.

If your towels develop that dirty sock smell buy Smelly Towel. It is a natural product that will remove the nasty smell from your towels. Go to for a store locator or to order. I do this one time per month. One bottle lasts about a year.

For more information on the Queen of Clean Linda Cobb, to find products used and recommended by the Queen and FREE printouts go to Find the Queen’s books at national book stores and on Amazon and