One laundry tip for smelly towels is to use the vinegar method, which involves pouring of white vinegar in the rinse cycle. The borax method or using borax and baking soda is another way to remove the musty smell from towels and clothes.
White vinegar is a traditional and natural cleaning agent that helps neutralize any odor in fabrics, such as clothes, towels and carpets. Its higher pH level also reduces the lower pH levels of detergents, which naturally removes residual detergent in fabrics that is one possible cause of the musty smell. To remove the smell from towels using white vinegar, pour a cup of white vinegar to the final rinse. Washing towels using hot water and a cup or two of vinegar before washing again with regular laundry detergent is also another way to use the vinegar method. Spraying white vinegar to dry towels and running an iron over them can also help remove odor from already washed towels.
Like white vinegar, borax also neutralizes the pH level of odor compounds to eliminate the bad smell from fabrics. The borax method combines the laundry detergent and equal parts of borax and baking soda into the wash cycle. To remove tough mildew smell from towels, use the borax method during the wash cycle, soak overnight in the same detergent and borax/baking soda solution overnight, and rinse using the vinegar method the next day.