How Do You Get a Smell Out of Towels?

Remove the odor from smelly towels by adding vinegar to the normal rinse, washing again with baking soda instead of detergent and line drying. Soften line-dried towels by putting them in the dryer on the fluff cycle a few minutes with a clean tennis ball.

  1. Rinse with vinegar

    Run the towels through a wash cycle using warm water and your normal laundry detergent. Add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. Vinegar is a natural fabric softener that helps to remove odors. It dissolves buildup of detergent and fabric softener that make towels less effective at drying and hold odor-causing bacteria in the fibers.

  2. Wash with baking soda

    Before removing the towels to the dryer, start the wash cycle a second time. Keep the machine settings the same, but add 1/2 cup of baking soda instead of detergent. Do not add fabric softener to the rinse cycle.

  3. Dry on a clothesline

    Dry the smelly towels on a clothesline. The ultraviolet rays of the sun help to kill bacteria, and the fresh air keeps towels smelling fresh.

  4. Fluff in the dryer

    Line-dried towels are often stiff and uncomfortable to use. Soften the towels by placing them in the dryer on the fluff cycle. Add one or two tennis balls to the drum to help soften the stiff fabric.