According to Better Homes and Gardens, colored towels should be washed with warm water and color-safe bleach every three to four days. White towels should be washed with hot water and bleach every three to four days as well. It is important to wash new towels at least one time prior to use, as many towels are coated with finishes that must be removed to ensure optimal absorbency.
Decorative towels that are designed with trim and excess do not need to be washed as frequently as bath or kitchen towels, as over-washing can cause excess wear on the fabric. It is also important for individuals to ensure that their towels are completely dry upon removal from the dryer, as mildew can develop on damp towels. For sanitary purposes, Better Homes and Gardens recommends washing towels and clothing separately.
Using liquid fabric softener regularly when washing towels can actually lead to residual build-up, which in turn can cause towels to become stiff over time, so it is always a good idea to use unscented dryer sheets when drying towels. Stiff towels can be softened by adding baking soda and/or vinegar to the wash cycle, placing tennis balls in the dryer with wet towels, using less detergent, or minimizing the amount of towels with each load of laundry.