Recharge Your Towels

Recharge Your Towels | Get Inspired Everyday!

Recharge Your Towels | Get Inspired Everyday!

I came across this idea on Pinterest and I knew I had to try it! There comes a point in the life of a towel when it’s just not smelling quite right. No matter how much Clorox for colors I used, there was still an ‘off’ smell.

To the best of my knowledge the original source for this method is Wikihow.

‘Recharging’ your towels with vinegar and baking soda is right up my alley because they’re my two favorite household cleaners.

Recharge Your Towels | Get Inspired Everyday!

It’s a really simple process:

1. Wash your towels with hot water and 1 cup of white vinegar, (don’t use any detergents or fabric softeners).

2. Run the towels for the second time with 1/2 cup baking soda and hot water, (again, no detergent or fabric softener).

3. Dry your towels on the hottest setting until thoroughly dry. You can also hang them outside in the sun for additional freshening.

If the ‘off’ smell persists, run through this method again. This time use 2 cups of vinegar and let the towels soak in the hot water – vinegar bath for a few hours before continuing with the process.

Recharge Your Towels | Get Inspired Everyday!

Both vinegar and baking soda ‘strip’ the soap and fabric softener residue from your towels. Fabric softener in particular coats the fibers of your towels with chemical oils, making it difficult to get your towels truly clean. Vinegar not only strips residue, but it also acts as a fabric softener and it’s so much cheaper!

I’m really pleased with the results of washing my towels this way. They smell great, and as a bonus they’re also much softer!

One final note:

Do not mix the vinegar and baking soda in the same load because the two together cause a chemical reaction that foams which might cause your washing machine to overflow! Even though I’m a big fan of ‘two for one’, but in this case there are no shortcuts. Luckily the washing machine does all the work!

26 Comments on “Recharge Your Towels”

  1. Okay dumdum question do you add the vinegar to the water when you are filling up your machine then you put the towels in or do you run the water put the towels in then add the vinegar ?same question with the baking soda after you finish doing vinegar and you run the next wash do you fill up the water in the wash machine and then add the baking soda on top of the towels that are already in there ? I have too loader machine just FYI

    1. I normally add either the vinegar or baking soda while I’m filling up the washing machine to make sure it mixes in well, but I have added them after the towels when I forgot and I can’t say it seems to make any difference which way you do it. I hope this helps, and be sure to let me know if you have anymore questions!

  2. I’m confused because of conflicting advises from many people . Is it baking soda first then final rinse vinegar or soak with vinegar then baking soda on the final rinse. Thanks for your advise

    1. It’s 2 separate loads with the vinegar being the 1st wash, and the baking soda being the 2nd wash.

      1. Wash your towels with hot water and 1 cup of white vinegar, (don’t use any detergents or fabric softeners).

      2. Run the towels for the second time with 1/2 cup baking soda and hot water, (again, no detergent or fabric softener).

      3. Dry your towels on the hottest setting until thoroughly dry. You can also hang them outside in the sun for additional freshening.

      If the ‘off’ smell persists, run through this method again. This time use 2 cups of vinegar and let the towels soak in the hot water – vinegar bath for a few hours before continuing with the process.

  3. I’ve just tried the vinegar/ baking soda recipe on my towels. ? Do you need to wash them again with detergent when done with this process?

    1. You don’t need to wash them again with detergent unless you like to have the detergent smell in the finished laundry. Let me know if you have anymore questions, I’d be glad to try and help! 🙂

  4. Hey Kari,
    I have been using vinegar in the rinse cycle of my washing machine for a few months now…. I discovered what you mentioned about vinegar cutting the soap and stopped using them together :/ as that defeats the purpose of the laundry detergent. I put the vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser after the wash cycle. As a reminder, your clothes may smell of vinegar when taking them out of the washer but once they’re dried in the dryer or on a line, they smell fresh and wonderful!

    1. You can use them together but it does sort of defeat the detergent, but if you use just a bit of vinegar with each wash, it can help keep your washing machine from smelling. But it’s definitely best to keep them separate to have a real effect on your clothes! 🙂

  5. Can’t wait to try this….been noticing that not-quite-fresh smell lately, right out of the dryer. Eww. I never used to use fabric softener for my towels but many years ago my mother-in-law convinced me that it makes them softer and more absorbent…..apparently she was wrong! Plan to try using vinegar for the regular washing after doing the two separate cycles for freshening. Thanks!!

    1. I hope everything goes well with a few washings, but if you still notice a smell try again because sometimes it takes a bit to get that smell back out in stubborn cases. I now wash my towels with less detergent and about 1/4-1/2 cup vinegar in the load every single time. And if they ever start smelling, I do the recharge your towels wash, and they’re back to normal. Washing them with vinegar every time has really helped them stay consistently fresh!

  6. Does this put the absorbancy back in towels? I don’t wash my towels with fabric softener, but I have a friend that dried them with a fabric sheet when she stayed for a few days. I didn’t realize it until I took them out of the drier after she left.

    1. Yes it does because it strips away the layers that build up even from detergent, (and from fabric softener). Sometimes depending on how much build up is in the towels you may need to run them through a couple of times with vinegar and baking soda over the next few weeks. I hope this helps, and be sure to let me know if you have anymore questions! 🙂

  7. Do you only need to do this once and they’re lint free? Or do you have to wash them all the time this way?

    1. I’m not sure about lint free, but the purpose of the vinegar and then the baking soda wash is to get rid of the bacteria that can sometimes build up in towels. I just repeat this process anytime my towels aren’t smelling quite right. I hope this helps, and be sure to let me know if you have anymore questions!

  8. This may be a silly question but I have a front loading washing machine. Do I put the vinegar in the detergent dispenser? I wish I still had a top loader because it’s so easy to add things to the wash water.
    Thanks!

    1. It’s not a silly question at all! I don’t have a front loader myself, but my mother-in-law does and she puts her vinegar in the detergent dispenser – there’s a couple different compartments and she puts detergent in 1 and vinegar in another. She said it’s really helped keep her front loader from smelling which seems to be a common complaint. She also leaves both the detergent dispenser open, and the door cracked after she runs a load so that it can dry properly, (although that might not work well if you have children in the house). I hope this helps, and be sure to let me know if you have anymore questions. 🙂

  9. Is this how I can clean even my soiled towels? I love this idea because I use vinegar and baking soda all the time in most cleaning jobs.

    1. Baking soda and vinegar do a great job removing that musty bacteria smell that sometimes builds up in towels, but for dirt, stains, and such you’ll need a good detergent. I run my towels every week with detergent and a little vinegar, whenever they start to smell a little off then I run them with just the baking soda and vinegar and no detergent for that load. I hope this helps, if this doesn’t answer your question be sure to write me back with more details. 🙂

  10. It doesn’t make sense to mix the vinegar and baking soda in one load. With any basic chemistry knowledge, you’ll realize that the two will react to make mostly water anyway.

    1. The post specifies that you runs 2 separate loads, the first one with vinegar and the second with baking soda. I have tried not running the second time with baking soda and there was a lingering vinegar scent in the towels, the baking soda load really helps the towels smell fresh again. I have tried adding both in 1 load at the same time and it does help freshen the towels but it doesn’t work nearly as well as separating the 2 ingredients in different loads which must be because of the chemistry you mentioned!

  11. I put the vinegar in the fabric softener spot and add the baking soda to towels in the tub. I have never had problems with overflow or towel odors.

    1. That’s why I use vinegar, it acts as a softener without coating your towels. Plus, fabric softener and my skin don’t get along!

  12. I actually did this with baking sod in the detergent and on the rinse cycle used the vinegar. Never had an issue with the overflowing. I have a front-loader though, so not sure if that makes the difference. This works wonders on towels! I actually bought a giant container of vinegar at Costco, because I am now using it in my rinse cycle to get rid of all the residues on all my clothes. Love it 😀

    1. I don’t have a rinse spot to put the vinegar, so I keep them separate to be on the safe side. Vinegar is my new favorite for just about everything!

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