Why You Should Never Wash Towels With Your Clothing

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I try my very best to stay on top of house chores, but doing laundry always seems to be the chore that falls to the bottom of the list. When the laundry starts overflowing from the hamper, I have a tendency to just throw everything in together and try to get through the loads as quickly as possible. However, it turns out that failing to separate your laundry items is actually not a wise choice.

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As explained to Martha Stewart by Taylor Matthews, owner of Sparkling Queens in Savannah, Georgia, it’s not a great idea to wash your towels with your clothing and other linens. “For one, your other clothes and sheets will get lint and fibers on them from being washed with towels,” says Matthews. “Towels should be washed on a heavier cycle, without fabric softener, in hot water. Towels also take significantly longer to dry, which could cause clothing and other items to shrink.”

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Towels can also damage and wear down your clothing. “Towels are a heavier fabric, and when washed with lightweight, more delicate fabrics, the heaviness of the towels can pull on or twist around those fabrics, tearing or stretching them out of shape,” Stephanie Booth, home cleaning and organization influencer, explains to Martha Stewart.

Lastly, towels tend to be fairly dirty – you don’t want to be washing them alongside your clothing and bed sheets. Bath towels, hand towels, and tea towels all carry various types of bacteria, and you don’t want to transfer that bacteria to clothing and linens. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to wash towels, linens, and clothing separately if possible.

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When you do go to wash your towels, it’s best to use a hot water cycle. Do your best not to overload the machine – jamming the washing machine with too much material means it won’t be able to clean as thoroughly. You can also sprinkle about half a cup of baking soda in with your towels to help deodorize and rid them of that damp towel smell. Hopefully knowing these tips will help your clothing, towels, and linens to stay clean and in good shape for a long, long time!