The Right Way to Wash Bath Towels

To keep bath towels fresh and long-lasting, it's essential to wash them regularly, typically every three to four uses. Washing in cold or warm water, washing new towels before use, separating by color, avoiding washing with clothing, and pre-treating for odors are recommended. Skip fabric softeners and use vinegar instead. After washing, tumble dry on low to medium heat and avoid using dryer sheets. Ensure towels are completely dry before folding to prevent musty smells.

Bath towels are the kind of items that don’t seem to require any special care. After all, these simple cotton rectangles were made to withstand wear and tear. How hard could it be to take care of them?

Simple or not, washing towels the right way is key to both keeping them smelling fresh and helping them last as long as possible. If you’re wondering how to clean bath towels and how often to wash towels, then read on to find out.

How often to wash bath towels

Just like your bed sheets—or any item that regularly comes in close contact with your body—your towels should be washed regularly. But how often, exactly? You use them only when you’re clean (hopefully), so that means they don’t get dirty very easily, right?


Your towel still absorbs your bodily fluids, as well as other smells and germs, just by hanging on a hook in your bathroom. So you probably need to wash your bath towels more often than you do.

So, how often should you wash your bath towels to keep them fresh?

Experts recommend washing them after three or four uses. If you exercise often, then you might need to do it more frequently.

How to wash bath towels

Now that you know how often to wash bath towels, let’s talk about the best way to do it. True, your towels aren’t delicate items that require special care—but if you want them to stay fluffy and luxurious for as long as possible, then it’s a good idea to follow a few simple tips.

1. Wash in cold or warm water

Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, wash your towels in warm or cold water. We recommend washing Saatva towels in cold water on a gentle cycle.

2. Wash new towels before using them

While your new towels might look fluffy and ready to use out of the package, it’s a good idea to wash them before using them. That’s because some manufacturers use chemicals to make them look extra fluffy and you don’t want those on your skin.

3. Separate towels by color

Separate your towels by color and wash white, dark, and colored towels separately to avoid discoloration.

4. Don’t wash with other clothes

Don’t wash your towels with other clothing as zippers and other hardware from your clothes can snag the fibers of your towels.

5. Pre-treat to get rid of odors

If your towels are particularly smelly, then you can wash them first with ½ cup of baking soda instead of detergent and then wash them again with the detergent.

6. Skip the fabric softener

It might be tempting to use softener to make your towels extra soft and fluffy, but you’re better off skipping it. Fabric softeners can leave a waxy buildup over time, damaging the fibers and making your towels less absorbent. Instead, add ½ cup of vinegar. Not only can this help make your towels softer but it can also help set the colors if your towels are new and remove detergent residue.

How to dry bath towels

After washing, you can toss your towels in the dryer, following a few tips:

  • Shake your towels after taking them out of the washer. This will help fluff the terry loops and improve the absorbency of your towels.
  • Tumble dry on low to medium heat, with other towels or bedding.
  • Avoid using dryer sheets as these too can make your towels less absorbent.
  • Remove them from the dryer as soon as they’re dry and fold them immediately.
  • Make sure your towels are 100% dry before folding them. Otherwise, they might develop a musty smell.
  • You can line-dry your towels but be aware that could make them scratchy.

Upgrade your bath experience with luxury towels from Saatva

Waffle Towel Collection

Enjoy spa-worthy softness after every bath or shower with our light & breathable waffle towels. Exclusively woven in durable long-staple cotton that gets softer with every wash.

Plush Towel Collection

When only the finest towel will do, these impossibly plush and soft towels are the final touch to a spa-like bath experience. Exclusively woven in durable long-staple cotton that gets softer with every wash.


How often should you clean bath towels?

It’s best to wash your towels every three to four days—but you might need to do it more frequently if you exercise a lot and therefore use your towels more often. Here’s how to tell if it’s time to replace your bath towels.

What does washing bath towels in vinegar do?

Vinegar is a natural alternative to fabric softener and can make your towels softer without damaging the fibers or reducing their absorbency. It also helps set the colors of your new towels.

What’s the best method to wash bath towels?

Machine wash towels in cold water with like-color towels and bedding. Don’t wash with clothing as zippers and other hardware from your clothes can snag the fibers of your towels.

Find the perfect bath towels for you at Saatva

When you’re ready to upgrade your bathroom experience and treat yourself to new bath towels, check out our

plush towel collection
saatva plush towel collection
Plush Towel Collection

Our reinvented take on the classic luxury hotel bath towel


waffle towel collection
saatva waffle towel collection
Waffle Towel Collection

Our light & airy towel inspired by the world’s finest spas

, both made from high-quality, luxurious long-staple cotton. Our towels are also OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified, meaning they’re free of harmful chemicals.

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