How to Freshen Up Mildewy Towels and Bath Mats

woman placing towels in a dryer
No one likes to smell mildew on towels or bath mats. After all, if you dry off with a mildewy towel after a shower, you’re sure to feel instantly dirty. The good news is that learning how to get mildew smell out of towels is easier than you might think! Here’s everything you need to know.

How to Get Rid of Mildew Smell in Towels

Simply toss your towels in the washing machine with one cup of distilled white vinegar. No need to add detergent! Wash the towels in a hot water and assess them after the cycle is complete.

If a mildew smell lingers after this initial wash, launder the towels a second time using one cup of baking soda. Once the smell is gone, dry the towels as you normally would.

Bonus note—this trick works for clothes too! If you forget to take care of wet clothing items before mold starts to grow, do this same trick to restore them.

While your rugs are in the wash, feel free to clean the floors.

How to Prevent Mildewy Towels and Bath Mats

Mildew in the bathroom is a common problem. This area faces a constant barrage of high humidity, standing water, soap, and dirt—the perfect recipe for mold and mildew to form. Once your towels and bath mats are smelling fresh and clean again, keep them that way with these tips:

  • Hang towels after each use: After drying off your body, bath towels become quite wet. Mildew can start growing very quickly if you throw the towel on the floor or crumple it in a hamper before it’s completely dry. Hang it on a rack right away, even if you plan to launder it before you use it again.
  • Drape bath mats over the tub: If you have a non-slip mat in the tub, peel it up after each shower and drape it over the side of the tub. Leaving it in place, even occasionally, invites mildew growth. If smells develop with this tip, try hanging the mat over the shower curtain rod or on a dedicated towel rack installed high on the wall. These areas should encourage faster drying, the key to keeping mildew at bay.
  • Ventilate the bathroom: Help prevent mold from growing anywhere in your bathroom by running the exhaust fan while you shower and for 30 minutes afterward. If your bathroom has a window, crack it open when the weather is nice to let fresh air ventilate the space.
  • Wash your towels and bath mats regularly: If you keep on top of it, you should prevent mildew smells from setting in. Plan to wash your towels every three to five uses, and launder bath mats about once a month. As long as there’s no mildew smell, you can stick to your regular detergent rather than vinegar, or use some of both to complement one another.

Bathroom & House Cleaning Services from Molly Maid

It takes a great deal of time and effort to keep your entire house clean. If you can’t manage it all, turn to Molly Maid for help. While we don’t typically offer laundry services, we can lighten your load by taking care of other chores around the house. Plus, with a spotless bathroom, mildewy towels and bath mats will become a thing of the past.

To request a free in-home estimate for professional house cleaning services near you, please contact your local Molly Maid today.