Truth, Lies & Laundry
There are a ton of laundry and towel tips out there on the Internet. But it can be confusing. Some say you need to wash your towels in hot, hot water to get then hygienically clean. Others say cold water wash. So, what gives? Get ready to bust a few myths.
Myth 1: You Need Hot Water to Have Truly Clean Towels
The Reality: If you’re using a ton of hot water month after month because you think cold water won’t do the trick, sadly, you are just spending more money on your energy bills. This may have been true years ago, but not today. Washing machines are more efficient as are modern detergents. Research by Consumer Reports shows that detergents are now much better at putting enzymes to work at lower temperatures and hot water can make detergent less effective.
Myth 2: You Need Hot Water to Sanitize Towels
The Reality: If someone is sick in your family and you want to sanitize your towels, you don’t need to resort to hot water. Many people use chlorine bleach, which is caustic and can weaken the fibers of your towels. Instead, add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle, as vinegar is extremely effective for killing germs. Two other great alternatives to disinfect towels are peroxide or an oxygen bleach, like Oxiclean, which are less harsh on the cotton. Lastly, sunlight is a wonderful natural sanitizer. Hang your towels on the clothes line will give them an extra disinfecting boost. (And, there are even UV wands on the market to mimic the sun’s sanitizing properties— imagine that!)
Myth 3: Use More Detergent for Cleaner Towels
The Reality: When it comes to laundry detergent, the saying “Less is More” rings true. When you add additional detergent, it creates excessive suds that actually help keep soil on your towels. Be sure to only use no more than recommended. And, as mentioned above, detergent manufacturers have improved the effectiveness of their products, so you can try even reducing the amount by 30-50% and see if you are pleased with the results.
Myth 4: Fabric Softener Will Make Your Towels Softer
The Reality: Softeners coat the fibers of the fabric to get that soft feeling and add scent to your laundry. So, what they really end up doing in the long run is making your towels less absorbent and creating a surface that can attract more grime. The coating impedes cotton’s natural ability to wick away moisture and breathe.
Myth 5: Longer Tumble-Drying for Fluffier Towels
The Reality: Over-drying on tumble after a wash can really damage your towel’s fibers. We recommend using a lower setting, or alternating between air drying and tumble drying. You can also partially dry towels on the line and then finish them up in the dryer.