How to Wash Towels in a Washing Machine (Step by Step Guide)

Sometimes you might want to wash your towels in the washing machine. Maybe they got a little dirty and you don’t have time to wash them by hand.

Or maybe you’re just lazy.  Either way, it’s not that hard to wash towels in the washing machine.

One of the most common challenges people have when washing towels in the washing machine is knowing how to select the appropriate wash cycle.

Different towels require different types of washes.

For example, if you’re washing a delicate towel, you’ll want to select the delicate cycle. Likewise, if you are washing heavily soiled towels with other fabrics, you may need to choose different settings.

There are many ways to wash your towels, but if you do not wash them carefully, they will crumble momentarily and also not be soft as they used to be.

In this topic, we will cover some useful tips on how you can wash your towels with care by keeping the best practices in mind.

Here’s what you will learn in this post:

  • Best Practices before washing a towel
  • How to wash towels the right way?
  • How to keep it soft?
  • Common question related to washing towels
  • And more…

How to Wash Towels in Washing Machine?

Washing a towel is extremely easy, especially if you are using a washing machine and if you know what you are doing.

Follow the below steps to clean your towel.

Step 1: Place towels in the washing machine

One of the most important things to remember when washing towels in the washing machine is to place them separately.

This might seem like an obvious step, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to do it.

Placing towels with other fabrics and clothes in a washer can cause them to become entangled, which will make it difficult to wash them properly.

If you’re washing a small load of towels, you can just place them all in the machine at once.

But if you’re washing a large load, you’ll need to be more careful. Lastly, make sure that the towels aren’t too tightly packed in the machine. This can prevent them from washing properly.

Also Read: How to Clean the Agitator in Washing Machine?

Step 2: Add detergent to the machine

Once you’ve placed the towels in the washing machine, it’s time to add detergent. Again, this might seem like an obvious step, but trust me many forget to use the right type of detergents. Selecting the wrong detergent type can actually have a negative impact on your towels. Always look for a label that clearly says it’s good for towels.

The amount of detergent you’ll need to add will also depend on the size of your load and the type of fabric you’re washing.

If you’re unsure,  it’s always better to check the instructions on the detergent label. It’s always a wise idea to use less detergent.

Also Read: Washing Machine Bearings: 6 Things you must know

Step 3: Select the appropriate wash cycle

Now that you’ve added the towels and detergent, it’s time to select the appropriate wash cycle.

The type of cycle you’ll need to use will depend on the type of towel you’re washing. For example, if you’re washing a delicate towel, you’ll want to select the delicate cycle.

If you’re unsure about what cycle to use, it’s always best to check the care label on the towel. The care label will clearly state what type of cycle you should use.

Also Read: How to clean mold from the washing machine?

Step 4: Run the Wash Cycle

After you’ve selected the appropriate wash cycle, it’s time to run the washer. Depending on the type of machine you have, this process might be slightly different.

But generally, all you need to do is select the start button and the machine will do its thing.

The ideal duration to run the wash cycle for heavily soiled towels is anywhere between 45 Minutes to an Hour.

If you are using a front-load washing machine, it is advisable to use the extra rinse cycle, especially if the towels are heavily soiled.

Most modern-day washers have preset settings for washing heavy fabrics and clothes.

Just check if your machine has a dedicated heavy-duty cycle. This will ensure that your towels come out clean and fresh.

Also Read: How to Clean a portable washing machine?

Step 5: Remove towels from the machine and hang them to dry

Once the wash cycle is complete, it’s time to remove the towels from the machine.

Again, depending on your machine, this process might be slightly different.

But generally, all you need to do is open the door and take the towels out.

Once you’ve removed the towels from the machine, it’s time to hang them to dry.

When towels are left in the washer, they can become musty and mildewed. So make sure to hang them as soon as possible.

You can either hang them on a drying rack or you can put them in the dryer in a low heat setting.

To dry towels in the dryer, simply place them in the machine and set it to a low heat setting.

You don’t want to use a high heat setting as this can damage the towels. A low heat setting will not only keep the towels soft and fluffy but also help to prevent them from shrinking. 

Once the cycle is complete, remove the towels from the dryer and fold them. If you’re not going to use them right away, make sure to store them in a clean and dry place.

If you’re hanging them to dry, make sure to shake them first so that they don’t dry in a wrinkled state.

Also Read: How to troubleshoot a portable washing machine?

Which wash cycle to use for washing towels?

When washing towels, it’s generally recommended to use a regular or heavy-duty wash cycle.

Towels are often made from absorbent materials like cotton, and they can accumulate dirt, oils, and other residues.

A regular or heavy-duty cycle will provide the necessary agitation and longer wash time to thoroughly clean the towels.

What’s the ideal temperature to wash towels?

The ideal temperature to wash towels typically depends on a few factors, including the fabric of the towel and the level of dirt or stains present.

In general, most towels can be washed effectively at temperatures ranging from 40°C (104°F) to 60°C (140°F). Here’s a breakdown of the temperature ranges and their purposes:

Warm water

Washing towels in warm water, around 40°C (104°F), is a good option for moderately soiled towels. Warm water can help remove dirt and oils effectively while still being gentle on the fabric.

Hot water

If your towels are heavily soiled or have stubborn stains, washing them in hot water, typically around 60°C (140°F), can provide a deeper clean.

Hot water is more effective at removing bacteria, allergens, and grease, but it may cause some fabrics to shrink or fade over time.

With all that said, it’s essential to check the care label or instructions provided by the towel manufacturer for specific temperature recommendations.

Best Practices to follow while washing a towel

Before you start washing your towels, try to keep the below best practices in mind for getting the best results.

Separate the Light and the Dark Towels

Separate the loads with light and dark-colored towels before washing.

Washing white towels with dark-colored are not recommended, because towels are so absorbent that the lighter-colored towels can absorb the dye colors from the darker ones, turning them dingy or discolored.

Also Read: What is Lint Filter in Washing Machine?

Use fewer Detergents

You should avoid using excessive detergent while washing the towels, as they may become stiff and it may not give you the desired results. You may roughly use half the amount of detergent recommended by the manufacturer.

Bleach if desired

If your towels contain stains, bleach works effectively to remove them.

You can use chlorine or non-chlorine bleach to wash white towels.

For colored towels you should use color-safe bleach, as chlorine bleach will fade dark-colored towels and create white bleach stains, ruining your colorful towels.

Also Read: 11 Things you must know about High-Efficiency Detergents

The Washing Machine Cycle

Your towels can be washed on standard or normal cycles.

These standard wash cycles are great for cleaning towels, due to their faster spin and longer washing time which further helps to remove dirt and bacteria from the towel’s fabric.

Temperature That Towels Should Be Washed

The hot water setting works nicely with white and lighter-colored towels.

For optimal washing, use hot water to brighten white and light-colored towels.

Warm water should be used to wash the dark-colored towels. Warm water helps to keep the colors vibrant and microorganisms at bay.

Also Read: What is RPM in Washing Machine?

Remove Excess Water Before Drying

After the towels have been washed, remove them from the washer and shake off any excess water before putting them in the dryer. This helps to keep the towels soft and reduces the drying time.

Wrap Up

Washing towels in the washing machine is a simple process, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

First, make sure to place the towels separately in the machine so that they don’t become entangled with other fabrics.

Second, always use a detergent that is specifically designed for towels.

And finally, select the appropriate wash cycle based on the type of towel you’re washing. It’s also recommended to read Care labels before using any detergents or fabric softeners.

By following these simple instructions, you can ensure that your towels come out clean and fresh.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use fabric softener on towels?

No, it’s not recommended to use fabric softeners on towels. A fabric softener can actually damage the towel’s fibers and make them less absorbent.

How often should I wash my towels?

In general, you should wash your towels every three to four uses. But if you live in a humid climate or if you have skin sensitivities, you might need to wash them more frequently. Having said that, if you’re only using them once a week, then you can get away with washing them every two weeks.

Can I wash my towels with other clothes?

Yes, you can wash your towels with other clothes. However, washing them with other fabrics too frequently can actually damage the towels. So it’s best to wash them separately.

Can I mix different types of towels in one load?

Yes, you can mix different types of towels in one load. But keep in mind that some towels will require a different wash cycle than others. So it’s best to check the care label before washing them.

What is the best way to store towels?

The best way to store towels is in a dry and cool place. If possible, try to store them in a linen closet or cabinet where they won’t be exposed to too much sunlight or heat. And make sure to fold them so that they don’t develop wrinkles.

How Do You Soak Towels?

1.) Fill a large bucket, bathtub, or sink with hot water in a 1:1:2 ratio, and combine borax, washing soda, and detergent to make the perfect cleaning solution. Stir until it is completely dissolved.

2.) Soak your clean towels in the mixture for a couple of hours, or until the water has cooled. To reduce the accumulation on the towels, try stirring the towel frequently.

3.) Drain the dirty water, then run a rinse-only cycle in your washing machine with your towels.

What Temperature Do You Wash Towels In A Washing Machine?

To destroy bacteria and potential mold, towels should be washed at a reasonably high temperature. 40 degrees is a reasonable temperature for washing towels but a 60-degree wash will eliminate more germs. It’s recommended to wash your towels once a week and change the towels as and when needed.

Often, different people will tell you a variety of things about doing the laundry, until what should be a simple task becomes a nightmare. One of the most difficult decisions to make is, at what temperature to wash clothes.

Before you start washing, make sure to check for care labels on your towels and fabrics. This will give you a fair idea of the maximum temperature at which you can wash your clothes.

Because we spend so much time in contact with towels, they become dirty faster than any other fabric.

How long does it take to wash towels in a washing machine?

The wash cycle takes about 60 to 90 mins to wash towels in a washing machine. The wash cycle may vary depending on different washers and brand types. It is advisable to wash your towel in the machine for around 30 to 40 minutes or it depends on how frequently you wash the towel.

Should towels be washed in hot water?

Although washing towels in hot water tends to provide hygienic cleaning, washing them in extreme temperatures may spoil the towel’s integrity. Choosing the right temperature to wash towels also depends on how light or dark the color is. 

Is it ok to wash towels in cold water?

Contrary to popular belief, the best way to keep towels clean and fluffy is to wash them in cold water. You can save time and energy, compared to hot water usage, and on the other hand, it will help increase your towel’s lifespan.

Why are towels hard after washing?

There may be various reasons behind this, lets’s have a look at a few scenarios below:

1.) After washing, if the towels turn stiff, this may be due to detergent residue or there are high chances that you have delayed the drying process.

2.) Keeping the wet towels inside the washer for a prolonged time may be another possibility why your towels turn hard after washing. It is recommended to dry your towels immediately after every wash to avoid stiffness.

3.) Hard water or excessive detergent usage may be one of the causes.
Follow care label instructions for better results.

How do you make towels soft without tumble drying?

To quickly dry towels without using a tumble dryer, use minimum detergent by adding a cup of vinegar. Rinse to keep them soft. Your towels can be dried outside, on a windy day, or inside in the open air. Allow air to pass through them by laying out your towels and rotating them at regular intervals so that they dry quickly. 

What settings to dry towels?

When natural fabrics are dried quickly, they tend to curl up, hence it is very important to understand how quickly your dryer does the job. Towels are made up of heavier cotton and should be dried on an average heat or a pinch above the average.

For more information about the laundry, you can refer to our FAQ section.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)