A dirty and threadbare towel hanging loosely from your bathroom’s rail can make the entire room look drab. Towels are among those home essentials that undergo daily use and need to be washed frequently. This makes it hard to keep them looking fluffy and fresh however, if you try the following methods, we can guarantee you that your towels will retain their freshness for longer.
The right time to wash
The right time to wash towels is after three to four days of use. This keeps them in good condition and removes all damaging grime from them. Normally, people use them and wait an entire week before they wash them. Try to rotate between two or more towels. Have one on the go and keep the others washed and when you use another then wash the first one.
Cold water washing
Normally, people tend to use hot or warm water for laundry and this goes for their towels as well. Washing towels in heated water shortens their life and makes them saggy and rough. This is why we recommend using cold water to wash them. Cold water prevents shrinkage at the seams and helps retain the colours in the material for longer. This method also works when washing bamboo towel sets. Cold water washing is recommended for removing certain stains such as wine, coffee, chocolate and blood.
Avoid the fabric softener
People use fabric softeners to keep their laundry soft, however they don’t realise that the harmful chemicals in them can actually reduce the life of textiles. In order to retain your towels’ ultra-plush feel, keep them away from these unnatural products as they damage the fibres and make them less supple over time. Instead, throw a tennis ball into the dryer along with the load. This will agitate and fluff them up and help them dry more quickly.
Most towels are made from cotton that dries quickly. So prolonged drying can actually reduce their life. It’s best if you dry towels separately from other items to extend their life further. Also, don’t forget to forgo the tumble dryer sheets as they can seriously reduce towel absorbency over time. Line drying instead of tumble drying can also help increase their lifespan.
Don’t guesstimate with the detergent quantity. Know the precise amount of detergent your towels need as these contain chemicals that can harm the fabrics if used to excess. Read the specification set out by the manufacturer and measure out the amount of detergent needed. Remember, a medium load roughly translates to about two to three kilos of laundry. It fills three-quarters of a household washing machine.
Use a bleach alternative
Bleach can keep your towels white and bright, but those chemicals can also damage the material. In order to get that bright white lustre back to your towels try using the baking soda and vinegar approach. Simply add half a cup of baking soda with your preferred detergent and wash the towels in the washing machine. While rinsing, add half a cup of distilled white vinegar and you’ll be good to go.
We have a washer-drier but I’ve never actually used the drying cycle on it. I prefer to use non-electric clothes driers. It saves on electricity and you can be getting on with the next load while the previous one is hanging.
I’ve compared Sheila’s Maids in a previous post – however, there’s only so much ceiling space available for drying laundry. And, if like ours your ceilings are low, floor-standing clothes driers are a great addition or alternative; we use both types. our 2-metre 4-lath Sheila’s maid hangs about one and a half loads of washing, the one above has seven 2.4 metre slats – a stonker!
We have two floor-standing clothes driers – my favourite is a vintage 4-panel wooden one that fans out from a central axis. It folds flat and takes up very little room.
- Classic traditional concertina indoor clothes airer, 6-metre: £34.99, Lakeland
- 4 panel, 4 rung clothes airer: £69, Etsy
- 2.4-metre, 7-lath Victorian Kitchen Maid® pulley clothes airer: £86.25
With this recent lovely summer weather, there’s been lots of washing being done – it hangs outside in the warm breeze and dries in minutes. Winter is a different matter in the Pennines. Hang something outside in January and it will remain wet for days – or even freeze solid!
It’s at times like this that we turn to our Sheila maid (also known as a kitchen maid, creel or pulley). It hangs from the ceiling out of the way above the fire in our kitchen, so doesn’t stop heat reaching you at floor level, but benefits from all the rising hot air.
Sheila maids can accommodate a full load of washing so there’s often no need for an energy-sapping tumble dryer. We’ve always liked the look of them too – there’s something very homely about them.
You might find a vintage example in an antiques centre or at auction – alternatively, you can buy new. Here are three of our favourites. There’s something we like about the traditional style versions but the modern metal example above is useful in that it can expand or contract depending on the size of your room or amount of laundry to hang.
- Modern extendible ceiling airer: £49.99, Lakeland
- The Original SHEILA MAID ® airer 57″ 6-rail, extra wide – black: £72, Amazon
- 8-Lath wooden hanging clothes drying rack or pot rack: £72, Etsy
We do love a nice laundry room – and this one is both functional and stylish. The sun-lit, neutral colour scheme works really well. There are lots of natural materials in the form of wood, wicker and hessian. Cleaning products and soaps are close to hand on open shelving – the attractive packaging makes them decorative additions rather than eyesores. There are plentiful storage cupboards, hanging rails and baskets – so a place for everything – there’s a real sense of order & calm. It looks a lovely place to sit & relax, never mind do the washing in!!
- Enamel canister
- Laundry liquid
- Circular basket
- Set of lined baskets
Clothes (and even more so bedding) washing is always a monotonous chore – at least it is in our house. We allow it to build up for ages! We need a very big laundry basket to accommodate the piles of clothes – well, two actually! Washing bins may be mundane things, but they needn’t be ugly. Here are some very attractive laundry baskets to hold all those linens.