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10 Tricks for Making Your Towels Last Longer

Get the most use out of your bath towels by following these easy tips.

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Don’t use too much detergent

Overdo it on the detergent and your towels can come out of the wash scratchy. The detergent clings to the fibers of the towel and, worse, can cause mold to grow in your towels over time. (Related: Find out 7 ways you’re cleaning your bathroom wrong.)

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Wash towels in hot water

Don’t be shy about the heat when you’re washing towels. In order to kill germs in the towels, washer heats should be higher. Be careful though—always check tags before washing. Check out these laundry mistakes you don’t know you’re making.

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Don’t wash towels too often

Washing a towel after every three uses is plenty. Washing them more often can weaken the towel fibers and cause the towels to feel scratchy.

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Shake your towels when you take them out of the washer

Before throwing your towels in the dryer (or hang drying them on a line), be sure to shake off excess water. This will help the towels stay fluffy and soft once they’re done drying.

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Don’t toss damp towels on the floor

Piling up damp towels can lead to mold, even if the towels are squeaky clean. A pile of towels can trap moisture in between towel folds, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Hang or drape damp towels on a hook or rod.

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Use lighter colored towels

When you’re investing in new towels, always opt for lighter ones. Lighter towels have less dye than darker towels, which helps them to stay fluffy and absorbent for a longer time. Plus lighter colors are less apt to fade.

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Don’t wash towels with clothes

Towels should be washed separately from clothes because zippers, Velcro, and other materials can snag on the towels in the wash. If you want your towel fabric to go the distance, keep it away from anything that could pull on it.

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Cut off towel snags with scissors

If you do have a towel snag from a zipper or from normal wear, don’t pull on it. Pulling on the loop or string from your towel will cause more damage. Instead, cut the excess snag off.

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Don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets

Using a lot of fabric softener or piling on the dryer sheets will ultimately leave your towels less absorbent. These materials can coat the towels to the point where the towels can’t hold as much water.

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Replace your towels every two years

Even with perfect care and frequent washes, your towels will wear down. Towels should be replaced about every two years if you want your towels to be completely absorbent and soft. (Related: Here are other items you didn’t realize had expiration dates.)

Originally Published in Reader's Digest