Can You Wash Towels With Clothes? [Explained]

Can You Wash Towels With Clothes

Doing laundry is nobody’s favorite chore, but somebody’s got to do it!

To get the job over and done with, it can be tempting to throw everything in the same wash; clothes, towels, everything! But is this the best way to do things? Can you wash towels with clothes?

Washing towels with clothes can transfer bacteria between items, so it is not recommended.

It may take an extra step, but separating your towels from your clothes can streamline your laundry process significantly with a better result at the end of the day.

This article is going to help you figure out whether you can wash towels with clothes and how to wash towels to keep them soft and comfortable.

Gomestic Fact: Towels are one of those items that can benefit from a laundry sanitizer on occasion. This will kill off any built-up bacteria that the detergent might have missed. Check out our review of the Lysol Laundry Sanitizer here.

Can You Wash Towels With Clothes?

I don’t recommend washing towels with clothes as this can transfer bacteria from the towels to the clothes.

To understand why towels are best washed separately, we need to remember how they are used.

Towels are used for four to five days in a row. They also get wet and dry multiple times throughout this period, which can lead to a build-up of bacteria. They also need to be hung correctly so they can dry thoroughly between uses.

On the other hand, clothes are usually used once and don’t get wet when you wear them on your average day. They dry faster and have significantly less chance of building up bacteria.

The only time, in my opinion, that you can get away with putting towels and clothes in together is if you are using laundry sanitizer. This will kill off the bacteria from the towels and keep your clothes safe from contamination.

Another reason that towels are better washing alone is that they can be put in the same dryer load. I like to put my towels in a separate drier load than my clothes.

This is important because towels are made from terrycloth, which takes longer to dry than clothes, and needs to be put on a longer cycle.

How to Clean Towels

So, now that we know that let’s look in more detail at how to clean towels properly.

It’s very frustrating to remove your towels from the wash only for them to feel rough and unpleasant; I know I’ve experienced this issue. However, besides washing them separately, there are a few things you can do to make sure they come out fluffy and fragrant every time.

If there are any significant stains, I recommend spot-treating them before washing them.

Use these tips; you should have the fluffiest and softest towels every time you pull them out of the wash.

Wash Your New Towels

When you buy a towel from a shop, they have been coated in silicone or another coating that will make the towels soft and fluffy without being absorbent.

To get rid of this, all you need to do is put the towels through a regular wash, and they will be absorbent and ready to use.

Be sure not to overfill the washer when you wash your towels so they get properly clean and fluffy.

Avoid Using Fabric Softener

It may seem logical to use fabric softener on towels to make them soft, but unfortunately, this is not the case.

Over time, fabric softener will deposit a waxy build-up on the terry cloth, deteriorating the fabric more quickly. This will also reduce the towel’s absorbency.

If you want to make your towels soft, look at the tip below for a natural solution.

Wash with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda are natural products that help so much with everyday cleaning. They are also incredibly cheap and versatile.

The vinegar will act as a natural fabric softener that doesn’t leave behind any residue. The baking soda makes them smell fresh and brightens the whites or colors.

Start by filling your washer with towels. I suggest washing your white towels separately from the colors.

Pour the white vinegar into the detergent compartment and sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda over the clothes. Run a regular wash, and your towels will come out disinfected and fluffy.

Find out some other amazing uses for baking soda in laundry in our article here.

Dry Well

When you take the towels out of the washer and give them a good shake before putting them in the drier, this will fluff up the terrycloth fibers and make it easier to dry out.

It may be tempting to use the hottest setting for towels in your dryer, but this can damage the fibers, and they won’t come out feeling fluffy.

Dry your towels separately from your clothes, so they get the right amount of time in the drier to get them fully dry.

Gomestic Tip: Towels and bed sheets are both items that can have a build-up of bacteria. However, I don’t recommend washing them together because one dried much faster than the other and will require two dryer rounds.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What should you not wash towels with?

Although it may sound like a good idea to bleach towels because of the bacteria, it is not something I would recommend.

The bleach can damage the terry cloth and potentially cause discoloration.

How often should I wash my bath towel?

To prevent a build-up of bacteria and potential mildew on your clothes, I suggest washing your towel every three to four uses, which is about twice a week if you shower or bathe every day.


Sometimes towels can come out of the laundry feeling rough and damp, but if you separate your clothes from your towels can could change everything.

Towels should be washed separately from clothes, so they have adequate dry time and will not spread bacteria onto the rest of your clothes.

If you follow these laundry tips, you should have clean and bacteria-free towels and clothes after every wash.

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