Friday, July 29, 2011

sour towels, anyone?

I know you moms out there can imagine this with me.

Finally, a moment to yourself to indulge in a warm bath or refreshing (& I'd venture to say long-overdue?) shower. You lather your hair up and then rinse the bubbles away, breathing a sigh of relief as your stress seems to melt away with the disappearing suds.

Once clean, you reach for your fluffy white towel. (You may have to reach a little awkwardly if you're like me and forget to grab one in all the excitement.) Your first move? Press your face into the 100% cotton fluffiness and inhale deeply the sweet fragrance of spring rain ... mildew??

Are you with me? Have you been there?

Well, silly me, I just assumed that once a towel starting smelling like that, it was the death knell for the poor thing. Time for the rag bin, buddy!

But the other day it occurred to me, "I'll bet I could fix this! I want my fluffy towels back and I refuse to allow my skin to take on their sour odor one more time!"

Let alone my babies, my hubby... ew. Bad smell.

I don't know, maybe everyone doesn't smell it. But I've always had an extra sensitive shnoz. I can smell when babies are sick. And I don't mean the obvious throw-up smells. Anyway, I digress.

My first action was to march right to the bookshelf and grab my "Homekeeping Handbook" from the infamous Martha Stewart. Hey, she's good at what she does. And I love that Tiffany-esque blue she uses everywhere.

Alas, Martha merely told me how to fold and organize my towels in the linen closet! "Group by bathroom, then by size," she says. "Always use the towel on top of any given pile and put clean towels on the bottom to ensure even wear."

She did say something about spreading towels over two hooks to dry, or hanging them from rods, instead. Yes, but what if it's already too late to prevent the mildew??

I turned to the internet. Most of the solutions I found mentioned vinegar. Okay, good. I've got that. Also mentioned often was Borax. Don't have that.

So I took some of the tips I read and tried the following:
  • hot water
  • 1/2 the regular amount of detergent (I guess the detergent builds up in the fibers and can encourage mildew.)
  • wait until the rinse cycle starts and add about 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash
  • run it through the rinse cycle again to get rid of all vinegar
  • tumble dry until they're completely dry
My first load smelled a little vinegar-y. But clean. The second load was when I thought to rinse it a second time. And viola

Oh my gosh, I was doing a happy dance all evening and pushing clean towels up to my poor hubby's nose. "Drink it in, Marilla!" (Points to you if you name that movie. Easier than my movie reference from yesterday, right?)

I don't have to buy new towels! I just need to give them a vinegar rinse when I start to smell that old familiar smell. Easy-peazy lemon squeezy. 

Added benefit, the vinegar softened the fibers, too, way better than fabric softener. Try it!

P.S. If you don't see your comment pop up right away, don't worry. You did everything right, it just has to be moderated (okay-ed) by me before it shows up on here. I'm crazy like that. Check back soon and you'll see it.

P.S. towel image from Pottery Barn. I mean, mine are better, but not like *that*!


The Campbells said...

Oh yes, I love vinegar-ed towels. ;) But seriously, that and baking soda (added before the wash is run, about half a cup for a medium size load) are lifesavers for the musty smells of laundry.

Wilkie said...

I'll be proudly Canadian, and name the movie "Anne of Green Gables"...definitely enjoying your blog updates and style of writing!

jayna said...

Yep, vinegar is magical. So many things to use it for. My favorites - insta-clean cloth diapers (but totally works for nasty burp cloths and stuff) and using it to rinse fresh berries in (keeps them mold free for ten times longer than just regular rinsing).

So glad to see you "back"!!

Rosanna said...

Haha, your movie references are cracking me up!

And now that you mention it, I totally remember how you can smell when babies are sick before they actually get sick. Super weird. Since I'm pregnant, my nose is extra eager these days and I still think that's an odd super-power of yours. ;)

Cassidy said...

What, @Jayna?? I have never heard that about berries!! I'm SO trying that next time. Thanks!

Biff and Dee Ann said...

we've even used that smelling stuff as an oily hair conditioner of prepared for squeaky clean....and it's great on glass and windows.
'Marilla' had me using my scope of the imagination and thinking AnnE (with an 'e') as well.

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