How to Get the Bad Smell out of Towels

There are a few natural ingredients that can help neutralise the smell of damp on your towels. In this article, we'll show you how to have them smelling fresh.
How to Get the Bad Smell out of Towels

Last update: 15 December, 2022

If you want to get the bad smell out of towels you don’t need to resort to perfumed products. Although fabric softener and conditioner can help, it’s even better to try out some ecological cleaning tricks.

It’s true that there are many products on the market that have strong scents and last for many days after use. However, because of the aggressive chemical compounds they contain, they’re harmful to the environment and can cause respiratory problems.

The good news is that there are some natural solutions. They have properties which remove dirt and the smell of damp effectively. They’re also really easy to get hold ofare inexpensive, and are available in all supermarkets.

Tricks to Get the Bad Smell out of Towels

After several days of consecutive use, towels acquire a damp smell that you can only get rid of through washing. This is due to the contact with water residue, dead cells, and mold. They also look dirty and off-color and not-at-all pleasant.

Sadly, many people don’t know how to wash them properly and get the bad smell out of towels. However, there are some simple natural cleaning tricks that will have them impeccable once more.

Read on!

1. White Vinegar and Baking Soda

Baking soda and vinegar is one way to get the bad smell out of towels

This option, with white vinegar and baking soda, is one of the best options to get the bad smell out of towels. It easily penetrates the fabric and helps to free the dirt that’s stuck to it.

It also has antifungal properties that eliminate bacteria, mold, and the microorganisms that can cause infections and strong smells. If that weren’t enough, it can also replace your conventional fabric softener.


  • Hot water (as necessary)
  • 1 cup of white vinegar (250 ml)
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda (100 g)


  • Place the towels in the washing machine and cover them in hot water.
  • Then, add the cup of white vinegar to the first wash cycle.
  • Leave the towels inside the washing machine and cover again in hot water.
  • Finally, add the baking soda and put on another wash cycle. They’ll be just like new!

2. Lemon Juice

Because of its concentration of citric acid, lemon juice is a great choice for whitening and disinfecting all manner of clothing. Its properties and acidic smell can also get the bad smell out of towels.


  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice (125 ml)
  • 4 cups of hot water (1 litre)


  • Pour the lemon juice into a bucket and mix with the hot water.
  • Soak the towels in the solution and leave them there for 40 minutes.
  • After this time, put them in the washing machine and wash them with normal detergent.

3. Salt and Lemon Oil

Lemons and bottles of lemon oil to get the bad smell out of towels

This salt and lemon oil preparation performs two functions.

First, the salt removes stains from the towels, leaving your white ones looking much whiter. The lemon oil, on the other hand, neutralizes the bad smell and helps soften the fabric .


  • 1 tablespoon of salt (10 g)
  • 10 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 4 cups of hot water (1 litre)


  • Bear in mind that you will need to use a tablespoon of salt for each liter (half gallon) of water. So if you’re washing many towels, increase the quantities.
  • Mix all the ingredients in a bucket and be sure to mix them well.
  • Soak all your dirty towels and leave them to soak for at least an hour.
  • Then, rub them to more easily remove the dirt.
  • Finally, wash them in the washing machine with regular detergent.

4. Milk and Mint Oil

Bottle of milk with rose heads, get the bad smell out of towels

This product to get bad smells out of towels is perfect for whites. The milk helps care for the fabric, prolonging its ability to absorb moisture. It also helps to restore color and has a pleasant smell.


  • 1  cup of milk (250 ml)
  • 1 cup of hot water (250 ml)
  • 10 drops of mint oil


  • Mix the three ingredients together.
  • Then, leave the towels to soak in the mixture.
  • Leave them to soak for one to two hours, then rinse.

The results? The whitest towels with a menthol smell!

As you can see, it’s not complicated to get bad smells out of towels naturally. These remedies also help to care for the fabric and slow their deterioration.

Try them out for yourself!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Caress, S. M., & Steinemann, A. C. (2009). Prevalence of fragrance sensitivity in the American population. Journal of Environmental Health.
  • Anderson, R. C., & Anderson, J. H. (2000). Respiratory toxicity of fabric softener emissions. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health – Part A.
  • Goodyear, N., Brouillette, N., Tenaglia, K., Gore, R., & Marshall, J. (2015). The effectiveness of three home products in cleaning and disinfection of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli on home environmental surfaces. Journal of Applied Microbiology.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.