How to Make Towels White Again: A Detailed Guide

Have you noticed your white towels looking dingy, gray, or yellow? Over time, they lose their bright white color from regular use. Fortunately, there are ways to make them look fresh and clean again.

In this guide, we’ll explore the common reasons behind towel discoloration and provide you with effective methods to make your towels white again.

Why Towels Lose Whiteness

Dirty white towel

Several factors contribute to the loss of whiteness in towels:

1. Mineral Buildup

One of the primary culprits behind towel discoloration is mineral buildup, particularly from hard water. Hard water has lots of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can stick to towels and make them look dull.

2. Detergent Residue

Using excessive soap or not rinsing towels properly can leave soap leftovers, which can attract dirt and cause towels to appear less bright.

3. Infrequent Washing

Not washing towels towels regularly allows dirt, oils, and body fluids to accumulate, leading to discoloration and a musty odor. Towels should ideally be washed after 3-4 uses to maintain freshness and whiteness.

Methods for Restoring Whiteness

Here are some simple yet effective methods:

Natural Methods

1. Baking Soda


Baking soda is a versatile household ingredient with powerful whitening properties. To use it for restoring towel whiteness, follow these steps:

  • Add ½ cup of baking soda to the detergent compartment in your washing machine.
  • Wash towels in hot water on a gentle cycle to help dissolve stains and odors.
  • After washing, either tumble dry your towels on low heat or hang them outside for air drying.

2. White Vinegar

White vinegar is another effective natural whitener that can help remove stains and brighten fabrics. Here’s how to use it:

  • Add ½ cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener compartment to help remove mineral buildup.
  • Wash towels in hot water on a gentle cycle.
  • After washing dry your towels as usual to complete the process.

3. Lemon Juice


Lemon juice contains natural bleaching properties that can help restore towel whiteness. Here’s how to use it effectively:

  • Create a solution by adding ½ cup of lemon juice to a bucket filled with hot water.
  • Submerge towels in the solution for at least 1 hour.
  • After soaking, rinse the towels thoroughly with fresh water, then wash them in your washing machine with regular detergent.

Note: Lemon juice should only be used on pure white towels, as it may cause color fading.

Commercial Method

Oxygen Bleach

Oxygen bleach is a commercial product that is safe for most fabrics and can effectively remove stains and brighten whites.


  • Add ½ cup of oxygen bleach to a bucket full of hot water.
  • Submerge towels for at least 1-2 hours.
  • After soaking, wash towels as usual in the machine with your regular detergent.
  • After washing dry your towels as usual.

Preventative Measures

In addition to restoring whiteness, it’s essential to implement preventative measures to keep towels looking their best.

  • Regular Washing: Wash towels after 3-4 uses to prevent dirt and oils from building up.
  • Proper Detergent Usage: Use the recommended amount of detergent to avoid residue buildup.
  • Avoid Fabric Softeners: Fabric softeners can coat towel fibers, reducing their absorbency and leading to discoloration over time.
  • Thorough Drying: Ensure towels are completely dry before storing to prevent mildew growth and musty odors.


Reviving the whiteness of your towels doesn’t have to be a hard task. By understanding the reasons behind towel discoloration and implementing effective restoration methods, you can keep them white and nice for a long time. Follow these tips when you do laundry and you won’t have to deal with dull towels anymore!

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I wash my towels to keep them white?

For optimal hygiene and whiteness, wash your towels after 3-4 uses. This helps prevent dirt, oils, and body fluids from accumulating, which can lead to discoloration and musty odors.

How can I whiten my towels without bleach?

If you want to whiten your towels without using bleach, there are a few natural methods you can try. One option is to use white vinegar. Another method is to use baking soda. Both are effective at removing stains and brightening towels without using bleach.

Can I mix vinegar and baking soda in the washing machine?

It’s not recommended to mix vinegar and baking soda directly in the washing machine at the same time. While both vinegar and baking soda are effective natural cleaners, combining them in the washing machine can neutralize their cleaning properties.

How do hotels keep their towels so white?

Hotels often use a combination of commercial-grade laundry detergents, hot water, and occasional bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide to keep their towels looking white and fresh.


Leave a Reply