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Tips for removing that musty smell from RV towels

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You grab a towel to dry your face and it hits you. Ugh! That horrible, terrible, no-good, musty smell! Gasping for air, you quickly drop the stinky towel to the floor as you try and figure out what just happened. That towel came from the cupboard. It’s clean! So, what’s up with the smell? And more importantly, what can you do to get rid of that stink forever?

Stinky causes

Your RV towels may smell musty occasionally. Here’s why. Over time, detergent and fabric softener residue builds up within the fabric of the towel. This buildup can prevent your towels from drying completely. Then, bacteria develops on the towel, causing mildew to form. (All the worse for cotton towels. Cotton is an organic material—all the better for bacteria growth.) If you store the towel in a dark, airless space (like an RV cupboard), the mildew will continue to grow. The result? A horrible, terrible, no-good, musty smell!

Removing the musty smell

  1. You can easily remove the “funky smell” from your RV towels. Just grab the white vinegar from your RV’s kitchen cupboard. Measure one cup of vinegar and pour it directly into your washer’s drum. Do not add any detergent. Loosely place the stinky towels into the washer and launder at the hottest temperature.
  2. Once the complete washing cycle ends, remove the towels. Place one cup of baking soda into the washer’s drum and add the wet towels. Do not add detergent. Wash on the hot cycle a second time.
  3. When the cycle ends, hang the towels outside in the sun, if possible. Or dry the towels in the dryer, but do not add a dryer sheet.
  4. Repeat the procedure, as needed.

Keep the stink off

  1. First off, wash your towels in a separate load, all by themselves. Use less detergent to help prevent residue buildup.
  2. Secondly, never use liquid fabric softener on your towels. It leaves a thin coating on the top of the fibers. This does make the towel feel softer, but it can hinder the towel from drying completely. Instead of softener, try placing clean tennis balls or wool-felted dryer balls into the dryer when drying towels. The balls will help fluff up the towel fibers, making them softer and more absorbent.
  3. Finally, always transfer clean, wet towels from the washing machine immediately into the dryer. Hang damp or wet used towels right away after use.

Hint: Assign each family member a different color towel. That way you’ll know who tosses his towel on the floor instead of hanging it up!

I know there are fabric deodorizers like this one on the market. Have you used them? Did they work?

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Brad
28 days ago

We add Clorox2 when washing a load of towels. It works great to remove any musty smell 🙂

Cynthia
28 days ago

Just read an article that said white vinegar is too acidic for washing machines and will eventually degrade seals, the drum etc. it was recommended to use soda crystals instead with your laundry and to use them monthly to clean machine on hottest cycle.

Larry Lee
28 days ago

We have found that using powder detergent reduces buildup of residue. Also important on front loading machines to use Affresh or other cleaning agent regularly (at least monthly) to keep mold and mildew out of the machine itself. Also, check the vinegar you use to clean the machine and make certain it is 6 percent strength designated for household cleaning and not 5 percent designed for cooking. Washing in cold water conserves energy, but washing in hot water reduces mold and mildew.

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