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Handle with Care: Beach Towels

If you usually wash your beach towels the way you launder everything else, this is the summer to switch it up. From the sand and salt of the shore to the pool’s chlorine and sun exposure, beach towels can take a beating. When you use our tips to care for them correctly and show a little love, you’ll enjoy their cool comfort and long-lasting freshness year after year.

Shake it out.

It can be tempting to throw your towel straight into the washer, but first, give it a good shake. Doing this removes lingering dirt that could damage your machine, and makes the towel easier to clean. For the stuff that won’t budge, try combing it off with a hard-bristled brush or picking it out by hand.

Say “yes” to sunshine.

Damp towels harbor harmful bacteria and produce musty smells, so make sure yours is completely dry before you wash it. After shaking, lay it outside or drape it over a railing and let the sun get to work. The rays will dry the towel, help kill germs that might’ve gotten picked up at the beach or pool, and eliminate any odors.

Keep it cold.

Always wash towels separately in cold water. Cold water preserves colors and prevents debris from getting trapped in your towel’s fibers. Skip the fabric softener, too—it can leave a waxy coating that diminishes absorbency.

Hang to dry.

When the timer dings, don’t transfer your towel to the dryer; hang it to dry instead. Hang drying is eco-friendly and keeps your towel from shrinking. If the dryer is a must, tumble dry on the low-heat setting.

Don’t overdo it.

There’s no need to wash your towel every time you go to the beach or the pool. As long as it’s not visibly dirty, it’s OK to wash your towel every other time you use it to retain quality. For small stains, a quick spot clean should do the trick.