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How to Care for Bath and Beach Towels

A guide to keeping your towels soft, absorbent, and beautiful

Knowing how to care for cotton bath and beach towels is essential for keeping them soft, absorbent, and beautiful over time. Here at Heritage Park Laundry Essentials, we understand that quality towels are an investment, and you want to make them last. With proper care and washing, your towels will serve you well for years to come. The experts at Heritage Park have prepared this care guide to share all you need to know about caring for your towels.

  • Sorting by color and weight
  • Choosing the proper detergent
  • Washing and drying gently
  • Avoiding harsh detergents and chemicals
  • Minimizing mildew and snags
  • Restoring towels that have lost absorbency and freshness

For New Towels

If you are unboxing new towels, always read and follow the instructions on the label. You'll want to launder your towels prior to using them. Carefully remove any plastic tags using sharp scissors prior to laundering to avoid snags. Do not pull tags to remove as this can cause them to catch on fibers and damage the fabric .

Sorting Your Towels Before Washing

Sort your towels by color into three general categories: white, light, and dark. This will prolong their life and avoid color bleeding in the wash. You may also want to sort towels according to weight. Fine towels come in varying weights and are measured by GSM, which translates to “grams per square meter." Expressed as a number, GSM is directly aligned with a towel's plushness, quality, feel, and performance.

Cotton bath towels typically range between 300 and 900 GSM, with the higher GSM feeling heavier and more absorbent. A towel in the 400 to 600 GSM range is considered mid-weight, but still of high quality. These towels offer consistent, reliable performance and a wonderful feel; they are soft and absorbent without being too heavy. This means they can air dry relatively quickly, and can easily be washed and dried in a regular load. A towel of 700 GSM and above is considered a heavy weight. These towels are hefty, highly absorbent, and rich in depth and feel. Because of their weight, towels with high GSM take longer to hang dry and should be washed in a smaller load by themselves.

Also, sorting by type of terry can be useful. Some styles of terry are long-loop, zero-twist, velour, and micro-cotton or microfiber. Certain velour and zero-twist terry designs can give off more lint in the first few washings, so it's important to take this into consideration to not wash and dry these with any other items, especially clothing.

Stack of clean towels on top of dryer

Choosing a Laundry Soap

Harsh, chemical filled grocery store brand detergents can be full of ingredients that can damage fibers over time. These ingredients can also weaken fabric thread fibers, causing them to appear dull and lose absorbency.

For cotton, linen, polyester and cotton-blend towels, we recommend our original formula Heritage Park All-Purpose Laundry Detergent. This gentledetergent is specially formulated and concentrated, so a little will go a long way. This pH neutral formula contains powerful enzymes that will clean and even remove stains without damaging fabrics. Choosing the proper laundry soap can dramatically extend the life and enhance the performance of your towels.

Washing and Drying

Machine washing towels in cold water to help colors stay bright and extend the life of the fibers. Don't overstuff the washer or launder towels with other clothing items. Rough and abrasive objects -- buttons, zippers, embellishments, etc. -- can pull at the towel pile and lead to fraying and other damage. Bath rugs can also wear down towels, so wash them separately. Give towels a gentle shake when removing from the washing machine; this will fluff the fibers and speed up the drying process. Excessive heat will damage fibers and increase the shrinkage of the towels, so tumble dry on low heat only. Don't over-dry towels. Never dry clean or iron your towels, as this will reduce absorbency.

Avoiding Harmful Chemicals

Many seemingly innocuous products -- even those that claim to clean, brighten, or soften towels -- can do serious damage. Never use any type of brightening detergent, which will affect the color of your towels; chlorine bleach, which will weaken towel fibers, fade colors, yellow white towels, and create a rough texture; or fabric softeners, which will leave a waxy coating on fibers that diminishes absorbency. Similarly, never use fabric softener sheets in the dryer, which can do the same thing. Also, don't allow your towels to come in contact with bathroom cleansers and skincare products that may contain bleaching agents; these can cause permanent discoloration.

Storing Towels and Caring for Minor Snags/Pulls

Hang towels after using them rather than putting them in a hamper where they can grow mildew, or on the floor where they can not only grow mold/mildew on your towels, but can also damage your flooring. Fold and stack clean towels and store them in a dry linen cabinet. If your linens are stored in a bathroom closet, consider putting some type of moisture absorber such as Damp Rid or Arm & Hammer Moisture and Odor Eliminator. The damp environment of the bathroom from shower steam can cause towels to become musty smelling. Remember to rotate the stack so all your towels wear evenly. Take care of stray pulled loops by cutting them to the level of surrounding loops with a pair of sharp scissors. On a quality made towel this won't cause any harm and will help avoid further snagging and pulls down the line.

Reviving and Restoring Towels in Three Simple Steps

Even though Heritage Park Laundry products are designed to best care for your items, over time, repeat laundering can affect even the finest towels. They may become scratchy and stiff or even have a mildly unpleasant smell. Many factors can cause this such as; hard or well water, hang drying in a humid environment, and using too much detergent, especially with thick towels, as it causes a build-up of soap to accumulate if they are not well rinsed. You can restore your bath towels with three simple steps using just baking soda and white vinegar.

  1. Wash your towels in warm to hot water -- not scalding -- with one cup of white distilled vinegar. This will strip towels of any built-up residue and help restore absorbency. DON'T USE DETERGENT, only white vinegar.
  2. Run the load a second time using only a half-cup of baking soda. This will help freshen and remove any lingering smells. AGAIN, DON'T USE DETERGENT, only baking soda.
  3. Dry according to instructions WITHOUT fabric softener sheets.

You can repeat this process when needed to keep your towels soft, fluffy, and smelling fresh.

Reviving bath towels with baking soda and distilled vinegar

The World of Heritage Park Laundry Essentials

Here at Heritage Park Laundry Essentials, caring for fine fabric is our passion. As lifelong collectors of luxury sheets, towels and table linens, we found that while many of the commercially available “gentle detergents” could still harm fabrics, or they didn't get the job done, leaving tough stains such as lipstick, coffee, gravy, and salad oil stains. We believed we could do better and decided to fill that need. After more than a year of intensive research and product development, we created Heritage Park Laundry Essentials.

Our unique formulations have the perfect balance of powerful, yet safe, ingredients to remove tough, set-in stains while remaining gentle on clothing, bedding, towels, synthetic fabrics, and even heirloom linens. Heritage park contains NO sulfates, dyes, phosphates, chlorine, bleach, or caustics. It has a neutral pH and our Original Fragrance-Free wash has been dermatologist and pediatrician approved for those with sensitive skin or allergies. It is biodegradable and is Leaping Bunny approved to be 100% cruelty-free and never tested on animals. Suitable for regular and HE machines, and proudly made in the United States.

Thank you for visiting us here at Heritage Park! We are delighted to have you as a client and welcome your feedback, questions, and comments. Email us at or call us toll-free at 800-977-1841. We're here and ready to chat with you about all things linen and laundry-related!

Heritage Park Laundry Essentials

At Heritage Park, caring for fine fabric is our passion. As lifelong collectors of luxury sheets, towels, and cloths, we found many commercially available "gentle detergents" either damaged our fabrics or didn't get the job done, leaving stains. We knew we could do better. So we developed a formula with the perfect balance of powerful -- yet safe -- ingredients designed to remove tough, set-in stains while remaining gentle on luxury linens. Please connect with us at (800) 977-1841 or visit our store or email us with any product feedback or cleaning questions.

We're Here to Help

We'd love to hear from you! Whether you have product questions, feedback, or just want to say hi. We're here to help.