Your Most Embarrassing Cleaning Questions—Answered!
Jolie Kerr, cleaning expert and author of the new book My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag...and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha
has seen it all, from stinky dishwashers to lipstick on your collar.
How do I get the funky smell out of my (just-washed) bath towels?
Handing an overnight guest a neat stack of laundered bath towels seems like such a nice gesture—but not if the linens give off a musty smell as soon as your visitor uses them to dry off. The problem, says Kerr, is that you're using too much detergent when washing your linens, and the preset rinse cycle on your washing machine is not long enough to get all the soap out. So while your towel may smell fresh after it's washed and dried, once it gets wet again (after a shower, say) and is left in the dark bathroom, mold begins to grow. (It turns out mold likes soap.) The fix: Wash the towels with no detergent and a cup or 2 of white vinegar; this will get the soap out (and have the added bonus of cleaning your washing machine). Then, going forward, use less detergent on your towels.