Can You Wash Towels with Clothes?

Clean white towels

Lots of people hate doing laundry, but washing towels is a whole other level of pain. They’re bigger, bulkier, and heavier than most clothes, absorb a lot more water, and are generally tougher to clean. There must be an easier way, right?

You wouldn’t be the first person tempted to just chuck your towels in with the other things you’re washing, but is it safe? Can you wash towels with clothes together and get results you’d be happy with? Let’s find out!

The Big Question: Can You Wash Towels with Clothes?

The short answer here is “yes”, but it comes with several caveats.

You can wash towels with clothes. But then again, you can technically do a lot of things you maybe shouldn’t do.

Can you get large fries with your huge burger and beer for lunch every day? Sure, but should you? Probably not.

You see, towels are far thicker than pretty much anything else in your laundry basket. That means they take longer to get washed and so much longer to dry. That often means longer wash cycles and higher temps—your puny normal clothes just might not survive the process!

Lastly, towels are hotbeds of bacteria, fungi, and other nasties. This doesn’t say anything about your personal hygiene; it’s simply the nature of towels to be great at collecting things, whether that’s moisture or dirt. Sanitizing your towels will require warmer water than what you might normally use—something that could be detrimental to your clothes.

Washing your towels and clothes together risks damage to your clothes and potential bacteria transfer—so it’s best to keep them separate!

But Seriously—Can You Wash Towels with Clothes?

We respect your perseverance, we really do.

Look, we get it.

Dumping everything into one wash cycle and letting the laundry gods sort it out sounds like a great idea when you’re tired and bleary-eyed at four o’clock on a Saturday morning. But there’s a reason why most people bite the bullet and make two separate washes.

The world won’t burst into flames should you opt to wash some towels with your regular clothes from time to time. If you really can’t spare doing an extra load for your towels, you’ll have to keep the following things in mind:

Wash similar fabrics or materials together

Making sure that everything in one load is made of the same material will reduce the chances of your towels or clothes getting damaged. For instance, cotton towels can be washed with cotton clothes; bamboo with other bamboo items; polyester with polyester, and so on.

Mixing fabrics of different materials can lead to pilling, linting, and more.

Wash similar colors together

It’s never a great idea to mix whites with colors, especially when it comes to towels. You don’t want your once-proud white towels turning into a mottled pink mess because you decided to add just one red shirt to the same load!

Keep the weights similar

Mixing heavy towels with lighter-weight clothes can cause your washing machine to struggle. And, in turn, this can lead to uneven cleaning and potential damage.

Towels are big and bulky, which means they take up a lot of room in the washing machine. If you don’t give them enough space to move around, it’s going to be hard for them to get properly washed—and your clothes are likely to suffer as well!

Skip the fabric softener

The softness of freshly-laundered clothes is one of the few things about laundry we look forward to, but fabric softeners are a definite no-no when it comes to washing towels.

Fabric softeners coat the fibers of your towels and make them less absorbent. If you’re determined to wash your towels and clothes together, skip the fabric softener.

Mind the detergent and temperature

As we touched on earlier, your towels tend to get the brunt of any germs or fungi you have on them. To ensure that these are properly removed from their fibers, you’ll need to be mindful of both your detergent and the temperature of the water you wash them with.

Enzyme-based detergents and hotter water—around 130°F—will kill off any lingering microbes; temperatures that will have most of your normal clothes calling for the mother. So if you’re going to wash your clothes with your towels, make sure your clothes can take the heat.

Heavily stained clothing and whites are prime candidates for such conditions, as long as they fit the other criteria mentioned above.

Since We’re Here…Can You Wash Towels with Other Things?

You’re really trying to keep things to a single load, huh? There’s something admirable about hating laundry that much!

Let’s take a look at the two most common questions we’ve had about washing towels with other items:

Can you wash towels with sheets?

Again, our “yes” here has to come with a few caveats.

Can you wash sheets and towels together?

Laundry professionals tend to wash them separately, but we can’t blame you if you don’t have the time or energy to do so. The same rules apply here as with washing towels and clothes: make sure you’re dealing with similar fabrics, colors, and weights.

Since towels and sheets both come into close contact with your skin (and any germs that may be lingering there), you’ll also want to be sure to use higher temperatures and a detergent that zaps bacteria and fungi away.

Can you wash sheets with clothes?

Similar to towels and clothes, sheets should be washed with items of the same fabric and weight. As long as your clothes can hold up to a higher-temperature wash with an enzyme-based detergent, you should be home-free!

Or Just Let hampr Handle It!

You’re asking all the right questions—why not go all the way and get the right answers without the hassle?

That’s what hampr is for!

Our flat-rate pricing and 24-hour turnaround guarantee mean no more late nights googling laundry tips and no more dreaded trips to the laundromat.

With vetted washrs, flat-rate pricing, and free pick-ups and deliveries, hampr has all the laundry answers you need right at your fingertips. So throw in the towel and download the hampr app on Google Play or the App Store today. There’s no shame in giving up and letting professionals deal with your heaviest load!

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