You put a little cream on your face and reach for a towel. You finish your evening cleansing ritual and reach for a towel. Come the weekend, you’re sorting the laundry and, in a fit of this-load-is-too-small, you gather the towels up with the household rags and throw them all in the wash together. Thus did those beautiful green-coloured towels end up with grey splotches.
To avoid such calamities, before the first use, wash your towels with a small amount of non-bleaching (even colour-safe bleach) detergent and a half-cup of white vinegar. This will set the colour. Here are other discolouring culprits and some steps you can take to try to prevent future fading.
- Separate the laundry. Every item that goes in the washing machine shares with everything else. This is nice in junior school but often gives undesirable results in the laundry. Anything you use around the house that contains cleaning products should be washed completely separately from everything else and be sure not to touch towels if you’ve had cleaning products on your hands.
- Rinse, rinse, rinse. Benzoyl peroxide is the worst offender by far, and it appears in products other than medicated creams. Even a trace amount in a face wash that makes its way onto your towel will work its way into the fibres and spread when washed. Although whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes will take a lot of flak, don’t be so certain that these are the culprits unless you’re wiping them over and over onto the towels in the same spot.
- Buy quality. Some dyes are not as colourfast as others. Make sure you buy the highest quality towels and treat them with care, but if your household has kids or your towels get some hard use, you should probably just go with white. The look is classic and the colour easy to maintain.